Your new movie Helpless
- in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your
character in it?
is a thriller centered around the hunt for a missing baby girl who was
taken from a stranded couple after their car gets a flat tire. Who
took the baby and killed the parents is unknown. My character,
Wendy, is a psychic who inserts herself into the investigation. An
investigation which takes a truly unforeseen turn toward the dark side.
With your character being a psychic -
to what extent could you relate you to that aspect of Wendy, and what did
you draw upon to bring your character to life?
have anything personally to pull from for the psychic part of the
character but her true concern for finding that lost child was something
that I think every person can relate to. I did watch parts of
Poltergeist to see Zelda Rubinstein’s approach to portraying a psychic.
you get hooked up with the project in the first place, and how did you end
up on the production side of things as well?
I have worked
with Thor Moreno (writer/director of Helpless)
[Thor Moreno interview - click here] on two other projects:
Iowa, A Thor Moreno Film and ColorBurn, so he knew what I could do for the
character he had in mind. As for the production side, I just retired
as a project manager from a computer service and have been a theater stage
manager multiple times, so the role of producer for an independent film fit
pretty well. I also volunteered for the craft services role because
I enjoy cooking. It was pretty cold filming in Iowa in December; so
we wanted the actors to enjoy a hot meal on set.
you tell us about your director Thor Moreno [Thor
Moreno interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
like? And how did you two first hook up?
have worked with many directors and all of them have their unique talents,
but Thor is by far the most patient and calm director of the group.
He has an amazing ability to visualize the details of the shoot before
even arriving at the set, which makes him very prepared. A prepared
director makes for fewer shots and when it is cold outside, that’s
wonderful. I have watched Thor work with actors to get the results
he is after in such a positive way that the actor is never intimidated.
Because of his calm demeanor and the fact that he is a dad himself, he
also works very well with child actors. He can pull the best
performance from an actor with both still smiling at the end.
That’s also why actors love to work with Thor.
did I first meet Thor? Someone saw me on stage and gave him my name,
but they didn’t have my contact information, so he sent me a Facebook
message. Pretty crazy start.
Do talk about
the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!
set of Helpless was an abandoned farm house and the farm’s out buildings
(machine shed, pig stalls). So immediately it was spooky. It
just seemed haunted. As soon as we were ready to begin shooting one
sunny day, clouds started to roll in and it was very eerie. Everyone
noticed the coincidence of the timing of the storm. It was not
hard to get into character there. As for the actors, when it is cold
– it is all business until back into a warm area. But once in the
warm area, we were trying to see who could freak out whom with a scary
story! It was a lot of fun.
future projects you'd like to share?
can’t give you any details, but I have been cast in a feature film which
is set on the shores of Lake Heron for the fall.
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
started acting when I was 11 or 12 years old. I loved to sing so I
auditioned for the school musical and got the role. But when it was
time to choose a college, I went to a business school so I do not have any
formal training; my college degree is a bachelor of science. I
learned by watching and learning from people I respected.
From what I know, you have been acting on stage
since a rather young age. So what can you tell us about your experiences
on stage, and how does performing on stage compare to acting in front of a
camera? And which do you prefer, actually?
acting on stage, your gestures are bigger and you must project your voice.
So my training is to perform to the back row of an auditorium. When
I started with film I had to learn to be much more subtle. I learned
that I can show a great deal of emotion with my eyes; something impossible
for a large stage. I read “someone should be able to walk up to
you and not tell you are acting”. Good advice because film is all
about being real. With that in mind, I believe that you must
understand the person you are portraying. You should know how they
would react in all kinds of situations – even ones that are not in the
script. If you can do that, you will be believable. I always
create a backstory for every character; no matter how small the role.
Kundera, a Czech novelist, playwright and poet said that there are no
small roles, only small actors. I read this to mean that no matter
the size of the role, make it memorable. I do this by knowing my
character so I make them come alive. Note: This doesn’t mean
mugging, overacting or stealing focus.
Can you still
remember your first time in front of a movie or TV camera, and what was
that experience like?
was an extra for an industrial. It was a scene at a restaurant and
we were supposed to be eating breakfast. Nobody told me that I
should not really drink the coffee. Thank goodness the bathroom was
close when they said cut!
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Helpless?
first feature film was Iowa. I was the leading character’s mother.
She was pretty tough but loved her son and granddaughter; she practiced
tough love. It was a wonderful experience, thanks to Thor Moreno
[Thor Moreno interview - click here]
the cast/crew. The next project was a short named ColorBurn.
This was my toughest role (film or stage) to date. My character says
goodbye to her dying father. It was very close to home and I had to
go to a very sad place. But I was able to go there because I trusted
Thor. Being able to trust your director allows you to go to places
that are really tough.
Actresses (and indeed
actors) who inspire you?
Actors: Helen Mirren, Margo Martindale, Judi Dench, Anthony Hopkins,
Woody Harrelson, Christian Bale just to name a few.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
for Red October, Red, Sixth Sense, Mr Holland’s
Opus, Bourne Identity, Philomena, Primal Fear, Shawshank
Redemption, Double Jeopardy, Patriot Games, Elf J
and of course, films you really deplore
try to find something good from each movie I watch.
Facebook, whatever else?
don’t have a website but IMDb link is: