This article was written some years ago by Marion. I’m happy to revisit posts like these to see if perspectives have changed, or just to see how much I’ve forgotten. -zf
For Heart of Now, the uniqueness for me was helping create the character of Amber and having so much say in how her world worked and operated and how her relationships developed. I would find so many of things I would say incorporating themselves into the screenplay. I remember, even on set, things would come up that would find their way into the film. I remember once I was sitting on the edge of the couch texting someone during a break and after awhile I leaned back and flopped onto my back on the couch. So, an hour later, we’re getting ready to set up a new scene of Gabe and I talking on the couch and Zak comes up and asks me to get into the exact same position I was when I was texting and to flop on the couch like I did halfway through the scene. I thought, man he’s watching everything. But it was interesting to see how much of myself he was looking to put into this character. Normally, actors are looking to separate themselves from who they play so much and I certainly was with this part. But I think between Zak and myself, we created a nice little balance between Amber and Marion.
You kind of see who people really are when they improvise. It’s kind of scary really. Scary as an actor and scary as an observer. But it shows such wonderful truths and is such a testament to what people can do when they trust and put themselves out there. Especially because you realize that a great deal of you is going into this character and you’re sort of becoming part of the story. It’s a surreal process sometimes. But it’s very rewarding and you learn quite a bit about yourself in the process.
The crew helped me in every way they could and it was wonderful. They perked me up when I needed perking and left me alone when I had to be alone. They did whatever they could to make my process easier and they were so enthusiastic about the story and the process in which we were telling it, they made it fun to come to work every day. Even if work potentially meant crying your guts out.
They also let me take my time with things and rarely did I feel rushed to get the shot or just get on with it, etc. They seem to really understand the process and were more than willing to take the time to do whatever is needed to get it done. I also think it’s really awesome that I could double-dog-dare a member of the crew to shotgun a beer and 10 hours later, feel like he’s a true member of the “safe environment” that Sabi created for the entirety of the shoot. Not even my immaturity can shake these guys.
And what more can I say about Zak Forsman? He’s the most awesome elf director ever. Tiptoeing into a scene like a little elf to give a direction here, a motivation there, or sometimes to secretly tell me that what I’m doing is working and he just wants to look like he’s telling me something important. And then he tiptoes out in his elf-like way. I love it.
It was quite a journey. I think I spent more consecutive days thinking about Amber than I ever have with a character before. I got to the point where I was dreaming as her. So I think for me, the character became a little obsessive but in the best way possible and in a way that helped me feel like I could really have a decent shot at portraying her in all her complicated glory. I felt like we were really able to see all these facets of her life and that’s just so satisfying as an actor. You had friends, family, boyfriends, parties, apartments, drunkness, boredom, silliness, fear, loneliness, surprise, laughter, amazement, anger, betrayal, memories and bravery. All wrapped up in one girl and in one film. I think that qualifies as a journey.
Heart of Now is currently available on DVD.