Junior’s Cave Interview Exclusive
(Celebrity Interview with
Rising Actress, Marshelle Fair)
October/November 2014 Edition
Photo Credit: Levi Walker Photography 2011
by Isaac Davis Junior, BGS, MBA
It was her strong performance as the likeable yet complicated fun character S.J. on the Indie Television Series DTLA that caught our attention, originally. However, it was learning more about this wonderfully gifted, young, and talented Actress that gave us the courage to ask Actress Marshelle Fair for an interview with our small indie online magazine. Upon conducting our research on Fair’s background and career, we discovered she has also worked behind the scenes including working as a Stage Manager for several of James Franco’s plays at PlayHouse. We also discovered some other cool and fun facts about this down to earth, funny, and witty actress that makes this interview one of our coolest interviews to date. Here is what formulated from our magical online encounter with Marshelle Fair in this super ultra-fantastic spotlight.
Isaac: Marshelle, we want to welcome you to Junior’s Cave. We had an opportunity to review your online bio. We also reviewed some of your projects including DTLA. Can you elaborate a little about your upbringing in St. Louis, Missouri before we get into your acting skills?
Marshelle: Well, we moved around quite a bit actually when I was young, my father was a bit of a nomad. I grew up in Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri, but mainly Oklahoma and Missouri. I had a very Huck Finn childhood, playing in creeks, climbing trees, riding horses. I was always out in the woods or sitting under a tree reading, writing stories, or sketching. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and my mom moved us back to Missouri to be with her family. I went to college in St. Louis. I was a science major in college, switched to English Lit, then with one more semester to go I think it was, I left the University to get into broadcasting. I was in radio for a while, then got into producing and field reporting for a couple local shows. I also acted in theatre both local and professional, would be in films whenever they came through town.
Isaac: You are also a Costume Designer. What do you enjoy the most about this profession?
Marshelle: Oh, I’m not really a Costume Designer per se. I was a stage manager for several of James Franco’s plays at PlayHouse, and he made a couple of them into shorts. I just helped come up with the outfits. It was simple and fun. I do love that aspect of putting everything together. You find so much out about character. A certain style of hat can make you feel completely different. Does he wear a tie or is he a little more free? Unbutton a couple buttons, etc.
Isaac: This is very interesting, and it says a lot about the profession that I didn’t fully understood.
Isaac: What drew you into wanting to pursue a career in this profession?
Marshelle: It was something I always wanted to do, ever since I was a little girl. I was always in school plays or making movies with my brother and our friends. Actually, I think it really hit me when I was six and I played an angel around the manger in the Christmas pageant. I wore black patent shoes and when I saw the photograph of me on stage, it looked like I was floating. Complete magic to me. It wasn’t practical where I grew up to pursue acting as a profession, so I ended up working behind the scenes. Eventually, I was literally pushed in front of the camera and I realized it was something I could do. I just love to act and create. It’s not about being “a movie star” – I just want to work.
Isaac: Where do you draw your inspirations for your designs when you are working?
Marshelle: I’ll apply this question to writing. Anything can inspire me, I still have a bit of a childlike wonder with the world.
Isaac: Why do you believe you pursue acting with such deep passion? What is it about acting that fulfills you the most?
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Marshelle: This may sound completely ridiculous, but to me there’s nothing like it. When you are truly in the moment and you’ve done your research, as my acting coach says, the scene just sort of plays you. That’s amazing to me. For me, I feel completely free. I love working off someone and completely buying into the circumstances, whether you feel like your heart has been ripped out or whatever the scene involves, and then you hear “cut” – there’s always a pause and then such a release of emotion, usually laughter on my end regardless of how upset I was the previous moment. …I think I just like to mess with myself, see how far I can go etc.
What fulfills me the most? I don’t know actually. I don’t think I can answer that. I love researching a character, I love riding the wave and going wherever your emotions and the imaginary circumstances take you. Living in that moment I suppose.
Isaac: You are building up quite an impressive resume especially with your background in both films, shorts, and modeling. Let’s discuss your role in DTLA. What drew you to want to portray this character?
Marshelle: I wanted to work. I’m kidding. No, I’m not… I am. I’m kidding…
I love SJ. She scared me, so I had to do it. I love how she’s so unpredictable. She’s also haunted and that always gets me excited. Flawed characters are so much more interesting to me. I love her spirit and her struggle to try to overcome, herself, perhaps?
I was able to collaborate on SJ, which was incredibly rewarding.
Isaac: Sounds like a win-win situation there!
Isaac: What did you love about working with such a young and talented cast of actors?
Marshelle: What’s not to love? Amazing group of people, in complete honesty. We truly felt like a family.
Isaac: Your character is pretty complicated. Did you enjoy playing such a character full of huge complicated emotions? What has been your favorite scene to play in the series and why?
Marshelle: As I said before, the more messed up the better! I’m crazy like that I guess, but the more complicated a character is, the more layers it creates. I like to add the details, be really specific about it all. The more complicated, the more afraid I am that I can’t do it. I love the challenge of that.
I don’t have a favorite scene really. I loved fighting with Billy (William McNamara), scenes between SJ and Kevin were always great. SJ and Kai. Any scene with Julie Goldman (the bouncer) was hysterical. We did so many different versions of that fight outside the bar. We just went for it, but we were laughing so much it had to be difficult I’m sure to find takes to piece together.
Isaac: What are some of the different feedback you can share with us about your performance in the series?
Marshelle: Oh I’m not going to toot my own horn, thank you for asking the question though. I did get killer feedback, so that was nice, but I don’t want to say specifically what was said.
Isaac: Fair enough!!!
Isaac: What do you feel has been your biggest achievement professionally for your career so far and why?
Marshelle: I don’t think I’ve reached my biggest achievement professionally just yet. I’m looking forward to seeing what that is myself. But in my mind, we always grow.
Isaac: Have you ever taken a role that you were not passionate about but needed the work?
Isaac: Have you ever worked on a project and once you saw the finished product was unhappy with either the project or your performance in the project?
It’s usually when you see the takes they’ve chosen for whatever reason, when you KNOW you did others that were probably way better. It’s hard to see that. Or, you trust that they’ll show this or that, aaaaaand they don’t. Or they show five minutes of a love scene that was only supposed to be three seconds, etc., etc. Don’t get me started…
Isaac: When you are looking for a part; what are some of the important attributes that you look for in one of the characters you are going to portray?
Marshelle: Conflict. Flaws. Honestly, there’s not a checklist, it’s just what hits me at the time, you know? What resonates with me.
Isaac: Do you feel that you can tackle more controversial roles? Are you afraid to portray a character that may not be liked by the general viewing public?
Marshelle: I would love that. Absolutely. I could care less if it’s an unlikeable character. There’s always a lot of grey in mind to “unlikeable” characters. In their mind, they can completely justify their actions. I would love to play an evil character, malicious or whatever. One just can’t view them as these one note cardboard “types,” when playing them. Well I guess someone could, but how boring would that be?
Isaac: If you had an opportunity to work with one director in a film, who would it be and why would you want to work with this director?
Marshelle: Oh man, really? Just one? Well, I love Christopher Nolan. So we’ll say him for right now. Ever since Memento, I think…I don’t know, he’s magic to me.
Isaac: With so many comic book movies being made, have you ever wanted to portray a comic book character and if so who would you want to portray in film and why?
Marshelle: I’m a complete geek, and I admit it. I read comic books growing up. Marvel in particular. Love sci-fi. My brother would play Dungeons and Dragons when I was a kid, so I was always fascinated by that.
Many of my favorites have already been played. Maybe the Scarlet Witch? I loved Jean Grey/ Phoenix, but that’s obviously been done.
Isaac: Obviously, being in this profession is very hard. With the recent tragic death of Robin Williams, what advice do you have others who are feeling overwhelmed by the daily grind of being in this business? How do you handle the pressure yourself?
Marshelle: Vodka is how I handle it. I’m kidding! I…don’t know, it’s hard. I would never say it’s not. You have to develop a thick skin and believe in yourself no matter what anyone says. There are so many people, both in front and behind the camera, that have no clue what they’re doing and unfortunately they are the gatekeepers. They use their positions as a total power trip. I think you have to try and create your own opportunities. Remind yourself of why you love doing this. Stay grounded, don’t get caught up in trying to be the prettiest or the best, just try to be the best you can be. Surround yourself with a good group of people, that’s incredibly important. Create balance in your life, it can’t just be about the work all the time.
Isaac: What do you do to relax and have fun?
Marshelle: I write a lot. I may be a bit boring, I’m coming to terms with this.
I go to hot yoga, I resisted that for so long because it just seemed silly to me, but now I completely love it. It really helps me with stress. I get outdoors as much as I can. I grew up in the woods, so I need trees here and there. Go for a hike, that sort of thing. I want to get a horse one of these days.
Isaac: At the end of the day, what do you want others to take away from your acting performances?
Marshelle: Wow. I don’t know. Maybe a sense of truth? Hopefully they don’t walk away feeling like I “performed” – but that there was a feel of truth in what was happening.
Isaac: Elaborate on some of your current projects that you are working on that you can let our readers know about.
Marshelle: My business partner and I just started a production company actually. We’re, right now, in the early pre-production stage for our first film. Total Indie. Of course. (That’s me making fun of myself by the way) it our way for this film. Riverstar Productions. It’s a character piece, we’re determined to do. We have a couple of other scripts and a pilot we wrote. Several other script ideas down the pike as well. I’m very excited about Riverstar. We’re tired of knocking on doors, time to open a few for ourselves.
Isaac: Complete this sentence for us. “2015 will be the year that Marshelle Fair…”
Marshelle: …knocks the door down.”
(she says with a wink and a smile)
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