Due to rising interest in this film, yesterday I published an interview with Winnipeg musician and actor Lyle E Style about his non-speaking role in “Perfect Sisters” (2012). Click here to read it.
Tell us about yourself, Lorraine. What makes you ‘tick’?
Many people would say I’m hard to understand. That’s alright with me.
You play a “Representative” in the film “Perfect Sisters.” How did you land this role? Why were you chosen?
Simply put, I was called to audition for this role by my agent. I never ask why I get a role and sometimes I’d like to assume it’s because I understood what they were looking for, but I think I came at the character with sympathy for the girls.
Tell us about your character. What do you like/dislike most about this person? Do you find any similarities between your character and yourself? If so, what?
My moment is brief, but I come at the girls to help them find a stable home life after the death of their mother. My character has a stable profession while I have a career that’s based in unpredictability, not knowing when the next job will be. She’s more rooted in her life and stable. I’d say we’re both sympathetic and care about the well-being of the people we come in contact with.
What was the easiest aspect of playing your character? What was the hardest?
Easiest: Rattling off the chores I’d already done, like trying to contact their birth father and flashing my business card to their Aunt (Rusty Schwimmer).
Hardest: Having a heart to heart with the girls about their future and hoping they’d make the right choice by going with their Aunt and not flit off on their own and have their lives spiral downhill like most in the system.
What was your favorite part of the filming experience? What was your least favorite?
Favourite: I’m always fascinated with meeting the actors up close, ones I’ve seen on TV and in the movies: how tall or short they’ll be, their personalities, if they’re divas, funny, quite, foul-mouthed or dull.
Least Favourite: waiting around to get on set. That’s most actors’ annoyances.
Do you enjoy working in your hometown? What do you love most about Winnipeg? What do you like the least? How did this film incorporate the city’s hot spots and unique settings (if it did)?
I thought that after moving back to Winnipeg that I’d get hardly any work. I’ve had better luck out here where the competition is reduced in comparison to Vancouver where it was a hundred times fierce. The tension in the waiting room was stiff whereas in Winnipeg it’s much friendlier, almost sociable. There is a professionalism that’s still ingrained in many local Winnipeg actors who’ve been doing this for several years, but the competition is buried under the kindness I’ve experienced. If only we had as much work that Vancouver and Toronto got, I’d be thrilled, but then the dynamic would be unlike what I’ve described.
Do you have any scenes with Georgie Henley, who plays younger sister Beth in the film? Describe the most memorable scene.
The only scene I did have was withGeorgie, Abigail [Breslin] andRusty [Schwimmer], where I advise the girls about their future by themselves or with their Aunt Martha. The girls were well behaved and professional, whereas Rusty was the life who lit up the room. They were great women to work with and it was a pleasure to be in their presence.
What was it like working with Georgie? What do you like most about her?
Since I’d only met Georgie that one brief time, we didn’t get to chit-chat, but I have no complaints about her or any of the other cast mates. Abigail started saying something to me but then I was interrupted by a crew member about a detail in my lines. Not enough banter between myself and the cast. I was in, did my scene and then I shook their hands and was gone. I wished I had enough time to hang with them or get to know them and I know that they’re all too busy with their careers to socialize with me. If I ever get a better role, I suppose it would be different.
“Perfect Sisters” has an all-star cast: siblings Abigail and Spencer Breslin, Mira Sorvino, Rusty Schwimmer, James Russo, and Zak Santiago among others. What was it like working with them on the set?
Well, Zak I’d met years ago when we went to the same actors studio in Vancouver. We were in different classes but we intermingled with the same people. Even though we were in the same movie, we had no scenes together, unfortunately. We didn’t even have a chance to go for drinks and catch up on old times (maybe next time). Mira was on set that day but I didn’t see her at all, nothing, which disappointed me. With Rusty, I sought her out through YouTube and found a scene of hers from “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005), which was one of my favourite shows. I didn’t bombard her with questions about it, as we were busy getting our hair and make up done at the same time.
What was it like working with first-time director Stanley Brooks on this shoot? He’s more well known as a producer: “Prayers for Bobby” (2009), “Living with the Dead” (2002), and “The Annette Funicello Story” (1995) among others.
He was a kind man, smiled a lot. Looked like the happiest person on set and it was infectious throughout. Nobody had a bad word to say about him, which is a good sign when you’re working with anyone, really.
You’ve done a lot of film, television, and theatrical work. How does “Perfect Sisters” compare with your previous roles?
This is the first project based on a true story. Before, I had absolute liberties with my characters, but with this one, even though I wasn’t given any details on the actual person, I had to represent the representative well.
How did you get into acting in the first place?
I sought out some community theatres when I was younger and then went through the phone book, (before the internet was an option in the ’80′s) and found an agent. From there, I merely persisted, regardless of long bouts of unemployment. Persistence is key for me.
Which actors and directors do you admire for their craft?
Specifically, actors who can do both drama and comedy, those who morph into their characters recognizably and just anyone that amuses and entertains me. Meryl Streep [I await “The Iron Lady” (2011) to come to the theatres], Al Pacino, Angela Bassett, Jim Carrey, a few actors that I’ve worked with that have taught me about the craft and the business, all my acting instructors, including the ones from high school.
What are your favorite movies?
I’m a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan and I’ve seen all of his movies. I also love David Fincher‘s films and have seen most of them. I’ve seen many foreign films too, courtesy of the VIFF. My favourite all-time movie is“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) because it so impacted me as a child, the black and white to color moment, the characters Dorothy meets, the scary witch, but as I get older, it just makes me feel like a kid again. I also love how the scarecrow, the tin man and dandelion underestimate themselves and some charlatan has to point out what they already have inside of them. [NOTE: Georgie Henley’s favorite movie is also “The Wizard of Oz.”]
How much do you know about the true story of Canada’s infamous bathtub girls?
All I really know is what I Google on the internet. Nobody on set gave me anymore information.
Have you read Bob Mitchell’s book The Class Project (2008)? If yes, how does the film’s script compare with the book? If no, do you ever plan to read the book?
No, I haven’t read the book. I saw an interview with the novelist and it has me intrigued. Maybe I will borrow it from the library someday.
Have you seen the movie trailer? What should fans expect?
I haven’t seen it so I’ll have to Google Alert that one. The buzz is that Abigail and Georgie will surprise you with their characters, ones they don’t usually do.
What are your plans for 2012? What’s next for you after this film premieres?
I’m doing a webisode of some sci-fi spoof with a local director and I’m reviving a play reading sometime this year. I take it day by day. I’m very patient with my career.
What would you say is the most important aspect of “Perfect Sisters”?
These girls weren’t evil. They turned to people they thought they could trust who failed them, but in the end they made the wrong choice. Desperate times called for desperate measures and they made a fatal choice.