I recently got the chance to talk to Denise Gossett about her role in Mel Gibson’s new movie, ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’. Here, Denise 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 Denise. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’, also known as ‘Get The Gringo’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Mel Gibson, aka Driver, is an American on the run from the law after having stolen millions of dollars, only to find himself hiding out in a Mexican prison, he then teams up with a 9-year-old boy to make an escape and get his money back!
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Stephanie is an ordinary, every day executive assistant who is thrown into an extraordinary situation and she doesn’t handle it very well. I can’t say too much without giving a key scene of the movie away.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Through the usual route, I auditioned and the tape was sent to Mel.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s very gritty and the prison it takes place in is based on a real prison in Mexico that was recently closed down called El Pueblito. The history behind it is amazing and that comes out in the movie. Major action and comedy…fun stuff!
The film stars Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris, Bob Gunton, Stephanie Lemelin, Kevin Hernandez and Scott Cohen – with Adrian Grunberg onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was wonderful…my scenes were with Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Bob Gunton and Scott Cohen! It was a dream to work with this caliber of talent. We shot in Mexico City, at least my scenes were, the rest was shot in the prison. The entire crew and most of the cast were Mexican, so on set you hear Cortamos instead of cut…which was very funny. Adrian, the director is fluent in Spanish as well as Stacy Perskie the producer. There were lots of laughs on set as well as off set. Hanging out with these guys was great. I have a 3-year-old little girl and Mel has a little girl too, so, we shared pics and conversations about them too. We premiered the movie in Austin, Texas on April 18th to a huge crowd – Mel, Adrian, and Stacy, and Kevin, etc were all there. Really nice to catch up with all of them after not seeing them for a while.
Let’s talk a bit about you Denise. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I have always wanted to be an actress, but never really did anything about it, until my senior year in high school. I did a play and then was hooked. The colleges were coming around holding auditions for scholarship and I auditioned on a whim and ended up with almost all four years paid for! That began my journey, I majored in theatre and did tons of plays and the TV show ‘Superboy’. I played Lex Luthor’s sister. A year after I graduated I moved to Los Angeles and have been working ever since. I love it, I am so alive when I am acting.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Don’t do it unless you absolutely have to and if you have that burning desire, then you must get your ducks in a row, work hard, take classes, get your pictures, agents in line. You really have to constantly hussle, you can’t just decide you are going to be an actor and sit back and wait for your agent to do it all. I am constantly busting my butt to get where I need to go next.
You’ve been in a number of different TV and film projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
Well, I love the most recent ones, Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Bob Gunton, Scott Cohen. I also really enjoyed working with the late, great Dennis Hopper, fun guy. I’m very sad that he is gone. Julia Louis Dreyfus was great too, what a talent! They would rewrite the scenes after almost every take and I’d look at it and think that’s not as funny, but then she would do it and make it funny…her comedic timing is amazing! Steve Carrell and the rest of the cast of ‘The Office’ were great too. Fun set.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I would choose my husband, Todd, my daughter Riley, and my parents. I know this isn’t really what you were looking for, but in my life, these people are the most important (and my other family too) and that is who I want to spend my time with. I’ve never really been obsessed with celebrities. I like to focus on what is in my life right now. You can learn so much from anyone you meet. I love to learn and am a big reader of all topics.
What is your favourite word?
Success (and that refers to all aspects of life).
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Well, my publicist has been lining up all kinds of press for ‘Get The Gringo’, so, I’ll be doing much more of that and then I have a Western coming out where I play a gunslinger! I had to learn the guns and everything, it was great fun! I also am set to star in ‘The Cellar Door 2’ playing a psychiatrist to a psychopath! I have just recently been offered four roles, so I will go over the scripts and see if any grab my attention. In October, will be the 12th edition of the film festival I founded and produce called ‘Shriekfest’. So, that keeps me busy too.
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Thanks for the interview!