The woman behind Kate from Carrot Cake Conversations
I catch up with the sparkling blonde who plays Kate in upcoming local film, Carrot Cake Conversations, directed by Michael Wang.
Full name: Danielle Lisa O’Malley
Chen Junbin (JB): You’ve been acting for quite a while, but to Singaporean viewers at large you’re still a fresh face â€“ could you give us a little more background and history of yourself?
Danielle Lisa (DL): I grew up in Perth, Australia with my wonderful family and spent most of my childhood singing, dancing and acting. My parents have always been supportive of my goals and ambitions and would spend hours driving me to lessons, sewing costumes, watching me perform on stage or even in the living room!
I then moved to Singapore when I was 18 to study musical theatre at Lasalle College of the Arts. I’m really just your average 22 year old girl who loves to laugh and I’m not afraid to make a fool out of myself! I am currently living in Melbourne, Australia.
JB: In Carrot Cake Conversations you play Kate, a failed American actress who is in Singapore in transit for the night â€“ tell us a bit more about your character in the film, and what drew you to take on her role.
DL: Kate was such a great character and I could relate to her in so many ways. Kate comes across to most people as fun loving and carefree which of course is true, but she is also insecure and scared, which I believe is the same for most actors. As an actor myself, it wasn’t hard to imagine how I would feel knowing that I was giving up on my dreams and ambitions. Kate also spent a long time trying to make her father proud, which I also can relate to. What I love the most about Kate was that she is open to anyone and anything. She is impulsive and hasn’t let her ‘failure’ make her bitter and jaded.
JB: How did you personally prepared for the role? Are you like Kate personally?
DL: Michael (our director) gave me so much information on how he wanted Kate to be portrayed,Â which helped a lot in preparing for the role. There were many discussions that went into Kate’s accent â€“ should she have an LA accent, mid-western American, a mixed accent… In the end Michael decided he liked the accent I auditioned with, which was a mixture of American and Australian. I believe the word Michael used to describe it was ‘quirky’! You never find out were Kate was born in the movie,Â so in my character biography I decided she was born in Australia and moved to LA to pursue acting.
JB: How different is it, acting in a feature length film as opposed to your past acting gigs?
DL: Well, really, acting in a feature compared to a short film just gives you more of a journey to go on because it is obviously more involved. Most of my past acting gigs have been in theatre so of course there a big differences there. Acting for camera is a lot more subtle than stage acting and there is less of a flow. Most of my film training has been thanks to Lim Yu-Beng and the main difficulty I faced during the making of this film were the long hours involved, especially because there were many night scenes. The crew was fabulous though, and we all had a great time!
JB: How was it like working with Michael Wang? Did his direction leave you room to improvise did you have any inputs into shaping the character of Kate?
DL: I could go on all day about how wonderful Michael Wang is as a person and a director. He had a clear vision of how he wanted Kate to be played which helped me immensly, but was also open to any suggestions and ideas I had. We rehearsed all the scenes several times before filming so there was time to play around and try different things.
JB: Describe that one scene which took the most takes.
DL: I’d have to say probably the scene we shot on the MRT because we had to keep jumping on and off the train and often crew would get left behind. I laughed a lot that day, it was an experience!
JB: Describe your favourite scene in this film, and why it is your favourite.
DL: I really enjoyed filming the dinner scene with Adrian Pang. It is a well-written scene and I got to sit, drink and talk! Who wouldn’t enjoy that!
JB: What do you like about acting?
DL: It’s a really great feeling being able to let go of yourself and transform into someone else. I feel a lot of freedom in acting and I enjoy the creativity. It’s challenging and rewarding.
JB: What would you be if you were not acting?
DL: I’d be doing something with animals. I’m a vegetarian and have always spoken up for animal rights. I couldn’t be a vet because I’d cry every time I had to put an animal down, but I’d certainly get involved somehow!
JB: Name the five actors/actresses that you most look up to, and five of your favourite films.
DL: This is a hard one! Ok I’d have to say Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Sutton Foster, Naomi Watts and Elena Wang. 5 of my favourite films are Love Actually, Little Fish, Anchorman, The Painted Veil and P.S I Love You.
JB: One last question â€“ what is your dream role?
That’s really hard to answer! For film, I’m hoping my dream role is either being written as we speak or will be soon!Â For theatre, my dream role would have to be Queenie from the Wild Party!
Thanks for your time Danielle!
Carrot Cake Conversations hits theatres islandwide this 6 November, don’t miss it!