Shannyn Sossasmon started off her career starring in “A Knight’s Tale” with Heath Ledger. From there is she starred in “40 Days, 40 Nights”, “The Rules of Attraction” and “One Missed Call” to name a few. Recently Shannyn starred in Monte Hellman’s latest film “Road to Nowhere”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Shannyn about working the film as well as her upcoming projects.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you became involved with “Road to Nowhere”?
Shannyn Sossasmon: I was approached by Steven Gaydos at a cafe. It was a few years back. I was working a scene with my scene partner over lunch. He thought I just looked the part. I do not think he knew my work or that I was a working actress. He gave me his card and told me about Monte and the project. I had my manager look into it and he got the script. I read it and then I met with them about getting on board.
MG: How did you prepare yourself for playing that complex character?
SS: Monte did not want me to do too much over thinking, even though I did anyway. He is a relaxed director. The script was incredibly confusing. I tried to make sense of who I was when during the story. Monte would never really help me with that, he would just laugh at me. So I was on my ow [laughs]. Monte is very supportive and wonderful to work with but he lets you run free with the role. He doesn’t take the script so literally. I usually like something more grounded. I just dove in and made sure that the character had a lot of mystery. I think it also contributes to the overall feeling of the film.
MG: How was it working with Monte Hellman, since it was his first feature in over 20 years?
SS: Well I didn’t know who he was before we started on the film. I had to do a lot of research. I am still very good friends with him and will be for a very long time. I know him more as a friend. I had nothing to compare it to as a director. I met him without any preconceived notions. I adore him and he is a great person.
MG: Would you consider the production difficult to work on?
SS: I hadn’t worked on anything in a while when we shot that. I loved the style. I loved working in North Carolina at this wonderful cozy inn. Then we went to Europe but that was a little more of a struggle because we just shot for a month, we were tired and went to Europe with no money. It was definitely challenging. We were stealing shots everywhere we went. We shot late at night so we wouldn’t get caught [laughs]. It sounds exciting but we were so exhausted from the first month and half. I did enjoy working on it though.
MG: Are you going to be involved with second two of HBO’s “How to Make it in America”?
SS: I do not know how much I am going to be in season two. My character, if you watched season one, didn’t do much. So I am not sure if they are going to figure out what to do with her in season two. I am around if they call, if they don’t…it is ok. I do not feel attached to that character or that experience.
MG: Did you ever get to meet Bret Easton Ellis while working on the film “The Rules of Attraction”?
SS: Yes I did, I met him afterwards. He was wonderful. I have seen him once or twice since, which is not much at all though. I think he is a beautiful and really nice man. I have not read all of his book, because I don’t read that much in general.
MG: Did you read “The Rules of Attraction” prior to working on the film?
SS: Actually I read it afterwards. Roger (Avary) was ok with me having not read it. I think some people had read it and some didn’t. He told everyone who didn’t read it, not do so. I think it was some kind of an experiment he was doing.
MG: Do you prefer working on independent films over bigger budget films?
No I do not have a preference. I think it is what is important is having script you are excited about. Studio films are obviously more lucrative and more comfortable. I just love working and being exciting about the project and the script.
MG: Tell us about working on the film “The Day” and with such a talented cast?
SS: Yeah, I am actually seeing a cast/crew screening later. The experience was incredible. The actors are all wonderful. The director and producers are super passionate. That was another tough one though. There wasn’t a lot of money and was some hard work. It will be interesting though. “The Day” is a post-apocalyptic western thriller war action movie. It was really different but I did enjoy working on it.
MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming film directed by Mark Webber?
SS: That one was so magical. I really loved that film. It was mostly improv. I play the love interest and it is a romantic drama comedy. It was great. I had so much fun working on it. Working with Mark Webber was just so great. Unfortunately I can’t really say much more right now.