Thursday, March 15, 2012

Interview: Samaire Armstrong Talks Around June and The Mentalist

People don’t often have the courage to finally express themselves until they meet someone who allows them to follow their dreams. Children can be suppressed by their parents’ well-meaning motivations to protect them from the world. As a result, they don’t realize their full potential until they meet someone their own age who challenges them. This can be seen with the title character in the new independent drama ‘Around June,’ which is now playing in select theaters.

‘Around June’ follows the title character (played by Samaire Armstrong), who leads a quiet life in the shadow of the San Francisco shipyards. June lives under the care of her much adored Uncle Henry (portrayed by Brad William Henke), and Murry, her controlling father (played by Jon Gries). Her life improves when she meets a penniless illegal immigrant, Juan Diego (portrayed by Oscar Guerrero), who encourages her to live her own life.

Armstrong took the time to speak with us over the phone about appearing in ‘Around June,’ and what convinced her to take on the title role. She also discussed, among other things, what it was like working with Gries and the film’s writer-director, James Savoca, and what drew her to her new recurring role on the hit CBS police procedural ‘The Mentalist.’

Written by: Karen Benardello

ShockYa (SY): In ‘Around June,’ you play the title character, June. What was it about the script and the character that convinced you to take on the role?

Samaire Armstrong (SA)
: We get a lot of scripts in our business. The first scene opening up were very descriptive in the colors they were using in the film. I also find that in scripts, that sort of thing is left out. So I was really excited, because it clearly gave an idea to me what sort of imagination the director was working with. So that initially drew me to it. It got me excited about going in on the project.

Then it was really sweet, the director and I talked a lot about art. When he told me I got the part, he handed me an envelope that said yes on it. That was something that Yoko Ono had written in a particular art exhibit where she met John Lennon. So James was such a cool, great character. I was just blown away by his creativity.

SY: Speaking of James, he also wrote the script for the film. Do you feel it’s easier working with a director who has written the script?

: It’s funny, I never actually thought about that. Usually you do have the writer around when you’re shooting, or at least accessible to communicate. In my experience on the film and television projects I’ve worked on, they’ve worked closely, hand-in-hand, the writers and the directors. But it’s their project, and even if the director and the writer are there, working with the producer and director of photography, they’re always giving their input.

SY: Jon Gries plays June’s father, Murry, who is domineering and controlling towards her, in the film. What was your working relationship with Jon like?

: He was so lovely, and couldn’t be a nicer human being. We got to work on specific scenes that we wanted to feel comfortable going in to set, having been prepared about what we were going to say, not necessarily how we were going to say it. But the father-daughter relationship was there, because in family situations, you have a certain way of speaking to one another, in a rhythm. So that’s something we got to work on together.

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