Scottie Thompson has been around since 2000 doing mainly television roles from an uncredited role in “Center Stage” to “Ugly Betty”, “Star Trek”, “Bones”, “CSI: Crime Investigation”. This November, she will be starring with John Corbett, Justin Long and Jerry O’Connell in “The Lookalike”. Examiner sat down with her to discuss her latest role and its impact on her career.
AL: Scottie thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. In looking over your resume it says that you went to Harvard for ballet. Have you found that a background in dance has prepared you as a film actress and how?
ST: I actually was a professional ballet dancer with the Richmond Ballet, and then stopped dancing to attend Harvard and study literature – and do lots of theater. I most definitely feel that dance prepared me for film. A great deal of acting is rooted in body language, and the knowledge of movement I gained through dancing influences how I approach characters and exist within them. I also think it helps in terms of continuity of performance; I spent so many years studying choreography that I’m usually aware of my specific movements at specific times during a scene. Dance is an extremely disciplined art form that requires dedication and passion, and those aspects most certainly translate to a career in film.
AL: In 2000 you took a year off to dance with the Richmond Ballet, what was that like and where did you go?
ST: I trained intensely throughout my childhood and into my high school years, and after graduation from high school, I went to school to pursue a career in dance, as an apprentice with the Richmond Ballet. It was an incredible experience; to finally be a professional after so many years of such dedication. We performed throughout the year, in Richmond. I ultimately decided to leave dance, which was an extremely difficult decision, but I am grateful for all that it taught me.
AL: While you were at Harvard you were in productions of “Macbeth” and “The Oresteia”. Later you stepped into more contemporary roles (such as “CSI”). Were you you able to use those experiences (in theater) as foundations for your later career within the industry?
ST: I do use my theater training in my work today. There are certainly differences between stage and screen, but the same principles of acting apply. I continue to study acting in different classes, as there are always new approaches to explore in my work.
AL: I read that you not only were in plays but had a role in laying out choreography in other productions. Did you feel comfortable in that role given your background in dance? And would you consider doing something like that again?
ST: I enjoyed choreographing; it was a small production and I worked with a bunch of wonderful friends. I will leave the choreographing to the pros, though, at this point. They know how to create their own art, which I greatly respect.
AL: Since moving to New York, you have had a reoccurring role in Showtime’s series “Brotherhood” with Jason Isaacs. What was it like working with him and the rest of the crew?
ST: “Brotherhood” was the first series I worked on; I didn’t even know what a pilot was when I auditioned in Boston. It was all a bit of an exciting blur to be on set and to be working as a professional actor. Jason Isaacs is a very talented actor and I was thrilled to work with someone of his level of experience, and to learn from the incredible writers – Blake Masters and Henry Bromell – and directors such as Phillip Noyce. The entire cast and crew were wonderful.
AL: Now that you are going to be in a major motion picture, how was the transition from film to television? Did you find the rest of the cast welcoming? Did you bond with them and if so how?
ST: Film and television are closer in technique than either of those and TV, so it was an easier transition, but there are many subtle differences to adjust to. I found the cast very welcoming, as well as the city of New Orleans. Working long hours and existing in an alternate world, as you do on film, it is hard not to bond with your fellow cast-mates.
AL: How did you prepare for the role of Mia, and can you describe her and her relationships with the other characters?
ST: Mia is deaf – for a short while by the time we meet her – and I was able to speak with a woman who had recently had an operation to restore her hearing. I also researched the illness she suffers from, and read several books to help me understand her psychology in coping with her dilemma. She is someone who feels like an outsider looking in – or perhaps stepping back for perspective. She is someone who cares deeply and understands what matters, at the same time as she fails to comprehend that. She’s complicated, like all of the characters in the film.
AL: You have many other projects coming out as well, some film, television and a few short films. Are there any projects you would like to see done (stories that interest you) and or actors you would like to work with?
ST: I am working on developing several ideas of my own into projects, and hope that they take shape soon. And there are many actors I would love to work with; the list is constantly growing and I fear I wouldn’t be able to stop if I got started.
AL: Do you have any advice for young girls who want to go into the business? Any do’s and don’ts? And if there was one specific thing you would tell young people who want to go this route for their livelihood what would it be?
ST: My advice is to know who you are, and constantly keep checking back in with that person. This business is an emotional roller-coaster that I love being on, but it certainly requires thick skin. So it’s important to remain true to yourself. Study lots: take class, study people on the streets and in books and in your life, and just keep exploring and growing.
AL: Scottie thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us.
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