ED- The Eerie Digest was very pleased recently to view the screenplay of the TV/pilot ‘Hard To Be Me’. One of the most pleasant surprises that we were treated to was exciting performance of one of the actresses in it, Megan Hurst. Megan, what inspired you towards the career of acting?
MH- I had many interests as a child. Like most little girls, I wanted to be a teacher one day, a lawyer the next. I even remember practicing giving shots as a pretend nurse. I didn’t recognize my love of the spotlight until I got a little older because I was very shy! When I was about eight, I had my heart set on becoming a singer after hearing Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” album for the first time. Nothing else had stuck since. I quickly got into voice lessons and I’d put on shows and pretend concerts in my room and would sing for my stuffed animals as if they were my audience. In middle school, I joined a show choir that would allow me to perform in front of a real audience. From then on, I felt like I was already living my dream. My drive for singing would eventually propel me into musical theatre for the next few years until I graduated high school. Along the way, I was bitten by the acting bug, and well, I’ve been infected ever since.
ED- You were first seen in the Short film ‘Victor James’. What was this movie about and who was the director?
MH- To me, what this film is about is subjective with every character. To Victor James, it’s about the risks he engages himself in every day by working for his boss, Dirk Mendelson. To Dirk, it’s about not getting caught and not having to repay his overdue gambling debts to Randall Smith. To Darcey, it’s about seeking a way out of her current life in exchange for the life she always wanted; even if means a road that leads to selfish betrayal. I was very fortunate to have worked with Thomas Gidlow, the director of ‘Victor James,’ for my first film. As far as shooting goes, he allowed me to use my creativity to the fullest within his original vision. We’d keep shooting until everyone was happy. What I respected most about him was his love for staying true to the story.
ED- Tell us about the role that you played in it.
MH- I play the character of Darcey. She’s the bravest character I’ve ever played because she has a hard shell, but her heart has become so hardened over the years. Throughout her years working for Dirk, she’s gained the ‘street smarts’ and discernment she needs for getting out of sticky situations. Because of an emotional past with Victor, she’s really ready for a change. She’s ready to have kids and a husband and a good job. Any woman that wants to settle down can relate with that and respect that. It’s a tough situation to be in. The first time I read the script, Darcey had me wondering what she’s going to do next. I was hooked.
ED- Tell us about the other actors in this production and how you interacted with them.
MH- I’d give this this production an all-star cast award if it were up to me. It’s really refreshing to work with people who are in the same element as you. Fortunately, I was able to work on set mostly with my co-stars, Robert Craft (Victor James) and Marty Pertersen (Dirk Mendelson). Robert’s phenomenal both as an actor and a person. I remember Robert and I couldn’t stop laughing in between takes, so when it was time be serious, it really helped our chemistry come alive for the camera. Marty was a joy to work with and probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. There’s also this one scene where Marty has this one line that still tickles me every time I think about it. “You got to shoot the damn puck!” he would say. For the movie it was great, but to hear him say it every take was awesome. I remember the guys recording it on their cell phones and setting it as their ringtone. It was great.
ED- You played the wild and crazy character of ‘Juliet Crawford’ in the Comedy/ Drama ‘Hard To Be Me’. In meeting you in person I found you so unlike the character in the film that I actually did not recognize you. How much of the character of ‘Juliet’ do you think that you are alike?
MH- I get that a lot actually. I’m rather reserved whereas Juliet is the complete opposite. It was a fun challenge for me because sometimes the easiest roles to play are the ones that are most different from how we are in real life. It gave me a chance to prove myself. However, I did acknowledge certain strengths within me that were identical to those of Juliet’s. Juliet and I are very much alike when it comes to being able to feel at home on stage. Growing up, being on stage was always my favorite outlet and since Juliet is a theatre major in college and theatre is my background in real life, it was very easy for me to relate with her. Since I love to dress up, I also loved all the eye make-up I got to wear. She’s got great fashion sense for a preppy-Goth if I may say.
ED- Tell us about the producer for this film and some of the direction that you received to perform this role.
MH- Erik Cieslewicz (director of ‘Hard to Be Me’) is as highly talented as he is humble which I find admirable. There would be ideas that I would contribute to Juliet’s character and he would go with it. Instead of changing completely what I was doing, he only took what I was doing and added to it. What mesmerized me a lot was the pride that beamed through his positive energy and excitement about the project. I found that so encouraging. I credit the overall quality of the show, in part, to him.
ED- Tell us about your work with the other actors in it and how your role played a pivotal point.
MH- The amazing thing about the show is how easily we all got along. So many personalities! We were lucky. Without each and every cast member, whether co-star, Kelli Biggs (Professor Wilkes), or extra, the finished product would not have been the same. I remember thinking, “You know you’ve got a great cast when you laugh with each other off set almost as well as you work together on set.” Doug Henderson (Dan) was a riot both on and off set. Edward Robert Bach (Kevin) and Ali Walton (Olivia), who play my friends in the show, are equally amazing. They’re all really sweet people. Juliet would have been an irreplaceable character to fill. She is as true to herself as she is amusing to her audience. Because she’s an over-the-top contradiction between valley-girl and Goth, I think it shows that Juliet likes what she likes and is who is, and that’s okay. I’d want watchers to fall in love with Juliet’s sense of quirky confidence in not only the love for her friends, but also in herself.
ED- What other genres are you looking to play in?
MH- Scary, scary, scary! But seriously, anything really. I’ve always wanted to do a horror movie ever since I was little. I love the adrenaline. My interests are over the place, and I love the challenge of doing anything I’ve never done before. Anything that makes me research and wrap my mind around it. I’m pretty versatile.
ED- Where do you see your career heading in the next five years, and what are your hopes for ‘Hard To Be Me’ ?
MH- Well, I’ve certainly come further than I had ever hoped at a rate I didn’t expect. I never thought I’d be co-starring in a TV pilot with so many down-to-earth folks or even owning my own IMDb page. I see where I’m at as only the beginning and I can only imagine where work will take me. It’s a journey I’m inclined to take until I reach the highest point and fall repeatedly just so it makes getting right back up easier. I want ‘Hard to Be Me’ to be the next big hit on television in homes everywhere because I believe in the sincerity of the stories these characters tell. I want the audience to be able laugh, cry, and think about certain episodes for weeks because it touches them. All of these characters are real people living in a ‘real world’ that will hopefully inspire others who watch it. That’s what this show is all about to me: helping others relate and look up to people who see the world in a rather positive light. I’m looking forward to future episodes.
ED- Megan, it surely has been a pleasure to hold this interview with you. You are very talented and I know that our readers will be pleased to learn all about you. I personally will be looking to see more of you on the silver screen and hope to hear more about you in the near future. Many thanks !