Your new movie The Voices
- in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your
character in it?
a devastating breakup with her fiancť, Grace (the character I play)
seeks refuge with her sister at their familyís secluded cabin. However,
while there, Grace discovers her sister, Catherine, is suffering from
paranoid schizophrenia, much like their late mother. While coming to terms
with this heavy realization, Grace also begins to question her own sanity.
In the process, Grace uncovers another secret that leaves her struggling
to save herself and her family. The lines between reality and dreams
become increasingly blurred for Grace and it is an intense struggle for
her to find her way out of the chaos.
What did you draw upon to bring your
character to life, and how much Amanda Markowitz can we actually find in
all have experienced vulnerability, including myself, and I have certainly
questioned my own sanity at times. I have also had moments in my life
where Iíve had to question my own sanity for reasons that most certainly
go outside the realm of this interview, hah! But it helped me to understand
how easy it was for Grace to go down such an emotional rabbit hole. Grace
is searching for love and answers and validation, things I think a lot of
people look for, including myself. And in that process, things donít
always go so smoothly. The difference is that Graceís circumstances are
spent many months working on this character. I wanted to fully step into
her life and become Grace, which was incredibly challenging to shake off
after filming. Even after production was over, Grace stayed with me for
probably another year, and in some ways is still with me. This was the
most challenging role I have ever played. I chose to dive deep into her
psychosis, which made my performance very real, but also made emerging
from her very difficult. Like Grace, it was hard for me to differentiate
reality from non-reality, but in my case, it was the difficulty of
differentiating my own reality as Amanda from the imagined reality of
How did you get involved with the project in the
have worked with Andy Wizenberg, Bradley Fowler and Victoria Matlock many
times before. Together, we are Three Tales
Productions. Our first feature
was Love Meet Hope, which I starred in with Bradley Fowler and Ed Asner.
Bradley specifically wrote The Voices
for me and Victoria to play the
incredibly challenging and nuanced characters of Grace and Catherine. When
I read it, I was beyond excited (and somewhat nervous) to take on this
film, both as an actor and producer. Ultimately, I am very proud of what
we made. We work incredibly well together and I am grateful for everything
we brought to the table individually and as a team.
To what extent could you actually identify
with The Voices' horror
the film, Grace doubts herself and has a lot of fear about her future. I
think we all have similar doubts and fears that parallel what she is going
through when she first arrives to her
sisterís cabin. She is at a point in her life where she is feeling lost,
struggling with her new identity, and searching for answers, which is a
place I have certainly been in before. Horror movies may be heightened
circumstances, but they are still about real people with real problems.
Additionally, since filming, I now have a daughter and I can deeply
understand why Grace was so worried about whether or not she would be a
good mother. It was definitely something I thought about while I was
pregnant. Turns out, I am a great mother! Phew!
What can you tell us about The
Voices' directors Wesley Alley [Wesley
Alley interview - click here] and Bradley Fowler, and what was your collaboration
we first hired Wesley, it was going to be the first time he directed a
feature film, as well as our co-director, Bradley Fowler. However, they
were both very eager and seemed to be excited to collaborate. Bradley had
written the script so he knew it very well and it was clear that Wesley
had a real grasp of the script and was going to bring a lot to the table,
particularly from a technical standpoint. Bradley and Wesley would be
co-directing and they immediately were on the same page. Their skills also
balanced each other out very nicely. Wesley brought a lot of experience of
the technical aspect of filmmaking, while Bradley brought his experience
of the acting side. Our production company, Three Tales
prides itself on working collaboratively and I felt at ease while on set,
Bradley and Wesley seemed to divide and conquer as well as collaborate
efficiently and effectively. Because there were two lead actresses, myself
and Victoria, it also helped to have two co-directors, so that one of them
was always available to each of us in between takes and throughout the
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
was a very collaborative set. It really was a set where we all balanced
each other out and supported one another through it all. Everyone who was
there wanted to be there. Many of the people involved were friends who we
brought on from past projects that are extremely talented and everyone we
worked with for the first time turned out to be incredible team players
with such a high level of talent. I feel so fortunate to have worked with
the team we had! It is because of the combined efforts that we were able
to create a low-budget independent film with such a high production value.
I am particularly grateful to the crew members, who worked so hard and
kept incredibly positive attitudes throughout long hours and challenging
situations Ė I feel now is the part where I should mention we filmed on
suspension bridge that was 100 feet long and constantly swinging high
above a fast-moving river. Thank you, incredible cast and crew! I would
love to talk about each and every one of you, but this article would go on
forever. I hope you know that this project wouldnít be what it is
without each individual that was involved. I am particularly grateful to
Andy Wizenberg and Christopher James Fechser who were always there to help
so that Victoria, Bradley, Wesley and I could focus on the acting and
directing. I also want to give a special shoutout to our director of photography, Ryan Patrick McCoy. His positive attitude, creative input,
and hilarious sense of humor really made such a difference in the
filmmaking process. However, while we definitely had our fun and fair
share of laughs, the overall atmosphere was needed to be quiet and serious
due to the subject matter. There were various times where I asked for
silence because my
character required such a state of intense psychosis and everyone was very
respectful of that.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
is a bit of a strange time right now and most everything is on hold.
However, I do have projects in post-production and hopefully will have
more to come soon as both a producer and actor. Keep looking out for me on
social media (see below) in order to see whatís next!
got you into acting to begin with, and did you receive any formal training
on the subject?
am from Los Angeles and grew up acting from a young age. It was obviously
a lot for my parents to constantly take me to auditions and sit on set
with me while also having full-time jobs, so I decided to continue acting
in school when I could. However, upon high school graduation, I ended up
taking a different path Ė I decided to go to college at USCís Marshall
School of Business, an education I am incredibly grateful for. Upon
graduation, I was recruited to a prestigious program at a great company.
While there, I realized how much I missed acting and ultimately left the
program to pursue acting full-time, immediately enrolling in classes. I
spent a majority of my formal training with Howard Fine and Margie Haber,
two incredible teachers who will forever have my gratitude and respect.
Somewhere along the way, I started getting frustrated by struggling to
open doors. I decided that I wasnít going to wait for someone to open
the door for me and that I would instead build my own door and burst
through it. Thatís when I met Bradley Fowler Ė he was a one-day guest
teacher at my acting school Ė and it was absolutely perfect timing. We
immediately loved working together. After class, like a crazy person, I
ran down the street chasing him and told him that we had to work together.
Cut to meeting at a coffee shop and starting to write a webseries, which
ultimately turned into our first feature film, Love Meet Hope, that we
starred in and produced together. Our production company, Three Tales
Productions, was born, run by myself, Bradley and Andy. Victoria soon
joined our team and we have been working together ever since. I am proud
to have produced a variety of feature films and short films during my time
as a producer thus far. I am both creative as well as academic, so
producing ended up being a great fit for me. It has allowed me to create
stories I want to tell, while doing excel spreadsheets (which I love Ė
nerd alert) and following my passion of acting at the same time.
How would you
describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
me, acting is living. Everything I have actually lived through and
everything I am as a person always shows up in my work. My characters are
an extension of myself, just in different circumstances. I always want to
give an honest performance and breathe life into these characters in a way
that makes them a completely nuanced person, as people are in real life.
People are many things, and characters are no different. As I did with
Grace, I tend to fully immerse myself into my roles, which is
Meisner-based (some may call it Method, but that tends to
scare people, so letís go with Meisner). I also draw from my own
experiences, due to my foundation that is based off of Uta Hagen, focusing
on substitution, specificity, and authenticity. Additionally, I spent
years studying improv, which is incredibly useful as an actor. I always
like to have different acting tools in my metaphorical toolkit, which is
what I was taught to do, and I can pull one, or multiple, out as needed.
Ultimately, I think each role calls for a different approach and
combination of tools, but in The
Voices, it was primarily Meisner-based.
Actresses (and indeed actors) who
am going to take this question back some years. I grew up as a HUGE
Lucille Ball fan. She was groundbreaking Ė a powerful woman yet still
vulnerable, utterly hilarious, full of tenacity, completely committed, a
tad mysterious, and spunky in every way possible. She created some of the
most memorable moments in film and television history. She had a big
impact on me and is likely the reason I wanted to be an actor. She will
never cease to make me smile. And little known fact Ė Lucy was the first
woman to portray a pregnant woman while actually pregnant, something I
found difficult to do even in todayís world. And when I finally booked a
pregnant role while actually pregnant, I got to channel my inner-Lucy. She
was a working mom, something rare for the time, and still challenging to
do. Lucy was and still is a boss babe, and everything I aspire to be.
Without a doubt, Lucy inspired me deeply and continues to inspire many
people all these years later.
letís bring it back to present day. As cheesy as this sounds, because
she is actually in this film with me, Lin Shaye has been a huge
inspiration to me. Because I know her personally, the way in which she
inspires me is deeper than someone I donít know. Lin has become family
to me. We clicked from the moment we met on set. I immediately felt I
could divulge everything to her and she has since been a constant source
of encouragement. She has taught me to take ownership and power as an
actor in a way I realized I had never done before. I used to doubt my
choices and crave validation, but because of her, I know that I can give
that to myself. It still doesnít hurt to have some validation, but I
donít need it. Not only is she a talented actress who dives deeply into
the mind of her characters, but she is also a wonderful person who holds
so much knowledge and experience. I am beyond grateful to have her in my
life. She is an inspirationÖ and also now an Emmy award-winning actress!
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movie that always comes to my mind is Life is Beautiful. I am the
granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors, which has shaped who I am
today. My grandparents lost a majority of their family in the camps. I
feel this particular film truly explores the nuances of the circumstance
in such a unique way. It is a tragic moment in time, but the film is
filled with comedic moments and beautiful imagination. It shows these
people as real people, capable of a variety of emotions and experiences,
and it is not just the tragedy that defines them. I love when films
arenít just one thing, because life isnít just one thing. It is messy
and complicated and full of conflicting emotions. In dramatic moments, we
can still find the comedy, and in horrific times, there can still be
romance. Those are typically the films that really impact me.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I actually canít think of a movie I absolutely deplore. I tend to find
something in every story that I enjoy. Iím a pretty easy to please
critic and tend to not put down other peopleís work. There is a reason
they wanted to tell that story, even if I donít understand it, and I
have to respect their process and creation. Making a movie is really hard
work and once you make one, you really understand that. Itís a feat just
to make a film and I canít put down someoneís hard work. So, Iím not
going to publicly call anyone out. Sorry to disappoint!
social media, whatever else?
should be able to find everything you need at these sites, including even
more links if you want to continue to find out more!
for the interview!