Sunday, January 1, 2012

Interview: Jill Hennessy Talks Roadie | Interview: Jill Hennessy Talks 'Roadie,' Written by: Karen Benardello

While known for her roles in the NBC dramas ‘Crossing Jordan’ and ‘Law & Order’ as the career-driven Jordan Cavanaugh and Claire Kincaid, respectively, Jill Hennessy is playing against type in the new film ‘Roadie,’ which is now available on VOD, and is scheduled to hit theaters on January 6, 2012. The actress, who released her debut album ‘Ghost In My Head’ before beginning production on the independent drama, channeled her musical talents to portray struggling singer Nikki Stevens. While promoting ‘Roadie’ in New York, where the movie was filmed, Hennessy took the time to discuss with us how she found it both appealing and challenging to play a woman struggling to find happiness in her stalled music career and mundane marriage.

‘Roadie’ follows the title character, Jimmy Testagross (played by Ron Eldard), in the 24 hours immediately after he is fired by Blue Oyster Cult, the rock band he has been touring with, and working for, throughout most of his adult life. While he longs to stay on the road with the group, he reluctantly returns to his mother’s home in Forest Hills, New York. when the band won’t take him back. Unwilling to accept his fate, he lies to mother (portrayed by Lois Smith), telling her he’s the group’s manager, and has even written a few songs for them.

While home, Jimmy surprisingly reunites with his old high school nemesis, Randy Stevens (played by Bobby Cannavale), who reveals he’s married to Nikki, who used to date Jimmy in high school. Even though Randy and Nikki have been married for 17 years, Jimmy instantly bonds with her again, as they reminisce about their school days. To make himself look better, Jimmy lies to Nikki and Randy about his career as well. While together, the three wonder what their lives would have been like if they had all achieved their childhood dreams.

Nikki’s persistence and determination to further her music career held a great appeal for Hennessy. While the actress has had a modestly successful career as a singer-songwriter, she still understood her character’s struggle to launch her musical profession off the ground. So when Jimmy initially runs into Randy and Nikki at their neighborhood bar, and he tells them that he’s managing Blue Oyster Cult, “she sees it as an opportunity to advance her singing career,” Hennessy said. Nikki gives Jimmy one of her CDs, hoping that he’ll pass it along to some of his industry colleagues.

“Nikki isn’t entirely happy with singing for 30 people in the local bar, or being married to Randy,” Hennessy said of her character. The actress added that Nikki isn’t afraid to go after what she wants, and takes whatever means necessary to obtain her dream of becoming a successful musician, even if means spending time with Jimmy without Randy. She also bonds with her former boyfriend because “it reminds her of her high school days, when anything was possible.”

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