I recently got the chance to talk to Jade Alexander about her role in ‘Breaking Down’. Here, Jade talks about how she got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Jade. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Breaking Down’.
No problem looking forward to it!
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Well the film has gone through a couple of different incarnations and has evolved during the process of production which was really interesting to witness. Originally it was a film about a horrific incident that my character Lucinda accidentally caught on video. The director Jason Cooper and the original writers Andrew Faure and Will McCabe felt strongly about the themes of responsibility and social media. Such as, if you watch a real piece of horrific footage online that is happening or has just occurred,would you act and call the police, or would you be content to watch it play out as long as it doesn’t really affect you? They really wanted to raise the issue, have we become a society of voyeurs who are so desensitized to violence that we are happy to watch it play out as long as it doesn’t actually affect us?
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Lucinda Parker, a college student studying in Tampa, and best friend of Shaun Westwood and friend of his family. I find the footage of Shaun and his family…I’m treading the line here trying not to give it away but its kind of difficult! The most exciting part of the project was really getting into Lucy’s head and creating this wonderful friendship and back story with Raph Pugh – (who plays Shaun) and Sian Gordon – (who plays his girlfriend Kelly). We got to go around the city and take pics (which you see on my wall in the film) together, and generally build up this close friendship. We even went to TGI Fridays one night, the whole Westwood family and I and staying in character the entire time. It was great fun!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was approached to audition for the film. For my first audition, I was given a vague bit of dialogue that didn’t really make much sense. Then when I was recalled I had a long chat with the producers and was asked to read something totally different – which was the actual working script. They wanted me to build my character of Lucy and really give her something unique and interesting.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
The way we were originally approached, all the secrecy surrounding the project and also the empassioned chats about social responsibility and media from the director and producers made it quite different to other projects. I really enjoyed the process of creating these characters via social media. It was totally different from any other project I’ve done and the writer/producers were adamant that our characters must come off as real people – this was to facilitate the message of social responsibility. We all have fully created Facebook profiles which we kept updating! I had to make sure I was posting on Lucy’s Facebook at the right times in Tampa, and create Facebook friendships and connections to people at my university course in Tampa. To the point where one guy from my (Lucy’s) uni contact me via Facebook and wanted to meet up and chat further in person – he said he’ll stop by the café where I (on Facebook) have that I work!!! I didn’t know what to say!
The film stars Tom Benedict Knight, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Stephanie Siadatan, Graham Dickson, Amy Strange, Winston Ellis, Rebecca Kiser, Daniel Caren, Rafe Pugh, Kyle Treslove and Sian Gordon – with Jason Cooper and Simon P. Edwards onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was fantastic on set, I was part of the first shoot which all takes place in the Westwood house. The producers Andrew and Will rented this huge four storey house on the outskirts of London and we all stayed there for a week or so before filming. It was for us to bond and by the end of the four-month rehearsal process and that week we really did know each other!!!
It was a really intense rehearsal process, because you cannot cut security footage easily – they had long 5-10min scenes where the physicality had to be just right as otherwise the camera couldn’t see faces! – because it was a ‘security’ camera it couldn’t move!. So sometimes I’d sit on the sides and eat chocolate biscuits with the producers while they rehearsed really intense scenes and I’d see Raph or Sian look over at me with envy, and I’d raise my wine and say ‘Good job!’ in a terrible British accent!
Let’s talk a bit about you Jade. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure, I just knew I wanted to do this ever since I can remember! My aunt is a famous TV star in Taiwan and she was the first TV presenter there to have a show. I remember watching her shows – so perhaps that was it? But I just love stories, characters and finding new worlds to play in.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Enjoy it. Don’t beat up on yourself. Be realistic and follow what satisfies you creatively, even if it is not the mainstream idea of what is successful. Most of all make sure you still enjoy life outside of this craziness – its too easy to just fix your sights on the top and then really let life pass you by and not enjoy anything. And remember to have fun!
You’ve been in a number of different film projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why?
I recently worked with Christian Grass – (star of ‘Magic City’), and I loved working with him. He was so intense and focused, and just jumped right into the scene – it was amazing to watch and I really learnt a lot just working with him.
Also working with Kris Marshall – (‘Sparks And Embers’) was great fun. He is so funny, we were filming in the depths of winter, freezing on the Southbank in the middle of the night and there he is cracking jokes, and generally being hilarious. I love how he didn’t take it too seriously and still kept everyone’s spirits up!
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Ha! So much! Everything from musicals – (Nine, Disney!) to Muse, Alabama Shakes, Cibo Matto. I grew up on classical music being a violin and viola player – I also have Mahler, Chopin and Philip Glass too. But recently have been listening to 60’s psychedelia and folk; like Bowie, The Kinks, Simon & Garfunkel, Donovan, mainly because of my partners band Conundrum In Deed – who are releasing their first album in two weeks and it sounds amazing!
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Hmm OK. Tricky. Joss Whedon, as he is my god. I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek and absolutely love everything he does, I think he’d be hilarious dinner guest and my kind of geek. Lady Nijo, I played her in ‘Top Girls’ a few years ago and she is an amazing Japanese courtesan from the 12th century, who becomes a Buddhist nun. She is the embodiment of a powerful and influential woman who rose above social norms to change the way people saw her as a woman in feudal Japan. Finally I’d invite my fiancé Greg. As he’s great conversationalist, who could translate for Lady Nijo and cook a fantastic meal for us all. I’d provide the wine and ice cream for dessert!
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
Oh I was so busy I only saw a few that came out. I’m going to give you two – one that came out and one that I finally saw! OK I’m a bit of a populist and I love sci-fi films so I’m going to go with ‘The Hunger Games’, I loved the books and thought the film was just the perfect combination of post apocalyptic world, with very interesting ideas, and with kick ass female action in it! Then I finally (yes I hang my head in shame) saw ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. Well, that just blew everything else out of the water of course. The themes, the cinematography, the design, the ideas – wow.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
I’m very excited about a couple of projects ahead, there is a film that I’m hoping to produce with my production company Little Jade Productions, and was written for me called, ‘A Perfect Soldier’. It’s a political sci-fi thriller, which will be great fun and also stars my good friend Patrick Regis. Will be a pleasure and honor to work with him on it. Also another project called ‘8 The Series’ which I cannot say too much about, but its going to be amazing! For more info follow me on twitter @littlegreenjade or read my blog http://www.bothsidesofthelens.com.
Thanks for the interview!