Photograph by Alex Harris, @thesouthinanewlight on instagram, taken at the Raymond Battlefield of actress Nancy Lindsey and director Travis Mills.
First Time in a Movie: Nancy Lindsey
We begin a blog series of interviews with select members of the cast who made their screen debut with Son of a Gun. The first up is Nancy Lindsey who plays a key role in our movie. She approached this character with no prior experience and I can tell you that she blew us all away by the end of the shoot with how strong a performance she gave.
I asked Nancy some questions about her experience on Son of a Gun.
How did you get involved with Son of a Gun and what inspired you to be in a movie?
I was reading the Vicksburg Post Newspaper and saw the article for Running Wild Films’ open casting call for a Civil War era film. I thought, “this will be a great opportunity to do something I’ve never done before; “audition for a film.” So, on Friday, January 26, 2017 I took a late lunch break and went to the Strand Theatre, 717 Clay Street, Vicksburg, MS. A young man gave me a few lines from the script for a character, told me to review the lines and prepare for the audition. I was nervous but Travis and the crew at the audition made me feel comfortable. I recited my lines the way I thought the character would say them. Then Travis asked me to repeat them with different emphasis/emotion. He told me I did well for never having done this before. I left excited that I beat my own challenge to myself. I only hoped to get a small part in the film.
When Travis emailed me and asked about filming dates, I was still thinking “small role” and when he finally emailed the script for my character, I was beyond ecstatic. He asked me to review the script and let him know if I could do it, I’m confessing now, I didn’t read the entire script before answering yes to Travis that I wanted to play this character. My inspiration was that Travis offering this role to me. He had already evaluated me through his audition video and if he selected me, he believed I could do this. His belief that I could be this character was my inspiration many times when I needed it during filming.
There is also one more thing I would like to mention, I emailed Travis a few days after the audition to see if he had made his final decision on actors for the film. Travis emailed me back that same day. “He” emailed me, not an assistant. This was huge to me because for me this showed his level of work integrity and ethics. During filming, I saw how much work this entire process is and how Travis and his film crew make it look effortless. I have nothing but respect and admiration for every individual that worked as crew on the movie Son of A Gun.
What was one surprise for you about the moviemaking process?
One surprise for me about the moviemaking process is that scenes are not filmed sequentially. Therefore, an actor has to be prepared to film any sequence of scenes when working.
One additional thing I learned was how mentally exhausting (demanding, strenuous, challenging…. You get the picture) acting can be. Putting on a character is perhaps harder than physically putting on a set of clothing. Once clothes have been put on there is no additional thought about how to keep them on. But, once the aura of a character has been obtained, the actor must hold mental focus in order to have the same character show up in every scene and throughout the movie.
What was your biggest challenge acting in a movie for the first time?
My biggest challenge was displaying various emotions and facial expressions at will. Remember, I challenged myself to audition for the film. Once receiving the character role, I had to figure out how I was going to become this person because I am just naturally formal in posture and when Travis asked for certain expressions, it was a bit challenging but Travis as a good director, coached me every step of the way. I will definitely work on facial/emotional expression even if I never do another film.
Describe your favorite moment from the production of Son of a Gun.
There were so many great moments on set but one that sticks out for me is when Travis showed excitement during a take of one of my scenes with Dr. Legrand. I don’t remember now the exact scene, I think it was my character first reuniting with Legand. This made me excited because I desired to do well, not just for me but also for everyone present whenever I was on set. So, for me to nail a scene just the way my Director needed that was a big deal for a “first timer.”
We’ll be back with more cast interviews soon.