Amanda Greer, actress: DESIRE IN NEW YORK
1Q: Tell us how you became involved with DESIRE IN NEW YORK, and how you prepared for your role.
I auditioned! The waiting room was packed with other actresses that looked just like me, if not better. Jennifer had already been cast and was in the room with Ed when I came in to read, including some improv. It may have been the connection between Jen and I or just the energy in the room but I really enjoyed myself. I was told how long the role of Jessica had been sought after, but no one fit the bill… the pressure was welcomed. I remember the character description entailing my role of Jessica, what I perceived as the devil-may-care executive assistant to Karen, the go-getter type who is very comfortable in her own skin. As I was introduced to her dialogue it became clear as day what a contrast she is to Karen and how that incorporates into Karen’s story in a vast way, so I focused on their relationship while having a ball of a good time with her uninhibited nature but with a sense of intuit producing a genuine compassion for Karen along with her own apparatus around the office. My wardrobe for Jessica had a lot to do with bringing all her elements to life; from the get-go in my audition, I did indeed wear a suit but with Jessica’s own flair, yes she works in a corporate office and can certainly play that role but she rules femininity and enjoys being a woman, so I wore a “conservative” skirt with a high cut slit, a figure hugging low cut blouse covered up with a buttoned up chic blazer. My director loved it and asked me to wear it during filming! Jessica is work and play, I felt that her wardrobe told you exactly where she’s going, out after work, which shows she’s full of life, she’s not going to just go home and process things, so I just lived there… I wish I were more like her.
2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of DESIRE IN NEW YORK. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?
Cinequest intrigues me, because ever since I became a professional actress in this charging industry, I have grown an unequaled appreciation with independent projects, and a lot of that has to do with creative control and unique collaboration. And with that, Cinequest venerates true artists with the ability to create and establish great films. I am now that much more excited to see my fellow creators, my comrades, to see who else is out there making great independent films on their own. I think it’s wonderful that DESIRE IN NEW YORK is premiering in their 25th anniversary as well and I love how involved Cinequest is, it feels special that our film is apart of it.
Now I have to be honest, I did have the opportunity to view my film prior to our premiere, and I chose not to because I want to be apart of that first time audience and experience it for the first time with everyone else, right next to other talented artists that I’m looking forward to networking with.
This film got me from the beginning, because I have a fascination with the reality of the simplicity of the human need, which is desire. “There’s a saying that a woman doesn’t need to be loved, she needs to be wanted,” I think that’s the case with everyone, and this film is very real in the female perspective which I relate to, that I believe people are naturally curious about. I think our film will be particularly longed-for, I feel like there is a need for it.
3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making DESIRE IN NEW YORK?
Being cast, and seeing the trailer for the first time, hearing my voice out loud along with the original music involved sent goose bumps down my back.
4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?
I can relate because my film WALT WHITMAN NEVER PAID FOR IT made its way through some tremendous film festivals and I had to be picky which films I would attend the screening to. Ultimately, people should see DESIRE IN NEW YORK because a lot of films today have become redundant, ordinary, boring and safe but when I think of my favorite films, there’s not many, and that’s sad. I’m bored with films these days, I feel like films aren’t made well and especially, unfortunately big budgets, and I have to wonder where their money goes, while our film which has the potential of becoming a cult classic was made with the grit of our teeth. And that tells you a lot! I want people to recognize; this is how you make a film, and it will be their favorite, it will be embedded and engraved in their body, in their senses, they’ll feel it. I know this film will stand out in the film festival and in the end, when everyone’s going home, this is the film that they will be talking about.
5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for DESIRE IN NEW YORK. Give us your acceptance speech.
I can feel my heart beating out of my chest! And that’s the feeling I got when I first moved to New York. And that’s the feeling that I got when I walked into the room to audition. That’s the feeling I got when I was cast, and when I set foot on location and brought this character to life, and I never want that feeling to go away, and now, it won’t because every time I look at this award, I’ll get that feeling. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me, and believed in me. Thank you Ed for this opportunity. Now, I think I can afford to get my own place!