I recently got the chance to talk to Jaqueline Fleming about her role in new thriller – ‘The Ledge’. Here, Jaq talks about the film’s controversial nature, and about her life as an actress….
Hey Jaq – thanks for taking the time out to talk to me – ‘The Ledge’ has just had its theatrical premiere in the US, and hopefully – fingers crossed – the film will be released in the UK if all goes to plan – for anyone who hasn’t heard of the film, how would you sum up the plotline?
‘The Ledge’ is about religion, romance, and a suicidal ultimatum. Basically, it’s a thriller in which a battle of philosophies between a fundamentalist Christian and an atheist escalates into a lethal battle of wills. Ultimately, as a test of faith, or lack of it, the believer forces the non-believer onto the ledge of a tall building. He then has one hour to make a choice between his own life and someone else’s. The twist is, without faith in an afterlife, will he be capable of such a sacrifice? It’s definitely a nail biter!
It’s quite a high-charged idea for a film – from the outset, what made you want to be become part of the project in the first place?
I was interested in this project because of the risqué concept and because of the way director Matthew Chapman was choosing to highlight the story. His vision for what this movie could do for mankind in general was very alluring to me and I knew instantly that I wanted to be a part of it.
Would you say it’s got a sort of ‘Phone Booth’ esque feel to it? I can’t help but think of that movie when I watch the trailer and I‘m not sure if I‘m alone on this…
It is a bit reminiscent of the film “Phone Booth”. ‘The Ledge’ has more substance though. It has more depth and intrigue. It addresses themes that we all may experience at some point in our lives so that makes it more realistic.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
I play Angela, Terrence Howard’s wife. Hollis is charged with the job of talking our guy down off the ledge by any means necessary. So his role can either make or break the outcome of our guy on the ledge. Hollis initially has very structured views on faith until Angela confesses a dreadful secret to him which causes him to doubt his beliefs. Now with his beliefs in doubt, how can he pull it together to get the guy off the ledge? During the movie, you will either really hate my character or come to understand the decisions she’s made. It’s intense.
The film deals with the subjects of extremist religion and sexuality – do you think more films should tackle these issues?
There are so many issues that movies can address. I think that if filmmakers want to tackle extremist religious views, it is important to explore both ends of the spectrum the way ‘The Ledge’ does. That way, the audience won’t get offended but instead explore views different from their own and hopefully develop some amount of tolerance for other people’s difference of opinion.
The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler and Terrence Howard – what was it like working with them? Obviously I imagine you worked with Terrence more so than any of the others…
It was an amazing experience to work with Charlie, Patrick, Liv, and Terrence. Liv and I had the pleasure of being the only integral females cast for this movie. I did work with Terrence mostly because of the scenes we did together. My role as his wife made it such that he and I worked together more closely. I learned so much from him. He is such an amazing actor.
Let’s talk about you Jaq – what made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I started in theatre acting when I was 8 years old and was definitely bit by the acting bug. I’ve never wanted to do anything else since then. It became my life’s passion at an early age.
What does a Jaqueline Fleming day usually consist of?
Wow, where do I start!!?? My days are filled with running Jaq’s Acting Studio, auditioning for roles as a working actor, actually attending adult acting classes at my studio as a student in order to perfect my craft. Since I’ve started my production company, Jaq’s Entertainment, I also spend a lot of time overseeing new film and television productions. I speak to parents non-stop about the value of their child taking acting lessons if this is a career choice for them.
Who has been your favourite person to work with so far and why?
I have had a few favourites so far. It would be really difficult for me to name just one person. I would have to say Terrence Howard, Halle Berry, Nia Long, Blair Underwood, and Pam Grier. Each of these actors bring something very different to the table each time. And when it’s all said and done, I find that I have become a little bit better in my craft.
You’ve just wrapped filming ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’, what can you tell us about this project?
Oh my god! ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ was one of the best experiences I have had in my career. I was very honored to have been hand-picked to play the role of Harriet Tubman. I can not reveal any more on the project. Of course you know it’s a Tim Burton production and he’s definitely busy putting his post-production finishing touches on as we speak. Look out for the movie in June 2012.
What else is coming up for you in 2011?
This year has been very good to me! I am currently in production on a new TD Jakes film “On the Seventh Day”. I have a starring role alongside Blair Underwood, Pam Grier, and Sharon Leal. It’s being shot entirely in New Orleans. The story involves the kidnapping of a little girl and the secrets that are revealed about her parents and the other adults during the search to find her. The message in this movie will have an impact of biblical proportions. It is expected to be released in Nov/Dec 2011.
Thanks for the interview!