Thursday, July 12, 2012

Choice Feature: Mandy Evans interview

  Hey look what I found! It's an interview with the lovely and talented Mandy Evans. I mean I just found it, out there, you know, at the cool places I go. Where all the cool people hang out? There it was and it was totally relevant to the feature. It's like I actually asked her questions and she was nice enough to take the time and respond back. I think you should read it! And enjoy it! You're not enjoying it enough! Enjoy harder!

Fancy Deadpool: First off introduce yourself, tell the people a little about yourself and your background.

Mandy Evans: My name is Mandy Evans. I am a NJ/NY based actress and dancer. I've been working professionally for ten years now in theater, musical theater, film, TV and commercials. My most recognizable achievements include a Radio City Rockette, One Life To Live, Trojan Commercial and my own version of Catwoman. I am a fitness fanatic and big animal lover.

FDP: In Choice you play a personification instead of a person. Did this change how you approached the character? How did you decide on Choice's personality?

ME: Choice was a person to me. She was someone who made a bad choice and ended up where she is now as a result. I borrowed some stylized movements by watching the Cheshire cat, which was recommended by Chris. The personality of Choice came from the feelings of people who are cold, sarcastic and brutal but with a touch of sensitivity that came in towards the end of the film. I decided that Choice was the person who was gonna tell you the truth in the most brutal way possible to make you wake up because she doesn't want to see you end up like her.

FDP: In a two person feature like this it seems that both people are equally important. How was it working with Kerri (Kerri Miller, co-star of Choice) and was it a collaborative process?

ME: Kerri is by far my favorite actress that I have worked with. We both have similar training backgrounds so we know what it means to put your attention on the other person. She really listens, which is the most important thing for an actor to do. I think we make a good team and yes, it was a collaborative effort.

FDP: In Chris Notarile's comments about this short he mentions long talks about the characters that are the focus of the film, what was discussed in these talks and were they helpful? Does it help to talk about the character or do you feel it's better to go in cold?

ME: I think it helps to talk about the character a little bit. I would never be able to go in completely cold, especially for something like this. It was a little bit of a struggle at first to figure out how to get what he wanted from the character and how I saw her. It was a layering process. One of the first things he told me is that he saw her as a game show host. My first initial feeling was that I wasn't capable of doing that without it being phony. Once I found a strong foundation and found the truth of the character, I was able to make that kind of choice.

FDP: Are 3 options just silly? A third does seem kind of unnecessary but on the other hand why can't there just be dozens of options?

ME: Of course, there are always many choices, but that's the problem. If you give yourself less options, you are more likely to be definitive in what you do with your life. You know the phrase, "jack of all trades, master of none"? I really believe that's true. This is why Choice says that because if you give yourself many options, you get nowhere.

FDP: You've worked with Chris (Chris Notarile, director) multiple times (Choice, Daredevil '83 and the upcoming Stand Off to name a few examples) What keeps bringing you back?

ME: Chris is a very passionate filmmaker who has been able to impress people with his limited resources. This industry is all about type casting. Normally I get cast as the provocative leading lady, which is great, but ultimately I want to be a physical character actress. His roles have given me the opportunity to stretch; If I haven't always nailed every one of them, I've acquired skills and have grown a lot since we have worked together. I believe we've helped each other to grow a lot as artists, proven with the outcome of Choice. You can't wait for someone to offer you the perfect opportunity. Sometimes you just have to do it anyway you can and build your skills so that when a great opportunity comes along for it, you're ready for it.

FDP: Were you aware of the Typhoid Mary character before accepting the role in Daredevil '83? Did you do in any research or did you wing it?

ME: I was somewhat familiar with the character, Typhoid Mary. I read the comic book and did some research online.

FDP: Was the dance scene in Daredevil '83 planned or was it added because of your dance background?

ME: The dance scene was planned because of my background.

  FDP: Follow up, how awesome is Flashdance?

  ME: Of course I love Flashdance!

FDP: It's obvious by the fight scene that you've had some physical training. Does your dance background help with the more physical roles?

ME: Yes, I have been told that my physicality is my key strength as an actress. Being a dancer absolutely helps not just for the sake of stamina and strength, but the emotions come from the body. Body language says so much more than words.

FDP: Fosse seems like a pretty demanding style, if not high impact then for it's precision, it also seems more accepting of individual expression. The Rockettes style seems more high impact and synchronized. Was it hard to make the transition from Fosse to The Rockettes? Are they more similar than they appear? Did Fosse help prepare you for being a Rockette? It's a lot of kicking, what are you're thoughts on kicking?

ME: Yes, you are right. Both styles are very precise and demanding but in a different way. Both require years of practice to get it. Fosse is more sensual and has the "less is more" feel to it.

I don't think anything can really prepare you for being a Rockette. It's the hardest thing I have ever done. Kicking and precision style dance is what the Rockettes are known for, but it's much more about learning how to work as a unit, it's never about one person. The expression of a Rockette has to be all in the eyes and heart. It's really about learning how to focus the energy. You can't just flail your body all over the place or be a soloist as you can with other styles.

FDP: Why did you decide to pursue acting in addition to dance?

ME: I was on tour in Europe doing a production of the Who's Tommy. Each scene in the show was in a different time periods so I discovered ways of approaching all these different characters. The thing that changed everything was when I was given a dance solo in one of the scenes. The director encouraged me to be spontaneous with it, so that is what I did every performance for five months. After this tour is when I decided to get serious about being an actor and signed up for a rigorous program at the Ward Studio in NYC. My first motivation to learn to act was just to make me a better dancer, but after the tour and the studying that I did, I found that I really loved acting as much as dancing.

FDP: In Choice it's stated that people don't care about talent anymore, they care about drama. Do people care about talent anymore?

ME: It depends on who you ask. The whole point of Choice saying that was to make her think about why she was an artist in the first place. If her real reason was a desperation to be famous, she better get out now. It's so much more than talent anyway, we all know that. Then again, some people do take a chance on talent alone, which is what happened with the play I recently performed in. So, yes sometimes people do care about talent, but sadly more often people have a tendency to choose what they know, what's "safer". I think as artists you just have to show up, do the work, be professional and the talent will eventually be recognized. You just can't give a damn who acknowledges it. 

FDP: Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to promote? It looks like you'll be reappearing with your Choice co-star in the upcoming Stand Off, going by the preview it promises to be good. Other than your website are there any other places online people can go to find you and keep up to date on what you're working on? Feel free to shill whatever you'd like, there's no shame in it, if there is it's never stopped me.

ME: I am currently focusing on theater and getting my skills sharp for the upcoming fall TV casting season. Most recently, I finished a production of Savage in Limbo.

I have a feature film that is currently in the fundraising phase and planning to film in early 2013. Saved By Zoey is a romantic dramedy/thriller with a girl meets boy, girl saves boy type of theme. I play the title role of Zoey.

I can be followed on twitter at

Thank you for your time and putting up with me.
Thank you so much!

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