ED- The Eerie Digest is proud to introduce actress Sandy Lisiewski to all our readers. Sandy, we recently had the pleasure of meeting you at a party for Producer Carlos Roman on the East Coast. One of your first performances was in the TV movie, ‘Geezers’, in 1999. Please tell us about this production and your greatest influence to take up acting as a career.
SL- First of all, let me say how thrilled I am to have this opportunity to be interviewed for your magazine. In response to your question about my taking up an acting career and thinking back, I became very interested in acting in high school and was a member of the Drama Club and was cast in several plays during those years. Then I guess you could say “life took over” and I went on to complete a successful business career. So, actually I began my acting career in 1995 purely by a “fluke” when I heard an ad on television for the casting of movie extras for the Hollywood film “First Kid”. I worked as an extra for five days and during that time met many people and did a lot of networking. I guess you could say that during that experience I caught the “acting bug” and began training in various aspects of the business. When I felt I was ready, I had my headshots taken and began to audition and build my resume. I met Carlos Roman around 1998 and began a long association with Roman Pictures when I auditioned for the role of Mildred, the frisky blind date to Alfred, one of the “Geezers”. Working with Carlos on this production as well as meeting the other actors was a lot of fun and I knew I wanted to continue to work with Roman Pictures. The role of Mildred helped me gain some comedic experience as I worked to expand my talents in those beginning years.
SL- The film “Far from India” was a wonderful learning experience for me. I loved the screenplay when I read it and was thrilled to be cast in the role of Chloe’s mother. The role definitely strengthened my confidence as I portrayed a protective mother of an only child who moves from her parents home in the country to the city and becomes involved with several Indian men. My husband is a very prejudiced man and as the story unfolds I become torn between my love for my daughter and dealing with his angry feelings. This story remains one of my favorites to this day.
SL- ‘The Vulture’s Eye” was an early project of mine as my passion for independent film began to grow. Although this film was a horror film based on the Dracula movie and horror films are not necessarily my favorite, I decided to give it a try. My role was that of Hedwig, the maid, and I had the opportunity to work with most of the cast in a major scene and enjoyed the experience very much. “The Inn” was another film from the director/writer of “Far from India” and I welcomed the opportunity to work with him once again. This film was a Hitchcock-inspired thriller where a TV reporter uncovers a dark secret in a small town where hundreds of people vanish without a trace. My character, Sandy Barnes, is a town gossip and sticks her nose into the situation, much to her chagrin. She was an interesting character to portray and had several scenes, including a chilling scene with the villains in which she is killed. This was a challenging scene for me and once again a new experience.
ED- You’re career picked up the pace, and you appeared in a number of films including ‘Sneak Out! Late Night Tomfoolery for the Early Adolescent’, ‘Limits to Ambition’, ‘Gray Matters’, and ‘Full Circle’. Tell us about your roles in these projects and contributions towards these films.
SL- The film “Sneak Out” Late Night Tomfoolery for the Early Adolescent” pays homage to sleepovers of yesteryear and follows the adventures of Jesse and his pals over the course of a Friday night, tearing it up through the suburbs of 1988. My role in this film is Mrs. McGillis, the mom of one of the boys, Doug. In this film, I am featured in one great scene, with my husband and two of the young boys. Playing a very naïve mom, the boys definitely feel they are “pulling the wool” over the eyes of their parents. Mrs. McGillis, wearing her old style apron, was a fun character to portray and I enjoyed the film with the old-style theme. The film “Limits to Ambition” concerns a man’s arrival from his native Germany in 1990 as he embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery. I was cast in this film as Sherman’s mother, a great character role, in one hilarious scene which again allowed me to use my comedic side. I really enjoyed it a lot. “Gray Matters” involves the life of leading forensic theorist and a rebellious teenager as they discover friendship, inspiration and a dark secret lurking within the rehab center that brought them together. I was cast as Emma Oswald, room-mate to the lead character. Emma was a resident of the rehab center, a fun character, very likeable and added humor to the scenes. The role was a learning experience for me as my character had some challenges with her speech and finding the right words. I had to work hard to portray this in a believable way. This film was submitted and accepted into several film festivals. “Full Circle” was an action/thriller concerning a DEA Agent and the drama that unfolds following his retirement. I was cast as an FBI Captain which I thoroughly enjoyed. Developing the character was a learning experience as the FBI Captain was also a close personal friend to the DEA Agent which added a new intensity to the scenes as she works to protect her friend.
ED- Your next projects were ‘Exodus 20:13’ , ‘Copley- An American Fairytale’, and ‘Signals’ where you first portrayed a law enforcement official. Please tell us all about these films and the roles in them.
SL- The subject matter of the film “Exodus 20:13” concerned the effort to counteract massive overpopulation so the government passes a law stating every citizen could apply to kill a person once a year on a predetermined day. My role was the mother to one of the main characters and although my character was discussed in various scenes and became one of the murder victims, it turns out that you really only heard my voice and didn’t see me. Oh well, this happens, but I was very happy to be a part of the cast and work with the director and other cast members in this scene. “Copley, An American Fairytale” is a supernatural mystery-thriller, a ghost story with a plot that twists and turns its way through spirits and malevolent happenings. This film was a fabulous experience for me. I auditioned for a supporting role and was thrilled when they asked me to do some improv and told me they were considering me for one of the lead characters. The deciding factor was if I could look “older”. Taking that as a challenge, I came home and got busy with doing just that. When I sent them the photo – they welcomed me to the cast. Talk about increasing confidence!!! I played Mrs. Vassel, a ghost who, along with her ghost husband, still inhabit their former home, along with the young couple and their baby girl who just moved in. It was great fun and again another excellent opportunity to grow. “Signals” Sci-Fi pilot brought me back to working with Carlos Roman and Roman Pictures. This film concerns a 1950’s American soldier who survived decades of abuse and chemical experiments at the hands of the U. S. and Russian governments. I was thrilled to be cast in a wonderful role as FBI Special Agent Claire Pike. This role allowed me the opportunity to portray a strong, authoritative woman in several exciting scenes. I am currently privileged to continue this role in the sequel, Signals 2. This exciting plot involves the Secret Service, FBI and the President. It is high drama and action-packed. I have already filmed one scene for Signals 2 and look forward to working on this project in the coming months Signals won the Best Feature Action 2008 at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, and an Award of Merit and Best Stunt award at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood in 2010.
SL- “Take Away Spirit” is a modern Chinese horror story. The movie embodies the best elements of classic American horror films and Chinese ghost stories. I was cast as Mrs. Hampton, mother of two children, who becomes entangled in the evil mystery. This film really stretched my abilities as it called for a degree of “Stage Combat”. It was the first time I had to learn choreography for stage combat. It was definitely a big learning curve for me. I’m glad to have had the chance to broaden my abilities. It was certainly a challenge, but I’m not sure I want to tackle something like that again! This film is in post-production. “Modern Love is Automatic” is a film about an apathetic nurse who moonlights as a dominatrix, her aspiring model room-mate and the sad, strange world they live in. I was cast as Cheryl, a snooty lady at a high-class boutique. My role was a lot of fun as the scene allows me to interact with the aspiring model and as the snooty boutique owner I deflate her ego and dreams in quick order and send her on her way. “Modern Love is Automatic” premiered at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, Bradford International Film Festival, Bradford, England and had a one-week run in Brooklyn’s New York ReRun theater in Aug 2010.
SL- “Collide” was another action/thriller involving the dark world of drugs. My role was as a FBI Captain and I was featured in one scene where I interacted with two other agents who worked for me. Our scene was outside of a nightclub where we were questioning a bartender about criminal activity.
ED- When will this production be available in the cinema and who is the film company that produced it?
SL- MJD Productions produced “Collide” and the film just premiered in Washington, DC on Dec 19, 2010. I have no further information on upcoming plans for the film.
ED- Sandy, we want to thank you for your time with us for this interview. We want to wish you much luck in all your future projects and hope that you will join us again soon.
SL I was very happy to meet you when you were in Washington, DC in December and again I thank you so much for the opportunity to be featured in your magazine..