How did you first get involved with Funny Story?
EBR: I read the script and I thought that the writing was phenomenal and felt like I wanted to meet with the team. We had a long talk over coffee and to go over the motions of the film and what the characters were going through and it was just a really beautiful conversation.
Did you get to have input then in who your character was ?
EBR: That was really what that conversation was about. My character was written so authentically that there weren’t a lot of questions about who she was; it was more of collaborating about where I thought she came from to get to these points, which is always an interesting discussion to have with a writer and director because everyone comes to the table with ideas and passions. Hopefully everyone leaves with a little more clarity through hindsight, as in we know what’s on the next page before the character does and having insight in them as a human being helps keep the performance authentic.
Was it nice finding a female character who felt so real, fleshed out and authentic?
EBR: 100 %. I think what audiences are drawn to is truth and it was lovely to see such a real and dynamic female centric cast, but I think in terms of seeking out authenticity and well-roundedness that’s what we are searching for in any performance both male and female, so I’m just happy that it was so honest.
Did you find that your process has changed with that as compared to a character like Felicity whom you’ve practically lived in for the last few years?
EBR: Yeah Felicity is still really interesting to me, but my basis with her is from knowing her for the last six years. This is the first character I’ve played who is uncomfortable being who she is, where she’s at and where she’s going, which isn’t exactly the most fun when you’re in a place like that and you are usually running from something or struggling with life. Being that person or being stuck like that is difficult, and playing a character stuck in that space is difficult because it doesn’t feel good. There’s that thing about actors wanting to be honest to feel good, but good can be subjective…you can play a sad character who is crying for six hours, but if you can’t get it all out and stay in that space you can come out feeling like garbage!
There is a world of difference between the two characters I’ve played recently, but the biggest to me is that Felicity feels a sense of purpose that Kim just completely lacks.
Would you say that was one of the greatest challenges of the role, trying to get into the headspace of a character who doesn’t feel like she has a purpose?
EBR: Absolutely, like I still haven’t even been able to process it yet. Like I said as a writer or director has the hindsight of a character and plot to help them get inside the character, but as an actor it was difficult to live in that person for three weeks. That was sort of my challenge, accepting that this woman was having issues and making herself live with it, so as she was going through such a difficult time in turn I was trying to get myself to accept and live with this character whose decisions just seemed to challenge everything they went up against.
You said it was only three weeks? Was it nice to work in such a short period?
EBR: It was kind of crazy, I had a few weeks off from Arrow and flew out to film the movie and immediately flew back to work on the show when we were finished shooting. You just kind of have to let it all happen around you. I still haven’t really had the time or space to process everything yet!
Does the limited time off change how you view choosing other projects to work on?
EBR: It definitely narrows the choices you have to pick from, but you also have to be really picky, and the reason I liked this script was that it felt so real and the dialogue so authentic that it just stuck with me. It was an opportunity I just didn’t want to say no to
With Arrow you started out as the heart and comedic backbone of the show while lately getting to tap into a darker side of the character, something shared with this movie. Are you looking to tap into more dramatic work or is there any genre in particular you are looking to work in?
EBR: Well I think it changes, but I’ve always been drawn to comedy. It’s the face of how I look at the world and what I naturally find myself reading and writing and dreaming about, but it doesn’t mean I want to say no to things because there are so many ways to express oneself. I believe it could change, but comedy has always been the constant.
Has comedy always been your main draw or has it been since you’ve been performing consistently?
EBR: I’ve always been interested in comedy, along with horror interestingly enough.
Were there any performers in particular you’ve looked up to throughout your career?
EBR: Pretty much the people I saw on tv; being from Canada I loved people like Sandra Oh and Jim Carrey seeing them in comedy roles as a kid was great. I loved Diane Lane and so many other women that have inspired me too, and as a kid I just pretty much watched everything I could. Its hard to narrow it down!
So was acting something you pretty much always wanted to do?
EBR: Yeah I wanted to do it from a young age. Both of my parents are medical professionals and it took a couple tries to figure out how I wanted to express myself, and I think it was hard for the world I was coming from to accept that. It slowly became something I wanted more and more, and really it was my parents’ fault without realizing it because they were such great storytellers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given over the years?
EBR: It changes but in the first film I ever shadowed on I was told was to stay fresh, because clearly what you love is the trade and aspect of it. The other thing, which is important as a woman in this field is that you can say no. Stand your ground, just as any woman in any field or professional atmosphere just never forget you have the power to stand up for yourself and say no.