I recently got the chance to talk to Laura Niemi about her role in David Schwimmer’s new film, ‘Trust’. Here, Laura talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on the film and about how she got into acting in the first place…
Hey Laura. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Trust’ is currently in selected UK cinemas right now.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Trust’ is the story of a teenage girl who is targeted by an on-line predator.
Since the film is basically about the dangers of the internet – do you think that more films need to focus on this issue? Do you think the film addresses the topic in a new and innovative way?
Filmmaking as an art form should be something which holds a mirror to society. With the explosion of the information age privacy is easily compromised. Anyone with a computer has access to reams of personal information. So in answer to the question, the more exposure we can get on these relevant issues, the better. One of the most innovative things about this film is the dispelling of that stereotypical “bad guy” character. The fact that the predator in this film is a normal man with a normal life goes against our perception of a conventional “bad guy”. I think both David Schwimmer and Andy Bellin have broken ground and successfully addressed the issue head on.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I wish I had a glamorous story like you hear sometimes, you know “instant connections over lunch at Marmont” but the fact is…I auditioned, like most of us workin’ fools.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
I play Susanna Weston, a wife, a mother and a woman who is completely unaware of my husband’s double life.
The film has David Schwimmer – (Ross from ‘Friends’) onboard as director – how was it working with him? He seems to have successfully turned from actor to director in a very short space of time….
David is honestly so laid back and cool, definitely a team player without any pretense. Loved it! He’s built a solid resume as a director since his ‘Friends’ days and I am sure there is more to come as it definitely suits him.
The film stars Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato and Jason Clarke – what was it like working with the other cast members?
I only got to work with Chris Henry Coffey, who is just fantastic in the film and whom I absolutely adore. Sadly, I did not get to work with Clive, Catherine or Liana…maybe next time.
Let’s talk a bit about you Laura – how did you get into acting in the first place?
I’ve always been in the performing arts since I can remember. I started in music, piano being my first instrument. I was accepted into the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY when I was a tiny grasshopper. I was always involved in choir at school and eventually picked up guitars and started playing with various bands here in LA. I really thought that was my calling. I look back on it now and it reminds me of that Barry White quote (which I am going to paraphrase the hell out of)…you better love what you do because there are going to be tough times and if you don’t love it, I mean really love it, you aint gonna stick with it. Oh that Barry White…what a wise soul. I call music my “gateway drug”, ha. I had always studied acting, but more just for art for art’s sake rather than professionally as I had grown up in the business. My mother was a producer and had many actor friends so I definitely saw the challenges. But it just kept sucking me back in. I got heavily involved in the theatre scene here in LA, eventually starting my own theatre company and I have pretty much hit the ground running ever since. I have been very fortunate to work some amazing people along the way. It’s definitely been a long journey, but one I would not change.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Advice huh? Well, I have some “mottos” which I still try to abide by to this day:
- Study, study, study, always be a student!
- This business is definitely a marathon, not a sprint!
- Always have a love project on hand.
- Surround yourself with people who have more knowledge than you; and who have a strong support net – because there are a lot more “no’s” than “yes’s” and it’s the people who you surround yourself with who keep you grounded.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
The phone hacking scandal – how relevant for what we’ve been talking about, eh? What a fascinating case about where we are in regards to privacy and technology and where it is going to lead.
You’ve had some great opportunities so far in your career, mostly on various TV series’ – who has been your favorite actor to work with and who has given you the best advice?
Hmmm. I don’t know about advice…but I love learning by watching people. I mean, that’s really what most actors do, right? I feel like I always have “takeaways” from every project/person I work with be it if they are inspirational or a bit more challenging. I guess one of the moments I can think of off the cuff here is working with Joe Mantegna. Just his grace on how to be a star on set, how to treat people and to be genuine even when you are at the top of your game.
What’s coming up for you in 2011? You’ve already had a great year with ‘Law and Order: Los Angeles’…
Well, I just shot a Christmas movie that will be out there next year and I was asked back to ‘All My Children’ after a ten-year hiatus. I recently started a film company this year called Right Sized Films in which we are in development on feature projects and am currently in negotiations to bring a new play to Los Angeles with my company Lost Angeles Theatre Company. So, yeah, it’s been a great year thus far! My cup runneth over.
Thanks for the interview!