SRL- I have been home schooled my whole life, even before acting. My mom was great about letting my sister and I take lots of classes to keep us active and social with other kids. One day, I took an on-camera acting class when I was about 8 years old, and after 6 weeks when the class was finished, I wanted more. I landed a lot of local things like community theatre, some industrials, student films and also did a lot of singing and dancing in shows. Then I did a competition/showcase in New York called IMTA. After 3 or 4 days of acting competitions, we looked at a bulletin board to see if anyone from the industry was interested in seeing us privately. I was lucky to see there were pages of agents and managers who were very interested in signing me immediately. I took home several awards from that showcase, and my mom and I decided to call some of those people and get representation. It was sort of a validation that there were people that thought I was a pretty good actress, so I wanted to take it to the next level and signed with a manager and agent in Los Angeles.
ED- We understand that you originally started on stage as part of the original cast of ‘The American Girl Revue’. How was that different for you as opposed to going before the camera?
SRL- Yeah, it’s true that I did a long contract on stage with “The American Girl Revue”, but that is not where I started. I have been doing stage and film since I was about 7 years old-singing, dancing, modeling, musical theatre, industrials, and a movie. When I landed the lead role of Kaya/Samantha Parkington of “The American Girl Revue“ at the American Girl Store in The Grove. We used to do auditions by driving back and forth sometimes staying in LA for overnight, a week, a month, or several months for pilot and episodic seasons. Landing the role at American Girl changed that. So my mom, sister and I got an apartment out here in LA and did that contract for almost two years until the theatre had to close due to the changing economy. But yes, musical theatre is very different than film. You do show after show and you need to keep your voice in good condition. There are lots of rehearsals involved before the show ever begins. There are also additional cast members substituting for all parts and you need to do the show as though it is always this same cast that does the show each day. In film, it is one person for each role, and you can get to expect certain things from that actor as the scene goes on. Of course, the biggest difference is musical theatre is performed in front of live audiences, and film has only a few cast and crew on set. You also do not get “takes” on stage…you have do it perfectly the first time!
SRL- It was directed by Joey Travolta, John Travolta’s brother and set in the beautiful AZ mountains. Filming days were long and extremely hot, but I loved every minute of it. It’s a camp movie with a western setting. There were outdoor games and contests in the movie that were fun to film. There’s also a dance scene where recording artist Hoku performs. Lee Majors and Morgan Fairchild were recognizable stars cast in the movie, and it was great to watch them at work. Also cast were David Henrie and Chelsea Staub who are now on Disney shows that I audition for. It’s funny to see how young we all were when we first met!
ED- It must have been exciting for you. How did performing in that production strengthen your love of acting?
SRL- As I said, it was the project where I was “bitten by the bug”. I remember driving to the set from Tucson at 4am for my call time at 7am and working until 7pm . I was upset the director released me for the day — I wanted to stay and keep filming! I loved watching everything in the process of making a film. I remember watching crew setting up cameras for different angles, on dollies; the sound crew with their boom mics, animal wranglers, hair and makeup artists…All of this would produce what’s in the theatres on the big screen…it was all so incredible. I think I knew then, this is what I wanted to do my whole life!
ED- You also worked on the 2007 film production of ‘Firehouse Dog’. What was it like and what was your contribution to this project?
SRL- I worked in ADR doing looping for the sound department. It was also another aspect of my acting career that I have done a lot of – Voiceovers. I have done voices for “Lucy” of the Peanuts gang for things, books on tape, educational videos and radio commercials too. There is a lot to learn in the art of Voiceovers. It is a real acting craft when you cannot use your face or your body in anything you want to convey. It’s strictly all in your voice. I’m glad to have had learned a great deal from all the experience I’ve had in the sound studios on various projects including “Firehouse Dog”.
ED- We understand that you are now in the series ‘The Resolve’. What part do you play and tell us something about your character and the relationship she has with the show.
SRL- Yes, I was fortunate to be cast as Nicole in the this cool new series, “The Resolve”. The show is very suspenseful with a real edge to it. I love shows like that. My character is introduced in the 3rd Episode. At this point in the series, I can’t tell you a whole lot about my role because the Writer/Director, Russ Cootey, has many surprises for his audience. You’ll just have to tune in and see what happens!
ED- You are in three episodes of ‘The Resolve’ so far. Have they let you know how long the character will last in the series?
SRL- I do know the series is scheduled to go 3 seasons, 36 episodes. I can tell you that my character becomes an essential part of the storyline as we get deeper into the series.
ED- Tell us about some of the other cast members and your relationship with them.
SRL- Well Russ Cootey, the director/writer is a great guy. He’s a talented actor with creative ideas that I get inspired by. He is really cool and sort of soft spoken, and loves this business. I love talking with him about movies, directors, story lines, etc. I know I will learn a lot from him. Alicia Lara, plays my mother in the series and she is extremely kind. She’s also very dedicated to the whole filmmaking business. We tend to always be thinking in our “character’s” minds! Les Brandt is so thoughtful and really funny too. He actually physically picked me up on the red carpet and posed for pictures which was pretty crazy! Alex Ballar, Kyle Hester, Wolfgang Weber, and Ellen Dubin are also such kind, amazing actors that I have been getting to know through meetings and events and on set.
ED- What other roles would you like to play in the future?
SRL- I am open to playing many different characters. I have been compared to Natalie Portman a lot, and I would love to have a similar body of work playing such a variety of interesting people both in film and television. Genres like westerns, action adventure, period pieces, dramas and even comedies are all directions I would love to take my career.
ED- What are your hopes and dreams for your career?
SRL- I am and always will be an actress. I’m in this for longevity. My goals for my career is to work on great projects that I believe in and it would be a dream come true to work with any of my inspirations like Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman, and Meryl Streep among many many others.
ED- Savannah, we’d like to thank you for spending this time with us. We wish you much luck with your career, and hope that you will visit with us often. I have a feeling that our readers will be hearing a lot more about you in the years to come.