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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in Ann Dowd (14)

Monday
Jun222015

The Many Faces of Ann Dowd ~ 25 Years in Film & TV

As this new week begins, I need to take a moment to express gratitude for what made last week special. Ann Dowd was gracious with her time and thoughts for a special guest blog day. In case any of you missed it, it was neat to get an insight into her work on The Leftovers, hear about her teenage reaction to Romeo & Juliet, and more. I particularly enjoyed her comments on falling in love with acting and advice for young actors. Regarding the latter, I'm not an actor but it resonated with me strongly and I think it's great advice for any career that requires risk, heart, soul, and the ability to handle considerable peaks and valleys.

Which is quite a few careers if you stop to think about it.

Ann Dowd's film and television career began in earnest 25 years ago in 1990 with a role in the Golden Globe Comedy winner Green Card and guest appearances on two different TV series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd and The Baby-Sitter's Club.

this is just scratching the surface

Her gallery of characters has been growing ever since but with critical raves and a few prizes for her riveting film-carrying work as a duped fast food manager in Compliance (2012) audiences finally starting putting a name to the face. Ever since we've been blessed with more and more of her. The Leftovers was arguably her greatest showcase yet. If Emmy voters don't notice what casting directors already have, it'll be their loss. 

What's your favorite Ann Dowd character and did her Guest Blog Day make you long for more peeks into your favorite character actors? (I'll take suggestions)

Thursday
Jun182015

Coming Soon... (with Ann Dowd)

Today's celebrity guest blogger has been the great Ann Dowd (The Leftovers). Now it's time for her to say goodbye - Editor 


-by Ann Dowd

Before I leave you, sorry to say I can't reveal what I'm doing right now. All I can say is that I'm writing to you from a set. I can't disclose any more details than that. But here are four upcoming projects that I am free to talk about.

photo via twitter

Our Brand is Crisis 
This movie is based on a documentary about Pedro Gallo (played by Joaquim de Almeida) who is running for President of Bolivia for the second time.  The first time he was president he moved too quickly on the economic front and the country suffered tremendously, particularly the poor. So he hires a political consulting team (it was originally Jim Carville and his team) to get him re-elected. I play one of the consultants so most of my scenes are with that team: Sandy Bullock, Anthony Mackie, Scoot McNairy and Zoe Kazan. David Gordon Green, who directed it, was extraordinary. We shot in Puerto Rico and New Orleans and it was a wonderful experience, hands down.

Viggo with screen kids in "Captain Fantastic"Captain Fantastic
I play Viggo Mortensen’s mother-in-law. My daughter was dead and my grandchildren are being raised in the woods and learning to survive. Wonderfully written and directed by Matt Ross.

The Big and the Small
We shot this indie in Alabama. Its about a kid who has never had a home but he’s a beautiful artist and he’s trying to find his way. I play a police officer - she’s very quirky— who is bound and determined to help him.  

Oppenheimer Strategies
Richard Gere is just phenomenal in this. I don’t even know how to describe it but Oppenheimer is kind of a pathological liar and it’s about the connections he makes and what he brings to fruition. It’s from Joseph Cedar (who directed the Israeli Oscar nominees Footnote and Beaufort). I have a small role but I was thrilled to be a part of it. I play a woman from the State department who is trying to clock what Oppenheimer is up to.

 

So much has happened since Compliance (2012). I feel so fortunate to be working this much and on such wonderful characters like Patti on The Leftovers. I am very grateful that people are interested and that I would be asked to share my experiences.

Thank you all so much for reading and I wish you all the best.


Previously
: Patti and The Leftovers, Falling in Love with Acting, Mothers & Imagination, Six Key Roles

 

Thursday
Jun182015

Ann Dowd: Quick Notes on Six Roles

The Film Experience is proud to turn today over to the great actress Ann Dowd. Enjoy... 

The cast of "Garden State"

- by Ann Dowd

Nathaniel tells me these are his favorite characters from my filmography and since I've taken over The Film Experience for the day, here are quick notes on each.

"Olivia" in Garden State (2004)
Loved. Zach Braff really had it together- wrote, directed, starred in. He was very clear about what he wanted which is always a pleasure.

"Cookie Kelly" in Freaks and Geeks (2000)
Hysterical. Writers, actors, everybody was talented and young and funny. I love that role - she was delicious and twisted.



 

"Sister Maureen 'Mo' Brody" in Nothing Sacred (1997)
Sister Maureen was a wonderful role, so well written, a lovely cast. I have two aunts who are Catholic Ursuline sisters so I know something about that world – how educated they are, how generous and caring and complicated they are. The way the role was conceived by Bill Cain reflected the truth about that world and it was a pleasure to work on it. 

"Sandra" in Compliance (2012)
Another beautifully written role. I have tremendous empathy for that character, not having a guidance system of her own. How derailed her life became. Great director Craig Zobel.


"Estabrooks Masters" in Masters of Sex (2013)
Oh my gosh, what I remember most about the first season is just the feeling of hitting that ground running. Michelle Ashford's writing is great. A really terrific cast - Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald. The stories were very strong and I love the character of Estabrooks. She's clear and unfaltering and also able to admit her mistakes, apologize and then move forward. Loved her.

 

"Patti" in The Leftovers (2014)
We already spoke at length about this role but there was a lot of camarederie on set with Amy, Liv, and Justin. The atmosphere was so surreal -- keep in mind that sometimes we were shooting in the middle of the night in the cul-de-sac somewhere 45 minutes out of the city -- no sense of time or space. On one of the first days of shooting the first A.D. Vebe Borge didn't speak in solidary with the Guilty Remnant. How's that for commitment?

Thursday
Jun182015

Ann Dowd: Playing Patti on "The Leftovers"

The Film Experience is proud to turn the site over to Ann Dowd for the day. Enjoy...

As Patti Levin on "The Leftovers"


-by Ann Dowd

Finding the character of Patti on The Leftovers was a fascinating experience. I remember having a lot of questions about her when I first read the script. It was scary at first, it was daunting the not speaking. “What is this about? How are you going to play this?” There are always so many questions for an actor. You think “Where is this person? How am I going to find her?” And then the thought came, "Take a breath, settle down, The information will present itself." And sure enough it did.

There are always clues when you’re searching for a character. Not speaking actually turned out to be an incredibly powerful position to be in and here's a clue: make sure you know what the character wants because you are not going to be able to tell anybody with words so it has to be in your whole being. Other clues turned up each time, episode by episode: what she responded to, what she didn’t respond to, her intense aggression toward Kevin, trying to understand why.

It’s a process and in those first episodes, I had just enough to do to slowly put that picture together. [More after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun182015

Mothers & Imagination

The Film Experience is proud to turn the site over to Ann Dowd for the day. Enjoy...

- by Ann Dowd

As I’ve said I did not grow up in an environment where acting was a viable career choice. I remember once when I was a teenager seeing Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet and having to go to bed afterwards … from grief! Can you imagine? I had not read it and when I saw the tragedy happening I said  “NO NO NO” I just knew that there was no way Romeo would not get the message that she wasn’t dead, that she was just sleeping. But when it went in that direction — I just was “THIS CANNOT BE TRUE”. I had to go to bed. My mother said “That’s it — No more movies! That’s the end of it.” 

Later when I became an actor she was less than thrilled. I think deep down she saw it coming, mothers are smart that way, but I know she hoped the desire would fade and I'd stick with medicine. She felt that it was such an unstable life.  But she’s wildly supportive now. She’s on board now. I love her to bits.

Of course it will be different for my children if they are interested since they grew up in the environment. My husband is also an actor and he's the chair of the acting department at CAP 21. It’s a musical theater school, a great school. I'm not teaching at the moment because I'm not able to commit to a schedule but one of my favorite things was to teach Chekhov and Tennessee Williams. I hope to do it again because it’s a lovely thing when you’ve been at acting for awhile and you can understand enough of what the students are going through and be of use to them.  

My oldest boy doesn’t have an interest in acting. My girl, who is 17, does. My littlest one came into the world singing and dancing. Living in New York our children are exposed to a lot: Music, plays, books. We remind them that there are other ways to negotiate the world besides technology. Keeping your imagination alive and well is a big thing in our house. 

Previously: Playing Patti on The Leftovers and Falling in Love with Acting 
Next: A Few Key Roles

 

Thursday
Jun182015

Falling in Love with Acting (and Advice for Young Actors)

The Film Experience is enormously proud to hand the site over to Ann Dowd (The Leftovers, Masters of Sex). She will be guest blogging all day. - Editor.

As Patti on "The Leftovers"

-by Ann Dowd

The awareness, the love story, for me began in high school. Acknowledging it came later. I’m talking about falling in love with acting and committing to the life with all its ups and downs.

You know, you do a play in high school and you think “Wow, this is kind of great.” For me it was playing Adelaide from Guys & Dolls -- it just about did me in with joy. But it never occurred to me, and I’m sure this is true for many others who didn’t grow up in a theater environment, that you could choose to be an actor.  It just wasn’t an option. 

I was in premed for four years in college. But I also took acting classes each year and that's where I found peace and some sense of fufillment. There it was, that feeling again, a deep love. The role that changed my perspective on whether or not I could really be an actress as a life choice was Sonya in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. It was that quiet voice again which said, "I want to live in her life."

It’s a simple thing, from my perspective now years later, about knowing whether you want to do this and whether you can commit for life.  And that’s in this question: 

Can I step into the life of another human being in an open and truthful way without judgment?

There’s a connection that happens when you’re acting that transcends just about anything. When that happens — and it doesn’t always —  but if it’s deep and it happens enough there’s an awareness that you could really live this life with all its ups and downs. So I made the change in senior year of college, auditioned for an acting school, got in, and essentially never looked back. It was very hard, many ups and downs. But there was never a question of “can I do it?” It was that I had to do it. Plain and simple — it was the only thing that made sense to me. 

Returning to Chekhov years later on Broadway in "The Seagull" with Kristin Scott Thomas and company

For Those Starting Out
Many young actors starting out want advice — “how do I get an agent?” is usually the question — and I'm afraid I don't have much advice on that issue.  When I look back now 30 years, when I think of what a young actor needs to be successful in this business, for me it comes down to the following: a fierce energy, a single mindedness, a refusal to consider failure or giving up as an option, and an unshakable belief that you have a rightful place in this work. Youth has that in it's favor. 

And I can offer this: stay deeply connected to your love of acting. Put your head down and keep going, even if there aren’t roles, or if they go well or don’t go well. In the moments when you’re alone, slow it all down. Step away from technology as much as you can, observe and listen to life as it unfolds. Live your life. Work on your relationships. You will need all of those things as actors. You need perspective. If you have personal issues, seek the help you need to get through them — you need an understanding of suffering and pain but you do not need to spend your life doing that to make the work good! 

Attend to your life in other words. Know and believe that it’s going to work out. If you love what you’re going to do and you do the work to get better as an actor,then you’re going to get the support you need.  

I know that sounds naive but I honestly believe it’s true.

Next: The Leftovers