1) Wanna talk about your newest film SCREAM AT THE DEVIL ?
Sure! I was thrilled at the chance to dive into a role and a story that is ugly on many levels and required a range of understanding, compassion, and total release into a being very unlike myself. I saw this as a rare opportunity to let myself let go in an expansive manner and explore a life of a human and non-human being…an actor’s dream! In this playground, no limits given, nor permitted, as I got to breathe life into my character Raven.
When I first was invited to audition, I found the most compelling part of the project was the script itself… it was well thought out and captured so many truths that are easily overlooked in the day to day rigors of life. I believe there is true good and true evil and this film presents how that reality affects big and little aspects of everyday living. This is why Raven was so gripping to me—she had to be as dark as darkness could be when her true colors were revealed—without that contrast, how could good be appreciated and prized? This is such an important truth to express, I plunged into preparing for the audition and screen test as I had never prepared for an audition before! And I am quite a type A personality when it comes to planning and preparing, so by the time I let it all out, so to speak, in that audition room, I think I nearly fainted from the sheer outpouring of myself required for the role and all it took out of me to prepare as I need to for the screen test. As wonderful as it was to have my husband get me the invitation to audition for the role, it was honestly the most grueling 3-week preparation process for an audition I have ever put myself through. So, when the director Joseph Stachura told me he wanted to offer me the role on the spot (as he picked me up off the floor,) but waited until the following night (to be sure) after re-reviewing all the audition tapes, I was deeply gratified because he made it clear to me that the decision was his, not the producers to make. I should explain a bit more, eh? Why so grueling? Raven is pivotal in the progression of the story as well as the unraveling of the lead heroine into fuller expressions of paranoid schizophrenia. Therefore, I felt a weighty responsibility to offer up as much realism and truth as my soul could muster.
With that in mind, Raven creates a hook—moments of second-thoughts and intrigue to serve the film’s message to consider the many possible realities present in a schizophrenic’s mind as a very viable truth. Raven lives in both worlds, and thus she is key in transitioning the viewer and story between flesh and spirit; what is seen to the unseen. Without Raven, the nagging possibilities of realities would not be as clear nor palatable…but eventually, Raven serves as the quite a shock-factor and propels the thriller into high gear. The lead heroine’s worst fears are confirmed and delivered by Raven and in the broader picture, Raven serves as the consummate embodiment of duplicitous intentions and a gruesome, frightening, gritty, and pitch-black evil. Raven unmasked is the height of unapologetic carnality and wretchedness; of vicious, malevolent, hateful, hideous, repulsive depravity. The audience should be taken willingly on a roller coaster ride of extremes through Raven—encouraged and then revoltingly damned. Well, at least that is what I saw from my perspective in preparing and living the life of Raven. At first so likeable and lovable, expect many a turn through Raven and throughout the film. Hang on for a harrowing ride with Scream at the Devil!
Oh! I must mention… that this was the first film project my husband and I got to work on together! Instead of having work in the industry take away time from us as entertainment careers so readily can do, we enjoyed the unique opportunity to let our creative worlds bring more togetherness. Does not get much better than that! And we love working together so much, we will endeavor to do so more!
2) Super hero films and TV are a big deal, how was your experience on THE CAPE, wanna do a superhero flick, too?
Working on The Cape was a good experience. The cast and crew as well as the network were so supportive of putting forth a good program. I liked the premise of the show so much and was disappointed that it did not last. There are so many factors that come into play in determining the life or demise of a pilot—too many factors to theorize about or try to encapsulate here! Did it fuel my interest in stepping into super hero role? But, of course!!! J I would love to play a super hero or super villain. I think playing a heroine would make my parents especially feel gratified (lol), but as an actor, there is such delectability about savoring the rottenness deep in a soul that is very often unintended, but when evil is malicious and matured—wow…that is a fun, creative challenge. After all, that is what I am hired to do—imagine and be. It’s just so much fun to be something I am not in real life. Plus, imagining and putting myself in the place of others grows a deeper sensibility and understanding toward others in terms of how someone can “end up that way” or “do something like that,” whether abhorrent or admirable. We are all human and so fallible, I feel it’s part of our beautiful humanity to learn and grow and support others in their own redemptive road. Reality is not always pretty and that is what makes life so full and interesting, especially when falling to rise again as both villains and heroes so often do…and in doing so, inspire those watching to dream and do better…and pursue greater possibilities!
There is a project growing some legs lately called Shattered Empire in which I am the lead heroine named Windsong. Windsong (love that name) ends up managing a great kingdom after political turmoil left her fatherless and the land without a leader. Thrust into warring for her family, kingdom, and her life, she ultimately wins the hearts of her people and prevails against enemies within the kingdom’s upper echelons and roundabout her nation’s borders. I love this character because she is bold, wise, fierce, yet winsome and very much a woman. (I’ve attached an image of Windsong.)
Another note on super heroines—one of my favorites growing up was Wonder Woman and when I watched a Justice League cartoon recently, I noticed something that meant a lot to me as a grown up gal. All the females in it (and most other superhero stories) are illustrated as full-figured, healthy, strong women…no gaunt, overly thin damsels in distress… I loved it way back when; I love superheroes even more now!!
3) Why are you dropping The PARK in your name ?
Oh dear… Where did you hear that? I would not dream of dropping my Korean-American identity! It means too much to me. I really try to keep my full name Jane Park Smith in every use of my name personally or professionally but it seems that having a last name with two parts that are not connected by a hyphen does not register well in online forms or in how people process data. My last name is two words: Park Smith, but I find that most times I am categorized under just Smith or as ParkSmith with no space. LOL… as simply monosyllabic as the 3 words in my name are, I don’t know how to make it any simpler or more straightforward … any ideas? J
4) One Sentence Descriptions-
Tony Todd: While I did not work on the same day as he on my last film, I understand that while his reputation preceeds him, his penetrating kindness remains.
Bill Oberst, Jr: As completely kind and gentlemanly off screen as he is convincingly creepy onscreen.
David Lyons: hmmm? I suppose an introduction is in order… J
Jonathan Lee Smith: A most passionate producer who makes dreams a grand reality.
and Matt Chassin: A manager who cares deeply about family and his family of clients.
5 & 6) BEST & WORST of ‘The Park’ ON/OFF Set ?
Same answers for both!!! Mindfulness of others over self. And I really, really enjoy food—making, baking, eating and then sharing morsels of sometimes healthy goodness!
7) Is ROCKY BEAR SMITH your only kid ?
I do have a beautiful little foster girl in Kenya I sponsor through the WorldVision program named Janet (meaning little Jane—isn’t that so neat?!). She is so young yet, but it is a heart-wish of mine to meet her face to face in her homeland or perhaps in mine. Both, I hope…and in the near future!
As far as a child in my own home, my only one is my beloved fur-kid Rocky Bear Smith who has a rather flourishing career himself! Not only does his book ROCKY THE RESCUE have great reviews on Amazon, but he had his first film premiere as a supporting lead in a comedy short called LOUD and DEEP. Plus, he and I were just chosen to be a part of a charitable campaign for Hounds & Heroes, an organization that champions the needs of our military and dogs worldwide in need of rescue and a new home. A rescued pup himself, he now lends a paw to help other rescues in need… what a joy and blessing! www. Rockytherescue.com . Check out his Facebook page to keep up with his adventures! http://www.facebook.com/rockytherescue
8) What is this skill of NOT BREATHING ?
Haha… it’s always so cool when a quirk becomes a skill J For some reason, I have an odd breathing pattern. At times, I’ll realize that I am not breathing even though that is supposed to be an autonomic reflex modulated by the medulla oblongata and then I make myself inhale luxuriously deeply once I realize that I have not been taking quite enough oxygen… I don’t quite understand this about myself. However, there is an up-side because when it comes to having to hold my breath, I recently discovered that I have a great deal of control over a conscious choice to inhale or exhale. This came in quite handy on Scream at the Devil where I needed to be “dead” in a few different scenarios. As the director told me afterwards, he just waited to cut the scene whenever it was that I blinked and breathed (on land as well as submerged,) but because I didn’t for a while, he just “cut” each take of the scenes himself instead of waiting for my body to override my choice to play dead.
If you’re curious about my random breathing, I have become a huge fan of practicing yoga to focus on breathing with deliberateness and depth. As I exercise more and more control over my body’s core muscles and respiration, the greater appreciation I have for staying aware of homeostasis, mental clarity, and soulful calm. All that to say– I’m glad I have an employable quirk!
9) With your charity award -winning background, wanna say anything about OKLAHOMA ?
There are so many devastating events that seem to assault us … natural disasters, tragedies by the hands of broken, weapon-wielding people, and ongoing socio-economic distress… With so much going on, it’s hard to focus on just one pressing situation. However, precisely because there is so much going on I feel that it is imperative that those who have an urge to help, do so in the ways that are meaningful and most prudent in light of their own life. While one person cannot do everything for everyone, we can each do something for someone. Do what you can to serve; do it with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! If we all do something, we can make major miracles happen! Allowing yourself to give what you can to a cause or to a person nearest to you will improve the collective consciousness and elevate the lives of us all.
While my motto and life-quote is “a woman is a warrior who fights not for what she can get, but for what she can give,” I find it invaluable to balance the drive to give unceasingly with the simple survival note (from traveling via plane) to place the oxygen mask on yourself before giving it to another in your care. It is a call for healthy balance–a lesson I keep having to relearn and apply myself. As I realized this year, “even doing nothing well takes practice.” I find it tough to just be still. Note to self–being moved by compassion is beautiful…toward others as well as toward oneself.
10) Well, we have come to the end, what can you tell us…’til the next time ?
Well, guess we’ll just have to see next time! Hee hee J