Your new movie Children of
Sin - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about
your character in it?
of Sin centers around one of those creepy conversion places that
teens who are considered 'troubled' are sometimes sent to. The viewer can
decide who the truly troubled ones are in this story. My character runs
the conversion house along with her nephew.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how
much Jo-Ann Robinson can we find in Mary Esther?
I approached the
character of Mary Esther as a person who truly believes, at least most of the
time, that what she is doing is for the greater good. The audience may judge
her behavior, but I tried not to. I wouldn't say that there's a lot of 'me' in
the character, because our belief systems are pretty much polar opposites, but
I thoroughly enjoyed playing her!! I love playing people who are flawed to the
point of making others gasp at their choices. That kind of thing tickles me!!
you get involved with the project in the first place, and what drew you to
the movie's subject matter?
Director Chris Moore [Chris
Moore interview - click here] drew me to the project. I had watched his work and
decided that I really wanted to work with him. About a year ago, I saw a
posting about his newest script Children
of Sin with a character breakdown
asking for actors to audition. I contacted Chris and asked if he thought I
might be right for Mary Esther. He sent me the sides, I taped an
audition for him, and was fortunate enough to be cast! Chris is very prolific
and can do amazing things on a limited budget!! I can't tell you how impressed
with him I am.
What can you tell us about Children
of Sin's director Chris Moore, and what was your collaboration
Oops! I think I answered this in the previous question. What
else can I say? My collaboration with Chris Moore was absolutely wonderful! I
felt like we were on the same page most of the time, but if he wanted
something different in a scene, his direction made sense and was easy to
incorporate. He was always very organized and focused, and made the set a
comfortable, enjoyable place to work.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
The set in general was great! I
thoroughly enjoyed everyone in the cast and crew!! Chris set the tone, and
everyone worked together as a team. There were no out-of-control egos anywhere
Any future projects you'd like to
I have a Netflix film being released in the next few months called
We Have A Ghost. My scenes are with Anthony Mackie and David Harbour. I'm
also in a an episode of a new TV series called Long Slow Exhale
that will be released on Spectrum TV this month - April, 2022. My scene is
opposite Josh Lucas, and was shot outside next to the Atlanta airport. There's
a story to tell about that experience regarding sound, but I'll save that for
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I first started doing plays and competing in speech
tournaments in high school. I had a wonderful theatre teacher that really
pushed us to excel. I went to college on a theatre scholarship and majored in
theatre. I went to Los Angeles when I was 20 and stayed there for eleven
years. Then, for family reasons, I moved back to Jackson, MS, and started
doing regional theatre here at New Stage Theatre and at regional theatres
around the country. Since Hollywood-South started up, I've also been
doing more TV and film work. My resume, particularly theatre wise, spans about
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Children
Well, one interesting fact about my filmwork is that the
first film I ever worked on I also starred inm and it was a horror film as
well. It was director Fred Olen Ray's first feature film titled Scalps. We
shot over I don't remember how many weekends, in the desert outside of Los
Angeles. I think I was about 23 years old at the time. Fred is now an Emmy
Award winner and has directed 200 or so feature films. His son Chris, who was
about 5 years old during the filming of Scalps and who was regularly on set,
is now a director and producer himself. I guess in some circles Scalps has
become a bit of a cult film. I am usually contacted by fans of the film two or
three times a year. One of the last people that reached out lives in Germany.
Having been working on movies and TV
since the 1980s, how has the whole industry changed over time?
Oh my, has the industry ever changed!! In the 80s, you would get a call
from your agent to go pick up some sides at one of the major studios or
casting offices. You'd go by, pick up your sides and hopefully have more than a
few hours to look them over before going back to read for the casting
director. When you went back to the studio to read, you'd walk into a waiting
room filled with other women that looked just like you. After waiting for
forever, you'd go into the casting room and usually read opposite the casting
director who often times never looked up from their script. Sometimes you'd
also be reading for the director and producer. The good thing about it was it
was live, and if the casting person or director wanted to give you some
direction, you could make the adjustment on the spot and show them that you
could take direction. Nowadays, everything is done remotely, and if you don't
have computer skills you'd better get some! You get your sides through a site
on the computer. You self tape your audition, which requires your having
recording equipment, a mic, a backdrop, lights, a camera person, and a reader
to read all lines in the sides other than your lines. You then look through
your audition takes. Lots of casting directors ask for 2 takes of each scene.
(One particular casting director asked for 2 takes of each scene and asked me
to read for 8 different characters in the film. I believe the turn-around
time was a day and a half.) Once you decide which takes to submit, you do any
necessary editing, label each file according to the casting directors specs,
upload all files and send them to the casting director before their deadline.
WHEW, it's a lot!!
would you describe yourself as an actress?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I’ve dedicated my life to this profession. I don't
mean that in a dramatic way, just as a matter of fact. I know I could have
made more money in most any other profession, but I don't think I would have
been as happy. I think this is what I'm hard
wired to do. I wouldn't suggest going into acting professionally unless
you feel the same way.
My way of working is a form of method acting, but that 'method' changes
depending on the character and script.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
Smith, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell. I
really love watching actors who are off-beat and can make me laugh even during
Harold and Maude, The
Color Purple, Shawshank Redemption, Fargo.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I'm not a fan of
The Exorcist. Not that it's a bad film. The
subject matter just creeps me out.
website, social media, whatever else?
too old to have those things! I'm kidding, sort of. I would like to put
together a website. It's on my to do list.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I'm dying to add other than thank you for covering Children
for the interview!