Actress Camille Sullivan took the Calgary International Film Festival by storm this year, starring in this year's closing gala film, ALLY WAS SCREAMING. Also, Camille can be seen starring in the indie drama THE BIRDWATCHER, which will be making the festival rounds next year. Visit Camille's website. Photo by Kyla Hemmelgarn.
Let's talk about Camille Sullivan. This was a close one - just as I was going to print, a batch of Camille's new photos arrived in my mailbox. Yes! Oops. I went off on a tangent. How so not me.
Having had roles in well known productions such as Rookie Blue, The Killing and Hellcats, this Canadian actress is a wild card, yet at the same time, she seems to have her life under control.
You've earned numerous awards and nominations. What was your very first award win and for what?
The first award I won was a Leo Award for the movie Normal. I was shocked, really and truly shocked and so consequently, as I had nothing prepared, I made a terrible acceptance speech. I cursed more than once and made an inappropriate joke about threesomes. Thankfully once they've given you the award, they can't take it back ;)
Your film The Birdwatcher is premiering in 2015. Describe your audition for this film and how you prepared for your role.
I had read the script before going in to my audition for The Birdwatcher. I had read it and cried profusely. It was beautiful. I also knew going in that Gabrielle Rose would be playing my birth mother and she's fantastic, so I wanted the part pretty badly. I did some research on adoption and on terminal cancer and prepared the scenes loosely so I could experiment with them a bit and see what came out naturally. I had two other auditions that day so I wore something comfortable that would work for all three. Then I did what I always do before auditions, I took a deep breath and hoped for the best, luckily, on that day, it worked.
What type of meditation do you do? How did you become involved with meditation? What do you get out of it? What advice do you have for people who want to start meditating but who never have?
I do a simple mindfulness mediation every day, or I try to, for twenty minutes to a half an hour. I started about ten years ago because I used to suffer from panic attacks. Once I started meditating regularly, the panic attacks stopped completely. It was amazing. I also noticed that I became calmer and more centered in my daily life which I desperately needed. I am not calm by nature and the meditation gets me just about kissing normal ;) For anyone who would like to try it, it is as simple as sitting down in a quiet place and observing your natural breath. Your mind will wander, just gently guide it back to the breath. It is a practice and the more regularly you do it, the more results you will notice.
Why do a lot of your pictures have you NOT looking at the camera?
I hadn't noticed that a lot of my pictures have me looking away from camera. I suppose the question is, why do I choose pictures that have me looking away? I guess it's probably shyness and maybe I like the side angle on my face a little better.
If you were walking on the sidewalk and in front of you there was an open ladder on the right and a black cat on the left, what would you do to continue your journey?
I would stop, call the cat over and pet it until it moved around to right and then I would pass on the left. If the cat did not approach me, I would take my chances with the cat. I never walk under a ladder, that's just crazy.
What's your exercise and food routine?
Right now I do a combination of running and yoga about four times a week. I have never really liked the gym, so running outside and doing yoga at home works for me. I think the trick is finding something you can maintain. As far as my diet, I just try to eat whole grains, fruit and vegetables, all the usuals. I did give up fast food and pop (soda) completely though. The only thing I really miss is the In-N-Out-Burger.
You knew you wanted to act from a young age. Share the story.
When I went to the University of British Columbia I knew I wanted to be an actor, I just hadn't fully admitted it yet. I was afraid I wasn't good enough and I didn't have a lot of experience but I decided to audition for the theatre program anyway. I wasn't sure I would get in. I wasn't even sure about pursuing acting at all, so I came up with a back up plan. If I didn't get in to the theatre program I would quit school and move to Paris. End of plan. Luckily, I got in. I like to think I deliberately left myself no other options so that I wouldn't chicken out. I still don't have a back up and I still pray I won't need one.
Your film Ally Was Screaming just premiered at the Calgary International Film Festival. Did you attend?
The Calgary Film Festival was kind enough to bring me to Calgary as a guest of the Festival so I could attend the premiere of Ally Was Screaming. It was a packed house and the movie got a great reception. It turned out amazingly well and I am really proud of it. We shot the movie in Calgary so it was nice to catch up with some of the other actors and crew, as well as our director and producers.
You recently wrote a screenplay. What steps are you taking to see it blossom onto the screen?
I had not written in a long time. I wrote a play in high-school that was banned and I took some creative writing courses in university but I had let it slip by the wayside. Until one day, I had what I thought was a pretty good idea so I started writing again. I originally wrote my screenplay as a television pilot but when a director friend of mine voiced his interest in making it as a movie, I thought, why not. So now I am in rewriting hell but hopefully I will be able to make it into a proper movie script yet. The next step will be to get a producer on board and then drum up some cash.
Being from Canada, what's your fascination with American politics?
When I was about 12 or 13, my sister dated this guy who would watch coverage of the American presidential race at our house and for whatever reason I just loved it. It is a vicious and often hilarious, no holds barred knock out battle. I just can't look away. I also love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and they kill it during election time.
Tell us a story from your childhood where someone or some thing made you cry.
When I was kid, we took in a stray cat that kept showing up in our yard. My sister and I named him Shirley Feeney, after Laverne & Shirley. We had the cat for a few years, although I suspect he may have been eating at a number of homes in our neighborhood, but then one day he never came back. I remember crying on the back steps, desolate, eating Meow Mix out of the box because what else were we gonna do with it now...
I'd like to give a shout out to Pete Fry For City Council! My good friend Pete is running for city council in Vancouver for the Green Party. (Election day November 15, 2014) He is a smart, dedicated, honest man and he would be a great addition to our city council. Check him out.