[A huge thank you to Pardon Me For Asking contributor and Carroll Gardens resident Manny Simone for this interview with actress Ashley C. Williams, who just finished filming "Leaving Circadia" here in Brooklyn.]
Leaving Circadia is a new 'romantic dramedy' that is both filmed and set in Brownstone Brooklyn. The film focuses on a group of Brooklyn friends as they confront the final days of their 20's and the inevitable progression into adulthood.
PMFA: So, Ashley, thanks for taking some time to talk with us. I know filming has finished for you. Can you give us an idea as to what this film is about?
ACW: Yes. Filming has finished, except for a few pick-up shots that I might be doing next week. This film is a coming of age story about a group of friends who live in a Brooklyn brownstone, and they are all in their late 20's, ya know about to be the 'big 30' and they are facing some challenges that typical guys hit at that age. I play the
girlfriend of one of those guys.
PMFA: Sounds great. Your film career has taken you to all the way to Holland and as nearby as Connecticut. How was it to film in Brooklyn?
ACW: I loved that Leaving Circadia was filmed in Brooklyn. We shot scenes that were right down the street from where I live, which was great. It's nice cause Brooklyn is not that noisy or busy as Manhattan is and it's cheaper, I suppose. So that's a great reason to shoot an indie film in Brooklyn.
PMFA: "I suppose" is right. You know how much I pay for in rent here! But for the benefit of all our fellow Brooklyn-resident readers, can you tell us exactly where in Brooklyn you shot?
PMFA: How do you think the setting of Brooklyn alters the film?
ACW: I think it gives it a very safe, homey kind of feel. You have shots of places that nobody really knows about. Where as in Manhattan someone might see a certain street in a film and be like "i know exactly where that is". So to shoot in a certain non-descrip area is nice for a film. You focus more on the story and what's happening.
PMFA: Good point. In addition to film work, you do a lot of theatre. That's how we met and we've sang together for a few shows. You have an excellent singing voice! Do you prefer one medium over the other?
ACW: Aw thanks! So do you! I love both for very different reasons. Theater is something I have been doing for so long now and I absolutely love being on stage in front of a live audience and becoming a character without stopping for two hours and each night is different. It's a scary feeling. Anything can happen! Film you don't do that; you stop and start and do it until you get it perfect. But I love being on set in a real place and having to be more intimate.
Expressing yourself in a very intimate introverted way, I find that I really try and control every movement I do in my face, in the way I walk, because everything is so close up. It's really amazing what you learn about your body movements and in your face muscles. That also helps for theater.
PMFA: Agreed. Anyone who watches TV knows Joseph R. Gannascoli and anyone who goes to the theatre knows Michael Cerveris. What was it like to work with such seasoned actors?
ACW: They are both lovely. I am honored to have my name beside theirs in the credits. Christian Coulson of Harry Potter is also in Leaving Circadia and he was just fabulous to work with, so talented.
PMFA: Don't worry, I gave Christian a 'Harry Potter' shout-out in the intro of the post. You made a huge name for yourself with your film The Human Centipede. I went to your premiere and there are some major demands in filming something like that. What have you found challenging with this film?
ACW: I mean, Leaving Circadia is a coming of age story and my character is living real life situations that I can totally relate to. So in some ways it was easier in this film, because with Human Centipede it was very difficult to imagine myself attached to someone's backside. ::laughs:: But I think the only challenge I was faced with in this film was just revisiting being on camera. I hadn't been in a film since Empty and that was 2 years ago. I have been
doing a lot of stage work recently.
PMFA: We're sold! When does Leaving Circadia come out and where can we see it?
ACW: It is being submitted to this years Sundance Film Festival. So hopefully people can see it in a festival soon and hopefully it will get picked up from there!
Manny Simone is a singer, pianist, music teacher and writer from Carroll Gardens. He is also the Director of Musical Theatre with Mind The Art Entertainment, a NYC-based collaborative arts and entertainment company www.MannySimone.com