I recently got the chance to talk to Elizabeth Masucci about her role in ‘Shame’. Here, Elizabeth 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 Elizabeth. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Shame’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The film is about a man named Brandon who is struggling with sex addiction. At the peak of his battle with the addiction, he is greeted by his little sister, who brings even more havoc to his life.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
She is a business woman having an after work drink with her friends. She meets Brandon and his co-workers at the bar. She is a smart and sassy woman who gives the men a run for their money.
Brandon’s friend tries to seduce her, but she ends up leaving with Brandon instead.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
My agent in NY got me an appointment with the casting director, Avy Kaufman. And then I was called back to meet with Steve McQueen, the director, and Michael Fassbender.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
The majority of the story is told visually rather than having a lot of dialogue. We see Brandon’s struggle by his body language and his environment. I’ve lived in NYC for 8 years and ‘Shame’ really captures the truth about NY, which isn’t done a lot in modern cinema.
The film stars Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Alex Manette and Hannah Ware – with Steve McQueen onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Steve McQueen was big on improvisation in rehearsal, so a lot of the dialogue was natural. I worked with Michael and James in my scenes. They were game to try anything in the guidelines of telling the story. They are both very talented actors. I had a “make out” scene with Michael and we are running under a bridge at one point. During rehearsal, I ended up tripping on a rock and twisting my ankle. It was 2am, freezing cold, and I was in 5 inch heels, so it was kind of inevitable. Therefore, I had to perform the scene with a sprained ankle. Luckily, Michael Fassbender, McQueen, and everyone else on set were very accommodating. We ended up getting the take, thank god.
Let’s talk a bit about you Elizabeth. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I started off as a ballet dancer. I danced in professional/regional productions as a kid. When I was about sixteen, I decided ballet wasn’t for me any longer and I started taking acting classes. I got a commercial agent in high school and I would commute to the city from my hometown in central New Jersey. I booked the first audition I went on, beginners luck I guess.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
It doesn’t happen overnight. Think of any dancer or professional athlete; they train for hours every day – to be professionals. I believe actors should do the same.
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories to tell?
Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender. They are both comfortable in their own skin and they are both taking risks in every role they play.
If you could invite three people to dinner (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Meryl Streep because she is fearless when it comes to film acting and she seems like a great person. Elizabeth Taylor because she would have the inside scoop on old Hollywood and she is so glamorous. And I’d like to meet my great grandparents. They came over to the States from Italy and I’d like to know their journey.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
My plays (Odets, Williams, Shanley), so I can entertain myself.
Soap and chocolate.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’m in Los Angeles right now for pilot season. And I’m also in another film called ‘Dorothy And The Witches of Oz’ which comes to select theaters Feb. 17th.
I’m also in pre production for a short film I wrote with my company, Lyric Entertainment. We are looking to shoot in May 2012.
Thanks for the interview!