TAEM- We recently attended a party on the East Coast for Producer Carlos Roman and had the great luck to meet the beautiful, and talented, actress Deirdre McCullagh. Deirdre, you have appeared in TV commercials, on stage, television, and film. Please tell all our readers about the training you received to propel you into your acting career.
DM- Hi Joseph! Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of such a great publication. I have been very fortunate in the world of acting, and it wasn’t without hard work, dedication and even some blood, lol. I started in theatre, actually musical theatre. My first play was the Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and I was seven! I feel so old now! It became sort of a family event, with both my mom and dad appearing in plays with me. I took acting classes all throughout school and even college, and was a part of me by then. It wasn’t until after college that I really started pursuing films, and discovered that it was the only job I would do where I wouldn’t complain about 18 hour days, crazy working conditions, and sometimes not even being paid for the work, it was then I realized that I should pursue it more aggressively.
TAEM- You were featured in a number of television commercials for Nike, Mohegan Sun Casino, Geico, and Sprinturf early in your career. How did this experience give you confidence in your chosen field?
DM- I have to say, I love commercials! You are able to get everything done most of the times within a day, and most of the time you are playing someone fairly similar to yourself. By doing commercials, I got to really see how much effort is put in behind the scenes for such a short time frame. Especially the Nike shoot! (One of the many times I’ve played a soccer player). They had tons of extras there and multiple sets, I felt like I was filming a million dollar movie! It made my respect for the business, and what it takes to put together a 30 second spot, go up immensely.
TAEM- In 2007 and 2008 you first appeared in a spate of films that included ‘Cyclic Door’, ‘Missy & Miranda’, and ‘Signals’. What were these productions about , and tell us about the roles that you played in them?
DM- For starters, each of those roles were completely different, which you love as an actor! Cyclic Door was really about an alternate universe that the college kids discovered when they took a certain type of pill. Missy and Miranda was so fun, partly because I got to act with one of my best friends Kristine Kelly and we filmed at Sundance festival. (I should actually give her a quick shout out because she has helped me greatly in knowing what to do and not to do in regards to acting…always good to have a friend like that). In that movie we play top models who are also cannibals. Signals was my stepping stone into playing a challenging role, a mother who has a son that has his own powers and is hunted by multiple government agencies. She has many emotions and experiences throughout the film, and is one of my favorite characters. It was a Roman Pictures production, one of many, and it opened a lot of doors to be able to play other roles.
TAEM- The following year you played roles in five more films. Tell us about ‘The Hatred’, ‘Psuedoscopic’ and ‘Browncoats: Redemption’. You certainly do not let moss grow under your feet. Please give us some insight into these projects and tell us how you coped in playing with so many varying roles.
DM- It’s true, as you can see I don’t like to be bored! Part of my goal as an actor is to play as many different characters as possible, and get a variety of experiences on set, since every time you do you learn something new! It also doesn’t hurt to network and create good relationships with people from each film. I’ve now been able to get parts without auditioning because someone recommended me or I’ve worked with the people before. Psuedoscopic was a short film where I played a young woman unable to cope with her mothers death, so she pictures her still in her life, and speaks to her as such. It was a complex and wonderful role to play. In the Hatred I a played a model who with some other friends goes to an advertised casting call, but ends up in a madman’s fun house (think of the Saw films). Browncoats: Redemption was a fan film for charity, and picks up where the Firefly film left off. I saw it as a great way to give back, since all the proceeds go to five different charities.
TAEM- In this past year you topped your record and performed roles in nine more films. Please tell our readers about your performances in ‘Guts’, ‘Malice manor’, ‘Simon Says’, ‘The Tea Man’, and ‘Warrior Clan’. Describe these films and the roles that you played in them.
DM- Indeed, last year was a busy and productive year for me! I also love that these characters were all so different. In Guts I actually play a woman who has to deal with many complex emotions from sexual abuse to being shot, and eventually saved by the main character. Malice Manor was a comedy film, where I got to play a ditsy but kind hearted nursing home employee who is putting together a dance for all the residents. Simon Says was one of the more controversial roles I played, based on a true story nonetheless, where it centers around a bunch of children who get revenge on their abusive and often drug addicted parents. The Tea Man is set in the 1980s, and I play a rouge psychologist, who likes to hold her position of authority over particular women in the police force. I finally got to play a martial artist in the film Warrior Clan, where I lead the only female martial arts clan to try to capture (along with many other clans) these medallions that will grant you unlimited power.
TAEM- You also appeared on stage recently in the productions of ‘How did we end up here’, ‘Zone Two’ and ‘Chippies’. How did acting differ for you here as opposed to being in front of a camera?
DM- It’s important to me to always keep my skills sharp as an actor, so when I am unable to take classes or film, I like to do theatre. It makes you commit to the character completely and go with your instincts without cutting and doing another take. There’s a certain ownership you have to being in front of an audience and wanting them to live in the moment with you. In film, you have the opportunity to try the lines a multiple of different ways until you find the one that fits perfectly. I have a tremendous amount of respect for theatre actors. It is very challenging, and different from film, but they work together to make you a versatile actor.
TAEM- One of your newest films ‘Signals 2’ is being produced by Roman Pictures. Can you give our readers some insight into the theme behind the film and the role you play in it?
DM- Signals 2 follows up on my quest to find my son who has been captured by the Russian government, and also discovering that I have powers of my own. The theme for me is, understanding myself so I can use that to help and heal my son in his time of need.
TAEM- What are the next projects that you plan to work in?
DM- I recently wrapped on my first television project, it is called Celebrity Close Calls and airs on the Biography Channel (my episode is 8/20 at 10pm). I play Brett Michael’s wife, and it deals with his near death experiences. Also, I am participating in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival which is a series of short plays by original playwrights performed in various venues around the city. I recently signed with Model Management Agency, and I am looking forward to working with them to further my career as an actor. Lastly, I will be working with Alexander Kane Productions on two of his upcoming films, Figment and The Enemy, both filming in the fall/winter of 2011.
TAEM- Deirdre, We want to thank you for your time with our interview and wish you luck in all that you do. Your beauty and talent will carry you far and we ask that you keep The Arts and Entertainment Magazine, and our readers, informed of your career moves.