Every week, we're featuring interviews with the cast and crew of Rooks. This week's spotlight is on actresses Jamie Ammon and Michela Lamparelli.
About two years ago, Jamie was having dinner with her friend John Prud’homme, who played the lead role of Tom in Crossing. John mentioned that the team from Crossing was gearing up for pre-production on a new film, and asked Jamie, an experienced stage actor, if she might be interested in joining the cast. A few months later, Jamie met with director Robert Maynard, and explained that she’d never acted on film before. Robert was unfazed, having already determined a great role for Jamie to play in Nichole. Cut to a year and a half later, and here we are!
For Michela, things worked out a bit differently. The first crew meeting and table read was held at the apartment she shares with actor Devon Stanley. The actress then intended to play Edi wasn’t able to make it to the table read, so Michela was called upon to read for that role just for the day. She ended up really enjoying the story and auditioned for Edi less than a week later.
Both actresses had their work cut out for them in developing their characters. Says Jamie, “Nichole was never much of a reach for me - dry, sarcastic, blunt… It closely aligned to my IRL personality whenever I am around Robert (we kid because we love). To me, what mattered most was not who she was or what she said - that was all laid out in advance. What I needed to build was her relationship with other characters. Spending time with the other actors and seeing their takes on their own characters was how I filled Nichole out as a character.” Michela took a more straightforward approach to Edi: “I tried to made her into a more traumatized, more maladjusted version of myself. Everyone on set was so much fun, it was hard to stay focused on actually making the movie, and hard to keep Edi’s demeanor up in scenes with them!”
The character Nichole keeps many people at arm’s length, and Edi is often quiet, shy, and reserved. The two characters feature together quite often and play off each other well. They’re perhaps the two characters least interested in everything going on in the film, they’re just along for the ride. That was a fascinating aspect of developing them for Jamie and Michela.
They echo so many of their co-stars in their discussions about the levity of being on set. As Jamie recalls, “We had to face all sorts of challenges (freezing weather, long hours, last-minute rescheduling, late nights, and more) to get the shots we needed. When everything else goes wrong, it's important that the people are right. I was so glad I got to know this group and become such good friends with so many, and I felt doubly lucky knowing how much tougher those long days of filming would be without such a stellar cast and crew.”
Asked about their favorite moments from set, Michela said she’s most looking forward to seeing the scene shot on the frozen lake, and seeing Chef, an adorable duck-shaped decoration that appears about a minute into the film. Jamie said her favorite moment was “wrapping on a particularly charged scene, but... spoilers! So second place goes to when Justin Gatcomb (who plays the protagonist Will) and I decided it would be a good idea to taste test the fake blood. It was awful.”
We pressed her about her actual favorite moment, and she had this to say: “Spoilers! C'mon! Really though, I’m excited to see if the connection I had with one particular character looks as real onscreen as it felt to film. Those two characters deserve to have their story told, and I hope we did it justice.”
As always, we asked their favorite films: Jamie’s is The Princess Bride and Michela’s is The Batman.
See Jamie as Nichole and Michela as Edi in Rooks, premiering at The Strand in Dover, NH, on December 17. On Amazon Instant Video December 23.
Want a printed copy of one of these posters? You can pre-order and pick up at Premiere Night!
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