KingWolf catches up with Actress Laura Stetman, to talk about her passion for acting and what’s next for her career-wise.
1. What attracted you to this movie, THE CONNECTION?
I was attracted the moment I got the call from Director Nick Naylor. I had worked with Nick on a couple projects thus far, and it’d been about a year since we worked together. He called me telling me as I was driving to my day job that afternoon, that he’d written a story about two lovers, well sorta lovers that can sense each other, feel each other, and have this undeniable connection without knowing why. I was instantly hooked. He went on to say that these two characters Vera and Foster, find each other in this sort of trap unable to deny their connection, and that side note, their connection is so strong, they get these super powers controlling other people only Vera goes down a darker path. I was hooked. I said: “Tell me more” He said well the conflict is that Foster even though he has this pull to Vera, he’s in another relationship. But the connection is so strong they can feel each other, whatever he feels, she feels, and whatever she feels, he feels, and they balance off of each other. I was instantly in. At that exact time, I’d had felt an undeniable empathic connection with someone I could not explain on the other side of the world, with no rhyme or reason, and that someone was also in a relationship. Everything that has happened in my life thus far echoes into my acting roles, and this one was calling out specifically to me. The fact that I could play someone so relatable and real, and at the same time play a role that challenged me going to the darker side, I could not pass that up. I just instantly had this feeling about Vera, she and I were going to be in a for a wild ride, but that this role was meant for me. I told Nick to send me the script and when I read it for the first time, I felt this kinship with Vera, not in a crazy ex girlfriend sort of way, but in the reason as to why she is the way she is. I related a lot to her.
2. Tell us a little about your character, Vera?
Vera....ooh where do I start? She is complex, driven, focused, vulnerable, estranged, and complicated. I know, you’re probably thinking (insert every ex girlfriend ever) but she’s more than that. She’s a girl who hasn’t had a great upbringing, and has only dated guys that have manipulated her and abused her emotionally and even physically, made her doubt her worth, doubt her value. She’s a small town girl, very simple, not enamored with glitz and glamor, but craves the one thing she’s never been able to get, love. Someone to love her and treat her differently. When Foster shows up, she’s not ready for him, and at the same time, there’s this unspoken bond and past between them, that in a way she is ready for him, but not for the complex emotions, and passion, and connection that comes with it. It’s a lot for her. She’s used to scraping by, always wanting, putting up with guys who are only solely focused on what they want, but she stays because she’d rather be with someone than be alone. In some part of her, she feels she doesn’t deserve better, and doesn’t know who that is or what that looks like, until she and Foster meet. Then when she gets her powers for the first time, she is hooked because for the first time in her life, she has power, and she has never experienced that before. KING Laura Stetman
3. How is this character like you? Different?
Vera is actually a lot like me in that I’m a small town girl, I like simple things, I don’t crave or want glitz or glamor either, just to love my own story, own it, and find that person I’m meant to be with. Like her, I too did not have a good upbringing, and I did grow up with abuse, from then on being confused on what love really is, and how that looks like in a relationship. I’ve felt mostly broken in my romantic relationships, confused as to why, at times scared to leave, and coping the only way I knew how....run. The connection she feels to Foster is identical to another connection I felt with someone on the other side of the world, with no rhyme or reason, but destined to never be, because in this life at leas he is also in another relationship, and we weren’t prepared to meet each other either. I also have someone else in my life I relate to on a very strong level. We’ve been through toxic emotionally abusive back and forth relationship carried with lots of passion. And that’s where Vera and Foster’s relationship heads. So that complexity is there. The difference is, Vera is borderline bipolar. She can go from a neutral to full out rage in an instant, or sadness to being manipulative in getting what she wants. On some level she knows that. She knows how to play Foster, but Foster can also feel when she is playing him, so he changes the game many times in order to level her out. Vera also is obsessed with having control and power. She’s never had it, so when she gets a taste she wants more and more, and eventually when she sees she can’t win over Foster as easily, because of his conflicting emotions for his current girlfriend Tracy, she uses that power to manipulate Foster’s emotions in the only way she knows how.
4. What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
The biggest challenge in taking on this role, were the levels I had to play and stay at during shooting. It was exhausting. Vera is an emotional roller-coaster, only it’s not like life where those emotional roller-coasters are spaced out. In playing her, her roller-coasters are nearly every scene up and down. Every time I got home from shooting I would crash...hard. She takes a lot out of you. (laughs) But like I said before, it was so rewarding getting to experience playing a character who doesn’t hold back, she just reacts in a big way. Everything she does is with passion, unless she is contemplating her own thoughts. That’s when you get to relate with her on a more even level because everyone has felt let down, confused, sad, or unwanted, and when you experience that part with her, you do care and see there is more to her than just this crazy manipulative psycho girl.
5. How was it working with Director Nick Naylor, who was also your Co~Lead in the film.
Oh I loved working with Nick! This was my first time working with him as an actor. He’s a fantastic director and puts his all into all his films he directs, but watching him work and transition on set from “Director” mode into “Actor” mode was an experience in itself. Playing a lead role while you are directing your own story you wrote, those are two different mindsets to be in. But the way that Nick prepares and the way I prepare are two very different ways so that added to the effects of the scenes when the cameras were rolling because we could just play off each other with little rehearsals in between scenes.
6. What was your favorite day on set? Why?
Hmmmm favorite day on set....I’d have to say honestly the 22 hour day. Yes 22. I was exhausted. I’ve never worked that long on a set before, but we were crunched for time, it was the last day we had the location, so we all had to push it or shoot more the next day. So many things got in the way on that day. Noises outside, At one time there was this band playing outside as well, and we had to call the cops and get them removed before we could shoot more, delays too. I had an emotional block during the day for a scene and had to literally be one of those actors that “needed a moment” to break, make a phone call, to which I was able to refresh, and walk out of the bathroom, past the crew as they were taking a break with tears streaming down my face saying “okay I’m ready, lets go” and everyone grabbed their cameras and started to shoot. I had a blasting headache by the end of that day to which the crew ran out and had to get me this salty Chinese soup to re-hydrate me, with salt to replenish my electrolytes from the crying and sweating and emotional work all day. This day was my favorite though, because it was as real as you can get, for all these humans to be stuck on one thing together, in this tiny hotel room, pushed to the brink of exhaustion. People were tired, cranky, sleepy, loopy, pissed off, and ambitious to get everything done. It really added to the emotional scenes we shot back to back that day, and driving home at nearly 6am in the morning, watching the sun start to come up, I just had this feeling of accomplishment, that even on the hardest set day, I showed up and gave my level best and so did everyone else.
7. Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
It’s tough to imagine anyone else playing Vera other than me, because I’ve built such a bond with her in my own way, and grew as an actress and as an empathetic person playing her, she’s like, my creation. I wouldn’t want anyone else to play her. (laughs) But if I had to pick a celebrity to play her, I would pick Josephine Langford, because Vera is like Tessa in a lot of ways.
8. Who do you look up to in the industry (as an actor/director/etc.)?
I look up to many actors and directors in the industry, but off the top of my head, Director would be Brian Baugh, who directed “Finding You”. I just love his casting, and stories, they bring such meaning and I love that the core of them is “faith”. The actress I look up to is Nicole Kidman. In every role she plays, she goes all in. I recently listened to her interview on the podcast “In the Envelope” from Backstage, and loved her even more. She’s a real down to earth human being, who still squeals and gets excited about a role when she gets a script or gets off the phone after talking to a director. And I love that she shares that! She just sees every opportunity to play a character as an opportunity to play and get to tell an amazing story and just have fun with the cast and crew, and she sees herself as always learning. She has good and bad days too on set, and it’s so humbling to hear that as accomplished of an actress she is, she is still a human being in that way, that she makes mistakes, tries things on set and finds that they don’t work, and she has also almost quit acting entirely before she got some words of wisdom from her mom to keep going. And she is still so grateful for her craft, talent, God and her path.
9. What would you consider your "dream role"?
Like a specific kind of character you've always wanted to play, but haven't found the opportunity yet. Who would that character be? Ooh dream role, hands down would be a lead role on a Netflix drama TV series. I would love to play a lead role of a character for years, going through the arcs and falls, living their story out. That is such an adventure and an amazing relationship I get to build with that character, and also the cast and crew. Like a big family for years. It just excites me!
10. What is next for Laura? Do you have any new projects you are currently working on?
I have lots of projects I’m working on! Currently in a week I go out to shoot for a sequel of a Sci Fi Space movie “Another Plan From Outer Space 2” where I play an emotionless yet playful android Molly. I also have two new feature films shooting next year directed by Preston Walden. One of them is “And Then Came You” a Nicholas Sparks type love story romance. I play the lead Sarah who finds love for the first time in an unexpected way, with an unexpected guy. The other film I’m shooting is called “The Truth About Monsters” where it explores the story of Sex Trafficking from the traffickers side and the victim’s side. I play the lead Robin, a tired worn out mother addicted to drugs and alcohol, who agrees to a deal to get her kids back from child services entering into an unknown trafficking agreement. I also have a TV series I’m signed on to as well! But I signed an NDA to not talk about that one just yet. Very exciting stuff!
Indie film supporters, check out Laura Stetman's science fiction thriller THE CONNECTION. One night, two people’s worlds change forever as a mysterious light in the woods connects the two in a way far beyond their understanding. As they set out to get their lives back to normal, they find the connection is the only normal they may ever know again.