By Jacqueline Murphy (press release)
Photo and interview: Svetlana Krapivina
The Oscars season might be over but there are more upcoming great movies to watch and we cannot wait to see one of them created by multitalented Jacqueline Murphy.
Jacqueline Murphy is making her directorial debut in a short film called The Admired. She is also the creator, producer and star in this piece that she co-wrote with her writing partners and associate producers Lynne Newton and Leonid Andronov. It has a sci-fi, fantasy, time travel element to it that makes for a good mystery.
Jacqueline has just wrapped her film and will begin editing this March in hopes to submit it to film festivals and pitch for a feature film or TV pilot. Based on her love for old movies, the Golden age of Hollywood and the glamorous movie stars during that time, she created a story about a modern day actress-Olivia Spencer, who falls through a portal and comes out of it into the 1940’s era at the historic Cicada Club, as a glamorous movie star who looks like Veronica Lake.
Sue Wong the fashion designer, is dressing the cast in her beautiful gowns that evoke the Hollywood era of the 40’s, and is poised to make a cameo appearance.
Tom Hallick who was the first host for Entertainment tonight and a veteran actor who was voted most popular actor on daytime TV for 3 years in a row for is role on The Young & Restless will also be in the movie.
Jeff Rector plays the Studio Head and is the founder of the Burbank Film Festival, Maria Elena Infantino an international singer and actress who is known for her one woman show as PIAF will be playing Starlet Moore, Lynne Newton as Olivias’ best friend Quinn, Richard Riehle plays Grossberg an “Admirer” and Leon Winters a British RADA trained actor plays the handsome, Mysterious Mr Z who tempts Jacqueline’s character to give up her modern day life for another world with an exchange of a tarot card makes you believe you too would follow him anywhere!
Bridget Brady a singer who plays Corrine Sydney, has written an orginal “title” song for the movie called The Admired with fun lyrics like:
“When your admired, all you have to do is sing”.
Jacqueline hopes her idea will catch on and she’ll be able to keep going through the portal to different periods of time and living the life of different heroines.
We talked to her to learn more about the movie:
What should we know about the upcoming movie The Admired? (in couple words)
It’s my first movie I’ve written/produced/directed and I’m starring in it. It’s a dream come true for me to make this film. It’s called The Admired because when I was growing up and watched wonderful actor’s like Veronica Lake, Jennifer Jones, Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman I wanted to be like them. I’d imitate them and play act all the time. Directing my brother and sisters in a similar situation or scene from a movie I’d recently watched! As the oldest of 6 kids -I guess you could say I started directing at an early age!
What inspired you to create the movie?
My love of old Hollywood movies and my experience as an actress auditioning for parts-knowing what resonated with me.
I was drawn to film noir and especially love Kim Basinger in LA Confidential or Annette Benning in Bugsy, or The Godfather. Those period pieces always transported me and my imagination somewhere beautiful somewhere over the rainbow.
In The Admired I wrote my dream role. The role I’d wish someone would write for me I wrote for myself.
I enjoyed writing the other characters too because of course you need to have drama, comedy and relationships!
Growing up, my favorite moment was when I’d watch these glamorous movies with my mom. Then I’d imitate the voices of actress’s like Mae West and reenact scenes from the movies. I just always imagined myself to be the movie stars and actresses I saw on the screen. I remember my first musical comedy class I sang Old Devil Moon and to research it, I saw Rita Hayworth sing it and I was smitten and thought “ I want to do that!”. I also paint and play piano. I chose the Cicada Club because it was visually inspiring and of the time. It is a historical landmark built in 1928 and when you walk in it transports you back in time. When I saw the black lacquered grand piano on the stage and the gold wall with black bamboo I knew that it was the place. I used to also play piano growing up: Classical and Musicals: Like the Sound of Music: and direct my brother’s and sisters “OK I’m going to play “Climb Every Mountain” start at the bottom of the basement stairs/listen to the words of the song and then on the last line: “Climb every Mountain-TILL YOU FIND YOUR DREAM!!” then you need to be up on top step in the living room at the piano by me. I guess I found my dream with this piece!
I know you a talented producer, writer and an actress for this movie. How stressful was it for you to have so many responsibilities?
Being the oldest of five children and having a been a Registered Nurse in my early 20’s in charge of a hospital floor along with my being a SAG member since the 1980’s helped to build a muscle and reference point for dealing with a lot of different situations, problems and finding a solution and how to make it work. I learned SO much working on different film and tv sets over the year. My first acting job was playing a nurse on the soap opera All My Children. I had a recurring role: Nurse Thomas. I helped the director make the scenes look authentic with the way the blood pressure cuff was on or the EKG machine was hooked up etc. Next thing I knew ABC was paying me for two jobs: actress and medical consultant! Soon after I moved on to other roles like a lawyer on Law and Order and film roles. But acting since the late 80’s really gave me a strong foundation and experience for the business and I learned so much.
Let’s talk a little about your collaboration with Lynne Newton who is also a co-writer. Could you reveal some details?
Lynne and I met 3 years ago when we were both cast in a short film called Southern DysComfort. It was set in the South and I played Jackie, a Southern Belle who was a Socialite and ex beauty queen. Lynne was the household help and Nanny to the lead character Michael Lowder who created the film. We hit it off right away. In March of 2015, we were cast in yet another film by Michael, which was a feature based on Southern Dyscomfort called FAKE. While I was on set, I remember walking into makeup where Lynne was and sharing with Lynne this idea I had of “time travel” back into the 1940’s as glamorous old time Hollywood movie stars we both “Admired”. I told her I wanted to channel Veronica Lake and I thought she’d be great as Ella Fitzgerald. I went back to NY where I live, though now I am a bi-coastal actress and Fast forward to 4 months July 2015: when I was flown in from NY to LA for a comedic film called “You Have a Nice Flight” to play the role of Blondie: a Pamela Anderson look alike who sells jewelry on QVC. While here Lynne and I got together and we started to outline the film. We also started to cast some of the roles, in particular the mysterious Mr Z who seduces and tempts my character Olivia to give up her modern life for the 1940’s with the exchange of a tarot card and promise that she won’t return to present day. Hint for future episodes: The tarot card will always be her ticket to a different time and place.
Since this is your directorial debut, what was the most exciting about the filmmaking process?
It’s exciting to see your ideas come alive and to see how important the casting is and picking your team-AD/DP/makeup/production designer/costume etc. The actor’s I cast really created some wonderful characters. I was thrilled to see the set the day of the shoot look as beautiful as it was after months of scouting and preparation. Prior to shooting, I rehearsed with the actors in groups depending on their scene and then a few larger rehearsals with the whole cast. By the time we got to the set everyone had really lived their part prior to the shoot & knew the blocking. I was pleased with their performances. It was very satisfying and exciting to see what I’d written being shot on film and happening for real. And to recreate what I had grown up dreaming about as a child -directing my brother’s and sister’s in small recreations of films I’d seen. They say if you can do what you loved as a child then you really have found what you are meant to do! I feel so blessed and grateful to have had this experience with such a talented group of cast and crew!
How have you discovered members of your team?
As I mentioned: Lynne I’d met on a film set and I saw her grow from an actress in Southern Dyscomfort to helping Mike Lowder write and produce FAKE. She loved my idea and kept at me to put my idea down. We started writing together in July when I was in LA from NY shooting a film. I asked her to be my Associate producer.
Two Years prior: Leonid Andronov had cast me in a lead role in a film he wrote and directed called The Golden Key.
I loved how concise the story was and how he created the characters synergy. When I saw the film I loved the look of it and the shots. He told a story very well.
So when I was 6 weeks away from shooting I called Leo and fortunately he was available.
I asked him to jump on board as our third writer to give us another point of view.
Lynne and I had been working on it and needed a fresh eye. We had gotten very attached to our characters and wrote a lot for them to say.
We cut it down from 22 pages to 12 and it finally felt right to me. The story flowed better. Beginning, middle and end.
I wanted to make the story as tightly wound and well told as possible. It also helped as we were on a budget!
Also because I admired Leo’s ability to write and direct I wanted him as my first AD since it was my first time directing.
I felt I could trust him to watch me on camera as I was acting because he’d directed me in Golden Key and I’d used him to edit my acting reels. I was always happy with what he had done. When I rehearsed the actors, I discussed with Leo how I envisioned the scenes and the actor’s. As well as meeting with Egor to discuss the shots, which brings me to the talented Director of Photography Egor Povolotsky whom Leo recommended to me. When I saw Egor’s reel it was the perfect look I had envisioned for the this sci-fi, fantasy, time travel world. Egor & Leo both loved Yana Veselova our production designer and when I saw her website and talent and how seamlessly she and Egor worked I wanted them both!
I also made Leo an associate producer on the film to thank him for all his contributions, suggestions and skill.
I discovered the actors from working with them on various films, having the same acting manager and/or at Television Academy events. Jeff Rector played the studio head in the film, and he is a Television Academy Member and also the founder of the Burbank Film Festival. Tom Hallick a wonderful actor who was the first host of Entertainment Tonight, and voted 3 years in a row the sexiest man on daytime TV. Richard Riehle a wonderful character actor I worked with in July on You Have a Nice Flight.
And Bridget Brady, who wrote an original title song for the film called The Admired I’d met in November! Just 2 months before shooting. I was invited this November, by Simi Valley Town Center where I shot You Have a Nice Flight to make an appearance for the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony where 100’s of children would be and we both were on stage singing Christmas Carols to the young children waiting for Santa. I knew she had a terrific voice and that I wanted a song and dance number reminiscent of old Hollywood musicals in the film. Our friendship evolved and she came up with the song When Your Admired. Our Starlet Moore, my good friend Marie Elena Infantino an international known singer, performs around the world and in LA at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato. She also does a one women show as Edith Piaf. Lastly 2 days before we shot our film our actor playing Mr Z was injured. I’d met Leon Winter’s a young handsome RADA trained actor with piercing blue eyes at a birthday party 2 weeks before and cast him as our bartender. He reminded me of the actor on the FOX TV series on called Lucifer. And since Mr Z is so seductive – it hit me! OMG we need to recast and he’s perfect! A seductive amazing British actor to tempt me from modern day to the 1940’s. I believed I’d follow him anywhere!
Tell us about your experience working with such an amazing team of actors on a film set?
They all came with their game on. Our meetings for dinner discussions, readings and then rehearsing with the full cast prior to shooting really helped us to bond and trust each other even more so we could be as creative as possible. Every scene I did with them they were 100% present and giving it there all. It was thrilling to see them as excited and into the project as I was. We really played off of each other and we ALL want it to do it again. Possibly pitch it for a TV episodic or feature film.
What is your advice to aspiring actors?
Never give up, believe in yourself and your dreams. Keep training, try on different hats in the business because they will always inform you and help you in your craft. I truly believe in “Where there is a will, there is a way” and finally “Don’t wait, Carpe Diem, seize the day! Life is real, not a dress rehearsal!” Stay healthy and make smart choices. Keep your good values and stick to your principals. Figure it out. Work hard, make your connections, network. Believe it will happen for you!
When and where can we see the movie?
I hope to start editing in March and have the movie ready for a screening in May. Then it’ll be on our website, online and at film festivals. I’m hoping to pitch it for a TV episodic and or feature film. Thanks Svetlana for the wonderful pictures on set and for setting up the interview. Currently we are on IMDb, Facebook and have a website.