Interview: Mannette Antill – Best Actress of FanFilm Awards 2016

With your performance in The Shadow, one could swear you were the real deal. Are you the real Margo Lane?

Indeed, any time I am performing my ultimate goal is to become the person I am portraying. So, yes, I am Margo Lane.  And this is why I do this work.  It is significantly for the delicious feeling that a transformation has taken place and that I am this character.  It is actually a body sensation more than an intellectual one and it is delicious.  In fact, one long held memory from the first grade is of playing that I was a horse. And I remember that, without a doubt, I was a horse!  The remembrance of this amazing reality is in large part I think, what made me realize the possibility of this transformation!

Are you a fan of The Shadow?

I have to admit that I was only a little child when this show was on the radio and my parents did not allow us to read comic books growing up, but I have always been a fan of fantasy.  And I particularly love the fact that the Shadow’s powers come, not from some superhuman power, but the power of the human mind. I love that he was required to learn and devote himself to a discipline and overcome his own challenges in order to obtain these powers.

Indeed, the Shadow “knows what evil lurks within the hearts of men” because he has experienced and overcome his own dark side.  It is an exploration all actors must face.

What helped you get into character?

I did do research on the program “The Shadow” and read reference works and articles about the radio program, the books, and the various film portrayals.  I particularly researched the real people upon whom it has been speculated that the character of Margo Lane was based, socialite Brenda Frazier and actress Margot Stevenson and watched some period films like the detective show “The Thin Man” with William Powell and Myrna Loy to get a sense of the times when Margo and Cranston first met.

As a female actress, do you find roles like this rare?

Indeed, it can be challenging to find roles where women are the ones with power and where they are central to the story especially for mature women where roles as mother, grandmother, crone, or other stereotypical roles predominate.  Although, I was playing “the mother” here, it was a mother who also held special powers and who had a colorful and significant history and involvement with the story.

I’d certainly like to have the opportunity to develop this character as one who uses that power!

You look amazing for your age! What’s it like to be a mature Actress in the indie film industry?

Thank you for your kind compliment, but one thing that is an advantage to being an older actress is that there is less of an expectation that one have a particular “pretty look” that I know is limiting and confining to younger women actors.  Again, as a mature woman actress it can be a challenge to find roles that are not stereotypical both as character types with uninteresting dialogue, and not much of a character arch.  It is also very unusual for any story to have more than one significant role for a mature woman though there can be multiple roles for younger men and women.

What got you started as an Actress?

I was attracted to performing as a young girl, but it was for the most part as a dancer and I danced well into my thirties.  And though I acted and sang in high school and took part in competitions (and twirled a baton as a majorette and played the flute), by college in the late sixties and early seventies I became devoted to the idea of creating social change and social justice through politics and the law and I went to law school and became an attorney.  There, as they say, I simply acted on a different stage – persuading others to believe my version of reality.  (And I also had five wonderful children with whom I played much pretend and to whom I read many many books even through their middle school years.)  But I was ultimately motivated to return to acting.  I realized that theater and film had the power to create change in ways the adversarial nature of the law cannot. By taking audiences into the lives and thoughts of others, they can be exposed in profound ways to see the world through new eyes. In this exploration both actor and audience can be brought to completely new understandings of “the other”.

You being an award winning Actress is a powerful statement. What advice can you give women entering this industry as a career?

I would encourage young people to devote themselves to work for which they can sustain a deep passion and commitment.  And if acting creates that magic for them, it is what they must do. However, whether one is going to act or become a lawyer, or businessperson, or doctor or nurse, or engineer or psychologist or whatever, go to school and seek experiences that expand your knowledge into fields and worlds beyond your own.  Learn as much as you can about life and about the lives of others, and read, read, read.  Explore, travel, enjoy nature and all matter of art.

If you want to act, it is particularly imperative that you must know what it means to live fully in order to portray a full range of human experience.  Explore different realms of human expression in music, literature, philosophy, and movement.  Expand your own consciousness and attain deep personal understanding of your own psyche through whatever means works for you.  And then study the craft of acting.  Even if one has innate talent, it is critical to develop an understanding of the skill of acting – just as one would learn and practice any art form.  I recommend formal schooling for that though I also know that many have found training in free standing acting schools and specialized conservatories.  And then one must also find mentor’s to lead you through the maze of the demanding “business of the business”.  One must realize that, like all other professions, this is a business and you must develop business and marketing skills in order to be successful.  And if I were beginning today, I would take the time to develop companion skills in writing and theater and film production.

And HAVE FUN!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s