Most people know Famke Janssen from her roles in the "X-Men" films as Jean Grey/Phoenix and as Bond bad girl Xenia Onatopp in "GoldenEye." Now the actor is looking to take on a bigger role in her career as a director, writer, and producer.
Janssen's first filmmaking venture is the independent project "Bringing Up Bobby." I had the opportunity to talk to Janssen about her directorial debut at the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF), where she was hosting a screening of the movie.
Tell us about "Bringing Up Bobby."
"Bringing Up Bobby" is the story of a Ukrainian woman played by Milla Jovovich who is in Oklahoma with her 11-year-old son, who's American born. You never find out who the father is. She, in essence, is kind of living out her very skewed version of the American dream -- one that is based on movies rather than reality.
She thinks that being like Bonnie from "Bonnie and Clyde" is a perfectly acceptable way to making a living, raise your son, and give him better opportunities than where she came from. She's from a really poor place in the Ukraine.
Of course, as an audience member, most of us grew up with movies like "Bonnie and Clyde," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," or more recently "Thelma and Louise." They're the movies where two people do illegal things and have a lot of fun while they're doing it. You kind of know it's a time bomb and sooner or later something bad is going to happen. That's the kind of structure for "Bringing Up Bobby," too.
As an audience, we know that Olive [Jovovich] thinks she's doing the best for her child, but that really isn't the case. Something is going to have to go wrong. Even though it's called "Bringing Up Bobby," we could call it "Bringing Up Olive" because it's also about her having to learn a lesson about life and herself.
It's all done lightheartedly. I guess it's called a dramedy or something like that. It's kind of a comedy and drama.
You actually directed, produced, and wrote this film. That's a lot of responsibility to have on one film. Talk to me about that.
Yes. I wore a lot of different hats. I produced it with a wonderful producer named Sofia Sondervan. I couldn't have done it without her and the help of all the other people involved.
That's the beauty about filmmaking. It's a collaborative effort. There were definitely a lot of different hats to wear and 20 days of shooting in Oklahoma in mid-August's 105 degree weather wasn't exciting. People were passing out. It was a challenge to say the least. It took four years of my life getting the movie off the ground; not working as an actress, not having an income, and there were just big risks involved in making this movie.
Ultimately, it's been very challenging. It's been one of the most incredible things I've done for me personally in my life. I've learned so much and made so many great mistakes I won't make in the future again, hopefully. It's been a really challenging and wonderful learning curve.
This is your directorial debut correct?
Yes, as a feature filmmaker. I did a short film. With that one I made the mistake -- which is a wonderful mistake to make -- of starring in the film also. I knew that really couldn't happen again in addition to all the other things I was doing.
It was the same [with the short]. I wrote, directed, and produced it. You have to give up something, especially as women. A man can easily just roll out of bed, go to the set, and be there. When it's time to go from behind to in front of the camera, they can just do it. For women it's an hour and a half in the makeup trailer, touchups, and all that kind of stuff. I just didn't have the time to do that and be away from the set.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo! , DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Famke Janssen, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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- Famke Janssen
- Famke Janssen
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