Spending Time With…Stefanie Estes from BETHANY

After Claire’s mother dies, she and her husband move back to her childhood home only to have the abusive and traumatic memories of her mother come back and bring unrest into the house. Claire soon finds herself in a fog of past and present when her imaginary friend from childhood begins haunting her memories. What is this terrifying thing that is trying to reach out to her, and what does it want?

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Stefanie Estes (If Looks Could Kill) plays the role of Claire in Bethany, a film by James Cullen Bressack and I had the chance to send over a few questions to Actor, Writer, Producer Stefanie . Whilst many of you might be familiar with my filmed project ‘Spending Time With…’ ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5884988/?ref_=nv_sr_1 ) that is due out this year. I also realise that its near impossible for me to sit down and chat with everyone I would like to sit with so I figured that I would send out a list of questions to some creative souls, in the hope that they would find the time to let me see what it was like ‘Spending Time With…’ them.

Many thanks to Stefanie for taking the time out to answer the Spending Time With… questions.Thanks to Ashleigh for helping arrange it. Many thanks to October Coast Publicity.

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Stefanie has appeared in a whole host of features including The Bunnyman Massacre, Everybody Loves Somebody, Altar, and can be seen in the up and coming series Donna’s Inferno along side the legendary Robert Wagner.

Is there a book that you have reread more than any other?   

I tend to re-read short stories more frequently than books.  Off the top of my head, I know I have re-read the stories in ‘The Love Of A Good Woman’ by Alice Munroe and ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ by Raymond Carver many, many times.  Also the short story ‘Good Country People’ by Flannery O’Connor – I would love someone to make a film based on it.  Its so subtly tragic and terrifying.

Favourite Childhood TV show growing up?

I wasn’t allowed to watch that much TV as a kid, but an exception was made for the Nick At Nite marathons, so I was a huge fan of ‘I Love Lucy’.  I still am!

What’s the most ‘starstruck’ you have been? 

I saw David Lynch from a distance at a party. I wanted to do something “Lynchian” to get his attention – like breaking out into a strange dance while speaking backwards.  But I was too starstruck to even move – which, in retrospect, was probably a good thing.

What was one of the most memorable films you saw as a child?

 I saw the film ‘The Witches’ with Angelica Huston when I was really young, and it terrified me.  I don’t think I had a proper night sleep for weeks after watching it.  I remember making a point to try to fall asleep with my mouth tightly shut, so that the witches couldn’t pry it open and poison me while I was sleeping.

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*Photo Courtesy of Stefanies IMDB Page

What do you find the hardest part of your creative process?

I think turning off the voices of self doubt and criticism can be very difficult.  I’m in awe of anyone who can do it.  I  think, as have have gotten older, I have been able to turn down the volume so to speak.  But they still chatter…just a bit softer.

What is one of the best pieces of advice you can remember being given?

David Mamet said in an acting class I took: “Always show up.  Showing up is 90% of the battle. “  I think that’s such sage advice.  And applies not just to acting, but to all aspects of life.

What is one of your favourite current TV shows? (or let’s say in the past 10 years)

Currently, LEGION on FX – its like nothing else currently on television.

Do you read reviews of shows that you are in?

Yes, I think they are important in understanding how your work in being interpreted.

If you had to make a bucket list of people you’d love to work with, tell me one name who would be on it?

Off the top of my head: Laura Dern – she’s just such an amazing actress and seems like a smart and interesting person.  I totally have a girl crush on her.  I was watching the Golden Globes last month with some friends and every time they would cut to the audience we would play a game of who could spot Laura Dern in the crowd.  I’m pretty sure I won.

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*Photo Courtesy of Stefanies IMDB Page

What is one of your most favourite locations you have filmed in?

I got to film at Mandvi Beach in northeast India – it was amazing.  It was a totally remote and gorgeous beach.   At night, you could see every star in the sky.  We also got to film at the Vijay Vilas Palace which was on the property and was the summer retreat for the Maharao in the 1940s.  It was just stunning.  More importantly, the people I met and the culture I got to experience was just so lovely.

What film always makes you laugh?

‘Tootsie’ with Dustin Hoffman

What film do you love that you feel most people might not be aware of?

I watched an amazing film recently called ‘Wanda’ – it was made in 1970. Its a stirring portrait of a woman who has sort of lost her direction in life and is quite powerful.  I’m a big fan of female driven stories and character pieces – this is both. AND the film was written and directed by its lead actress: Barbara Loden.  This is the only film she directed which is so sad. She demonstrated such a confidence and style and has such a distinct voice as a director.  In a different time, I bet she would have had a prolific career as a director.

How do you prepare for an audition?

Excitedly! Nervously!

In your creative roles? What is the longest day that you’ve ever had?

I’m a n ‘early to bed and early to rise’ type of person, so any time I have to do a night shoot, it feels like the longest day I’ve ever had.  But I think the longest day I’ve had on set was 16 hours.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it…

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*Photo Courtesy of Stefanies IMDB Page

Do you have any ‘props or keepsakes from your films?

I have a sari from ‘When Harry Tries To Marry’.

What excites you most about the film world today?

I think the fact that at this very moment you could walk outside and shoot something with your cell phone that looks amazing is pretty exciting.  Technology is making it easier and cheaper for filmmakers to go out there and create their vision.  So I feel like we are getting to experience the work of so many new artists – which is really exciting!

Is there one person who you feel has made you are today?

My grandmother passed away earlier this year, so I have been thinking a lot about her and the impact she had on my life. She was one of the most selfless people I have ever encountered. She taught me the true meaning of empathy and how you can get so much meaning and joy by giving of yourself in the service of others.  I think as an artist, you ultimately hope that the work you do is impacting people for the good.  However, my day-to-day life of going to auditions and meetings and the gym and blah, blah, blah can feel very self-involved.  So, remembering how my Grandmother lived her life,  I have made it a point to involve myself in volunteer work and community service.  I work a lot with an organization called ‘The Art of Elysium’ – which brings theatre and art to children in hospitals throughout Los Angeles and to at-risk youth.  Seeing the amount of joy I can give to someone by just giving of myself is the most amazing feeling.

What was one of the first music albums you can remember buying?

I was a huge Hanson fan.  I think that was the first album I remember buying.  MmmBop was my jam as a kid.

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Bethany releases in theaters and On Demand April 7 via Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

 

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