I recently got the chance to talk to Shira Scott Astrof about her role in ‘Hollywoo’. Here, Shira talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how she got into acting in the first place…
Hey Shira. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Hollywoo’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The general plotline surrounding the film is about a French actress named Jeanne – (played by the hilarious Florence Foresti) – who travels to Los Angeles on a hilarious mission. She needs to convince the famous actress Jennifer Marshall – (whom Jeanne makes her living doing all of her French voice dubs for) to not quit her show. While in Los Angeles, Jeanne has a hard yet hysterically funny time making her way around and fitting in.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
I play a Hollywood socialite named Eva who meets Jeanne at a snooty Beverly Hills party one night. I am stunned by her behaviour and I make it clear that she doesn’t belong in “my scene”.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I got involved in the project the good ol fashioned way. I auditioned for a different role – (playing one of the lead’s conservative secretaries) and instead was offered the role of Eva – (the Paris Hilton like socialite). Hmm, not sure if I should read into that or not.
How would you say this film is unique and different?
This film is unique because it’s the French view of what it is like to live in Hollywood. It reminds me of the ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ movies and Florence Foresti is sort of the female French version of Clark Griswald. Only she is a French person visiting the US and he was an American visiting France.
The film stars Florence Foresti, Jamel Debbouze, Nikki Deloach, Muriel Robin, Sophie Mounicot, Jeff Roop and Kirk B.R. Woller – with Frederic Berthe and Pascal Serieis onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Working with this cast and crew was an amazing and extremely fun experience. I’m a comedic actor with a huge background in improv. They let everyone improve and be free to play with the dialogue which I believe makes for the best comedic moments because they are real moments. It reminded me of what it was like working on ‘The Office’. They also allowed me to be free with the lines and improvise.
Let’s talk a bit about you Shira. What was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
I first began acting when I was in Kindergarten, doing New York theater and appearing in a string of commercials. When I graduated from high school, I decided to move to Los Angeles, get a theater degree at USC, and pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. I have always loved performing and being on stage. Once I booked my first sitcom job, I was hooked. I have never wanted to do anything else.
You’ve had a number of roles in different films and TV series – which actors have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing actors in the business. My favourite job so far was when I played Ed Helm’s girlfriend on ‘The Office’. Working with Ed Helms and John Krasinsky was amazing! They are so talented and made it so comfortable for me to be a part of the family while I was on set. I also learned so much while working with Sharon Stone on the film ‘The Mule’ which I shot at the beginning of 2012. She is so dedicated and focused on bringing not only hers but everyone elses characters to life. She would come into the makeup trailer each day with a list of ways to make the scene more truthful. I learned a lot from her. We were also shooting in 12 degree weather and she never complained once. I loved her passion for the role she was playing. I definitely hold her as a role model after that shoot.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
If I could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), I’d choose to dine with Lucille Ball, Tom Hanks and Axl Rose. I think that would be a pretty interesting dinner! I would love to experience the brilliance of Lucille Ball as she is the definition of the original sitcom star. Tom Hanks has always been my favourite actor and he seems like a genuine and fascinating person to sit down and talk with. And yeah, the wild card…Axl Rose. Well, I’m a closet hard-core Guns and Roses fan and If I could add him to my dinner party, I’d have crossed off my umber one item on my bucket list. No judgment please.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite holiday destination is going to New York every year for Christmas/Hanukkah. My entire family still lives there and there is no better place to be than Manhattan with the holiday spirit. I look forward every year to going home and taking in the NYC winter wonderland. I always catch a few Broadway plays, go ice skating in Rockefeller center, and do all of the family traditions I’ve done since I was born. I have a huge family and I am a true New Yorker at heart so I need my fix every December!
What is your favourite word?
My favorite word? Hmm…can it be a phrase? I always live by the mantra, “No judgement”. I am a very non judgemental person and I truly believe that we each have our own path and reasons for behaving the way we do no matter how unconventional another’s life may appear. I am very open to all lifestyles and I LOVE that we are all so different. For me, comedy stems from being able to be different and unique. Plus, I love being the center of attention and making people laugh so I need to be given the right to be a jack ass with no judgement.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
In 2012, I have a few films in pre production and a very busy episodic season approaching with many shows I am in talks with. I also believe a couple of my films I wrapped at the beginning of the year will be announcing their premiere date any day.
Thanks for the interview!