About a month ago, me and a couple other outlets got to interview the lovely and beautiful Ella Wahlestedt (she’s on Twitter! ->@) for her first feature film Earth to Echo. Check out it after the jump!
Q: How do you think Earth to Echo compares to other films? What do you think makes it standout?
A: I think Earth to Echo is a very family-friendly movie. It incorporates action, and it still has heart. The theme of friendship and hope is heavy throughout the movie. And I think a lot of people can relate to it.
Q: I know you’ve done TV shows like Army Wives and The Glades and that this (Earth to Echo) is your first feature film. What are the differences and the similarities?
A: TV is very structured. There’s a schedule: you’re going to do these scenes these days, and then once you wrap, you’re done and get to go home. With a movie, it’s unpredictable. You can be there an hour or can be there several hours–like the whole day. But it’s also really fun because you have more freedom. Especially in this movie because there was a lot of improv, and Dave (the director) allowed us to make stuff up and kinda go with the flow because they wanted it to be very candid.
Q: Since you say there was a lot of improv, was there any time before to rehearse with your fellow actors?
A: Yes. We had a full week of rehearsal before we actually shot the movie. And right after we were cast, we straight to rehearsals with an acting teacher. It was also a chance for all of us to bond because we really didn’t know each other.
Q: When you guys weren’t shooting, what would you guys do to solidify your bond with one another?
A: Well, before we actually started filming, we had a bonding day. We had dinner, and we went in-door sky-diving.
Q: How did you become an actor in the first place?
A: It’s actually as pretty funny story. I was into gymnastics for the longest time, and one day my coach didn’t show up. I went next door to an acting class, tried it, and I loved it. I kept on going with acting classes, and from there I got accepted into a performing arts middle school where I was a theater major. I segwayed into TV and film because I found that I really liked the naturalness of it. I eventually did, I want to say, 10 short films in the span of two years, all locally. At University of Miami and FIU.
Q: So, you’ve lived here forever?
A: I was born in Sweden. I was there for six years, and then I moved to Palm Beach. I was there for a couple of years, and I’ve lived in Miami for the past three years.
Q: Do you prefer L.A. or Miami?
A: I love them both, but for different reasons. My family is here (Miami), but my work is out there (L.A.). Miami is so beautiful, I have to give it to you guys (laughs). It’s so cultural and colorful.
Q: What kinds of things did you learn while being on set?
A: We were all newcomers to the scene, so there was a lot to learn. There’s so many technical aspects when filming, you know, like hitting your marks, standing in the right light, and so many things that you wouldn’t even think about. I learned a lot of tricks.
Q: What would you say in one particular characteristic that you can relate to your character?
A: We are very loyal friends. There’s a scene in the movie where Alex is trapped in the arcade and is held hostage by a security guard. While none of the other friends want to go back, Emma does and she wants to save Alex. That loyalty really shows through, and I’m like that with my friends. I stand up for them, I support them all the way through.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects?
A: I just wrapped James Franco’s Killing Animals.
Q: What is he like to work with?
A: Really cool. He’s awesome.
Q: What was the most difficult scene to film?
A: Actually, it was a scene that was cut out of the movie. There was a bathroom scene where Alex and I are talking about life. I was disappointed when it was cut out because I thought it was a heartfelt scene. While I enjoyed it, it was very difficult because it was so raw.
Q: Did you use anything on set to see Echo because it’s obviously CGI?
A: I kinda had to use my imagination. The director would say “Hey, this is Echo, this is what he’s going to do, just act accordingly.”
Q: Did they give you an idea of what Echo would look like?
A: Yea, they had a toy puppet which looked exactly like Echo.
Q: Since this is the beginning of your career, are there any actors you look to as far as their careers?
A: I really admire, of course, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. I love Tom Hanks’ work in Forrest Gump. I recently re-watched Forrest Gump, and that character is such a stretch but he pulls it off so well. I think he was amazing in that. And of course Meryl Street is like the queen of acting (laughs).
Q: Is it more difficult to film the action-packed scenes or emotional scenes?
A: They both have their perks. In the more dialogue-y scenes, it’s more natural and raw which I love. But actions scenes are really fun. A good balance is nice.
Earth to Echo opens worldwide July 2nd!