In an exclusive interview, Flickering Myth sat down with New York actress/producer Erin Fogel to talk about acting and the release of her latest film The Strike.
FM: Have you always wanted to be an actress? How did acting come about for you?
When I was as young as 3 years old, I had these dreams that I couldn’t understand. I was on sets wearing beautiful costumes, I was in magazines, and I was on red carpets. I didn’t even know what it was to be an actress; I just knew these dreams made me feel very full of joy. What was even more unbelievable is that my mother was having these same dreams about me…it was a destiny that I could not stray from. It was all I ever thought about. Once I was old enough to start the path, I attended a liberal arts camp in Connecticut that was known for its theatre. I was all of 10 years old working on a musical of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It was set in an actual barn, with incredible mask work and very intricate movement. It showed me every aspect of what it was to perform and it flowed through me like lightning. I haven’t lost that feeling ever since. I was very lucky to have a mother who supported and nurtured those dreams every day since then. Even yesterday she reminded me to never give up. She is special and I can only hope that everyone’s mothers are as loving and believe in them as mine does for me.
FM: What and who inspired you to become an actress?
My childhood visions were also a parallel to my father’s childhood dreams of becoming an actor. He had pursued drama in his school years, and though he could never fully realize his aspirations, I always wanted to make him proud. I promised him that one day I would make movies of my own, and that he would be in all of them. He makes his feature film debut in The Strike, playing Mr. Fancyman and he gives an excellent performance! It is an experience that has motivated him to delve back into the field. It is so awesome to be able to have inspired each other and enable our dreams to become a reality.
FM: I notice, aside from acting, you do stand-up comedy. How does that differ for you and have you had any formal training?
I actually have never done professional stand-up comedy! I have always been more of an improvisational comedian by natural trade. Funnily, I have no formal training in comedy; it was just something that was a part of my personality from when I was a child. I understood adult humor, timing and I LOVED to make everyone around me laugh. It became my weapon against my childhood bullies (there were many). The more I was teased, the more I could hone my craft of “comedy retaliation”. I first had the chance to improv on screen for director Anne Fletcher in the romantic comedy 27 Dresses. I was so honored to be able to have that experience captured on screen.
FM: Your most recent movie, which you also executive produced, ‘The Strike’ has just been released on all digital platforms. Can you tell us a bit about that movie and your character?
The Strike was a film that had been completely reverse engineered. I had been in development on a different project that had actor Guillermo Ivan attached. When it fell through, I was devastated and released Guillermo from the dates he was holding. He comforted me and said “everything happens as it should and you’ll make something soon”. I had just been so ready to Executive Produce. Two weeks later he called me and said “Why don’t WE make something together…?”
I had already been working with locations and could retain certain cast members I had wanted to work with. It was a win-win. ‘The Strike’ was created from heart, passion, and the determination to bring something new to the industry that they have never seen before.
The Strike is not unlike my real life. I have three careers (acting/producing, owning House of Jai Yoga, and real estate brokering). This film was a culmination of all of my industry contacts I have developed my entire life.
FM: Can you explain your experience, as the Executive Producer, on The Strike. Can you explain some of the highs and lows of the producing process?
Being it was my “first rodeo” of leading both sides of the line, it was always a balancing act. When you are able to have a casting idea like Bronson Pinchot (which came to me like a shot) and have it work out, it’s a great day. When a location you had locked in, calls you the night before and pulls out, it’s a terrible day. Sometimes you make the day early, sometimes it rains and you lose a day. I had to remember my yoga A LOT and breathe through each ebb and flow. Luckily, getting to jump back over the line and act was the best possible outlet for all the energy I had needed to store up, or exert, at a moment’s notice. Performing is a full body experience that takes you away from everything else and allows you to process the other aspects with a more level head.
FM: The movie has quite a diverse cast. What was it like working on set with some of the other ac-tors? Did everyone get along?
Oh yes! This was an incomparable cast and crew. We flew in a lot of our essential crew from all over the globe, which made producing a film in NYC the most magical collective experience. Every morning began with hugs, and every night we continued to hang out together. The last day of filming was one of the hardest days of my life. Luckily, we have continued to work on other projects together along the way. I look forward to having the team back together again soon for a new feature film!
FM: Do you have a particular genre of film you prefer? If so can you explain.
Comedy is my absolute favorite genre. All I am after is a world filled with laughter. Life is hard enough, and I love the opportunity to allow the audience to escape and get out all of their anxieties through having a good time! It’s also an added bonus to deliver a message that can remind audience that they should always feel that they can be themselves and that being kind and authentic is what will bring them the most success.
FM: Are there any actors or directors you would love to work with in the future? Any actors you’d like to play alongside?
Countless. I am currently enamored with Judd Apatow. I think everything he creates is my perfect vision as a comedy actor. I love how he both discovers new talent, and chooses the best in the business to bring his films to the next level of thoughtful comedy (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, Steve Carell). I hope to have the chance to work with this dream team in the future.
FM: Do you get to go to the cinema much? Any films you have enjoyed lately?
I wish I could get out to the theater more, especially for the popcorn! I am definitely one of the more digital consumers, and boy do I consume! Recently I saw Late Bloomer, which was a made for Netflix movie. I thought it was hilarious! I had also rented War Dogs recently and was very impressed by the performances.
FM: Aside from acting is there anything else you enjoy to do?
As you can see from ‘The Strike’, yoga is my other love. What was once my favorite hobby has become a whole other industry for me. I opened a studio on the Upper East Side of New York City, House of Jai, where (when I’m not auditioning or on set) I work as the Managing Director as well as teach weekly classes. It is such an honor to be able to bring health and happiness to the city that never sleeps, but certainly loves to relax.
FM: What is up next for you? Are you working on anything new?
I currently have two projects in development. I am working on a new feature film, Where’s Willow, which is an awkward dramedy following a 30 something girl named Willow, with an unforgettable illness.
I am also working on a new 30-minute TV sitcom that highlights the culture and class clash of the entire world (sorry to be vague but more to come on that…!).
FM: Finally, any advice you would give any actor, or aspiring filmmaker, who is trying to break into the entertainment industry?
Cliché as it sounds, you make your own luck. Don’t play by the rules. Make as many contacts as you can. It’s never about today, but one day everything collides into the opportunity of a lifetime. Anyone who tells you that you “can’t do it” only says that because they themselves never did it. You on the other hand, are extraordinary and can do and be whatever it is you dream.
Our thanks to Erin for taking the time to do this interview, as well as Liz Rodriguez from EMR Media for helping us with the interview. Catch Erin in The Strike currently out on all digital platforms including; iTunes, Amazon and VUDU.