ED- The Eerie Digest is proud to introduce Connie Lamothe to all our readers. Connie, you are one of those amazing people in the film industry that wears many hats. Your role in the well-known film ‘Something The Lord Made’ must have been memorable for you. Tell us about it and the part that you played in it.
CL- This was a very exciting opportunity for me as I was able to work with some amazing and well-known names such as Alan Rickman, Kyra Sedgwick and Mos Def. Even more thrilling was the opportunity to work with Joseph Sargent, the Director of the film. At this time in my career, I was still getting my feet wet and learning the how and why of the whole entire filmmaking process was very exciting to me. As you can imagine, there’s a tremendous amount to be learned and this is not something you can learn from a textbook. EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING! I actually look back at this experience and laugh. You might be wondering why I would make that remark, but I did do something that was a HUGE mistake and subsequently was something that ended up on the cutting room floor. In the party scene at the Blalocke’s home, the Director picked me to cross right in front of the camera and in front of Alan and Kyra as they were sharing dialogue. You might think big deal, but honestly, when you are one of hundreds appearing in a film, any little thing you are asked to do personally when you are NOT part of the main cast, is very exciting. After all, this could be your one big chance to become noticed and be an instant “STAR”. (LOL!) In any case, I walked across the room and called out to a “supposed” person on the other side of the room. As I passed in front of Kyra and Alan and most importantly, the camera, I ducked down, as I did not want to steal their camera time! At this point, the Director hollered cut and we did it again! Ouch! How embarrassing was that!!! What a stupid amateur thing to do, I knew better, but I guess I was just not thinking at the time. I think back and am pretty sure, I just felt rude for stealing the camera from Kyra and Alan. Several days later, just as I arrived on set, I heard the Director hollering “Where’s my girl in the green satin dress, the red head, I want her. Bring her to me”. Wow!!! He wanted mwah, was I dreaming??? In any case, I went to him and he asked me if I could dance to which I responded, “Yes”. He then sent me off with the dance choreographer where I was paired up with a gentleman dressed in military apparel. We appeared together as dancers and it was just another scene of which I worked during that film. You can be sure; I did no ducking EVER AGAIN!
ED- What were some of your earlier acting experiences?
CL- The first time I knew that I wanted to be an actress was when I was in third grade. I lived in California at the time and was attending an elementary school that had a morning assembly everyday. At this assembly, a student would be chosen to lead the school in things such as the Pledge of Allegiance and I remember we sang songs too. This would all occur before we’d be dismissed to our regular classes. This seemed like a very big deal to me and typically was filled by older children, but obviously it was something I wanted to do. I wrote a letter to my principal, Mr. Davis asking to lead the assembly and sure enough he wrote me back. I obviously had told him that I loved him in my letter to which he replied that he loved me too and he’d let me know about leading the assembly! As you can imagine, I did lead the assembly and remember feeling a great elation standing up there on that stage before my entire school! Speaking into the microphone for the first time ever was quite exciting too as I heard my voice ringing out through the room! One other experience I remember well, was when I was a few years older, we had moved to Virginia. In any case, it was on a very regular basis that I’d hold neighborhood performances with my friends for all of our parents. We’d stand on overturned trashcans and dance, sing and tell jokes! Later that turned into school plays, chorus. Little did I know, it was just the beginning of things to come!!
ED-In 2005 you appeared in ‘Night Cry’. What was this production about?
CL- I had the chance to play a real estate agent in a pilot that a Washington, DC producer was hoping to launch. The hope was that it would be similar to Night Gallery, a TV show of the 1970’s. The project did not take off unfortunately, but I played a real estate agent who had listed a piece of property that was under investigation by the FBI as there had been chilling murders there. We shot out in a cornfield in the middle of nowhere and I remember distinctly feeling a “chill” in the air enough that it enhanced my character and mood for the scene! This particular episode was just one of several that were completed and I was disappointed that the project was terminated as I had been cast to play the lead in one of the upcoming episodes as well.
ED- The following year, we saw you in two films: ‘Mentor’ and ‘The Last Mango’. Please tell us about these films and the story behind each of them.
CL- My role in “Mentor” was very brief and I only shot for one day, but I did enjoy working with Rutger Hauer and David Langlitz. I would add though, that any project I do, is always an exciting experience as I get to work with well-known screen stars, network and meet new talent! Who can complain about doing something that they love! In “The Last Mango”, produced and directed by John Calvin Doyle, I had the extreme pleasure of working closely with Doug Tracht, aka The Greaseman who is a very well known radio personality in the Washington, DC area. He’s an absolutely brilliant actor which many people aren’t aware of as his total career has been based on his radio career, but he’s loads and loads of fun to be with and as a side note, I have had the pleasure of working with him in two other projects! Additionally, Johnny Alonso was also in the film and having worked one on one with him in the past, I was excited about another opportunity to be in a film with him. “The Last Mango” is about different characters from different walks of life, who end up in a nightclub. During the evening, the fun turns to horror as two people are murdered. Each of the main characters has good reason to be suspected and the audience is left to decide who is the guilty party! The film was quite a challenge for me as my character was gay and the scenes called for some on-screen affection, i.e., kissing, etc. and I have to admit that I had to tackle that, but honestly I think both the other actress and I got through that pretty well. We talked about it and laughed about it as well. Truly, you just have to forget who “you” are and become! In another scene we had to shoot, we shot in an alley in Baltimore in cold temperatures during the winter and if you’ve ever been doused with COLD fake blood all over you and had to lie down on cold pavement, you know how hard that can be! Anyway, in that scene I had to come out of a semi-conscious state, get up, run down the alley and fall. I guess the director was pleased as I truly did fall and ended up cutting up my knees and feet. I’m glad that was the last take, but I wasn’t done as I had yet another scene where my character gets punched in the face and goes down. When I flung myself back to react, I actually did loose my balance and wipe out, another few band-aids later, we were wrapped! LOL!
ED- How were you able to cope with these two roles in the same year?
CL- As I mentioned, Mentor was just one day, but The Last Mango was a major commitment and I worked on that film for many months so doing anything else was not possible because of the shoot schedule
ED- The movie ‘Past Perfect’ then saw you perform in this production. Tell us about your character’s role in this and your interaction with the other actors.
CL- In this I played the role of “Cliff’s Sister”. We shot for several days in Virginia as well as Maryland. My role was small, but what stands out about this film that is very dear to my heart is that on one of the days we were set to shoot, one of the actors did not show up due to an emergency illness. The Director had no one to play the role, so he asked my father. My father, Norval Carey was with me on set and it was just such a thrill to be able to work alongside him. At 80 years old, he had done so much in his life, but he had never been in a film before. He was tickled about the opportunity. The other amazing issue was that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The director taped his lines into a newspaper and that was that. My father passed away in May of 2009 so this will always been a treasure for me!
ED- Tell our readers about ‘Bamboo Shark’, the next film that you were in.
CL- Again, a brief commitment for a one day shoot, but quite the fun experience as there were impersonators there playing the roles of stars such as Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, Sylvester Stallone, Whoppi Goldberg, etc. They were absolutely incredible and had us laughing hysterically! The biggest magic of that movie for me was being with the real honest to goodness, Mickey Rooney. As a kid I grew up watching Mickey on television in all the old black and white films! To have the chance to sit and talk with him in person was a dream come true for me. He was very personable and gave so much advice. He is such a class act!
ED- In 2009 you made the next great leap in your career by not only producing, but directing, ‘Rosie’s Miracle’. What was the theme of this project, and tell us about all the work that you did on the other side of the camera?
CL- Actually, before this film even was an idea and before some of the other films mentioned above got started, I had been doing a number of things that would help to shape my future such as landing a role as a lead in the interactive show “Joey and Maria’s Italian Wedding”. This professional tour was based in the Washington, DC/Metropolitan area and was a big rage across the U.S. I stayed with the tour for six years. During the last 3 years, the producers in Los Angeles promoted me to Director! This was very exciting and actually gave me some great experience and knowledge for things to come. I believe it was at this point in my career that I decided I could really do anything I wanted as long as I put my heart into it. While all of this was happening, I really wanted to produce a feel-good, Christian movie, I wanted to inspire others! With that idea, Rosie’s Miracle was born. My writing partner, Michael Brennan, wrote the screenplay with the actual process taking about a month. I held auditions in August of 2008 and we began shooting in September. The cast of Rosie’s Miracle could not have been any more perfect. The two children that starred in the film, Madison Sprague and Christopher Cox were amazingly talented and honestly, I was blessed to work with them! I believe that the Lord put them and the others (Kendra North, Seth Kozack, Jonathan Ruckman and Larry Carter) there too! It’s hard to believe, but I actually shot the film in 5 days. I had seven in the cast, over 30 in extra’s and a fantastic crew of five. My fantastic DP and Editor, Matthew Coakley was so talented with the camera and he and I worked very well together! It was quite the learning experience from the smallest details such as craft services or wardrobe to being responsible for renting and managing equipment and mostly directing the acting to achieve my vision for the film. We wrapped by the middle of the September, went into post and were ready to premiere the film in December, which we did. That spring, I took the film to the New York Independent International Film Festival where it showed in March 2009. We won “Best Family Short”. It also appeared in the Frederick Film Festival in Frederick, Maryland the following week, In August 2010, I entered the film into the World Music and Independent Film Festival and won Best Director! The ride from this one little film has just been unreal! I’ve been blessed over and over!
ED- For the layman and novice in film production, please explain the efforts behind producing a project such as this.
CL- I’ve just completed a second short film “Reunion”. As a producer, no matter how small or large your budget for the project, the work comes out about the same. The dollar amount makes no difference for the producer who wants to manage every aspect of his/her film! At least that is what my experience thus far has taught me. Producing requires an extremely organized individual, because as the producer you are in charge of the ENTIRE production. Therefore you must know every detail about every aspect of the project. Even if you happen to be lucky enough to have a big staff or a production manager, you still are the one who will answer to investors if you can’t account for every single thing that happened on your set. Even if you are working on a project and have little or no budget, you still must run the show as you would any business so that you can look back when all is said and done and know how to proceed the next time around. My passion to inspire with my film Rosie’s Miracle made all the work it took to complete very worthwhile. Even if I were to cause just ONE person to do a good deed for another person, I’d know that my project was worthwhile. Finally, if you should happen to be someone who has never done any producing or filmmaking, I’d suggest you start with a good book.” Filmmaking for Dummies” is a pretty good read for the individual just getting started and can give you a pretty good start!
ED- You are also involved in a film called ’2012 Seeking Closure’ please let our readers know what this production.
CL-The Director of this project, Kevin Tan and Producers Nick Bailey, Tom Townsend and Kevin has an amazing script! I play the role of Christy Murphy, a writer, who had co-written a book with two other gentlemen (detailing the end of the world in 2012.
ED- We also understand that you are the writer and producer for ‘The Driver’, a project that is in the pre-production stage. Can you give us a sneak preview for this ?
CL- “The Driver” is going to be an exciting project and very different from the other films I have produced (Rosie’s Miracle 2008 and Reunion 2010). This mob drama is based on Vinny D’Angelo, a family man, who has a lovely wife and two children at home whom he would do anything for. Unfortunately, Vinny has another family to answer to: the Mob. It is for this family that Vinny works and earns a rather lucrative living. He’s currently on the lower level of the family, a driver delivering hookers to some shady, unsavory people. Vinny however, has ambitions for advancement and will need to prove himself worthy. When someone close to him becomes threatened, he will find it impossible to achieve a balance between the two families. I am pleased to say that the project is being directed by Todd Wolfe and will star Vincent Pastore as “Don Politano”, Abe Vigoda as “Carlo” “, Heather Locklear as “Jill”, David Proval as “Bruno”, and Tony Devon and myself as Mr. and Mrs. Vincent D’Angelo.
ED- Connie, you are certainly not one to have moss growing under your feet, and seem to have your career well under control. We want to thank you for the time that you have spent with us and wish you much luck in all that you do.
Thank you for the opportunity Joseph! I hope I gave you the kind of answers you were hoping for. I wanted to add that I just wrapped on my other film Reunion that is still in Post Production. However, the film will premiere on Thursday, November 18, 2010 in Winchester, VA. There’s information and a trailer on my website which you can take a look at . . . www.cclproductionsandtalent.com and the film’s website is www.themoviereunion.com,. That site is still under construction. Also did I give you the website for Rosie’s Miracle? If not, it is www.RosiesMiracletheMovie.com.