Exclusive Interview with Alexandra Essoe for ‘Starry Eyes’

– by Gig Patta

Many actors live in Los Angeles is willing to do whatever it takes to make it big in Hollywood. But, how far one would go to achieve stardom?

“Starry Eyes” is a horror thriller about a young actress, Sarah Walker, enduring her days with a dead-end job, petty friendships and going on casting calls in hopes for that big break. After a few strange auditions, Sarah lands a lead role from a mysterious film production company. But, with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically into something beautiful…..and also terrifying.

Latino-Review had an exclusive phone interview with actress Alexandra Essoe about her lead role for the film. We talked about the lure of Hollywood, the Sarah character and how she could relate to all of this.

“Starry Eyes” is currently in select theaters and available on iTunes and OnDemand.

Read the interview transcript below.

Latino-Review: What attracted you to this project?

Alexandra Essoe: I was immediately attracted to this project. I was a big fan of those psychotic women genre like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Possession” and “Carrie.” I always since a kid wanted to do something like this. It didn’t take any convincing at all. [Laughter]

I actually had coffee with the director after the callback with me and another girl. So it was like, “Alright! Time to breakout the film trivia.” So it was how desperately I am attracted to this genre.

Latino-Review: Your character is very reflective of what a lot of girls would do in Hollywood. What is about this particular character that you really liked?

Alexandra Essoe: I really loved her fragility. She’s so hard on herself. She loves on what she does so much. She really has this innocent, romanticized ideal on to be an actor and succeed in Hollywood. I feel like a lot of actors have that especially when they move here [in Los Angeles]. They haven’t experienced the industry or business side of things. They have this whole “my name in lights!”

I found it all enduring. It made me extremely protective of her.

Latino-Review: Could you relate to the character, Sarah, in the movie?

Alexandra Essoe: Oh, absolutely! Not in every way, but in its most basic way. Sarah is very universal for actors. You go to class. You go to auditions. You have to deal with rejections constantly. You have to let it roll off your back in which Sarah couldn’t really do.

Latino-Review: Of course, you are nowhere close to be like Sarah.

Alexandra Essoe: Yes and no. When you approach a role, it’s important for you to share the important qualities with the character, because you want to relate to them. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of judging them and you can’t honor them at all.

There are a lot of things I have in common with Sarah. I’m also hard on myself. Obviously, I don’t punish myself like she does. [Laughter]  I do hold myself to a certain standard. I just love on what I do so much. I related a lot to her feelings of not measuring up and the self-doubt.

A lot of actors go through that. You have moments on where nothing’s happening. You’ll be like on whether this is something I should be doing. Is it worth all of those sleepless nights? There are displacements. So it’s all over those things.

Of course, it’s totally worth for all of those things. You’ll have those moments of what if’s. What if it doesn’t work out? What am I going to do? As a working actor, you just have to press forward and have faith in yourself.

I think it’s the one tragic flaw in Sarah even though she has the drive and ambition. She doesn’t really believe that she is enough. She needs to have a true sense of identity and that’s why she is so easy to take advantage of.

Latino-Review: Good thing you didn’t have do extra research for this role then.

Alexandra Essoe: [Laughter] No, I did quite a bit of research. I watched “Gilda” like a hundred times. I really wanted to connect with the wonders of acting and the fantasy that she has. It all has to be personal. I have my own version of that. That character isn’t me. I have to construct something that is true to her and the story. It justifies the choices that she makes.

Latino-Review: You just said you have your version of this. Just out of curiosity, what is your version?

Alexandra Essoe: Oh, gosh! My favorite actress of all time is Gena Rowlands. She is a huge inspiration to me. She really demonstrated on where you could really go as an actor and what the possibilities are. There’s no need to put on any limitations on yourself. For me, that is the fantasy. It’s to make work that I’m passionate about and challenging. It’s not just challenging for the actor, but also for the viewers. That is my romanticized version. [Laughter]

Latino-Review: The movie did take a bunch of weird twists and turns. Was it also the horror elements that attracted you…..in fact, I’m not even sure what I can that?

Alexandra Essoe: [Laughter] It’s funny, because it traverses a few subgenres in horror. It has body horror, supernatural and transformation. It also cut into the psychological thriller. It really covers a lot of ground in that way.

It was a dream come true to put on all of those hats to explore in all of that territory in one project. You almost never get the opportunity to do that. I’m extremely grateful.

Latino-Review: Was it uncomfortable at any point in the movie for you since you were playing a girl in transformation?

Alexandra Essoe: Yeah, it was definitely strenuous and very tiring on some days. The only part of the filming that was actually uncomfortable was when I had to put a live meal worm in my mouth. Even saying that makes me cringe myself. There’s a moment, in which I don’t want to give anything away, that meal worms are involved. We had to film all the takes at once. I had to keep putting it in my mouth and taking it back out. I had to hold it and look at it. So I had to do it about five or six times. I thought I could stiffen up and be like “Oh, I could do that!” I full on sobbed by myself for a good twenty seconds afterwards before we could move on. [Laughter] It was so disgusting. Oh, I’m not good with bugs.

Latino-Review: Oh, well. There goes my future lunch. [Laughter]

Alexandra Essoe: [Laughter] Yeah….

Latino-Review: Could you talk about any of your future projects?

Alexandra Essoe: I can’t go into a lot of details, but I’m currently working on a project with Chris Sivertson, who directed “I know Who Killed Me” and he has a movie coming out called, “All Cheerleaders Die.” It looks really, really awesome. He’s a total pleasure to work with. That is something I’m very excited about.

Latino-Review: One last question. Obviously, the movie is about Sarah doing whatever it takes to make it in the business. What about you? Where do you draw the line for yourself if you were going through Sarah’s shoes too?

Alexandra Essoe: Oh, if I was presented with that kind of choice?

Latino-Review: Yeah.

Alexandra Essoe: That would be a no-brainer. I don’t think any job at all is worth compromising your sense of self-worth and integrity. I want to feel like I’m honoring myself with the work that I’ve chosen. No, I would never even have to think about that.  

Latino-Review: Good answer.

Alexandra Essoe: Sure. Like thanks, but no thanks. I just try to land a role in an indie film. [Laughter]

Latino-Review: Well, hey. Thank you very much for this conversation.

Alexandra Essoe: No, thank you. Great questions by the way.

“Starry Eyes” is currently in select theaters and available on iTunes and OnDemand.

Source: Latino-Review

Interviews, Film, LRM Exclusives Starry Eyes, Alexandra Essoe, Alex Essoe