Q: You have recently starred in Jules Stewart’s (mother of Twilight star Kristen Stewart) directorial debut ‘K-11’ (2012), which deals with issues to do with transgender and inequality. What was your experience like working on that film and have you taken anything away from it?
A: Working in K-11 was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve had shooting a film in my life. I hadn’t been acting when I was called to audition, I hadn’t acted in a film for six years prior to doing K-11, but I couldn’t have asked for a better reintroduction. Jules is an amazing director and an even better woman. I came away with a renewed since of purpose and self worth after doing the film and that had everything to do with watching Jules work, and getting to know her and the cast, many of whom are still valued friends of mine.
Q: What show/film has been the most enjoyable to shoot? Why?
A: They are all fun for various reasons. I haven’t really had a bad time shooting anything. K-11 was ridiculously fun. The material was so heavy, I think we all (the cast) made the decision to be silly as much as possible off camera. The film that I wrote and starred in with Whoopi Goldberg was maybe the most amazing experience. Just to have people like Whoopi and Sharon Stone saying the words I wrote is something I will always cherish experiencing. I did some stints on the show “Angel”. Fighting David Boreanaz was always fun.
Q: Having appeared in ‘Fight Club’ (1999), what is filming a big-budget movie like compared to an independent production like ‘K-11’?
A: Mostly it’s time. When you have millions of dollars, the director has time to shoot so much more. When you are independent, things move fast and in many ways you have to be more prepared than you would have to be on a big budget film. All the other stuff, when you have a great crew like K-11’s, you don’t notice so much if you are there to do your job and because you believe in the project.
Q: Writing is another passion that you have, with novels such as ‘Poker Night’ and the upcoming film ‘Unlovable’ which you wrote and are starring in. Where do you get your inspirations from for your screenplays and what is the process involved in finding a director and ideal cast?
A: I honestly don’t know where the stories come from anymore…lol! I’m just grateful that they keep coming. I can see a scene in something else, or overhear a conversation, or hear a song, or see a picture… just about anything can trigger a story in me. I jot it down, if it’s still a good idea to me a couple of days later, I’ll dive in to the writing. When I write a script, I see it… I know how it sounds, smells, feels… it’s a full vision in my head. It’s very important to find a director who sees what I see in order to work together. I put it all on the page. If a director reads a script of mine, calls me and starts telling me stuff that was in my head already and then starts expanding on it to make the vision even more vibrant, that’s the director for me. I have been very fortunate to have found the directors I have, my latest film project Pacific Standard was no exception. Christy Romano is a wonderfully talented director as well as an accomplished actress. She immediately got what I wrote on the page and we’ve been in sync on the project ever since.
Q: If you had not started to work in this field, what other occupation would you like to have taken up?
A: This is it. Acting is all I ever wanted to do and it led me to writing, which I’ve been dabbling in since I was a little kid. I’m not built for anything else.
Q: What was your favourite film to watch while growing up? How has this influenced your acting style (if it has at all)?
A: I am a fan and student of the films of the 1930s. There is a level of class to the film making back then that we have really lost. My Man Godfrey and The Thin Man are two of the greatest comedies every created on film. I’m also a complete Woody Allen fanatic and the one person I’m always trying to live up to in my own work. Manhattan is just brilliant and lovely to me, despite the fact that Woody himself hated the film. But as a kid, if it was in black and white with a swing music soundtrack, I was watching it. I still am. Those old stars had a style set to the music of the era, and I know that when I am building a character, I use the same music to find the rhythm I’m looking for.
Q: Currently you are writing articles for examiner.com , do you have any opinions on how the internet has changed the way we learn news and can share our views, as well as social media in general?
A: It’s the best and worst thing that has happened to modern society. On the one hand, a global community has been created and never before has so much information been so readily available to people who otherwise would never be able to get their hands on. The problem is it is almost impossible to truly verify and filter what you get or from who. Also, anonymity means that people don’t have to stand by their words. They can hide and spit bile, which the internet is full of. People who have absolutely no place can way in on things that they have no real knowledge of or experience with. The internet has created a race of know-it-alls who know nothing, can’t spell and don’t understand how to use apostrophes. Still, when a real connection is made and everything lines up, it’s everything the future was promised to be. It’s the world now and we have to harness the good as much as possible.
Q: Is there a film or book you wish that you had written or starred in and why?
A: Not so much books… but I would have loved to have played Darth Vader. Seriously, how cool would it be to be Darth Vader?
Q: Who would you like to have had as part of a dream cast? And are there any acting legends you look up to?
A: I really dig the people that I am working with on the projects I am putting together, but I would love to write something for Alyssa Milano and co-star with her. How this woman didn’t become a huge romantic comedy film star I’ll never know. She is underrated in my opinion. Rose McGowan, Chris Rock, Christina Hendricks, Julie Delpy, Seth Green, and of course, Woody Allen… these are all people who I would love to write for and act with. I think I see something different in them than their images allow and that’s what I would like to uncover in their work. Except for Julie Delpy and Woody Allen. They’re both such brilliant writers, I’d just like to say their words. My acting heroes are all dead. Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Clark Gable, William Powell, Lauren Bacall, James Cagney… I could go on and on. The 30’s and 40’s have it, man.
Q: As you have a lot of experience in the film industry, what advice would you give to those wanting to break into it?
A: Be sure you love the art. This is the wrong business to get into to become famous. There are so many easier ways to get famous now, thanks to the internet. This is a business based on opinion, so you must have one of yourself that is not shaken by an unfavourable one from someone else. Get involved in a film making community. It’s not just about booking jobs anymore, there aren’t as many of them as there used to be. You have to make your own opportunities, form your own alliances and grow together. That’s where the business is headed.