Interview with Actress Amanda Viola

GetAttachmentThumbnailAbout Amanda

I’m a Los Angeles native (specifically the San Fernando Valley) who started doing community theatre at the age of 7. I consistently developed my skills as a young actor through classes offered inside and outside of school.

During my first year of studying theatre in college, I was scouted as a model and started working in that field for several years with top agencies around the world and appearing in major campaigns for Levi’s, Wrangler, Abercrombie, Reebok and Vans.

MV5BNDM0ZjJhNDEtNDkzZC00NTBhLWIxMDMtMmFiNjJlODBjMWIxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODA3NTcwMA@@._V1_UX148_CR0,0,148,216_AL_I transitioned out of modeling into the commercial world and have consistently booked nationals year after year. During that time I hustled through the daunting world of theatrical self-submitting and managed to book several notable projects including Virtual Morality (web series, New Form Digital) Shiny Baby Goats (web series) The Jacket (short) and We Take The Low Road (feature).MV5BZmJkMGY0OWItMGFhNC00M2E5LTgxMTItOWFkODEwYWU0N2Q3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzY2ODQzMDA@._V1_UY216_CR11,0,148,216_AL_

I am currently in development with several new projects, some I am producing and writing as well as acting in. In short, acting is as essential to me as the air I breathe. I am passionate, creative and I play well with others. I strive to challenge myself
creatively and produce work that I am proud of, no matter what.

Tell us about your latest project, We Take The Low Road.

MV5BNDc1MjVlYjItZjIyYi00NmY2LTk0MDYtZmYyMjc2MTE1MWY2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDAxNjcyMTY@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_We Take The Low Road is about a fictional event called “Medi-gate” which is an information leak proving that the government and the ceos of medical insurance companies have been colluding to keep people sick by raising medical care costs to amounts that no one can afford. In the leak are the names and addresses of those who are involved. This creates an uprising of average citizens who have been affected by their actions to take matters into their own hands and execute the people involved. My character, Bobbi, with her two friends, Mason and Thompson, join the movement.

The film explores revenge and the costs that come with it. Politics and violence aside, I believe this movie is actually about family, blood or chosen. Its about what we would do for the people we love and how far we’d go to fight for what we believe is right in the face of tyranny and helplessness.

In your interview Close-Up Culture you refer to acting as “the art of understanding people.” In a world of action-centered rather than people-centered blockbusters like Avenger’s Endgame how important are the Indie films?

Indie films are important for a lot of reasons. The main one is that indie implies independent (of a studio). Indie film sets don’t typically have the luxury of a studio budget but what they get is the luxury of independence in thinking, storytelling, casting. Everyone is there because they love being a part of the filmmaking process. They’re not beholden to what a studio wants, which, at the end of the day, is to make a ton of money.

Because of that, studios don’t typically take risks which is why we have such an action-centered-comic-book-green-screen phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, these Marvel etc. movies have a significance in our culture today; people want escapism, to see the good defeat the bad, to watch an ordinary person develop super strengths. They are totally valid and valuable entertainment pieces.

However, I believe good film and television are about telling stories that resonate on deeper levels with its audience. Something that makes people really think about themselves and others. They provide incite into worlds we could never imagine, create empathy and expand our horizons.

Storytelling began as a live performance. While movies reach a much larger audience, do you feel they carry the same impact as a live performance?

Around the age of 5, my parents took me to see Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages and I was in complete awe. Before then, I had of course seen lots of television and movies and would act out scenes in the living room and play dress up but seeing that live performance truly awakened something in me. I needed to be there. On that stage. Doing whatever those people up there were doing I’m in. How do I do that? I was totally enthralled. I do look back at that as the moment when I first was bit by the bug, as people say.

There is something so incredibly inspiring about live performance. Movies do have a completely different magic to them. Thanks to close ups, we get to see the nuances of the actors performance. We see the single tear well up in someones eye or the slight furrow of their brow. Small facial movements like that can really communicate a lot to an audience which is an experience you can really only get if you’re in the first few rows of a theatre.

Are there enough roles for women?

Oh definitely not! There have always been a lot of roles for women but it was quantity, not quality. I do believe there is change happening though. There are more women in writing rooms and behind cameras and the art will reflect that. I have been noticing that there are more diverse female characters as leads, not just with race but with age, socio-economic class, body types, viewpoints. We are seeing more and more female characters being written as flawed but not requiring a man to fix those flaws but rather embracing them.

If you could grab onto the rudder of the entertainment industry, which direction would you send it?

I think the trajectory its on is spot on at the moment. There’s a massive equality movement going on in Hollywood and I think its fantastic. Especially in television right now. There’s a wide range of diverse stories being told, which was not the case even a decade ago. Thanks to so many streaming platforms there’s a lot more space for interesting narratives to be seen. Some of my favorite shows currently are Insecure (HBO), Baskets (FX), Broad City (Comedy Central), Dead To Me (Netflix) and The OA (Netflix).

If you could go to dinner with any fictional character from books or movies, who would that be?

41WxxnyABjL._SX301_BO1,204,203,200_I’m going to flip this question a bit and say that I would love to be a fly on the wall at the Glass Family house in Franny and Zooey, which is my favorite book of all time. Salinger’s writing is such a tease because you really feel like you’re there and then the book is over and you’re on your sofa wishing there was more.

I also really love Joan Didion. I’m pretty close to reading everything she has written. The first time I read Play It As It Lays, I finished the book and started it over again immediately.

Another author I can’t get enough of is Roxane Gay. I think she’s an incredible voice 81FzYjaqyaL._AC_UY218_QL90_of this generation. Her collection of essays in Bad Feminist is truly a must read in this time of “wokeness”. Hunger, which is a self-image memoir is both beautiful and painful and her short story collection Difficult Women is one fascinating tale after another.

What’s next for you?

I just wrapped another feature film called Big Trees which is a buddy-comedy-drama that centers around the complexities of love and relationships. The characters are in somewhat of a love triangle, complicated by history and friendship. This was an interesting project to work on because the film is almost entirely improvised. The script was basically an outline of beats we needed to hit but it was up to us actors to really live and think as these characters and be in those moments. I also recently co-wrote and acted in a short and we are going to be submitting it to various festivals. I hope to keep writing and doing as many projects as I can. I’m in this because I love it and I love working, no matter the scale.

For more Amanda catch her interview at Close-up Culture.

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