I recently got the chance to talk to Sarah Scott about her role in renowned silent film, ‘The Artist’. Here, Sarah talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and which three people she would invite to dinner…
Hey Sarah. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Artist’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
In the late 1920’s a silent film star named George Valentin, (Jean Dujardin) resists the oncoming ‘talkies’, while an ambitious extra named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) embraces the change. His demotion and sudden fall to insignificance parallels her promotion as Hollywood’s new it girl. Their lives intertwine and lead to an unlikely kinship that ends up saving his life (and career).
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My part takes place in one of my favourite scenes in the film. Director Michel Hazanavicius creatively illustrates Jean’s agonizing terror and fear of the ‘talkies’ taking over Hollywood by taking the audience on a whirlwind, where for a moment, both the audience and the lead character are hearing sound for the first time in the film. It’s a dream sequence. I lead a swarm of chorus girls walking down the studio lot, laughing. We seem to be mocking George’s masculinity, quite cruelly.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It was just your typical casting setting. Heidi Levitt brought me in. There weren’t any lines of course, but I dressed in flapper gear and I think I managed to do the Charleston during my audition. I’ve been told for years that I have the look of a silent film star – big Bette Davis eyes I suppose, so being the cast in this film felt very natural.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Beyond the obvious, I’d say that there’s a very unique charm this film has that I feel has gone missing from most current movies. It’s romantic in a sweet way without being sarcastic or saccharin. It took me back to an innocent time, watching it I felt swept up by its magic – which is part of what drew me into wanting to make movies in the first place.
The film stars Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller and Missi Pyle – with Michel Hazanavicius onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
I sat next to Jean Dujardin in the makeup trailer and right away it was clear he was a real charmer! He never balked at my poor attempts to speak in French, and his gorgeous smile made me blush. On set – I was overwhelmed by how theatrical the process was. Hazanavicius would play back these massive classical numbers or brassy show tunes to match the action of what was being filmed. Watching Dujardin in one scene burst out of his door and onto the studio lot screaming words I couldn’t hear over the music felt surreal. Watching from the sidelines, dressed in my sequined leotard and party hat, I was transported. It was 1929.
Let’s talk a bit about you Sarah. What made you want to get into the world of film in the first place?
Well, for me great films are art. And art is healing and workable and central to a community. I am a highly artistic person, intensely creative, and very much dedicated to the craft. For me, being involved with film is a way to celebrate and preserve expression, beauty, and culture. It’s also a tremendous amount of fun and a very exciting process.
You’ve been in a number of different TV series and films – who have been your favourite actors/actresses to work with so far? Any good stories to tell?
Recently I was doing a guest star on ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ where I was playing this hot-shot young lawyer and daughter of a business man played by legendary filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. It was a really rushed job, so when I arrived on the set I didn’t know who he was exactly when I met him (although his signature glasses looked familiar). I was kind of shy that day and when I got home, I checked to see and sure enough and quite synchronistically I had watched ‘The Last Picture Show’ the night before working and didn’t even realize with whom I was working with!! OMG – a missed opportunity and lesson to always do my homework.
If you could invite three guests to dinner – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Baz Luhrmann, Ester Williams, and Danny Elfman. This is my secret dream team right now for creating a watery noir-musical, ala Busby Berkeley. I’d have to ignite the flame to get things started but these geniuses would have a lot to add to the party.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
I’m really digging Metronomy right now – thanks to my wickedly hot friends from Hot As Sun who turned me onto them. I’ve been going through a lot of personal growth lately, hence the plethora of female soul. Adele, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone & Aretha Franklin – they got my back. I also just re-downloaded the soundtrack for Pulp Fiction after many years of missing it. And…oh, Mumford & Sons.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Bali. When I am there, I can’t do anything but holiday.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I am set to star in a romantic comedy called ‘Sam’ sometime in the next year. It’s about an alpha male who is magically transformed into “me” and ends up falling in love with his best buddy. In the process he/she learns what it means to be a woman.
Thanks for the interview!