I recently got the opportunity to talk to Jennifer Hasty about her role in new Mike Mills’ film ‘Beginners’. Here, Jennifer talks about what it was like working with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer on-set and about how she got into acting…
Hey Jennifer. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me. ‘Beginners’ is currently being shown in UK cinemas as of 22nd July 2011.
What’s the general premise of the film?
It’s a true story about the writer and director of the film Mike Mills. After his mother passed away his father revealed he was gay. It’s a lovely story of the relationship between a father and his son. Stories of living and loving never get old.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I auditioned. I was really late for the audition too! I came bursting through the doors, sat down and started reading. I thought for sure I had blown it.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
I play Christopher Plummer’s secretary. She helps him dictate his stories – one of which is his reinterpretation of the death of Christ. He gives it a much happier ending.
The film stars Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It was amazing. Everything from the stars to the set were legendary. The house, where we shot the film, was the famous Lovell House in LA. No one had a trailer so we all sat together, had lunch together, and listened to Ewan tell stories. An amazing story-teller by the way and a few times he had me laughing so hard I almost choked on my salad. And Plummer….a complete gentleman. I loved watching him just slide into the scene. I was very excited to work with both men. My part, although brief in the film was intimate and rewarding.
Let’s talk a bit about you Jennifer. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think acting is humanity unwrapping itself in the very moment. I believe it’s the purest art form. An immediate reflection of who we are. Something everyone can experience together, not individually. I think I’ve always felt this way. It has always been a guide in my life and continues to make me want to be a better actor. At a very young age I was obsessed with watching people very closely – much to the embarrassment of my family. I stared a lot. I still do. I was an incredible mimic as a kid. I’ve spent many years in a constant state of observation and it’s been critical to my success as an actor.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
Theatre theatre and more theatre. Wherever you are get involved in theatre. Study it, perform it, watch it, participate in every aspect of it. You can’t fake experience so go get some. The rewards are endless. Even if you want to be in front of the camera, theatre is your ticket and foundation.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
The phone hacking stuff has caught my eye.
You’ve had a number of different roles on a number of TV series and films – which has been your favourite and who has given the best advice to you?
I would say my current favorite has to be my guest role on “Criminal Minds”. I loved the cast. I found them all warm and down to earth. The director Anna Forrester trusted me completely and that is always such an amazing gift to an actor. The role I played was also really intense so I needed lots of space to let it fly. The best advice I’ve received was from an acting coach I had a while back. He advised me to write all my fears as an actor on paper e.g.: “I’m afraid I won’t get the part, I’m afraid I’ll flub my lines, I’m afraid I want it too much.” These are all common fears. Writing them down makes them small and I can brush them aside. I find that advice works for all anxieties.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
On July 31st I’ll be guest starring on “Breaking Bad” on AMC. Terrific show. I’m also involved in a few projects. We’ll see how they turn out……
Thanks for the interview!