Cassidy Brown who plays “Bethany” in Girlfriend 19, graciously agreed to contribute a post today! I am extremely thankful…
When I first saw the breakdown for Girlfriend 19, I knew right away that it was something I wanted to audition for. The character of Bethany really resonated with me and the idea that the whole film would take place over one day was intriguing. It was stated that rehearsals would be a large part of the process and that character development would require dedication and intense concentration. I wanted to learn more and see what it was all about.
Auditioning for Christopher was a smooth and pleasant experience, he is warm and friendly and puts you at ease. He gave me a lot of freedom during the reading and stated that he wasn’t married to any one idea and really wanted to see what I could bring to the role, this was something I would hear quite a bit during the filming process.
I was asked to read the script and let him know if I was interested. I read the script, and to be perfectly honest, I was hesitant and worried to accept the part. It was not a traditional screenplay; it was more of a skeleton or blueprint. I didn’t quite know what I was reading or what he was thinking. So I did what anybody would do, I Googled him! I was directed to his blog and came across an entry where Christopher talks about John Cassavetes and his desire to have a similar movie making process. He wanted to workshop with actors, get them involved in all aspects to create the film together. Being a Cassavetes fan myself, I understood what he was trying to do and why his script was laid out the way it was. That isn’t to say that I was completely convinced, lots of people in this industry have out of the box ideas but successfully executing them is another thing. Then I watched his short film Fade To Red and, just like that, I was in.
Christopher and I met for coffee, chatted about filmmaking and his vision for Girlfriend 19 and by the end of the conversation; I was signed on to play Bethany. Our rehearsals mostly consisted of conversations about character development, something actors usually are left to do on their own. By the time filming began, I believe that Christopher and I had a joint idea about Bethany’s struggle so very little discussion on set and few takes were needed. This also was due to the wonderful and professional crew.
Being in every scene and carrying such a weighty film was something I had never done before, Bethany was unlike any character I had ever played and there were scenes I wasn’t sure I would be able to do. Everybody on set was always very cautious during the uncomfortable moments and did all they could to create a safe environment and I truly thank them for that. By the end of filming it was a little hard letting go of Bethany, having dived so deep into her pain, I felt protective of her and walking away from the part felt like I was abandoning her, also a first for me.
Christopher talks about wanting to do more films using this workshop process with actors. He dreams about being with the entire cast and crew for months at a time, no breaks from each other, just rehearsing, filming, discussing, and debating. I believe he will do it and I just hope that, when he does, he brings me along too.