If I had to pick one word to describe actress Andrea Frankle, besides the obvious choice of talented, I would have to choose delightful. Several times during our conversation, I had to remind myself that it was in fact an interview (funny enough, Frankle recalls a similar experience of having to remind herself she was supposed to be acting while performing with Saoirse Ronan in our interview) and not just a chat with one of the most friendly people I’ve met in a long time. Frankle can easily go from discussing working with the likes of Ronan, McConaughey, and Harrelson, to giving home remedy allergy advice, and back again without missing a beat, all the while oozing charm and wit.
Frankle is also one busy actress. With roles in two of the year’s hottest book to movie adaptations and even more films headed to theaters this year (not to mention her tv roles), you’re likely to see at least one of her many projects this year and I would not be surprised if it leaves you wanting to see more of her work.
The Daily Quirk: Your filmography is so impressive that I almost don’t know where to start! You have so many high profile projects in theaters (Broken City, Bullet to the Head, Beautiful Creatures) and more coming out this year (The Host, Hot Flashes, The Haunting in Connecticut 2). How to you keep up with such a busy filming schedule?
Andrea Frankle: The last couple years have been pretty busy for a lot of us actors working down in New Orleans. I am sure you’re aware of the amount of film and television work that’s come to Louisiana over the last several years. It’s been astronomical so we’re super excited. A part of what comes with that, being an actor in a smaller market like we are, is the perk of getting to do a lot of different types of roles, at least that’s how it’s been for me. We may not get a lot of the super big roles, like leads, but we get a lot of the filler roles which are really great for us, and so I’m really happy that over the years I’ve gotten to do a lot of things from a lawyer to a prostitute to an FBI agent literally within the same few months. I’m busy yeah, but with being an actor it’s kind of par for the course. I’ve been doing it quite a while and you know multitasking is kind of in the contract. For me, if I’m not acting and at the same time teaching, taping auditions for myself or other actors, reading or studying something (for a part), I don’t know what I would do. I’d go crazy.
TDQ: You have played so many different types of characters in different genres from a prostitute in 21 Jump Street, to a prosecutor in Broken City, to a mom of one creepy kid in the horror thriller, The Reaping. Is there any one genre you prefer over another?
AF: I tend to love the kind of roles like Maddie in The Reaping, characters that are bound somehow to another world or energy. I think they’re really fun, especially if there is a supernatural aspect to it or a different quality of life entirely, like the rural south or something like that, a place you can really kind of go, far away from yourself and your own life. Those are the kind of characters I love. Being raised in the south, in Alabama, like I was, I feel really comfortable in the southern roles and consequently I get cast in those quite a bit. Southern characters are my favorite and a little bit of a creepy nature is fun too.
TDQ: You just played Lila Wate in Beautiful Creatures, a character that becomes much more present in the next book. Is there anything you can tell us about reprising the role in a Beautiful Creatures sequel?
AF: I haven’t read a new script yet, so I couldn’t even say if I wanted to, but I do think for Ethan’s character, especially in Beautiful Creatures, Lila is a big part of who he is when we meet him in the story. He’s grieving and dealing with her loss and it’s directly related to his choices and kind of his journey. So as far as the next couple of stories go, that’s going to evolve I guess we can say, but as far as how much goes I honestly don’t know yet. If you find out before me, let me know!
TDQ: Fans can see you next in the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. Had you read the book before taking on the role?
AF: Yes and no. When I got the job I had not read it yet. But then I ran and got it and I only had two weeks before I knew I was going to be working so of course I crammed. But it wasn’t hard, the book, oh my gosh, it’s such a great book. I could not put it down, I ran through it so fast. It’s such a heart racing story. I loved it.
TDQ: The Host really is an interesting and different kind of take on the supernatural love story genre, isn’t it?
AF: It really is. Her (Stephanie Meyers) imagination, and writers in general, just absolutely floor me. I can’t wrap my brain around how they are able to create these really incredible complex stories. Especially like this one, it’s just so cool and I’m really excited about seeing this movie.
TDQ: You filmed a scene crucial to the film’s plot with Saoirse Ronan. What was that experience like?
AF: Working with Saoirse Ronan was just amazing. She is such a pro, I am a huge fan of hers and especially more now that I’ve worked with here. The scene we have together, there is a kind of ambiguity there, as to whether my character (Healer Skye) knows (what she’s up to) and you don’t know as the viewer and neither does her character, which is actually two characters The Wanderer and Melanie, so the stakes are really high at that point in the film, and getting to play with this really terrifying moment was really really cool. Especially with her, because she just plays that so well, so getting to play off of her, sometimes I had to remind myself to say, “Andrea stop watching her, you’re working with her. Get it together.”
TDQ: What was it like playing a character like Healer Skye, essentially an “alien” in a human body? Was it difficult playing a being inhabiting a human body? How did you prepare and get in the mindset for that type of role?
AF: It was challenging actually. Knowing the book and the story, I find Stephanie goes into a lot of detail about the aliens and their mindset, and the souls and how they work, and so I really tried to tap into that and I tried to sort of channel the feeling of connectedness that one has with being part of a whole, the feeling of familiarity and the feeling of safety that you having knowing you’re in a huge collective and turned up the dial and went with that. I find with roles like that you just have to sort of do your work and feel comfortable with it and take that leap of faith and hope that it works.
TDQ: After appearing in two recent book to movie adaptations, I have to ask, are there any other books you would love to appear in the film versions of?
AF: I love that question, but the first thing that comes to mind is more plays than books. I am a theater girl, I grew up doing theater, I went to undergrad and got my BA in theater and then I got my MFA in theater. I didn’t actually start doing television and film until after graduate school.
So definitely, I’m a play girl and the first one I would love to do is an adaptation of Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley, speaking of southern characters. I know there’s this new really hot play out called Venus in Fur (by David Ives) that I would love to get a shot at, that I’m sure is already slated for Jessica Chastain or Charlize Theron, but one can hope, and while we’re talking in dreams I would love to do a new film version of Streetcar Named Desire (by Tennessee Williams) because I love that play.
TDQ: You’ll be playing the mother to a decidedly less creepy daughter than you did in The Reaping in your upcoming film, The Hot Flashes, about a group of Texas women who challenge the local high school’s female basketball team to a series of games to raise money for breast cancer prevention, becoming a media sensation in the process. Can you tell us a little bit about working on the film?
AF: The role of Kayla Rash was so much fun. I connected with her immediately. They wanted me to go blonde for the role, typically I’ve always been a redhead, and so that was another bonus, because it would be so much fun. They wanted her “Texas Blonde.” We just had a blast. It’s an independent film, but its got this super cast (Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah, Wanda Sykes, Camryn Manheim, and Eric Roberts). They run the gamut of different types of women, not of a certain age, but approaching a certain age, and each one of them brings their own energy to their roles. And Brooke Shields is just nothing short of honest beauty personified.
I could not have had enough time on that set. It was so much fun to work on and it’s slated to come out in a twelve city limited release in July (2013) and then hopefully nationwide after that. I think people are going to love the film, it’s got a important message attached to it.
TDQ: You also have two television projects in the works, the TV Movie Nicky Deuce, which is a mini Sopranos reunion of sorts, and a new HBO Series The Untitled Detective Project (formerly referred to as True Detectives) with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Anything you can share with us about these projects?
AF: I just got back from working on that The Untitled Detective Project. It was True Detectives, but they are going to be changing the name and are calling it the The Untitled for now. It was really exciting working with Woody Harrelson, I mean Woody from Cheers! My husband is French, and I was like babe I’m going to be working with Woody from cheers and he was like “Cheers?” because they didn’t have the show over there in France, so he only knows him as a movie star. And I’m like oh no, he was Woody before he was a movie star!
But yeah, that was really thrilling, he and Matthew McConaughey, I mean obviously, two pros to say the least, really stand up guys, and it was interesting to watch them work because I read several of the episodes and was really familiar with the story and the background, so getting to watch them work was really interesting. They were so funny and the crew just loves them.
My character is in one episode for now, and I got to play another one of those seedy, dark, southern roles that I can get lost in and boy did I. We had a good time with the costume and the hair. My character is in 1995, she’s kind of earlier, so that was kind of a throw back for me as well.
As far as Nicky Deuce goes, I’m really excited about that as well because the script is so funny. It’s based on a book (by Steve Schirripa), but the script was hilarious, laugh out loud funny. And John Rosenbaum the director was so great and so much fun to work with. He has such great timing. For the time that I was there it was singing, he has such a great energy and he’s like a big kid. He was just so much fun to work with. And Steve Schirripa and the Sopranos guys, that was wild, and he was super. I was a little intimidated about working with them, but getting to do it on a kid’s project where they’re having a lot of fun with the kind of stereotypical mob guy was really fun for me.
We would like to thank Andrea Frankle for taking the time to chat with us at The Daily Quirk! For more on Ms. Frankle and her upcoming projects, be sure to check out her IMDB Page and for more on her upcoming film The Hot Flashes, check out the film’s Official Site!