ED- The Eerie Digest is very excited to present actress Alicia Lara to our readers. Alicia, you have worn many hats in your career so far. What encouraged you to make your career in the film industry?
AL- I am, at the heart of things, a movie fan. To be on screen creating characters that touch people—one way or the other—is my biggest wish. Love, hate or feel sorry for my character—I just want them to touch you somehow. Great actors in great roles have marked moments throughout my life and I aspire to their heights. Robert DeNiro in “Awakenings” (which led me to watch “Raging Bull”), Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth”, Julie Walters in “Educating Rita”, Peter Sellers in “Being There” and Benicio del Toro in “The Usual Suspects” and later, “Traffic.” Toni Collette. Gene Wilder–you know, he’s great. In his films he is in these ridiculous situations and he always stays very grounded—that’s what makes it funnier. I tend to be a very real actor so I take that route—no matter what is happening around me, even when I’m in a farce onstage, I keep it real. That’s just my tendency. I have a long way to travel yet in my career but I can only hope I make some kind of impact, in the end, on someone’s life the way these actors have inspired mine.
AL- When I was younger I tended to be quiet and reserved but in my “inner life” I was a singer—a pop singer like Madonna. Haha! I spent a lot of time dreaming up whole different lives for myself. Later, that ability to create a fantasy life became useful—for creating characters. Instead of singing I chose to pursue acting because I really like the idea of stepping in and out of different lives. All the characters have different stories and I love that. And a lot of times creating the backstory is up to the actor—to give the character life. You have a script but it rarely tells you everything that led to making this character the way they are at this moment. That’s up to actor—it’s fun to fill in those blanks.
ED- You also produced a film called ‘The Track’. What was the storyline for this project and what made you decide to do it?
AL- The story is about a woman who comes from a family with tendencies towards mental illness—her aunt is schizophrenic and she worries about her mother in that capacity as well. The woman, Sabrina, wonders if she too is mentally ill and the film follows her and certain events that cause the audience to question her state of mind.
“The Track” is based on a short story that I wrote very quickly one day. I decided to make it into a film to experience my own version of film school.
ED- We understand that you also wrote the story for this movie and directed it as well. This was a major undertaking for you. Can you tell us about this experience?
AL- I wanted to see how much goes into making a film and how close I could come to getting the version of the story that was in my head onto the screen. I chose to aim for a certain audience reaction at the end—when the last scene was done I wanted the audience to stop and say “well, is she crazy or not?” and I wanted different people to have different opinions of what was really going on with Sabrina. That is exactly what I got, so I consider my first “exercise in filmmaking” to be successful. Plus it got seen on the festival circuit and got onto IMDb. That being said, during pre and post-production and during filming I wanted to scream on several occasions. Loudly and shrilly. Considering that actors might have a reputation for being flaky, especially when working for low or no budget productions, these actors were actually all great—they showed up on time and stayed as long as needed. I had a different experience with other crew members and learned some very important lessons… Always have a monitor to watch playbacks of scenes. Also, choose crew members carefully—go ahead and be picky and find people you look forward to working with and who respect you. Even if you have no budget. That will make the whole experience more enjoyable.
AL- She’s intelligent and is willing to look at a situation (the possibility that she is or will turn out to be mentally ill) even though it’s uncomfortable and it might be easier to just pretend the problem doesn’t exist or doesn’t apply to her. She is questioning her sanity—that’s not easy and not something most people need to do. Another point I tried to get across in the film is that she spends a lot of time alone. Is that due to the fact that she doesn’t want to form relationships because she’s not sure she’ll be o.k.? I relate to parts of both aspects of her I just described. It might be correct to say that most artists are willing to look at/deal with thoughts that are uncomfortable and that’s what makes them “different.”
ED- It wasn’t long afterwards that you played a role in a film called ‘Irene in Time’. Can you tell us about the film and the role that you played?
AL- It is an independent feature film that was in theaters last summer and was directed by Henry Jaglom, who has been in the industry for a long time. Orson Welles was his mentor. About 10 minutes before we were to film he came into the dressing room and told us to come up with a story, real or not, that has to do with our (or our character’s) relationship with our father and how it has affected how we deal with men. I chose to make my character a perpetually single woman who has abandonment issues, basically.
So my whole monologue was improvised. You can see that scene in the very first part of my demo reel on my website.
ED- The Eerie Digest is a big fan of the new show ‘The Resolve’ and we have just learned that you have starred in three of its episodes. Please tell us about the show and the part that you played.
AL- It is a dark, edgy show that deals with aspects of society that are unjust and one man’s (played by Russ Cootey) way of lashing out at those injustices. My character, Teri, doesn’t seem to be dark, at least not at this point. So far all the audience has seen is her having a talk with her daughter Nicole (played by Savannah Rae Linz.) She’s upset, though, so you might wonder why that is. Hmmm.
ED- How have you related to the cast of ‘The Resolve’ and can you tell us something about them and the producer Russ Cootey?
Al- I’m loving the experience! The cast get along really well—I check in regularly with quite a few of them. When we do a photo shoot or attend an event I look forward to seeing them, so that is a PLUS. Russ is, of course, the first person I met as he is the one I auditioned for! I adore him–he’s smart and creative. He and Alex Ballar created the show, they both produce it and write it, and Russ directs. I get along so well with Savannah, too, which I’m sure can only enhance our performances. Ellen, Kyle, Les, Anne, Holt, Kristina, Eileen—I think they’re all great.
ED- Alicia, you are a beautiful and talented person, and we are sure that you have gained a huge foothold on your career. We want to thank you for spending your time with us and we eagerly look forward to hearing from you again. I wish you the best of luck and know that our readers do too.
Al- Thank you so much! I enjoyed the interview—interesting questions.