1. Hello, you were outstanding in The House on Pine Street, can you guide us through your early life and eventual breakthrough in Hollywood?
Thank you so much, Adnan. It's great to be doing this interview for you. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, in a suburb about twenty minutes south of San Francisco. Growing up, I played a ton of soccer and even wanted to be a professional soccer player. But I always loved stories. I loved to read, I loved movies, and when I started doing drama in school I realized that acting meant more to me than playing soccer, or anything else and I began to pursue it. I studied Theatre at the University of Southern California's School of Dramatic Arts. That brought me to LA, and I absolutely love it here.
2. In your journey so far what has been the most difficult time for you regarding your career in Hollywood? What, in your opinion, is/will be your biggest break in Hollywood?
After USC, I went to grad school. I studied Classical Acting at LAMDA in London. I think the most difficult time was about a year after I moved back to LA after London. I was done with school, done with the honeymoon phase, I had been working too hard without taking care of myself. In 2013, I learned that I needed to balance work, and life, and rest. I'm still figuring out what that is for me. My first network TV credit meant a lot to me - I had a guest star on an episode of "Criminal Minds." The episode is from season 10 and is called "Breath Play." Shooting it was a fantastic experience.
3. Does a casting couch exist in Hollywood?
3. Does a casting couch exist in Hollywood?
The industry has a dark side. But if you choose to ignore that part of it, it is easy to find a wonderful community, and to establish yourself by being a committed artist and good person.
4. Which up coming projects excite you, please give us an elaborate detail of each one you want to discuss?
On Monday May 2nd I will be appearing in an episode of ABC's "Castle," starring Nathan Fillion. I can't wait to share that episode with my friends and family. The episode, season 8, episode 20, is called "Much Ado About Murder." I love Shakespeare and still do a lot of theatre here in LA. It's so funny that I get to be in this episode which totally sends up theatre people. It was a blast to shoot with Nathan, Jon Huertas, and Seamus Dever, who are all theatre people as well.
I would encourage everyone to check out the memoir "Stilettos and Steel" by Jeri Estes. It's a truly amazing account of her time as a teenager living in the Tenderloin District in San Francisco in the 1960s. I'm currently working with Jeri to try to turn her memoir into something more. She is a very special person; every time I'm with her, I learn something new about life, trust. She's hilarious, strong, and caring. I'm excited to be working with her now! You can find a short trailer we made based on her book on YouTube: 'Stilettos and Steel - Based on a True Story.'
5. On what do you spend the most: clothes, accessories, perfumes, underwear or anything else?
I spend more money on groceries than on anything else. I love to cook and have friends over for dinner. That's my idea of a great night.
6. Where do you think you will be after 25 years?
In 25 years... wow. In 25 years, I can say that I'll be surrounded by people I love, doing something I love. I can't say exactly what I'll be doing, with whom, but those things are important to me even now. My parents, my brother, and my family will of course always be a huge part of my life, no matter what else happens.
7.Describe yourself in three words?
Curious. Open-minded. Goofy.
8. Who, in your opinion, are the most overrated actor and actress in the industry?
I think every actor and actress in the industry has worked hard to be where they are. Luck will only get you so far, so many times. The people we recognize have all put in time, and dedication. As an actress, part of my ethic is to support my community and appreciate what each member offers
9. What is your dream role/project?
My dream role would be a character on a long-running television series. I think it would be incredible to grow with a character over several years. To live in a dynamic, thought-provoking story as it evolves... what could be more thrilling? The idea of developing the partnerships that must form on a series is also really exciting to me. I love being on passionate teams, part of ensembles. When a group is collaborating on a series, I'd imagine it quickly becomes a type of family.
10. What do you enjoy more, film or television?
I love both film and television. They're so different it's hard to compare them. I love the scrappy, spur-of-the-moment, creativity and collaboration of independent film. I also love the scope and the ability of a series to dive more deeply into a story. I hope to always have plenty of both in my life and luckily I'm working in a time where that is increasingly possible.
11. Do you see yourself as more of a hot body or is there a serious actor hidden somewhere?
I love the craft of acting. I enjoy the work and research that I get to do for roles. I'm much more interested in playing and exploring than in anything else.
Sure, why not! As women it's important for us to treasure ourselves. To fall in love with exactly who and what we are, and to share that when we want to. I'm thankful to be living in the time that I am - when a lot of people are working hard to empower women, when traditional ideas of what beauty is are changing. Hollywood is starting to seek out female directors and tell women's stories like never before. Of course, women are still vastly underrepresented and treated unequally here... but I believe this increased awareness will bring changes. I'm optimistic about the future, and I'll flaunt what I can!
13. What are your views about sex in cinema, how far would you go to make a role convincing in this regard? Is there a line that you wouldn't cross or would you be willing to give the audience the real feel?
Sex scenes are often gratuitous. One of the sexiest scenes in a movie that I can think of is in "The Age of Innocence," when Daniel Day-Lewis's character just unbuttons Michelle Pheiffer's glove and touches her wrist... But sex scenes are more and more common, especially in television. It's a part of the job. I've done plenty already. They are never as romantic on set as they look on screen.
14. What's the best compliment you have ever received?
I'm in a play right now in LA called "A Gulag Mouse" by Arthur M. Jolly at the Sacred Fools Theatre Company. The play is set just after WW2 in a Siberian gulag, and follows five women, cell mates, who are trying to survive. The play is brutal and beautiful. For one performance, we donated half of all our sales to an organization here in Los Angeles called A New Way of Life Reentry Program, which provides services to formerly incarcerated women. The greatest compliment was a women who had gone through the program after her release saying that we nailed the experience of being in prison, the experience of surviving, coping... We could've closed the show right then and there. Touching her meant the world to us as a production. That's why I act.
15. What's the meanest thing or harshest criticism you have ever heard about yourself?
The harshest criticism... To tell you the truth, I can't think of a specific one. I know I've gotten plenty! I wouldn't call this harsh, I would call this constructive, but I had a brilliant teacher at USC who demanded the women speak like Women, loudly, clearly, with confidence. I'm so glad I got to study with her and I still think about her when I can feel my voice shrinking away or becoming soft and unsure of itself.
16. Who would you want to kiss on screen if you could choose anyone?
Kit Harrington from "Game of Thrones." I absolutely LOVE "Game of Thrones" and I love his work. And, come on, he's so honorable and beautiful and good! I believe in Jon Snow :)
Actors practice empathy constantly. We cannot judge our characters, even if we disagree with their worldview. We must find a way to make sense of opinions that conflict with our own. I wish that the rest of the world would practice that much empathy. We are all the same. Coincidence is all that separates me from you, and therefore I can easily understand you if I just try.
18. On "The House on Pine Street"
There's only one drop of blood in the entire film! The lack of gore and special effects meant we had more space for characters, relationships, and story. Jennifer, my character, is very complex; playing her was an amazing challenge and made me a better actress. That said, it might be fun to do something really bloody one day.
19. A few words about thefilmguide.net
I'm so pleased with the response "The House on Pine Street" has been getting all around the world. I am so proud of the film. I think everyone involved did incredible work. We also had the time of our lives shooting it. Many of the team have become very dear friends of mine. Getting to share the film with so many people just fills me with happiness.
I'm glad people liked the discussion of energy in the film! I found all of that really interesting too. I think what we put out into the world is powerful... it's impossible to know for sure how powerful... which is exactly what makes "The House on Pine Street" so great. In our movie, "the monster" is that unknowable. Sometimes in horror movies there's a scene halfway through in which everything is explained, and the rest of the movie all the characters do is complete some kind of checklist to get rid of the ghost or whatever. When you're dealing with something as mysterious as energy, everything stays a lot more ambiguous, and therefore, a lot more scary.
19. A few words about thefilmguide.net
Thank you so much for the interview Adnan and thank you sincityreviews.blogspot.com! I love the way sincity welcomes all reviewers and covers films from all over the world! I'm all about the global community.