Nancy Rodriguez – (Detachment – 2011).

I recently got the chance to talk to Nancy Rodriguez about her role in ‘Detachment’. Here, Nancy 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 Nancy. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Detatchment’.

Thank you for asking me!

What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?

‘Detatchment’ follows the journey of a substitute teacher named Mr. Barthes, who is assigned to a failing public high school somewhere in America. Through his journey you see the lives of the full-time teachers at the school as well as some students.

Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…

I have a rather small role in the film. I play Lupe. She is the secretary at the high school. In the original script I had a bit more to do but the film evolved a lot during filming and before the tribeca release.

How did you get involved in the project in the first place?

I auditioned for ‘Detatchment’ via YouTube. My agents got me the audition but I was out-of-town working so I couldn’t come in person. I recorded myself, set up a private YouTube link and emailed it to the casting director, Beth Melsky.

How would you say this film is different and unique?

Well, I haven’t done a ton of films so my experience is limited. But it was a fascinating process. Watching Tony Kaye direct was amazing. He is a visual artist in my opinion. Very impulsive, inspired. Nobody really knew what was going on at times but it was exciting and I trusted it. Everyone did. In one of my scenes with William Petersen and Adrian Brody, Tony just picked up his 35 mm still camera and started snapping photos. Nobody knew what was happening. It was thrilling. Then he’d go back to his steadicam and start shooting, and nobody, crew included, knew where he was going so they would duck and chase behind him to stay out of the shot. So that was unique. We also shot very fast.

The film stars Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, Blythe Danner, Tim Blake Nelson and Wiliam Petersen – with Tony Kaye onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?

You know, even though I didn’t have a huge role I was in several scenes with, and/or shot on the same day as almost all of these actors. And that was amazing! It was very low-budget so we didn’t have trailers to run off too. We were all stuck together in a Long Island high school. What struck me most was how lovely everyone was. I grew up in the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn. James Caan just felt like a regular guy from the neighborhood. I could imagine him hangin’ at the candy store. So funny and charming. As were Blythe Danner and Christina Hendricks. Just very real people all around.

Let’s talk a bit about you Nancy. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?

I am a proud product of the New York City public school system. I am the youngest of four from a very working class family. My family never took me to the theater, and we rarely went to the movies. But somehow, I always wanted to perform. Singing was my first love and I’d sing for anyone who would listen. New York has amazing specialized schools for the arts. So my love for singing led me to Mark Twain Junior High School for the Gifted and Talented, which led me to audition for Performing Arts High School where I was accepted as an acting major. From there, I went to Boston University School for the Arts and I have been acting professionally ever since. I mainly work on stage but I am excited to do more film and TV in the future.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?

I would have to say the most important thing is to know yourself. Be true to who you are and what you want. Being an actor is a life’s journey. You are never “there”. We all have moments of abundance of work and then drought. Your love of the work, your passion for telling stories, your love for yourself is what will make you happy. Very few people are uber famous actors. If that is your fate, great! But don’t be an actor for that. Be an actor because you must, must, must act. I am an actor because at the essence of my being there is a little girl who really wants to sing you a song.

What is currently on your I-Pod right now?

“Tonight You Belong To Me” (the Patience and Prudence version). It’s the only thing that got my one year old son to stop crying on our drive home tonight!

If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?

Ok I love this question! Two of mine have always remained the same.

  • Number ONE is Mozart. I am in love with him. I’ve been in love with him since I was 11 years old and started singing his choral music. Then I saw the film ‘Amadeus’ and my love deepened.
  • Number TWO: William Shakespeare. I spent most of my early career doing Shakespeare and I have many questions for him. Not giddy love but admiration and respect.
  • Number THREE: President Obama…I greatly admire his amazing life’s journey.

All three of these men didn’t come from a high station in life. They became great by their own doing. I love them. I think that would be a rockin’ party. Music, poetry and politics.

On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?

Well I am the mother of two boys under four years old, so I don’t have days off anymore. But I did have an amazing afternoon to myself after recording a voice over the other day where I went to see Moonrise Kingdom and treated myself to dinner and it was lovely.

What’s coming up for you in 2012?

I am not exactly sure professionally what is coming up. My youngest son is now a year old so I am just getting back to being able to focus on my work again. My body, mind and spirit are just now ready to re-focus on my life as an actress. I recently shot another commercial. We will see what happens next. Five years ago I bought myself a refrigerator magnet and I put it in a place where I see it all the time. It says “Something wonderful is about to happen!”. And it hasn’t failed me. A month after I bought it I booked my first Broadway role. Two months later I met my husband, got married and had two kids. So I can’t wait for my next “wonderful”!

Thanks for the interview!

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