Actress Samaire Armstrong is appearing in the drama Around June from Indican Pictures this month and has also recently had a run on The Mentalist. She took some time out to let me pick her brain and ask her all kinds of questions. The striking Samaire has also appeared in The O.C., HBO’s Entourage, Just My Luck, Not Another Teen Movie, ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money, Freaks and Geeks and even some of my favorite horror movies like Stay Alive and Rise: Blood Hunter.
Check out my latest Versus with Samaire Armstrong as she shares some details on her latest film Around June, some of her filming experiences and lots more.
Alien Bee - First off, tell me about your film 'Around June'.
Samaire Armstrong - Around June is about a very isolated and unconventional family born from dysfunction, fear, and ultimately, love. There is a subtle longing for change brewing and one day a new element is factored into the family dynamic when the daughter June discovers a boy in the forest on her way home from work. She is smitten with him, and even though little is initially spoken to one another, they are able to communicate beyond the level of language and words, but instead from the language of the heart.
Alien Bee - The movie was finished in '08. Do you know why it took so long to get it released?
Samaire Armstrong - I couldn't say exactly why it took the time it did to get a theater release in the States. However, I do know that there are a heck of a lot of films that never see the light of day due to a lack of persistence & belief in it. This was not the case with Around June. James Savoca and the production behind the film – not for one moment, did they seem to give up believing in the film. I think sometimes the universe has a better release date planned than what myself, or anyone else, may have though… Everything happens for a reason, you know? ;)
Alien Bee - You do lots of TV and film. Do you prefer one over the other?
Samaire Armstrong - I definitely enjoy both :) But I feel more at home with television. With television, you have the capacity to reach a consistent and larger audience on a regular basis.
Alien Bee - Tell me about your gig on The Mentalist?
Samaire Armstrong - I feel so lucky to be a part of this production. It's the most free I've ever felt on a TV set. The writers & producers really just let me bring what came natural to me. Sometimes you have to "work" to find the character together, but Summer was written in a way that I could really let her roll out of me naturally. And Tim Kang… well, I can't say enough wonderful things about him. Aside from being completely genuine & down to earth, he is also highly educated in acting. He has a Master of Fine Arts from the A.R.T Institute at Harvard University, as well as having studied in Moscow's Art Theater School. For me, working with him was not only fun, but I always felt safe. He is very diligent with his choices and conscious of why or when he was doing what. If ever I felt like I was not pulling something off sincerely I would just look at him, and he would reassure me, or take a moment to discuss it with me. He never phoned anything in. It’s lovely to work with people who still care about what they do.
Alien Bee - Your bio states you were born on Japan. Has the Japanese culture had any influence on how you handle your career or private life? Where do you call home now?
Samaire Armstrong - I call Los Angeles home, and have for the last thirteen years. I think having been raised in Japan has definitely influenced me and how I handle my life and career. I was always the foreigner, so people were always looking at me. It doesn't seem odd now when people whisper or point if they recognize me because I have been experiencing it my whole life. In fact I don't notice it until I am with friends and they point it out.
There is also a lot of respect and subtle rules that naturally become ingrained in you, having lived there. That must carry out somehow in my life now. I kind of know when to stay quiet and when not to...
Alien Bee - I'm a huge horror fan, so tell me how your experience was on Stay Alive (I'm a proud owner). And would you do more horror?
Samaire Armstrong - Well, New Orleans is an incredibly beautiful and spooky place. Filming there really brought the magic and eeriness to the film. I think it turned out wonderfully. It was a neat job to be a part of. I wouldn't write out doing more horror. I do like watching it myself!
Alien Bee - Why did they cancel Dirty Sexy Money? That was a great show!
Samaire Armstrong - Ha! As Jessica Rabbit says, "Strip search meee!" I don't have the answer to that question.
Alien Bee - Do you have a website, Facebook page, or Twitter where everybody can keep up with you?
Samaire Armstrong - Yes, you can find me on Twitter: @doe_nutt.
Alien Bee - Who is the most influential person in your life to this point?
Samaire Armstrong - Person… Hmmm…. I have to say there are seven: my mom, dad, brother, Aunt Sunny, Uncle Paul, Grandma Angie, and my manager, Loch Powell. They've been the most consistent influences in my life and have shown me love and encouraged me to absolutely reach beyond the stars. They've never given up on me, nor shown any doubt. They are my foundation and my rocks. A kite can soar very high without fear when it has a strong anchor holding onto the other end.
Alien Bee - What made you choose being an actress over painting or other creative outlets (you seem very free spirited).
Samaire Armstrong - Acting seemed most natural to pursue growing up because there was always a theater outlet. I like the structure of rehearsing and having to be somewhere at a certain time, diving into a character, and sharing it with an audience. I have the same experience when I paint, except that painting is more isolated when in the creating process. I like collaborating with people in the make believe process. But, I wouldn't say that I choose one over the other necessarily. I still do them all, just some things more people see then others :)
Alien Bee - What is one secret that your fans don’t know about that you are ready to share?
Alien Bee - Would you like to say anything to everybody checking this out?
Samaire Armstrong - Yes, actually. What a brilliant question. I've been experiencing a feeling that is fairly new to me. Acting is something that I've done my entire life and often feels as natural as breathing. Within the last few years I've been developing a new craft which is singing and making music. It’s scary to pursue. I never felt that with acting. I find myself taking the advice that I've often given to others when it comes to pursuing their dreams. I think that each of us is gifted with multiple talents and skills. I believe it’s a disservice to not go after your dreams. Facing your inner fears and never giving up is really a beautiful and courageous thing. I just want to say that while I have been absolutely blessed with the success I've had in my acting career, I am right there with everyone else who feels timid or unsure at times. I suppose what I am trying to say is, don't give up. It’s okay to be doubtful, to make mistakes, to feel the pressure to be great, but true success is when you push yourself past limits you thought you were capable of going.
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