September 30, 2013

Misty Upham on filming Jimmy P.

Here's another interview I conducted with Blackfeet actress Misty Upham:

Blackfeet Actress Misty Upham On Filming 'Jimmy P.' with Benicio Del Toro

Here's the rest of the interview, which didn't make it into the article:The movie was set in the 1940s. Is this the first time you’ve acted in a period piece without buckskins? What was it like portraying a woman from that era?

I actually had a small part in Expiration Date from the same era, but it was not on as big of a scale. I loved the clothes. The costume designer did Zoolander! It was also nice to not be poor. The thing I love about movies is you get to temporarily travel back in time.

Jane and Jimmy P. are Blackfeet and so are you. Did you get to add any touches that were uniquely Blackfeet?

The accent. But our characters focus was less on traditions and more on the human aspect. It took a French director to finally do that.

Recently you’ve worked with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor (in August: Osage County) as well as Benicio Del Toro. Who else is on your wish list of creative collaborators?

I would love to work with Tilda Swinton. Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. So much respect for their training. Sofia Coppola.

I really feel lucky. The other day I was at target and literally saw these DVDs … Pretty Woman, Julia & Julia, 21 Grams, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting and Little Miss Sunshine. I realized it and said to my dad, “Holy shit! I worked with those people!” It was an emotional moment for sure.

I hear you’re heading an acting troupe in Los Angeles. Can you tell us about that?

Yes. I started a troupe called “Indigo Children” for a few reasons. One reason was to be more active in between films. Another reason was to help some really talented friends who are hidden diamonds.

So much of acting these days is “me, me, me” that I think we’ve lost a certain beauty. The non-artists will never know how difficult, scary and risky it is to put yourself out there to be accepted or rejected by the world. We’re poor, exhausted and surviving most of the time. No stability for dreamers. It’s a huge risk. I want to help others realize that nothing is impossible. I’ve beaten almost every odds. It can be done, it’s just a hard and sometimes lonely road.
Comment:  For more on Misty Upham, see Native Actresses in Cannes Competition and My Interview with Misty Upham.

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