Today we have Tracey Birdsall in to talk about her upcoming movie Dawn of the Crescent Moon! We also find time to talk about her acting technique, working with screen legend Barry Corbin, her brave short film about incest and plenty more! Be sure to read on for more…
Hi, thanks for chatting with me today. Are you well?
Thanks for having me! Yes, life is fantastic!
That’s good to hear! So what can you tell us about your role in Dawn of the Crescent Moon and about the film in general?
Tracey (the role written for me) was critical in the story of weaving the plot opposite Cyrus (played by Barry Corbin). Although her curiosity in general seemed innocent, along with her partner Will, it is discovered at the end of the story that she and Will were actually searching for the answers to The Legend of Blood Lake for greedy purposes, to find the treasure themselves. As the murders are happening, the purpose behind the story is unfolding with our characters in the bar.
The film in general is a throwback to the old horror genre (think Hellraiser and Friday the 13th) as it’s light in CGI, and heavy in thrill and terror.
What were your reasons for choosing to work on this movie in particular?
It’s only my second horror film ever, my first being The Prophet’s Game with Dennis Hopper, and everyone knows how I like to spread across genres. I think it’s a healthy actress move to not limit yourself and to not get stuck in a genre. That said, my next film in November is Science Fiction, followed by a hilarious comedy I shoot in the beginning of 2015. I just love it all!
Barry Corbin is a living legend after all… I was excited going in, and now I just feel honoured that he’s one of my good friends. As actors, we always look forward to working with other great actors.
On set, he was just like everyone else when the cameras weren’t rolling. He’s very funny, while also being quite a gentleman. When the cameras are rolling, he’s a consummate professional in every sense of the word. He lives his roles, which is also what I like to do, so it was a lot of fun. He talked a lot about all of his roles as we compared friends in common and what they had worked on together, which led to many stories… He’s worked with a good friend of mine in the past – Jonathan Banks, and also with another friend – Loni Anderson…
I spoke to him the other day and he was very complimentary about the time spent with you!
Can we talk about the short you did a few years back called Tick Tock? From your level of involvement in this short you seemingly felt very passionately about the film, what about the topic of incest prompted you to write and star in a film that approaches the topic?
To be honest, I was looking to make a fantastic film with some shock factor after taking many years off from the industry. It wasn’t the subject itself; moreover, trying to delve into a subject rarely discussed to catch the attention after taking many year off working. I was very passionate about making a fantastic project to put me back on the map. It was very much ‘my baby’ as it had to be my vehicle. I didn’t invent the wheel about using things like this as a vehicle, but I was impressed with the worldwide accolades that it received, and the giant boost it gave my career.
I had no discomfort whatsoever. I hired the people I felt comfortable could make the project what it was capable of becoming, I would say that having veteran editor Steve Swersky on board was one of my greatest assets, – I did all the prep work – coached the other actors… From that point on, it was storytelling, and there’s never anything uncomfortable about storytelling once you get to that point.
What was the reaction like when people saw the film and encountered the reveal?
I would say that it was shocking at first. I kept expecting some sort of picketing or a larger reaction in opposition. I was most shocked by the support it received. I was shocked by the audience reaction, the hearts pouring out about personal incest issues within the audience, and the appreciation they felt towards my approaching such a difficult issue. I have to say, I was shocked to find acceptance within a storyline that I had no experience. What followed was an opening of my mind through conversation and research – of what I had just told a story about. It was quite a revelation of my own. It was quite humbling.
Are there any differences in how you approach a character for a short film compared to a feature? Or is it broadly the same?
Within my own experience, I approach the character the same. I get to know who they are, what they are about, what their issues and quirks are, how they would dress, how they would react… Then I learn their lines. Over time, their lines and their being become mine for a while. It’s what they call acting, but it’s really being.
Film often gives you the time and the realm to research greatly and live within your character for a long time period often without breaks. Television becomes something that you put on or wear for some duration. Long running television becomes a familiar character of which it’s easier to flow in and out of. Preparation for film or television oftentimes has more to do with whether it’s situational comedy or drama, how many cameras are they shooting with, and what the genre is. It’s so difficult to answer that question as there’s so many variables from budget (especially in film) to genre, and everything in between.
And finally is there anything else that you want us to be looking out for?
Although Dawn of the Crescent Moon is in it’s final stages of negotiation for distribution, I can’t help but think forward to my next two projects on the table! In November, I start on a production called Descent of the Maelstrom with Neil Johnson (a Science Fiction/Time Travel movie) where I have a really bad-ass character that I play. Soon after that, early in 2015, I have a really fantastic comedy that I’m the lead role in called Who’s Jenna Jameson? playing Jenna Casey. I love filming movies back-to-back like this where the characters are so completely different, and so are the genres! 2015’s releases look to be as promising as 2014, so it’s going to be another exciting year!
Fantastic, that’s great to hear!
And that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed today’s interview, be sure to leave a comment in the box below!