“I think as an actor, we try to control so much because letting go seems really scary, but those have always been my best either performances or moments.” – Amanda Crew
Silicon Valley’s Amanda Crew stars in the new horror-comedy film, Tone-Deaf, about a young woman (Crew) who rents a cabin in a remote part of town after breaking up with her boyfriend and losing her job. Thinking it’ll be a nice getaway, she sets off for a cozy weekend. But, the demented owner (Robert Patrick), has other ideas. It’s a fun horror flick and Crew is great as Olive, someone who’s life isn’t what she expected.
In this interview, she talks about the film, moving to LA when she was 21, the benefits of getting “out of your head” as an actor and that time she was fired from an acting job.
You kick ass in this film. And Robert Patrick is creepy as hell. In the movie, not in real life, I mean.
Amanda Crew: Isn’t he? Yeah. No, Robert’s good. I love him so much. Yeah, we had a fun time playing and shooting together. I have deep respect for him.
You’ve done horror films before, like A Haunting in Connecticut. Do you like that genre? Both watching and filming them?
Amanda Crew: I like filming them. I feel like there’s a lot more liberty that’s given in your performance, and especially for female characters. I mean, not all horror movies. Sometimes they’re just the damsel in distress, but I think in horror films they’ve kind of been a bit ahead of the wheel as far as giving women more nuance to their characters than other genres.
How did this role come to you? Did you have to audition for it?
Amanda Crew: This was one of those lucky ones where I was … I guess [director Ricky Bates, Jr.] is a fan, and he kind of saw me as this character, and so the script was sent my way. I responded to it and met with him and we were just kind of lucky. That doesn’t happen very often in my career, at the level I’m at, but this was one of those lucky ones.
That’s got to be like the best feeling ever, just have somebody think of you for a role like that.
Amanda Crew: Yeah, and for the material to actually be exciting for you, because sometimes we get some stuff where they’re like, “They’d love you to be in this,” and you’re like, “But, it’s not good.”
Early in the film, the catalyst of you going to this sort of resort is that your character is fired from her job. Have you ever been fired before?
Amanda Crew: I’ve actually been fired from an acting job before.
Amanda Crew: That was like… I guess it was the only time I was fired in my life, but yeah. I mean, I won’t name names, but it was a messy… looking back, I’m like, “Oh, that director was out to get me.” Yeah, it was really messed up.
Amanda Crew: But, I think most actors have had some sort of experience that I’ve heard of. I have friends who do the table read and then they’re… no one ever says fired, but essentially you’re fired because you were let go and they cast someone else.
I’ve done a couple table reads before, and they’ll be somebody sitting next to me and then when I show up on set they’re gone and it’s somebody else. I’m like, “Ooh, what happened?”
Amanda Crew: Yeah, it’s such a horrible thing to witness too, because it also makes you feel, in any of your jobs, like that can happen to you to. It’s just kind of like, “Oh, Jesus. None of us are secure.”
I know, and they were fine too. I’m like, “Oh my God, what happened? I better shut up and just keep my head down. Don’t say a word to anybody.”
Amanda Crew: I know! Sometimes though, it’s just a look thing, like they put the whole cast together and they’re like, “Oh, this puzzle piece doesn’t work. Now when I see them with the parent actors, the age gap doesn’t look correct,” or whatever it is. You can’t help but feel like you’ve failed as an actor in some way.
You went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts?
Amanda Crew: Yeah, I took their summer intensive my last year, going from 11th grade into the 12th, I came down here for the summer and took their summer intensive program and was by far the youngest person in the class. But, it was cool because it really pushed me out of my comfort zone just being around so many older actors and talented actors. It was fun.
You moved to LA when you were like 21?
Amanda Crew: Yeah, it was around 21. I already had been acting quite a bit in Vancouver, because the industry obviously is really strong there, and then I booked Sex Drive, which filmed in Florida, so that got me a visa. So I was like, “Okay, well now it’s time to try out the American side of things now that I have a visa.” So, I tested the waters and never went back.
When you moved to LA, did you already have an agent, or did you just kind of move there blindly?
Amanda Crew: No, I had an agent, and I had a manager. My manager was up in Canada, but she had so many clients down here, and then I had a US agent that I got maybe the year previous.
What’s the best acting advice you can give to somebody?
Amanda Crew: Get out of your head and get out of the way. That’s the first thing that comes to mind, and that’s something I have to remind myself. I think as an actor, we try to control so much because letting go seems really scary, but those have always been my best either performances or moments. But when I can just kind of get out of my own way and stop overthinking it, of course that’s a terrifying thing to do. So I understand why the struggle is real on that. But, that would probably be my advice.
What’s been your worst audition?
Amanda Crew: Oh God, so many. Probably one of those ones where I get too in my head and I’m like, “I can’t.” I’m just trying to control every part of the scene, and so it just comes out this really sketch thing. I’m sure I’m missing some fantastic story where I really shit the bed, but it’s happened multiple times.
Tone-Deaf is in theaters and On Demand now.