I recently got the chance to talk to Maryam Tarami to talk to her about her role in ‘Amsterdam Heavy’. Here, Maryam talks about how she got involved in the project and which holiday destination is her favourite…
Hey Maryam. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Amsterdam Heavy’ has just had it’s DVD premiere in the UK.
Hello Matt, thank you for having me. It is a pleasure and I hope you enjoyed ‘Amsterdam Heavy’!
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Amsterdam Heavy’ is about a gangster who returns to the criminal heart of Amsterdam to uncover who he is and moreover who has betrayed him. What makes ‘Amsterdam Heavy’ interesting is that this guy is very fanatic and stops at nothing to achieve his goals. He basically wants revenge.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the character of Lindy. She is a young lady who works in a love bar in the heart of Amsterdam. Lindy loves her job at the love bar, but she is not so fond of her boss. This is because he comes with new rules that do not work, but she has to follow them. She finds this a bit frustrating.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I just got to the Netherlands and heard about the project from a friend and got impressed. I got mainly interested because it was a movie about Amsterdam. I travel a lot and people always ask me what country I am from. When I say that I am from the Netherlands they look a little bit confused, but when I add Amsterdam it clarifies their confusion. I thought it was fun to be part of a movie about the place where I am from, in order to represent my country. People always ask me about Amsterdam. From now I can say: “Go watch ‘Amsterdam Heavy’.” So, I just sent my headshot and resume and got invited to audition for one of the roles that were open, which is for the role of Lindy.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
What makes this movie different from other action movies is that it sheds light on Amsterdam. This is also what makes this action movie so unique. Amsterdam is a well discussed place, which is often because of the Red Light District and the legal soft drugs. Even in movies like Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’, the characters discuss Amsterdam. So, apparently people find Amsterdam a very interesting place. This is why I think that Amsterdam is a great environment to shoot movies . Whether action movies or crime movies, Amsterdam gives movies something extra. And this is not only because of the Red Light District or the legal drugs, but also due the canals, the many bicycles and the old traditional buildings.
The film stars Michael Madsen, Alison Carroll, Galyna Kyyashko, Dorien Rose Duinker and your good self – with Michael Wright onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
All cast and crew were nice to work with. As for the actors, I got to work with the lead character of the movie which is Rik Sinkeldam (JD). JD is the gangster who returns to Amsterdam for answers and more. It was fun working with Rik Sinkeldam and I think he is a very friendly guy. I met him at my audition. The director of the film, Michael Wright, was fun to work it as well. I think Michael Wright has a very organic way of working. With organic I mean that he gives the actors a lot of space for their performance. I think this is a good thing because it enables creativity and flexibility. I have worked with directors in the past who come on set with a strictly planned picture and state exactly want they want the scene to be like.
Let’s talk a bit about you Maryam. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?…
When I was a child, I used to play different characters for fun. For instance, I used to direct and play scenes and characters from cartoons such as ‘Snow White’ or ‘The Smurfs’. This is because I liked to express myself. Nevertheless, I did not realize that I wanted to become an actress yet. I did not even know what an actress was back then. When I was a teenager, my Mom suggested that I should join a theatre group. This is because I was a very shy person, which my Mom was not so happy about. My audition went well and I liked the challenge. Since then I did several stage productions. In time, I realized that I wanted to be an actress. I guess I got bitten by the acting bug somewhere in the teenage years.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the industry?
Listen to your heart. In every industry, but especially in the entertainment industry you will be overloaded with so many different perspectives. There are as many perspectives as different people and every perspective has its own truth. Nevertheless, I think it is important to have the courage to do things your own way. Like Shakespeare: ‘Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.’ Of course you can listen to other people, but make your own judgment. Do not let other people pull you to a direction that does not feel right. There is no model for how to succeed. Everyone’s story is different. What is important is that you do what feels right for you and that can only happen if follow your own instinct.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite holiday destination is South Beach Miami. I love Miami. I love Miami because of the great weather. There is a lot of sunshine in Miami. This explains why people also call Miami the ‘Sunshine City’. I love sunshine and hot weather. Second, there are nice clubs and restaurants on South Beach. So, you will not get bored. Third, there are many attractive people in on South Beach. So, you know where to go if you are single. 😉 Last but not least, I have very good memories in Miami. I also used to live on South Beach. This makes clear that I like sunshine and entertainment.
If I asked you to decorate a room, what colour would you paint it and why?
I like a room to be white. This is due to personal interest. I think white is modern and fresh. Also, I like to have colour paintings and this fits a white room the best.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
It was quite interesting to hear that testing on chimpanzees is only legal in Gabon in West Africa and the United States. So, I was glad to hear that it is illegal to test vaccines on chimpanzees in many other countries. It is very nice that the European Union has banned testing on chimpanzees. I hope that America and West Africa will follow the European example soon. In this way European researchers cannot go to America to test on Chimpanzees. Researchers should be innovative and find other ways to test vaccines.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
Well the year is almost over and I am looking forward for 2012, but I have two more short films planned to shoot this year. One is a film based on the work of English poet William Blake and the other film is a thriller. Also, the feature film ‘Shame’ (2010) I was in will be premiering at the International Debut Film Festival in Netherlands. So far, this movie has only been released in foreign countries. I am looking forward to see the cast and crew of ‘Shame’ again.
Thanks for the interview!