Guest author, Michael Whitlatch of http://associatedpresses.org, recently conducted an interview with Upstairs Girls and Sandy’s Channel actress Erica Rhodes for ADI-News. Erica has worked along side Meryl Streep and Garisson Keillor during her extensive acting career. She has also starred in featured films and appears in the film ‘Go West’, which is currently making its way through the film competition circuit. A teaser trailer for ‘Go West’ was recently released and can be viewed on this Erica Rhodes fan site. Erica Rhodes has been featured on ADI-News previously for her work with the LA Comedy Awards and was recently named Mascara.org’s Most Beautiful Woman of 2011.
The following interview was conducted through Facebook, where Erica Rhodes makes herself accessible to her fans.
If you were to star in the following remakes, who would you select as your leading man from the pool of modern male talent?
When Harry Met Sally: Zach Braff
The Wedding Singer: Adam Sandler (he’s not THAT old ;))
Sleepless in Seattle: Johnny Depp (umm I just wanna be in something with him).
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Ryan Gosling
Who are your comedic acting influences?
Not counting my Mother? I’ve always loved Lucille Ball. She is just the most loveable comedienne ever I think. Marilyn Monroe was a fantastic comedienne as well. For men, I loved Charlie Chaplin when I was a kid. Then there’s Peter Sellers who is of course, a Comedic Genius. I used to watch ‘Fawlty Towers’, with John Cleese and I remember watching that and laughing so hard. I love British humor. I’m also of course, inspired by Garrison Keillor who I have worked with since I was ten. He has definitely had a huge influence on my pursuit of Comedy, helping me understand Comedic timing and how to perform comedy for huge audiences, hold for laughs, don’t rush, even how to write comedy, since he’s asked me to write my own material a few times.
Who are your dramatic acting influences?
Meryl Streep, who I was also lucky enough to work with once. I love Sissy Spacek, who I find simply fascinating and Helen Mirren; really, all of the great actresses before them like Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, to name a few. Angelina Jolie inspired me a lot in ‘Girl Interrupted.’ I loved her performance. She is also an incredible business woman, since she didn’t have an agent until a few weeks ago.
Coming from such a musically talented family, you playing the cello is no surprise, but what drew you to the cello as opposed to the violin?
My Mom said I had “cello hands” as a baby. Plus, when I was a baby, she would play me Schubert’s cello quintet and I listened through the whole thing without making a peep. She knew I was drawn to the cello.
What role do you think internet based productions will play in the future of the film industry?
It’s hard to tell, but I do think films will start to be made for the internet as well. I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed by how quickly everything is changing. I can’t even predict what the next few years will look like.
Have you ever auditioned for roles on Lie to Me or House?
I have auditioned for Lie to Me once, which isn’t really something to brag about, since I didn’t get the part. Though, maybe it is, since the part was a stripper. I think I even went to a strip club to “do research” but I guess it’s still just not the perfect role for me. House I never auditioned for. Though I did do some extra work on it once, and met one of my best friends, Mindy Byram on set. So that’s something to brag about. She’s a really great friend and actress as well.
Josh Wheadon has this knack for casting amazingly, talented female leads for his works, when might you be appearing in a Josh Wheadon production? Have you been approached by Wheadon’s people?
Good idea. I’ll shoot him an email. I haven’t been approached yet by his people but, I’ll work on approaching them.
No matter how busy you get with your career, you always seem to have time for your fans on Facebook. What originally inspired you to be so available to your fans?
It might be a bit of a problem-my addiction to Facebook. Though, if my fans appreciate it, then maybe it’s not. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so when I’m not on set or at auditions, I’m online trying to find auditions and more jobs, and stay busy. So, it’s easy to get distracted by Facebook, etc., but I have attracted some wonderful fans who I genuinely like having conversations with. Perhaps it’s because I am a social introvert. I like to communicate but on my own time and in my own way. So it’s a good outlet for me. Plus, I need the support sometimes and my fans are very supportive no matter what I’m going through and no matter how many rejections I’ve had to face. I feel really grateful for their presence in my life.
Do you get more spiritual or physical reward from Yoga or is it a combination of both?
Gee….I just realized it’s been like 2 weeks since I’ve been to yoga, and that’s usually when I start falling apart. I really need yoga in my life for balance. I run more for physical reward, but yoga definitely keeps me balanced emotionally and spiritually. I always feel more at peace and in the moment when I come out of class and that’s essential for this business, to exercise patience and gratitude for the present. It’s a long journey in life and in acting and yoga reminds me to breathe and keep centered and positive. But, yeah, mostly the breathing.
Do you have a schedule for when you post on Facebook or Twitter or is it random and as events happen?
I don’t have a schedule for anything in my life!
What are the similarities between Erica Rhodes and your character Sandy on Upstairs Girls?
Well, we both play the cello, for one and we look a lot alike. I’d say the biggest similarity is our naiveté. I tend to be a bit naive and look for the best in people and situations. And I think Sandy does that too.
You have a list of things you have learned as an actress after your first feature film. Could you give three more lessons to add since the writing of that list?
Sure! I could give 300! Haha…
1) Whatever you are experiencing when working on a character is truthful to that character. So if you feel insecure about something, it’s probably the character feeling insecure about that thing. I have mixed up the two before, and so it helps to remember if I am feeling a certain way, it could just be that I am “in character.”
2) The business side of this career is probably the most difficult part to make peace with as an artist, but if you can be business-minded without it taking over your creativity, you’ll be able to stay sane and inspired. It is definitely a business, but you’re the boss, so you can do as little or as much as you want to for your particular business.
3) Find other creative outlets when you aren’t working. As an artist, it is easy to get depressed when you can’t express yourself, and it is imperative to find other outlets so you are not totally dependent on other people for permission to do so. Write, play music, make random collages. But always keep your mind busy, so you don’t become stagnant and you always feel inspired and motivated.
4) *Bonus* Make room for you friends. You will always, ALWAYS need them.
Do you have a positive affirmation that you tell yourself before going on an audition to psyche yourself up? If so, what is it?
I have lots. I’m usually psyched up already, so if anything I try to calm myself down and relax. I guess it would be something like, “Just do your best.” All you can do is your best for that day and then move on. I guess recently I have been trying to say things like, “Be bold. Commit.” Because I think strong choices are definitely imperative in making an impression in an audition. I also will say things like, “Change the reader,” because if you can make changes to the person you are reading with, you have done your job as an actor-which is to affect the person you are acting opposite. Plus it gets the attention off you, which is the biggest trap of the audition situation-being self-conscious.
What is the source of your creativity?
The source? I’m not sure exactly, because I have always been incredibly creative. So, I guess I could say I was just born that way. My parents are both creative people. My Mom is a Professional Violinist. And My Dad used to be a Clarinetist. I was exposed to creativity at a really young age. I’ve also been highly charged emotionally all my life, and so I think my creativity definitely comes from a need to channel that into something productive, as opposed to the many temper tantrums I used to have as a kid!
In an all female casting of Hamlet, what role would you try out for?
Hamlet, duh. 😉
If you had the choice of one sentence of true gossip about you to spread across the internet; what sentence would that be?
Erica Rhodes held her own with Meryl Streep.
If you had the choice of one sentence of false gossip about you to spread across the internet; what sentence would that be?
Erica Rhodes is playing Daisy in the new ‘Great Gatsby’
Have you had any run-ins with the Paparazzi?
Do iPhone pics taken by friends count?
Where can we buy Erica Rhodes Hats, T-Shirts and Posters?
I’m actually in the middle of cleaning out my closet now…Would you buy my hand-me-downs?
Are you a vegetarian?
I’m a pescatarian. I eat fish, but I’m not your typical vegetarian. I dated two guys who were vegetarians so it kinda stuck with me. I never really developed a taste for meat. I haven’t had chicken since ’02
Name three favorite singing in the shower songs.
Ha! What makes you think I sing in the shower?!
1) Brown Eyed Girl
2) You’re so Vain-
3) Fake Plastic Trees
What is your favorite “twenty-five” cent word?
I like the word obsequious.
What movie(s) would you watch a million times?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Buffallo ’66, American Beauty, Spirited Away
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I sure hope I have a new car by then. I see myself starring in major studio films. I also have my own film Production Company and am writing and directing my own films. I am also writing books. (Working on my first novel right now). I am doing music, as well. Singing and playing my cello. I go back and forth from NYC. Oh, and I meet the man of my dreams who is also an artist, of course, and he and I collaborate and make movies and music together and maybe in ten years we have a little one on the way. So yeah, a lot is going to happen from now until then. But I’m working hard to MAKE it happen!
It was a real pleasure interviewing Erica Rhodes. She is a very genuine and sincere person and has cracked me up with her performances on Sandy’s Channel and comments on Facebook on many occasions. If you would like to learn more about Erica or just give a young, up and coming actress your support, then cheer Erica on at her Facebook Fan page or for your consideration, http://twitter.com/ericarhodes.
Guest Author: Michael Whitlatch