Chit Chatting with Actress Kaila Kondo

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing up and coming actress Kaila Kondo. She is in the movie Before I Fall. Read on and learn where she would visit if she could go back in time, who her favorite actress is, five random things about her, and all about her movie.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start into acting.

K: I’ve always loved the performing arts! I am a very dramatic and enthusiastic person. When I was younger, my parents put me into a performing arts preschool, and I fell in love with acting. From there, I continued attending art schools, performing in plays, and auditioning for roles in television.

 

R: Tell us about your movie Before I Fall and about your character, Bunny Cupid.

K: Before I Fall is about Samantha Kingston, a popular high school student, who finds herself having to relive Valentine’s Day over and over until she “gets it right.” It’s about self-discovery and realizing that sometimes you need to look outside yourself and make changes in your behaviors and interactions with others before moving forward. Bunny Cupid has a small role in the movie – one line actually. She is part of a group of three cupids whose job it is to go around to classrooms and hand out Valentine’s roses. Although it wasn’t a large role, it was a great experience being on set and getting a chance to work with the other actors.

 

R: What was the audition process for this movie?

K: A request was made through my agent for me to read for the part. I received the script the night before and rehearsed my line over and over. In the audition room, they asked me to say the line and start handing out the roses to imaginary people in various emotions such as bubbly, flirty, and nervous. I guess I impressed them because I got a call saying the role was mine!

 

R: What was your favorite part about filming this movie?

K: It definitely had to be getting to know everyone on set! I loved meeting both the actors and the crew and getting to chat with them every day. It was so inspiring seeing everyone hard at work trying to make this film come to life – the passion was really evident in everyone I got to meet.

 

R: Do you have any other upcoming projects coming out that you can talk about?

K: I am actually taking a break from acting at the moment while I start university, but I hope to be back in front of the camera soon.

 

R: If you could work with any five actors and/or actresses who would they be?

K: I would love the opportunity to work with Emma Watson, Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, and Dwayne Johnson.

 

R: What shows would you like to make a guest appearance on?

K: I am a huge fan of Criminal Minds. My mother and I always marathon the episodes and I would love to make an appearance on it!

 

R: I read that you can ballroom dance. Is that true? If so, how long have you been studying? What is your favorite style?

K: Yes it’s true, I can ballroom dance! I have been studying on and off for about five years now. I do it mainly for fun and am nowhere near a competitive level. My favorite style is swing! I have always enjoyed the fast pace of the music and how it can be super catchy!

 

R: It is not easy being a teenager. What advice would you give them?

K: Always be yourself, regardless of what others think. Sometimes in life, you meet people who are judgmental or manipulative and who might want you to conform, but you should never change who you are to fit someone else’s standards.

I encourage everyone who reads this to write one positive note, such as “You are beautiful,” and place it on your mirror or somewhere you often look. Then every day you can constantly affirm that you are amazing, or smart, or confident, or all the above. It is so important to believe in yourself and to have confidence in who you are and what you have to offer the world.

 

R: Who is your biggest influence and why?

K: Definitely my mother. She’s such a hard working and kindhearted person. She has been through everything with me and has supported me no matter what. She believes in me and pushes me to be the best that I can be.

 

R: If you could travel back in time, what time period would you pick and why?

K: I would like travel back in time to Ancient Greece. I have always been fascinated with their culture, architecture, and beliefs. It would be amazing to experience everything first-hand rather than reading about it in a book.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

K: I am a lifeguard and swim instructor. I played on an all-girls baseball team and took 1st place at the Canadian nationals. I love playing the game Candy Crush and I am on level 867! I know how to surf. My best friend is my dog, Ty, who is an American Eskimo that we rescued from a shelter in Taiwan.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

K: I was at a sleepover with some friends, and we were eating s’mores. My friend turned to me and asked if I could fit a mini marshmallow up my nose. Intrigued, I gave it a shot and the marshmallow fit! Although it did not get stuck in my nasal cavity, I do not recommend for others try this.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites?

K: No, I am not.

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

K: Don’t give up on your passion! If you love something, do it with all your heart. When times get tough, you might think it is easier to give up on something than to push through it; however, if you persevere, you’ll come out stronger than before.

 

R: Kaila, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

K: Thank you so much for interviewing me! This was my first interview, so it means a lot to me!

 

Picture credit: Ian Redd

 

Chit Chatting with Actress Lou Lou Safran

 

Written by Jill Sheets

11 year old Lou Lou Safran is surrounded by a talented family. Her mom is a singer and songwriter, and her dad is a film producer. No wonder Lou Lou wanted to be an actress. Read on and learn more about this up and coming actress, her new movie, and find out five things people don’t know about her.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting.

L: Thank you so much for having me! I love your magazine. It has so many thoughtful and positive articles. I also really love that I don’t have to worry I’ll come across something on your website I will wish I hadn’t seen.

I am 11 and going into middle school this year. I am a huge lover of the arts and I have always been passionate about film, music, theater, and anything creative and crafty. I love nature, animals, travel, friends, and anything Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets related. I am also nuts about Gary Cooper, particularly in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. I love classic Hollywood movies so much! This summer it’s like one big Hollywood oldie festival every place we go because we have been watching as many as we can, at least one a night. The characters are so charming in those films, so witty and smart. And you don’t have to cover your eyes during any love scenes. They were very discreet and much more romantic in those days.

My mommy is a singer-songwriter and a really great one too (not that I’m biased or anything) and my dad is a film producer, so all my life I have been surrounded by the arts and all sorts of talented, creative people. I’m sure that has inspired my interests, but I really got intrigued by acting when I was five and in my mom’s music video. I knew then that I wanted to be an actress more than anything else in the world. A few years later on the set of my very first movie, The Choice, I got to confirm for myself that this was my true passion.

 

R: How did your parents take it when you told them that you wanted to act?

L: My parents have always been super supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to do, even when I used to want to be a rock star-vet-princess. But letting me try acting, other than in my mom’s music videos, was a much bigger decision and they were quite apprehensive about it. I guess they were most concerned about letting me try for it at my young age, so first I had to prove to them that I was serious about it. We had many talks, much nagging and begging on my part, lots of cleaning up of my room, the turtles’ habitat, and taking care of the dog, all A’s in school, and a lot of reading and writing and other tasks before I was finally allowed to put my first audition on tape. It was for the role of Katie in Nicholas Spark’s The Choice. I was elated when I got the part and I think I proved to them that I could do it by always being prepared for my scenes, getting into the character and doing my work well. The Choice director Ross Katz said I was a natural and I was so happy to hear that! But getting to audition for the Annabelle: Creation part wasn’t any easier with my parents. I sure hope they don’t make me jump through hoops every time I want to try out for a part!

 

R: Tell us about your movie Annabelle: Creation and about your character.

L: Our movie tells the story of how the Annabelle doll was created and why she is the monster we know. It is also a story of family loss and a group of young girls who find themselves in the toughest of circumstances but stick together no matter what.

I play Tierney, one of six girls who has to move to a new orphanage with their guardian nun after their old orphanage is closed down. Their new home turns out to be a creepy old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Everything seems strange and dark there, but they keep trying to get used to it, since they don’t really have a choice and they always have each other. The girls have been through a lot and are a tight-knit family at this point. But then they find a weird doll in a bolted dusty closet and things start to go horribly wrong…..

 

R: Did you find yourself getting frightened during the movie?

L: This goes to show what a great director David Sandberg is and what an amazing set we had for the movie, because even after rehearsing the scenes, making fun of the Annabelle doll whenever we had her on the set, and watching actors being turned into demons in the VFX makeup chairs, we would scream and run every time in every scary scene! Luckily we were meant to do that, but the reactions you’ll see on screen were hardly ever very “acted” by any of us. We loved every minute of it!

 

R: If you could be on any five TV shows, which ones would they be?

L: It would be amazing to work on Modern Family, Fawlty Towers, Wonder Woman, Full House and the Brady Bunch. To be on the set with that big cast of kids would be great fun, I bet!

 

R: Do you have any other upcoming projects you would like to talk about?

L: I am on the Gold Coast of Australia right now and I just finished out the school year here in a great Aussie school – shout out to the Broadbeach State School, class 6c and Ms. Cusack! My parents are working on a movie here, so I’ll be in Australia until August, and then I head back to LA for the Annabelle premiere which I am sooooooo excited about! I just got a ukulele and I have been practicing new songs, learning to rock climb, and surf. I have just started a YouTube channel and I’ll be posting silly videos of my Arctic Monkeys and TLSP covers on the piano and random uke tunes. I hope to record a few of my own songs soon, too. That’s all I can say of my projects for now.


R: What five actors and actresses would you like to work with?

L: I hope they can be from any time, present or past, because I really WISH I could work with Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Dudley Moore, and Julie Andrews. Sorry, that makes six.

 

R: I read that one of your favorite movies is Clue. What makes it one of your favorites?

L: I am impressed. You are very well informed! Well, it’s true, up until recently it was my number one favorite because of the suspense, ridiculous situations, characters, and the sense of humor, which struck me every time even after watching it thirty times. My best friends Audrey and Annabelle and I would watch it every sleepover and never get tired of it. It will always be tops for me, but the ranking has just changed a little. May I give you my new top five?

  1. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town with Gary Cooper. It is irresistible and so clever!
  2. Arthur with Dudley Moore in possibly the funniest role ever and a great lesson to learn.
  3. Singing in the Rain – you can’t not love this movie.
  4. Clue, of course.
  5. The Choice and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2

If you haven’t seen The Choice yet, I promise you will love it. It’s about finding love and purpose in life, and we shot it on the most beautiful set ever, right on the water in Wilmington, North Carolina.

 

R: Who or what has been your biggest influence in your life?

L: My parents and music. It would take hours to list all the reasons why.

 

R: What are some of your future goals?

L: I hope to become a better actress with every year. I want to hone my craft as much as possible and get to practice it on every set I get a chance to work on. I need to get better at the piano, and I’m planning to learn all the Eddie Vedder ukulele songs by the end of summer. I would like to improve on my Polish and French reading this year and learn Spanish too. My tennis game and swim moves could use more practice, and I’d like to get back to dance, too.

Once I’m back in Los Angeles and the school year begins, I promised myself to devote more time to my three favorite organizations: Animal Tracks, Project Angel Food, and A Sense of Home. If you would like to hear more about them, please go to my website, LouLouSafran.com, for more information. They are truly inspiring and effect the community in the most beautiful and selfless ways.

R: Do you have a hobby or some other thing that you like to do when you are not working?

L: Beside acting, I spend most of my time on music. I am always listening to new songs, playing piano, and learning the ukulele. I love discovering new kinds of music, bands, and artists for myself. My mom, dad, and my Uncle Mick are always introducing me to new sounds, too, and it’s like a great adventure. I also love going to concerts. There is nothing like watching your favorite band live!

Besides that I spend every chance I get playing with my friends, telling jokes, climbing trees, and coming up with elaborate schemes for our sleepovers.

We also have an organic garden back at home. I tend to the milkweeds and look after the monarch butterfly caterpillars that we get a ton of. They are endangered these days, and it’s super important to create safe habitats for them to grow. It’s not too difficult to do — you can do it in any space, and it’s breathtaking to watch them grow and transform. But I can’t say I’m a very good gardener besides that. Apparently, I lack patience…I plan to improve on that, too.

 

R: What are five things that people may not know about you?

L:

  1. I want a baby sister like there’s no tomorrow.
  2. I cannot handle roller coasters!
  3. I’ve been called a messy bessy by those in the know.
  4. My favorite color is every shade of blue.
  5. My favorite animals are finger monkeys, turtles, sugar gliders, and fainting goats.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

L: I just started my website. My mom helped me set it up and I’ve been working on the content. It’s been a ton of work to get it done, but it’s creative and really fun. I plan to write more and post stories that inspire me.

I love taking photos so I often post on Instagram – lots of silly things and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks at the movies I am working on.

My Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/therealloulousafran

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

L: My mom wrote a song for me when I was really little and she always says that if I ever get lost or confused in life I should just listen to the lyrics. It’s one of my favorite quotes ever and I hope you all like it as much as I do:

“Promise me you won’t let the world change you

you are the love and always will be

let your spirit guide you

and forever stay free

do not ever forget you came from love

and were born into grace.”

 

R: Thank you for the interview, Lou Lou!

L: Thank you for listening and featuring me in your magazine. It’s been a pleasure!

 

Chit Chatting with Eden McCoy

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Teen actress Eden McCoy has been acting awhile. If you are a soap fan, you may have seen her as Josslyn Jacks on General Hospital. This Los Angeles native has come a long way, from being very shy to where she is now. Read on about how she got her start acting, how she prepares for a role, and what advice she gives to other teenage girls.

 

R: Tell us about yourself and how you got into acting.

E: I was really shy in elementary school, so I took a theater camp one summer so that I would be more comfortable speaking publically. There was an agent there who approached my family at the end of the camp and asked if I had any interest in acting professionally, and I said yes. Two months later, I filmed my first commercial for Wells Fargo.

 

R: You are on the soap opera General Hospital. Tell us a little about the show and your character Josslyn.

E: Josslyn is a teen that is going through a lot right now on the show. Her older brother recently died in a mob-related car explosion, she just found out her kidney donor (Joss had a kidney transplant as a toddler) has been executing a revenge plot against her mother that involved sleeping with her mother’s husband, and now her stepfather is having her father arrested for buying the kidney that was donated to Josslyn many years ago. I love how the writers trust me to show Joss’s emotions and they write powerful scenes for my GH family and me. It’s an honor to portray Josslyn – I love the character!

 

R: Tell us about the TV movie The Nerd Posse and about your character Jenny.

E: Jenny is one of three “mean girls” in this pilot and is part of a clique called “The Jennys” (Jenny, Jennifer, and Jen). The pilot episode deals with how some anime misfits and comic book fans come together and stand up for themselves against the Jennys and learn to be proud and confident in who they are.

 

R: What was the auditioning process like? How did you find out that you got the role?

E: This was actually one of those rare occasions when I did not have to audition for this role – the casting director and the producers were familiar with prior work I had done, so they viewed my reel and offered me the part. I was super excited to work with such a talented group of actors, and the director Suzette Troche Stapp was amazing!

 

R: You were on the Thundermans. What was that like? How was it working with the cast?  

E: My role on the Thundermans as a snooty mean girl was really fun to play, except that I had to be mean to Addison Reicke, who has become one of my closest friends in the business! Everyone on that cast was so welcoming and kind, and that show is near and dear to my heart because that’s how I met Addi!

 

R: Are there any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

E: I’ve been auditioning for a few things. I can’t really talk about any of them, but stay tuned!

 

R: How do you get ready for a role that you play?

E: I try and create a “backstory” or an emotional history for the character if they don’t already have one, and if they already have one then I sort of fill in the blanks with personal details that make me able to relate to them more. For example, I decide what her favorite food is, what sports she likes to play and why, her best friend, what books does she like to read, what the last conversation she had with her parents was, and things like that. It makes the character seem more real to me, and I think it helps the character seem more truthful for the audience.

 

R: If you could work with any actors, who would they be?

E: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and basically the entire cast of 30 Rock!  It’s my favorite show ever!

 

R: You are also a model. What is your favorite part about modeling and who are some of the companies that you model for?

E: I usually only model in fashion editorials at the request of photographers, not specific brands, but one company that I worked with is Izzy Be Clothing. Their message is so powerful and important! They are dedicated to positive self-love and empowerment messages that make a difference – they advocate the importance of seeing beauty in others and finding beauty within ourselves. They also partner with select global and non-profit organizations that are dedicated to human rights. It’s been a privilege to work with them.

 

R: Have you ever had a “star struck” moment?

E: Well even though I didn’t wind up getting the part, I was very star struck when I was invited to audition for an upcoming pilot being produced by Amy Poehler. It was a director and producer’s session, so Amy was in the room. She is one of my favorite actors of all time, and getting to audition for her and making her laugh really hard was a very powerful experience for me. She said I did great and that she loved my audition!

 

R: What advice would you give to other teenage girls?

E: Just to be kind to each other. We are all struggling with something, and no one’s life is perfect. A smile and a little kindness can make all the difference.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

E: I have a list in my iPhone Notes of funny dog names, when I chew gum I always chew two pieces at the same time, sometimes I spend hours on YouTube looking at teacup piglet videos, I keep and collect all the key cards from every hotel I’ve stayed at, and I keep a secret stash of candy hidden in my room.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

E: My Instagram is @edenmccoy, and my twitter is @realedenmccoy.  I also have a Facebook page (there are imposter pages, but my real one has a blue verified check next to my name).

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

E: Please keep sending me messages on social media. I love to hear from you and know what you think – and I read them all! I am so grateful for all the support you guys give me – LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU ALL!

 

Chit Chatting with Actress Holly Earl

 

Written by Jill Sheets

The first time I saw the brilliant actress Holly Earl, she was on the hilarious show Cuckoo, where she played the character Zoe Chance. Cuckoo was one of the shows that I would try to binge-watch whenever I had the chance. So, when I found out that she was going to be in the movie Once Upon a Time in London, I was very excited! I can’t wait to see it. Read on and learn more about her new film, her other upcoming projects, and what her favorite part of filming this movie was.

 

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in acting.

H: I started out as a child actor at the tiny age of three alongside my sister. At twelve, I took some time out to finish my schooling and be a regular teenager before deciding to return to acting at eighteen. I haven’t stopped since!

 

R: Tell us about Loving Vincent and about your character La Mousmé.

H: Loving Vincent was a fantastic experience. The film is about the life of Vincent Van Gogh, and the majority of characters are based on actual people he painted. It was captured in live action with actors, and then later hand-painted over by more than a hundred real artists in his distinctive style. Dorotea Kobiela and Hugh Welshman, who directed the film, were really clever about how they gave character and life to these portraits. I play La Mousme, who was an actual girl who sat for Van Gogh and, in the film, is a boisterous and nosey courtesan. I’m so grateful that I got asked to do this cameo in such a unique and inspiring project.

 

R: Tell our listeners about Once Upon a Time in London and about your character Aggie Vaux.

H: Once Upon a Time in London is the true story of notorious criminals Jack Spot and Bill Hill, who were the kings of the organized crime world from the 1930s to the 1950s. I play Aggie Vaux, an innocent but headstrong young woman who finds herself getting wrapped up with Billy and his antics. She was interesting to play, as she not only had to have the strength to stand with these men, but she also had to be vulnerable at the same time. She was a real person that lived this life and not much is known about her, so I wanted to do justice to the character.

 

R: How did you prepare for this character?

H: I started by researching into the real-life woman and finding out whatever I could about her. As I said, there’s not much to be found, as women didn’t have a lot of say at that time. Also, as a woman associated with criminals, you’d most likely want to keep some anonymity. What I did find out, however, is that she apparently had something very special about her. Other research I did was into the era, especially how women held and conducted themselves, which helped me get into the body and mind-set of a woman from that time.

 

R: What was your favorite part about filming this movie?

H: As someone who is slightly obsessed with the glamour of the 1940s and 50s, one my favourite things about filming was definitely the costumes. Every day was a new, stunning outfit. Michelle May, the costume designer, did a fabulous job of finding unique and authentic pieces from that time. There were a lot of outfits I wish I could’ve kept!

 

R: You got to work with an amazing cast. What was it like to work with Geoff Bell, Dominic Keating, Andy Beckwith, and the rest of the cast?

H: Unfortunately, I didn’t get to work with everyone in the cast, as in the film they’re all off being gangsters and getting up to no good. I did, however, work closely with Leo Gregory, who plays Billy Hill. He is a fantastic actor and a real gentleman. We were lucky to get some rehearsal, which is quite a luxury when working on a film, and that allowed us to really develop our characters and their relationship.

 

R: Speaking about working with a wonderful cast, tell us about the show Cuckoo and about your character Zoe. What is your favorite episode from this show?

H: Cuckoo is perhaps one of my favourite shows to have worked on. It’s like one big family. Zoe’s fun, as she’s the complete opposite to me as a person. She’s stony-faced and a real tease to Tyger Drew-Honey’s character, Dylan. My favourite episode is Potato Party in the second series. When I read the script I laughed out loud! Let’s just say there are a lot of shenanigans going on, involving some questionable jacket potatoes and a bath…

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

H: My mum. She got me into acting when I was younger, and if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t be doing what I love so much today. She’s my rock.

 

R: I know you like to draw. Tell us about it!

H: Art (drawing and painting) is my second passion after acting. They’re not dissimilar, as I love how I can create vibrant and different characters within a portrait. At the moment, it’s still a hobby, but I hope that one day I can share it more with the world.

 

R: Do you have any charities or causes that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them.

H: The charity that is closest to my heart is Mind. I feel that mental health issues, whether mild or not, is something that everyone goes through at some point or another. It’s just not talked about enough, which makes people feel like they’re the only ones going through these things. There needs to be more open discussions about it that take the fear out of opening up. It shouldn’t be a taboo topic.

 

R: It is not easy being a teenager. What advice would you give them in?

H: Be easy on yourself. Being a teenager is hard. You’re figuring out about yourself and dealing with a lot of things for the first time. Just know that things get easier and, if you’re going through a hard time, it won’t last forever. It all works towards making you a stronger adult on the other side.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

H: My first crush was Marlon Brando, I have two gorgeous cats, I make a mean Mexican fajita, I adore baby elephants, and I’d love to go to Japan one day.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

H: It’s not really a strange question, but I get mistaken for Emilia Clarke quite a lot. People ask me what it’s like to be Khaleesi and ride dragons. I wish I knew!

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

H: I only use Twitter and Instagram, both under my name.

 

R: Anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

H: I’m grateful for everyone who is and has supported me so far. Thank you. it means a lot!

 

Picture credit: Jo Mclintok, Julie Edwards

 

Chit Chatting with Charlotte Mary Wen

 

Written by Jill Sheets

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing a very talented actress and singer, Charlotte Mary Wen. She was the winner of the 2013 LA’s Next Great Stage Star Award, and that award was well deserved. She has acted not only on stage, but also in movies and TV shows. Read on about Charlotte, her upcoming projects, and find out who her biggest influence is.

 

R: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting.

C: I grew up in San Diego playing on the beach, singing on kitchen tables, and putting on skits with my cousins. I think ever since I was little, the idea of “playing” and “creating” was a huge passion of mine. I started out in musical theatre in San Diego, then Los Angeles and New York City. I discovered a love and interest of TV and film when I got older, and now I’m in Los Angeles pursuing a career on the stage and screen!

 

R: Tell us about your TV movie Life on Mars and about your character Rebecca.

C: Life on Mars is about a young man trying to find his way – he’s a little lost in life and trying to find the balance between love and relationships and his career. Sounds kind of typical of young adults in Los Angeles! I play Rebecca, a snarky girl who shuts him down, but who hysterically does so by misusing idioms.

 

R: Can you tell us about the movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

C: Oh my gosh! I can’t say much about the movie, but I will say you will love Melissa McCarthy’s performance. She is a dream and I loved working with her!

 

R: You are in the movie A Killer Walks Amongst Us. Tell us about the movie and about your character.

C: The death of a high school girl leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I play her best friend, Michelle.

 

R: You got to work with an incredible cast. What was it like working with Dominic Keating, Ashley Scott, and the rest of the cast? What was your favorite memory from that film?

C: The cast was so kind and professional. Everyone on set felt like a family. I loved filming my scene with Eva LaRue and Michael Welch – they exemplified ease on set that I aspire to achieve.


R: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you would like to talk about?

C: I’m excited to play Ali in Mamma Mia! at the Hollywood Bowl. I can’t believe I get to work with Tony-winner Kathleen Marshall and a stellar cast. I feel truly blessed.

 

R: What theater plays have you been in? Which ones were your favorite?

C: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe), One Day: The Musical (Off-Broadway) and American Idiot (La Mirada) are some of my favorites, but I absolutely loved playing the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (3DT).

 

R: What is the best thing about performing on stage?

C: I love the feeling of sharing an experience with a live audience. There is something beautiful about live theatre and every performance being different from the one before.

 

R: You also sing. Do you have any plans on recording an album?

C: I love singing covers on my YouTube channel. I’ve never thought about doing an album, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to it in the future!

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence and why?

C: My younger sister, Janelle! She has incredible faith and dedication and I aspire to be more like her every day. She is a graphic designer for Universal Studios and an incredible hip hop dancer and choreographer. She’s also my go-to for encouragement and advice.

 

R: What are your future goals?

C: I love comedy and sitcom. I’d love to get deeper into funny content on TV, film, and new media. I also want to eventually coach young adults in performing arts.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

C:

  1. My two favorite cities are Barcelona and London
  2. I love pesto
  3. I once ate ten eggs for breakfast–yep, count ’em!
  4. My family has been in San Diego for five generations
  5. I have two dogs, one of which is 17 years old

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

C: I like this one! Hmm…I think my favorite is, “Why do you have such big feet?” It’s true. I have pretty big feet for my height, and it still baffles me. I think I was meant to be taller!

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website and/or YouTube page?

C: Yes! My official website is www.charlottemarywen.com. I’m on Instagram and Twitter as @charmarywen, and my YouTube channel is youtube.com/charlottemarywen.  I use Instagram and YouTube the most!

 

R: Is there anything you would like to add or say to your fans?

C: In this career, you go through lots of ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like the downs are outweighing the ups, but you need to keep at it and if there is nothing else you could imagine making you as happy, stick with it. The work doesn’t validate you, but knowing you are enough and you have something to say and share is all you need. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy every moment!

 

Picture credits: Taili Song Roth, CBS Television, LA Stage Alliance, Isaac James

 

Meet 25-year-old Award Winning Actress, Writer, and Director Castille Landon

“Diversify your interests, study anything and everything, and most importantly, never compare yourself to anyone else. There will always be someone more intelligent, more talented, more beautiful, more connected, etc., but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you at the table. You are enough; it’s a matter of working hard for yourself, striving to become the best version of yourself, and believing that you have something that is worthy of contributing.”

25-year-old actress, screenwriter, and film director Castille Landon is making history and paving the way for young women who are pursuing their dreams and careers. Born in Florida, she moved to Los Angeles when she was fifteen to pursue a career in acting. She graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in English, and is currently a student at Oxford, working on her creative writing major as the only screenwriter accepted into the class. “I think it helps as a filmmaker to be exposed to as many subjects as possible so as to create work that more broadly reflects humanity. I’d rather tell the stories of humans (especially women) throughout time, or be inspired by big ideas in science and medicine or great minds than become insular and just tell stories I relate to personally, or make films about filmmakers or writers,” said Landon, when asked why she decided to pursue a college education instead of only going straight to a career in the film industry.

She has appeared in numerous television shows and films such as Criminal Minds, Wind Walkers, Land of Leopold, and Among Ravens, and played a major supporting role in the comedy Sex Ed opposite Haley Joel Osment and Glen Powell. Now she writes, produces, and directs films such as Apple of My Eye, starring Burt Reynolds and Amy Smart, and I Believe in Unicorns, which premiered at SXSW and was screened in more than 40 film festivals worldwide. Her latest film, Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, was just released on Pay Per View on April 2, and will be available on DVD at Walmart on May 2.

The story follows a thirteen-year-old girl, tasked with the responsibility of caring for her disabled father, who is transported by a magical black stallion to the mystical world of Albion, where she discovers that she is the key to saving an entire race of people. It stars Oscar-nominee John Cleese (Monty Python), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon A Time), and Debra Messing (Will and Grace). “The film was a blast to direct,” said Landon. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of actors. Everyone really nailed their characters, and [the cast] and I became very close during the whole shooting process.” The film earned a 93% audience approval rating when it was previewed at the Bentonville Film Festival, and received both the IFP Director’s Lab Selection award and Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the Equus Film Festival in New York.

In her free time, Castille enjoys hot power yoga, horseback riding, and reading. She is also a very strong supporter of women in film, gender equality, inclusion of girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, and de-stigmatizing mental illness. This is what she had to say on the subject:

“Gender equality is something that needs to happen, and that I’m constantly shocked to see is not even close to our present conditions. As far as STEM fields, I think it’s important to empower girls through school and teach them that their contributions in those fields can be great. I personally really struggle with understanding detailed science and math, but I’m obsessed with learning about them in the general sense. I love learning about neurology, epigenetics, and cognitive and behavioral psychology— how the brain works, why we do what we do, etc. Perhaps my brain really doesn’t grasp on to the intricacies of it, but it could also be that if I had been encouraged to study those subjects as a younger person, I might have been able to train my brain to function in those fields. Too often, young girls are told that they are meant to be studying subjects in the humanities, that we’re the ‘emotional’ gender, and so we turn the logical, mathematical sides of our brains off. Do we really lack those talents, or are they muscles that we weren’t encouraged to strengthen and have atrophied without use? Geena Davis’s Institute is doing great work and putting forth the idea that young people need to see themselves reflected on screen, so we, as creatives, need to show women doing these things to inspire the younger generation to pursue them.

“All of that being said, de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting mental wellness is one of my greatest passions in life. There’s a long history of mental illness in my family, particularly in the women, up the maternal line for several generations. I was raised to understand that and so it didn’t even occur to me that discussing one’s struggles in that area was taboo until fairly recently. It dawned on me that many people turned to suicide not only because they were struggling with mental illness, but because they felt too ashamed of their condition to speak up and get help. That’s unacceptable. No one would be ashamed to say they had asthma so they needed to take a break from exercise. Society doesn’t judge those who get cancer. Why do we not regard mental illness in the same manner? It’s really nonsensical to me. And furthermore, positive psychology should be taught alongside any other subject. We should promote positive thinking instead of perpetuating the culture of fear and anger that the media seems intent on spreading.”

You can learn more about Geena Davis’s Institute here: https://seejane.org/
Also, check out the trailer for Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, like the Facebook page, and go follow Castille on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on her upcoming projects!
By Anna Tallarico

Chit Chatting with Actress Grace Van Dien

 

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of interviewing the talented young actress Grace Van Dien. The first time that I really noticed Grace was in the movie Sleeping Beauty. When I heard that she was going to be on the Netflix show Greenhouse Academy, I couldn’t wait. Read on to learn more about her.

 

R: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got into acting.

G: Hey! My name is Grace. I first got into acting when my dad cast me in one of his features three years ago. We filmed Sleeping Beauty in Bulgaria, and that experience gripped my focus onto acting as a career. Since then, I have worked on multiple indie films, a pilot directed by Lena Dunham, and a Netflix original TV series.

 

R: Can you tell us about your new TV show Greenhouse Academy? Do you know the release date and where we can find it?

G: Greenhouse Academy follows the story of a group of teenagers that have the potential to become great leaders, but, of course, are faced with your average drama from relationships and school challenges. I’m not allowed to say much about the project, but it comes out in early 2017!

 

R: What was the audition process like for this show?

G: The audition process took a week. I met with the casting directors twice before meeting the writer, director, and producers of the show. After that, I met with different actors that ended up booking the show with me and we all got to fly to Israel together and spend months getting to know each other. I’m now best friends with one of the girls and dating one of the guys from the show!

 

R: I read that you are in the movie Riding Faith. Can you tell us more about it and about your character Grace?

G: Riding Faith is a Christian movie I filmed in February 2016. My character was originally named something else but was changed to Grace when I was cast. This was my second time working alongside an animal for the majority of a film, but the first time working with a horse. It’s important to connect to the animals you work with to help them feel more comfortable and natural with you when the cameras are rolling. To create that bond, I would arrive to set early or hang out with the horse in between takes. She had so much spunk!


R: Do you have any other projects that you are working on?

G: Another project that I filmed this year will be released on Lifetime in early 2017, under the working title The Bad Twin. I play both twins, Olivia and Quinn. This project was so much fun because I had to create two different people to become and hop back and forth between them. One is good, and the other not-so-much, but it’s up to the audience to find out which is which.

 

R: Who are five people you would love to work with and why?

G: Five people! Wow, that’s a lot. One person I would love to work with is Robert Redford. He’s an icon and so brilliant in his role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I would love to work with my dad again. We’ve been father/daughter for three projects now and he’s my favorite person to work with. Each time is a treat. I also want to work on a project with my boyfriend. We met on the Netflix show in Israel, but our characters rarely meet so I’d love to do a project where I get to actually work alongside him a lot. He’s a very good actor. A director I would love to work with would be Tim Burton. My dad got my dream and worked with him years ago on Sleepy Hollow. He’s definitely one of my favorite directors because his style is so different and twisted. The last person would have to be Sigourney Weaver. She is the ultimate inspiration! Just the thought of working with her gives me the chills.

 

R: I read that you are writing or have written a novel. Is that true? If so, will you tell us a little bit about it?

G: I do write! I love to write poetry, short stories, and novels, usually dystopian. Recently, I’ve been getting into screenplays and it’s so much fun because I start thinking of how it would look as a movie. If I ever lose inspiration, I write or sketch in my journal.

 

R: Who has been your biggest influence?

G: My biggest influence has been my dad. He has a strong work ethic and is able to stay calm and collected through every situation. And he’s my biggest fan, which is a bonus!


R: What are your future goals?

G: I want to write and direct a screenplay. I think it would be amazing to create a different world and bring it to life to share with everyone.

 

R: What do you like to do in your spare time?

G: In my spare time, I love to read dystopian novels. I also love to paint the universe – I have an obsession with space. I go on adventures with my friends, like forest exploring, improv shows, skiing, etc.

 

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

G: I have the weirdest friends so we ask each other all the time, “would you rather do this or this?” It would be hard to pick the weirdest one. But usually the stranger the question, the harder the laughs are!

 

R: It is not easy being a teenager. What advice would you give?

G: I just got out of being a teenager and have three younger siblings that are teenagers, so the advice I would give them is to try and keep a positive mind. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in negative thoughts and to be hard on yourself, but if you really focus on yourself and learn how to love parts of yourself, you’ll be so much happier. Remember that everyone is figuring out who they are, no matter how old they are, and the only person’s judgment that matters is your own. So judge yourself nicely.

 

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

G: I’m a huge cat person. A lot of my friends call me Kitty. I could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and a lot of the time I do just that). I love Western and sci-fi movies, but I also have a soft spot for romance. My favorite music is classic rock. I love Billy Joel, Queen, and Aerosmith. And finally, I love to play tennis.

 

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website?

G: Yes!

Instagram: @gracevandien

Twitter: @GraceVanDien

Facebook: Grace Van Dien

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

G: Thank you for your support! You’re all so lovely.

 

R: Grace, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

G: Thank you!

 

Written by: Jill Sheets

Photo credits: Dan Brookman, Alivia Latimer, Will G. Macneil

Believe

By Miranda Andersen

 

miranda-andersenBelieve – to have faith, confidence or trust. If you have an idea or you want people to make changes where the environment is concerned, you have to believe. You have to believe that you alone can make a difference before you even try to encourage others to make changes. You have to believe in what you’re doing; that the changes you’re trying to make are valuable ones. If you can have that kind of passion not only will YOU make a difference but you’ll help others to make a difference too.

 

I’ve learned that people often want to help and either they don’t know how to help or they think they can only help if they do something really big and important. They don’t realize that small things add up to big things and everyone has a role to play no matter how small. I know this because it’s the way I started – thinking there wasn’t anyway for me to help, especially because of my age. What I’ve also learned is that adults listen to messages and warnings from kids much better than adults listen to other adults. It seems to have more meaning and more impact when you’re a kid and doors really open for us.

 

One of my biggest mentors is also one of the biggest volunteers I know. There are so many things that she is involved in and sometimes, she’s the only one trying to make change happen. I’ve seen her around the village where I live, pulling invasive weeds out of ditches at the side of the road and those weeds are endless. It’s backbreaking work and comes with little reward. When I ask her why she does it – she tells me “if not me, then who”. She believes in what she’s doing and the strength of those beliefs are enough to keep her motivated and I know that she inspires others not just by those beliefs but by the actions that result.

 

I’ve been making movies since I was nine years old. There have been times over the years when friends or family have said “why don’t you make a movie about such and such”. Usually the topic they’ve suggested is a good one but lots of times I say in my head “I couldn’t do a movie about that subject because I don’t believe in it strongly enough to make a film about it”. When it comes to the environment there are lots of great causes to wrap your head around and to put your efforts into. But for me, if I’m going to research it, and work on it and convince others to do the same, I have to completely believe that the subject is worth making a change towards. And for lots of environmental issues the changes you have to make may take place over many years. How can we invest that kind of time unless we really believe in the cause.

 

Too many times people have great ideas and great intentions but they don’t believe. They don’t believe that they alone can effect changes because they are just one person or the thing they are trying to change is just too big. Imagine if all the amazing environmental activists over the years felt that way – we’d be in even worse trouble environmentally because no one would ever speak up and no one would try to make change. Change is a progression. It starts small and gathers speed and gathers support along the way. You have to believe in yourself and your cause before anyone else will believe in it too. It’s been said that progress is impossible without change and I think that change is not possible without someone who first believes.  Every mentor, every hero and every volunteer I’ve admired over the years stand for something they believe in. Everyone should stand for something; what we stand for is up to each one of us.

 

Miranda Andersen, age 14 of  British Columbia, Canada, has been named a national winner of the 2013 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.  Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates twenty-five inspiring, public-spirited young people from all across America who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. The top ten to fifteen winners each receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education.  For more information please visit www.barronprize.org

What Being a Producer Is All About

Written by:  Jill Sheets

 

Lynn_Hendee,_ProducerRecently I had the honor of interviewing producer Lynn Hendee.  Continue to read on and learn more about what a producer really does, what classes should you take if you are interested in becoming a producer and what the best thing is about being a producer.

R:  Tell us about being a producer.

L:  It is a very stimulating and rewarding career.  You will never be bored.  It is always possible to produce a hit and reap substantial financial rewards.  However, that is the exception, and it is quite difficult to earn a living as a producer because the product you are “selling” does not really meet objective standards.  Your success depends on whether the audience likes your film and, before that, if you can convince someone to finance your film.

R:  Please explain for those who are not 100% sure what type of things a producer does.

 

L: Other than the creator or writer, the producer is usually the first and last person involved in the film.  Sometimes the producer is involved even before the writer as when a producer comes up with an idea for a film and then goes about hiring a writer to develop the idea.  The producer’s most important job, in my opinion, is developing the screenplay.  The screenplay is the foundation of the film.  Very few films succeed if the script does not work.  The producer must find the money to make the film and then hires all of the key personnel.  The director and financier have input on these decisions as well.  The producer is responsible for the budget of the film and oversees all aspects of the production.  Once the film is completed, the producer consults with the distributor of the film about advertising and publicity strategy.

R:  Are there any classes in High school someone should take if they want to become one?

 

L: All English and Literature classes, history, math, business, accounting.  All classes are helpful to a producer because story ideas can come from anywhere.  The more you know about science, the more you might be intrigued by a story about outer space.  If you know about history, you will be better able to assess a script about the Civil War, etc.  Math is important because a producer must understand how to handle the budget of a film and what the appropriate amounts are to pay for various services.

R:  What kind of college education do you need to get to become a producer?   What degree would be the most helpful for it?

 

L:  I think the most helpful degree is Literature because the basic story of a film is what usually makes it work, but there are many degrees that can contribute to a successful producing career.   A solid education is all that is required.  And then much persistence and passion for what you are doing.

R: Are there a certain “type” of person that would work best as a producer?  For example:  outgoing, great at math etc.

 

L:  There is room for all kinds of people in producing.  Each “type” of person, if there is such a thing, has different assets, i.e. an outgoing person might be better at selling whereas a more introspective person may know more about story.  Being good at math will help you work on the budget and finance plan, and being organized will help you steer the production.  Many producers work in pairs, where one producer is stronger at one aspect of the project, but together they can cover more bases.

R:  What are some of the challenges of being a producer?

 

L:  It can be a very stressful career because so many people are depending on you.  Most people in the film business give 100% to their jobs, work long hours and care very much about the film they are working on.  It is up to the producer to protect the integrity of the work and to make sure they receive their paychecks!

 

It is also challenging to put together all of the necessary elements that go into making a film.  There are many producers and most of the financiers are interested in the same pool of actors and directors.

R:  What are some of the best things about being a producer?

 

L:  It is still the magic.  The magic of seeing words on a page turn into gigantic images that hopefully move and entertain an audience in their local theatre.

R:  What advice would you give a teenager who wanted to become a producer?

 

L: Read as much as you can!  The news, stories, scripts.

R:  Speaking of advice.  What is the best advice you have gotten as a producer?

 

L:  Stay calm and carry on… It wasn’t exactly those words at the time, but that was the meaning.

R:  Anything else you would like to add?

 

L  Keep going to the movies!

R:  Lynn, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

9 Worst Cinematic Portrayals of College Life

TheBestDegrees.org shared with us a very fun article they recently posted...

9 Worst Cinematic Portrayals of College Life

 

Let’s start here: you were cooler than you think in college. Although movies often rest on the assumption that their viewers will suspend disbelief for a few hours and fall into their world, some films fare better at this than others. This is not to argue that movies should all be hyper-realistic — they’re pieces of art, and there’s real life for that. But there’s something to be said for the hyper-ridiculous setting. Enter: the universities portrayed in the movies. And because no one wants to be bored with a list of bad flicks, we’ve found instead the most ridiculous. While college life may be a time of wild partying, barely making it, and coming of age, these nine movies feature the most unrealistic (“the worst!”) cinematic portrayals of the subject. Sit back, relax, and thank your lucky stars that you didn’t get your degree in one of these nine worlds.

  1. The Rules of Attraction

    The dark comedy Rules of Attraction is one of those movies that’s so stylized and oozing of manufactured cool, it’s almost too annoying to exist. But if you’re into popping Xanax, it could be kind of good — as was the Bret Easton Ellis novel on which it’s based. Although everyone loves a good dark comedy (and the book was certainly that), the apathetic, entitled, depressed, addicted, and oversexed characters in the film make college life seem like more of a high-school chore. Love triangle drama plus pseudo-poignant paragraphs of maudlin social analysis plus crazy parties with rapes and orgies equals college life to the Rules of Attraction crew. Not what we’d bet most folks remember from the glory years of their education.

  2. Accepted

    This funny movie has a lot of fans, and was an early vehicle for some of today’s top young stars, but there’s nothing about Accepted that does college on the real. The South Harmon Institute of Technology is a fake college created by Justin Long to appease his movie parents after being rejected from everywhere he applied. And on the first day of class, he learns that there’s a host of other people who were also accepted. A student-led fake college ensues. The film gets self-awareness points for the the school being billed from the outset as a farce, but that doesn’t make an abandoned building that former high-schoolers inhabit and play around in all day any more of a realistic university setting.

  3. How High

    When Silas and Jamal (Method Man and Red Man, interchangeably) invade the ivied walls of Harvard, this stoner film favorite gives us three ridiculous things: (1) Harvard administrators getting high off of Benjamin Franklin’s semi-fossilized bong, (2) digging up and smoking the mortal remains of a “smart dead guy” for help on exams, and (3) Saved by the Bell‘s Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) in an academic capacity that’s not Bayside High. None of these things are OK. None of them. This is not real college.

  4. Dead Man on Campus

    Again with the Saved by the Bell characters! Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is not supposed to be in a college movie! And neither is the guy that played Skitch Patterson from That Thing You Do!(Tom Everett Scott). Although it’s easy to love the actors, there’s no help for them here. The MTV Films movie features a tacky premise, an unfortunate script, and it’s also got one of the worst trailers of all time.Pro tip: If you want to see a bad movie about college students getting other college students to kill themselves for good grades, choose instead: The Curve. It’s a straight-to-video dramatic version of a similar plotline, it stars Matthew Lillard (of Hackers fame), and it came out the same year as Dead Man (1998). But you’ll have to haunt a real movie store for this B-movie VHS; the movie’s currently out of print.

  5. The Skulls

    The Skulls could take up three spots on this list, as the film spawned two(!) straight-to-DVD sequels. But we’ll spare you that to tell you this: if you’ve ever been in a secret society in college, you know that it’s less about political intrigue and more about making you binge drink ten times and wear some type of bedsheet as clothing before its members will let you in their club. Also highly dubious that any college secret society, no matter how powerful, runs mental hospitals and conspires with local police departments. And nobody wants to see Craig T. Nelson with a pencil thin mustache showing up to their secret meetings. Nobody wants to see that.

  6. Old School

    It’s not that it’s a bad movie, it’s that Snoop Dogg never showed up to any of our college parties, and we’re super jealous. Old School is a classic, but it’s hard to fathom any real-world scenario where thirty-something corporate burnouts start a fake frat at a legit school and would succeed with their feat in any way. One of the members is so old that he dies. Points awarded for multiple gut laughs, and for PCU alum Jeremy Piven (“Oh, yeah! Che-hee-heeeese!”), but if you’re looking for reality, you won’t find it here.

  7. Sex Kittens Go To College

    You never saw a student body like this!Ah, geez. This 1960 black-and-white uses some type of cardboard robot to select scantily-clad (for 1960) showgirl and secret super-genius Mamie Van Doren to become the head of “Science” at Collins College. Conway Twitty performs in the film, and looks impressively bored while doing it. There’s supposed to be thrills (not to mention chills), but a bevy of sexy stars can’t even save this picture.Authenticity Bonus: Think-o (that’s the robot) was actually the robot Elektro, built by Westinghouse in 1937.

  8. Back to School

    Did your super-rich, super-funny dad go to college to hang out with you? Did both Kurt Vonnegut and Danny Elfman-fronted Oingo Boingo make a cameo appearance at your university? Didn’t think so. The 1986 laugh riot starring Rodney Dangerfield so hinges on the ridiculous, there’s not a lick of these college days that mirrors real experience at all. It’s a fan favorite and (arguably) an ’80s comedy classic, but it’s definitely one of the worst portrayals of academic accuracy that’s out there.

  9. Urban Legend

    This one’s just beyond the pale. Not only a wildly inaccurate portrayal of college life, the movie franchise itself is just bad. While there are some true horror tales of pool party antics and people dying without others noticing, how drunken and debaucherous do your college parties have to be for people not to notice multiple homicides? How do you get killed by Pop Rocks and Drain-O without anyone noticing? And how do you get strangled to death at your college radio station with no one the wiser? (OK, that one was clearly Tara Reid’s fault.) We expect this kind of crap from Scream, because it’s about high schoolers (that look like they’re 30), and because it’s supposed to be a parody. The Urban Legend films don’t seem to “get” how hilariously bad they truly are. It’s the inherent value in the self-aware, and it’s a lesson you can learn without cracking a book.