Interview with Heather Henry("Cecilia")

By Rebecca Dinning
Go To Interview with Greg Lawson

Where did you grow up?
Well, as I was saying earlier in my lengthy description of my childhood, I sort of lived in a lot of different places. I was born in San Diego, but then we moved to Connecticut, and then we moved back to San Diego, and then we moved to Texas. So I spent the majority of my impressionable years in Wichita Falls, Texas, which is this horrible town. Then I moved to Indiana, and I graduated from high school there, and then I moved to New York, and I lived there until I was 27 or 28.

Have you always been interested in acting?
Yeah. I started acting when I was little, doing stupid plays at school and stuff. When we were real little, we used to dance to Donna Summer in the garage and stuff. I really think that was my best work, the Donna Summer impressions. Then I got my degree in acting, which is the most useless degree you could ever get. I quit for a long time and became a business analyst. About three years ago I started again.

Where did you graduate from college?
I went to State University of New York at Purchase. Thereís a conservatory there, and you get your degree, but your degree is basically acting related, and then drink and drugs between acting.

Have you ever worked with Chris Hansen and Brian Elliott in the past?
No.

Are you enjoying your experience so far?
Yeah, you know, itís been a really weird experience. First of all, I just drove to Waco one day. I never sent my headshot in, and I just kind of drove down and met them on a Sunday. I didnít hear from them for a long time, so I just didnít think that I got it. Then they called me two months later and asked me to do a different part than I had read for. I really wanted to do it, and it was really weird because at first I didnít think they had any money at all. I didnít really know what I was auditioning for. I thought it was just some weird student thing, which is fine, but I didnít realize they had any momentum at all. So when I got down here, I was pleasantly surprised. I could tell Chris was a good director when I auditioned for him because he kind of knew how to work with an actor, and that just gave me confidence.

What attracted you to be in this film?
You know, I didnít read the script prior to auditioning for it. In fact I actually didnít get the script until four days before I got here, so it really wasnít a question of attraction. It was really just an acting job as an attractive thing. Anytime that you can do a job and itís acting, itís kind of like a gift. Iím not picky.

As long as itís not dressing up in the suits and being characters for little kids?
You know what? I would put on a suit. I donít do that now, but if they wanted me to, I would completely sell out. I have no problem with that.

What other productions have you been in?
Movies? I worked on one movie called High Art. I had no lines, and I basically showed up as an extra, and I was cut out. Thatís the lamest thing that can possibly happen to you: being an extra and not even being seen. I think that the scene I was actually in, I donít think they have the extras in it. So I can say I was in High Art because I was there, and I met, well actually saw, Ally Sheedy. Outside of that, thatís it. Iím working in Dallas as an actress, but as a stage actress right now.

What stage productions have you been in?
I just finished a play called A Moon for the Misbegotten in Fort Worth at Circle Theatre, and then I did another show called Living Out at this place called Water Tower Theatre. When I get back Saturday, Iím doing a press shoot for Danny and the Deep Blue Sea that Iím doing in October in Dallas.

What is your preparation as an actor?
[much laughter] I donít believe in preparation. I mean, sometimes, I think you need to know what youíre doing. I just think that warm-ups are really funny, and I like to watch other actors warm up. Honestly, if I have to do something vocally strenuous, which is never film, but always some kind of stage or something, of course Iím going to attempt to warm up my voice because after all that is my degree. I think one of the funniest things in the world is watching people who think that theyíre method actors get into the character. In fact, I think we should do a mockumentary on that.

Do you ever draw from your own personal experiences when developing your character?
I mean that part is true. You can do something totally far away from yourself, obviously. I think, especially when itís something that requires some kind of emotional connection, you have to find it within yourself. Thatís important, and I do that, but itís sort of like spending a lot of time hurrying up to make myself feel something takes me out from what Iím doing. So, I know what I have to prepare for, and I have my artistís palette, if you will. I have the palette, and I just choose.

What type of character is Cecelia?
I donít know. Every time that Iím doing it, I feel, first of all, like a Valley Girl, and second of all like sheís almost bordering on retarded. I didnít think that was the character, but the more retarded I act, the better they tell me Iím doing.

Do you have any other thoughts on the film ?
I feel really fortunate that one, everyone has been committed however chaotic and unorganized itís been. Itís like everyoneís been really committed and really nice. And two, itís a great opportunity to work with people who care about what theyíre doing and also to work with actors who are really good. Thatís really rare, especially in film, because most of the time, the people that are working suck. So to have three other actors who are actually really good actors and theyíre real people, theyíre not plastic people; that is really cool. Also to have a director that wants you to be you and be real, itís awesome. Itís rare because most of the time youíre auditioning for juice commercials. This is a good experience for me. And I hope people see it. I think itís one of those things that people are either going to really respond to or theyíre going to be like, ďWhat the hell is this?Ē I also hope that my part becomes bigger somewhere in the editing room. Can we make it bigger?

20 July 2005