– Schauspielerin Lindsay Burdge im Interview –
Die amerikanische Schauspielerin ist bereits zum zweiten Mal zu Gast beim Oldenburger Filmfest und wurde bei der Abschlussgala am Sonntag mit dem Seymour Cassel Award ausgezeichnet. In einer der eher seltenen Sonnenstunden in diesem Jahr nutzte OffBloggerin Mareike Schulz die Gelegenheit und nahm Lindsay Burdge mit in die Nachmittagssonne am Pferdemarkt. Dort haben die beiden über den Film „Thirst Street“ und die Herausforderungen des Schauspielerinnendaseins gesprochen.
Frage: After I had watched „Thirst Street“, I googled it to get some background information and found out that the filmfestival announced it by saying it would have a lot of comedian elements. That surprised me (lest hier warum) and is why I would like to know how you would describe the genre of the movie?
Lindsay Burdge: Well, I feel like it’s kind of a distorted fairytale. It’s a bit of an erotic thriller and in part black comedy. But it’s not like you laugh out loud all the time. Although, it really depends on the crowd. Some audiences – we just screened in Venice – are just laughing the whole time. My expectations on the German audience would be based on stereotypes, but I guess I wouldn’t think that the basic reaction would be like „oh, this is a hilarious comedy“.
It is a dark movie but I would hope that at least at some points people will be able to perceive the humor.
It’s funny because the movie is already so much about inability to communicate and language barriers, so I wonder how that will translate through yet another language, because it already has the French and English.
I’m glad you mentioned the dark aspects of the film. When I was watching it, there were moments when I wanted to grab Gina and shake her to wake her up.
Burdge: Maybe it’s because you watched it by yourself. I feel sometimes, with all films, it helps to have people around you who are reacting differently. Sometimes having other people around you laughing at things you wouldn’t think are funny, influences how you perceive a movie.
Yes, sure. It makes a big difference if you have to work on it all by yourself or if you can talk about it with others. So, what do you think about the character Gina? What is she like or do you like her?
Burdge: Well, it’s kind of my job to like her. At least as I was playing her, although I’m not sure if she likes herself. To be quite honest, this movie is really hard for me to watch, harder than other movies that I’ve done, maybe because I, Lindsay, don’t like her as I would like (laughs). You know, she’s not very cool and she’s so kind of clueless and a bit pathetic. I don’t think she is someone who is comfortable to watch or certainly to be wachted. I remember one point in the shooting there is this one scene when I come in wearing a wig for no reason. And I remember just going back to the monitor and saying, „I don’t wanna do this anymore“ (laughs). It was kind of humiliating, because I, the actor, was more aware of what was happening to her, the character.
So, how did you prepare for this certain role or rather, how much time did you have to prepare?
Burdge: I knew that we were gonna make it for about a year or a bit less than a year. Then I would get drafts so I started to have some ideas. I watched a lot of films on Nathan’s recommendation and then some on my own that I thought would be fun to sort of incorporate tonally. I got to Paris about two weeks before we shot and had time to just be in Paris. I don’t know if it was intentional or unintentional on their part but I had a lot of time alone. We would rehearse for a couple of hours a day, but really we just talked through films because we didn’t want to kill it before we shot it. So I had all this time alone to during which I kind of naturally fell into character because it was really lonely and depressing to be in a different time zone, away from everybody I knew and pretty isolated. I had forgotten all my French (lacht) and discovered how alienating it is to be in a place where you don’t speak the language. But I knew before that I would have some time alone.
Did you have the chance to help creating Gina’s character or did the director, Nathan Silver, already have a clear picture in mind?
Burdge: Nathan is always very collaborative when shooting a movie. We only had an outline. I definitely got information from him and the rest of the team just about people they were basing the character on. They told me about qualities of theirs and things like that. There was this one thing really written into the script that she smiles all the time, so that was something that was given to me, something I could hold on to. But I had a lot of impact on the role. Once I started playing and maybe said, „I do it like this“, they were like „great!“ None of us really knew what she was gonna be like. We just started shooting and there she was.
So, in general, what is your favorite part about shooting a movie?
Burdge: It changes all the time, it really depends on the day. What I probably love most is how close you get to people in a short period of time and everybody is working together towards a common goal.
You are driving yourself to extremes to get things done.
Each movie has its own unique quality that is generated by the combination of all those people and that’s probably my favorite thing. It’s limited to one time period and then it goes away forever.
And what would you say is the biggest difficulty?
Burdge: You have to be prepared to get up and leave at kind of every moment and then be gone for maybe some weeks at a time. You can’t really hold to a regular job. Even normal relationships I think are challenging. Everyone who is in your life has to be okay with the idea of you being gone once in a while. That’s unique and challenging I guess.
Talking about „normal jobs“: If you weren’t making movies, what kind of job would you do?
Burdge: I thought about different things, but probably the one I think about most often is me being a therapist. It comes from the same place like acting I think. As a therapist, listening to people is essentially important. That really interests me.
Oh, for sure! Now that I am finished with my questions, is there anything more that I should listen to or that you would like to talk about?
Burdge: I want to express my gratitude to this festival, to Torsten and all the staff. This is my second time here and I really feel like they do a wonderful job with finding films that haven’t been seen very much and just really supporting people who are making truly independent film. It’s a unique festival because they really take care of everyone and make them feel supported.