Interview: Lara Goldie rolls with the punches
Australia-born, New York-based actress Lara Goldie has a chat with somethingyousaid.com’s Kaya Strehler:
I’m not going to lie. The following interview was conducted as a major powerplay move by myself in my bid to further my goal of touching James Franco and/or Michael Cera. For you see, when the stars align and the inevitable happens, Lara Goldie is going to be kind of a big deal and I will be able to call her up all ‘oh hey Lara! Remember me? I interviewed you that one time! So I read on your twitter you were nominated for an Academy Award and I was wondering if I could rock that +1 ticket? Thoughts?’ See? All strategy.
Hailing from the shores of Wollongong, Lara is the type of blonde Amazonian divinity who, upon walking into a room, makes men and woman sit up and wait for the hair-flicking and daft high-pitch laughs that the media has ever-pleasingly placed on women with level of beauty. Fortunately, she also happens to be one kick-ass chick who works her ass off with an unrelenting wall of determination, making it no surprise that New York has opened its arms to this talented young actress.
Lara offers up insightful and calculated opinions as well discussing women in the film industry, winning scholarships, modelling and the associated pressures and relocating to one of the most creatively competitive cities on our tiny little planet.
Kaya: Heya Lara, let’s get straight into it shall we? Aziz Ansari. Funny dude. I read that you got confirmed as a co-star role in his upcoming TV show for Universal. What’s up with that? Or is it still all hush hush?
Lara: Yeah! I play Brenda, a Brooklyn hipster mum in episode 1 of the series. Working with Aziz was a blast, and yep he’s just as funny in real life. He also apparently loves the Aussie cafes here and changed my part from American to Aussie on the spot just for laughs.
Of course he did. Man has taste.
Funny little story for you. The set was a kid’s birthday party so there was this giant spread of party food which, I assumed, was part of craft services. There was a little down time between takes herding the kids so I set to work on a cookie I’d been eyeing off. Aziz walked in as I’m halfway through this extremely stale brick of a thing and asked politely why I was eating the prop food. I went beet red and spat cookie everywhere….. Oh well. Memorable I guess.
I guess you are pretty memorable, I mean you were even cast in the film ‘The Strike’ before you even graduated right?
That was a total blowout and overwhelming at the same time, as I was in six-day rehearsals for my final performance, and we began shooting even before that. It was a gigantic learning curve. I had my first night shoots too, 2am call times and all.
And what has been the outcome of ‘The Strike’?
I just got word that ‘The Strike’ screened at the Cannes Market screening and the showings were sold out! That wigged me out a bit. That’s a whole lot of people seeing my mug. I’m now also signed on with the same production company for their next four feature films, the first starting this year called ‘Redemption’, a psychological thriller, followed next year by ‘Dopamine’, a rom-com.
What about your class mates? Did it result in hater vibes or support?
If there were any haters, I didn’t notice. I was way too thrilled. It was all super exciting, like meeting veteran actor Bronson Pinchot (‘Beverly Hills Cop’, ‘Risky Business’) who is the most luminous human being. Like a mini tornado of fanciful language and flourishes every time he goes in and out of a room.
So Sandra Bullock recently kicked ass in an interview with her reaction to being named ‘Most Beautiful Woman’. She spoke about women in the industry banding together. Do you feel that there is a shift in the way women are treated in the film industry?
Yeah, I saw that. She’s absolutely right. It’s so insidiously ingrained everywhere too, which is the really scary part. There’s definitely a strong opposing movement, seen in female run production companies spearheaded by people like Reese Witherspoon, and in the actions of outspoken activists like Laura Dern, and as for actual change, it’s slow moving but definitely trickling in. ‘Orange is the New Black’ is a perfect example of the success of female driven storylines, and it’s really exciting to see!
What’s your opinion on the lack of female directors?
I think the actual number of female directors is increasing. Whereas previously it was intimidating to enter into such a male dominated industry, now it seems to be evolving for the better. I know that in terms of NYU film school students and graduates alone, I’ve met dozens of driven, talented and brilliant women determined to take their place in this industry, and this will hopefully just grow exponentially.
The difficult thing is that there appears to be a very patriarchal and unsympathetic attitude amongst much of the upper echelons in major studios. For example, when a big budget is ‘risked’ on a female director and she comes up with a dud, this could popularly be seen as reflecting the talents of women as directors in general, and therefore put the brakes on faster and more effective change.
How do you view your fellow female actors?
There’s definitely still a catiness among women though that I wish we’d overcome as a sex. If we were all, at least as actresses, a little more willing to see fellow females as collaborators rather than competition then the possibilities for the advancement of our gender in the industry would increase hugely.
Speaking of unnecessarily competitive industries, you dabble in modelling as well. Whats your opinion on that whole industry?
My opinion on the modelling industry is, if you love it, go for it. Dive in. There are definite pitfalls though. I think it’s incredibly unhealthy and toxic for girls as young as they are in that world to be taught to value external beauty so highly. They’re indoctrinated with the notion that their beauty will coast them through life, therefore can tend to place less importance on enriching themselves and growing in other ways.
Obviously this is not the case with all girls who pursue it. I just don’t think its something you should pursue seriously until you’ve given yourself a chance to mature and grow emotionally and develop a solid foundation where you’re able to see the industry from a healthier, more informed perspective.
Do you think you will continue to model in conjunction with acting?
Personally, I never found any joy or creative fulfilment in it, and I don’t see myself focusing on it anytime soon. If the two paths intersect at some point through my work as an actress I’ll definitely consider it, but not the other way around.
I’m sure it will come up again, especially working in New York. How was the process of relocating to New York? How did it all start? Scary as hell? Exciting? Did you have a helping hand?
It was pretty surreal. Through a huge stroke of luck my application for the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute landed in the hands of Vincent D’onofrio (‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘Law and Order’, ‘Daredevil’), who happened to be poised to select the first ever recipient of a full scholarship in his name. And I got it!
Somewhat mellow Sydney to New York. Overwhelming?
I’d never been to New York before and was completely overwhelmed. Apartment hunting in NYC is a nightmare as anyone on a tight budget will tell you and I started full-time school basically straight away. The conservatory course in question was incredibly demanding, and I graduated two years of blood sweat and tears later as an officially trained Method actor.
So it was all worth it in the end?
I slowly fell in love with the city. It truly is the most insanely energetic, bright and intense place I’ve ever been. It raises you up one day and spits on you the next, almost like a test for the survival of the fittest. So far so good, I’ve rolled with the punches, suffered endless rejection and have always found a way to come out on top. Like they say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. NYC, come at me!
Interview by Kaya Strehler. For photo credits click the images.