Traysie Amick…"Dawn" in TAKEN IN…how did you and I first meet?
TRAYSIE AMICK: Wow. You have always been. I knew who you were. Saw you in a few things at Centre Stage, worked with quite a few of your students in touring shows, heard tell of your adventurous choices in season for the high school. I never remember anyone actually introducing us; but I do remember, at one point, being surprised that you knew who I was. Then I was able to teach Harriet (White, my daughter and star of GOOD LIFE). She was incredible in class. She had a sly demeanor and a great sense of humor. And she was fearless. That’s when I felt I really “met” you.
What did you think after our first rehearsal with Tim Brosnan ("Simon") and Madelaine Hoptry ("Brooklyn") at my house?
TA: I was truly excited and intrigued. I had seen Tim but never worked with him. I liked the actors David Sims produced out of his program so I was sure Maddi would be good. Maddi had a strange energy. She was nibbling on snacks that seemed to vaporize the minute her metabolism sensed it. I was amazed at the fact that she seemed so at ease in a room full of grown-ups. Tim was relaxed and quiet. He was a bit aloof, but that just seemed a challenge to me since, as I understood it, my character’s goal was to warm him up in the eyes of the viewer. I felt that a real insight was achieved when we went out of the story together and played a scene as siblings, commenting on the situation in the movie. I really liked your intimacy as a director, it is both disarming and comforting.
What’s the best part of making a movie at South of the Border?
TA: White trash vacation!!! I have always been drawn to roadside attractions. I drove in after the Café and Then Some show, and it was around 2 AM. Coming up on it as the highway curved I was listening to a mix cd. Oddly enough, my former husband’s song was playing and right when the music broke, the horizon exploded into a neon tangle of nostalgia and inappropriate racial reference. Somehow that seemed very hopeful. The couple of days I was there had a real camp-like feel. I was thrown into close quarters with a group of people with whom I had not ever spent any real time. It was a community on fast forward.
What was the funniest thing that happened during the shoot?
TA: Maddi and I were leaning on a rail. We had our sights on the little pond that had been created for the large four-legged reptile. (I dare not assume whether it was a crocodile or alligator.) Whatever you call the creature, he seemed interested in our process. He was subtle, trying to nonchalantly overhear what was going on. What, in fact, was going on was that Dan (McCord, Cinematographer) was trying to get a good angle on us through the camera. All were crowded around, concentrating on getting the light right, I believe. The crew had been disturbing the habitat for a short while now. This was the precise amount of time to allow the creature to get annoyed. And as Dan steadied himself along the fencing of the cage…the creature shot up-all teeth- and snapped at the fence. What ensued were wide eyes, inhuman leaps, and hurling expletives as everyone in range did a collective cry of alarm. After the “willies” dance, I couldn’t stop giggling to myself. (Either that or Maddi’s “walk of shame” at some ungodly morning hour in the first moments I saw her on location. Giggles to that as well.)
What was the sweetest/sappiest thing that happened?
TA: A flickering moment between Tim and I when his character broke up with Dawn. Unless you mean sweet...like when Jen (Baxley, Producer) slipped Maddi and I an extra Reese’s Egg before the boys descended upon the room. That was totally sweet.
Talk about the love scenes with Tim. Was it strange? What advice would you give actors with "hook-up" scenes in a film or play?
TA: This was the first time I had ever made out with someone for a story’s sake. Not on film or stage had I ever had to even kiss anyone. I don’t think I realized this until after I was the throes of it. At that point, I felt 13 again. It was all teeth and elbows. So it was a little strange, and a little awkward. I found myself wondering what it would be like if the person opposite me had not just spent the week working night and day on a character that had a penchant for control and his shields perpetually up. My advice, embrace the Zen and don’t forget to breathe…or say your lines.
What do we do next?!
TA: A Sci-fi Film Noir Comedy!