Behind The Scenes with Sara Malakul Lane
Remember how we recently interviewed actress Sara Malakul Lane? Well, we were so impressed with her that we decided to invite her to join the somethingyousaid.com team as a regular contributor. Here’s her debut article, in which she talks us through life behind the scenes of ‘Jailbait’, her upcoming movie:
Jailbait is the story of Anna Nix – a girl who has been convicted of killing her abusive stepfather. She is sentenced to four-to-eight years in an all-girls’ juvenile prison. I play the role of Anna. It’s the fist time I have acted in a project where my character is in pretty much in every single frame of the movie. There are not many scripts out there that focus on a female protagonist and I fought hard to get the job: I pierced my lip, cut five inches off my hair, agreed to get naked and lost my manager in the process. Even though I knew I had a fairly good shot at getting the role, there is always the chance that a name actress would be offered the part… so I went all out.
Being raped, beaten, smoking crack, throwing up. That pretty much sums up a standard day on set for me. I see it as make-believe, play time. I mean, how often do you get to wear a straight jacket, scream like a motherfucker and get the crap beaten out of you by a bunch of girls? it is kind of fun. We had to have a safety word (“kiwi”, if you care to know) because things got crazy, especially during the riot scenes. When you put a bunch of pent-up actress chicks that live in LA in orange jump suits and tell them to beat the living shit out of each other, it gets hardcore. Putting on the jumpsuit immediately makes you feel a little more gangster, and it’s not often you get the go-ahead to punch a girl in the face. I get pulled away halfway through the riot by prison guards so I got to see some of it from behind the monitor. When the director yelled “cut” most of the girls were so into it that they kept going. The coolest part was that everyone was game, no cared if they got a little bruised. I think there is a little thug in everyone; you just have to give yourself permission to bring it out.
My boyfriend, Jared Cohn, wrote the script and directed the film. I love working with him, he is great at what he does. Because he wrote the script, he knew exactly what he wanted for the story and the characters. He also knows me really well and what makes me tick, so that made it easy.
He is a very decisive director; he doesn’t over-shoot stuff. He has acted before in a lot of movies, he has also shot a lot of movies and worked as crew, so he knows every facet of the production. He gets it when an actor is frustrated or flustered; he understands his DP, and what they need to be happy with the shot. The rape scenes and the lesbian love scenes were kind of awkward, but there is really no getting around that. You just learn to embrace the awkwardness and make it a part of the performance.
The movie was shot in eleven days. It was a very intense experience but I’m glad I didn’t have much downtime otherwise I may have gotten freaked out. I had to do some crazy things. There was one day when I thought – is this really a good idea? You kind of have to take the plunge and fully commit. The days went by really quickly though. You kind of feel like you are in another dimension when you are shooting a movie. You don’t really know what is going on with the rest of the world, there could be a mass shooting and you wouldn’t know about it. It’s all about the script, the lines and the characters in and outside of the movie.
We shot an average of nine pages a day. Each day was different, depending on the location. We shot two days on a plant in Long Beach, that was literally a factory where they take shit (yeah, like real human faeces) and convert it into gas which somehow creates energy (who knew?). I couldn’t really eat much that day because of the smell.
The majority of the movie though was shot at a real juvenile correctional facility, which shut down about ten years ago. There was definitely a creepy energy about the place. There were still scratches on the walls. It helped to have such an authentic location.
A week after we wrapped Jailbait, I flew to Thailand to shoot Pernicious: a horror movie directed by James Cullen Bressack. Again, it was emotionally taxing, but I had a much smaller role so it wasn’t as intense. The imagery of a heavily pregnant woman hanging herself just sold me – I wanted to have that experience in make believe.
I find it fun to go to dark places and learn more about myself. I also find people who choose to hang themselves kind of fascinating – what drives them to that point? It takes a lot more thought and planning to hang yourself as oppose to spontaneously jumping off a bridge or putting a gun to your head.
Initially, I was on such an exhilarating high having been a part of two great projects in a row that I thought I was invincible, but the emotional strain did eventually catch up to me and I felt waves of sadness that seemingly came out of nowhere. I realized it was probably all the dark daydreams I put myself through. It passes, but if you make yourself cry, think awful thoughts and put yourself in imaginary tragic situations everyday for three weeks, you cant expect it not to have a consequence on your overall mental health. I just kind of rode the wave, had a couple of days in bed, wallowed, indulged in my sorrows and then moved on.