When it comes to giant robot-dinosaur movies, there ain’t no going past “Transformers : Age of Extinction”.
One of the lucky theps that got to act alongside the prehistoric props on Michael Bay’s super-pricey blockbuster is actress Melanie Specht. In this exclusive chat with Carly Dennis, Specht suggests there’s ‘more than meets the eye’ to doing a film like this.
Firstly I’d like to say congratulations on landing your role in Transformers 4! Can you tell us much about the character you play in the film?
My character is Joshua’s senior executive assistant. The very talented and gracious Stanley Tucci plays Joshua. On set director Michael Bay referred to my character as the “Grande Dame”, I got a kick out of that!
What was it like for you, becoming a part of such a well-known, and well-loved franchise?
It was like a dream come true! Who wouldn’t want to be part of such a huge and exciting franchise?! As a child, I always watched the Transformers cartoons never suspecting that one day, I would be part of the Transformers movies.
What was the experience like working on set, and how was it working with Michael Bay?
The on set experience was as thrilling as it was educational. Being part of a production of this caliber provided me with additional insight to the “sky is the limit” thinking that big production budgets provide. It was also fascinating to observe that filming was being done by both regular and 3D cameras simultaneously.
Working with Michael Bay was challenging in the most favorable light. He is very creatively spontaneous and can change what he wants you to do in a heartbeat. Flexibility is key! I am grateful for the opportunity to have been directed by him.
So you’re character is the senior executive to Stanley Tucci’s Joshua, did you work closely with him during filming?
The majority of my scenes were with Stanley, so yes I did get to work closely with him, which provided me the opportunity to observe and learn from his on set presence and performance. He was very personable, gracious and helpful. A real class act!
Now I’m sure audiences would to know more about you, not just as an actress, but as Melanie Specht – so how did you originally discover acting as a career?
Actually I was acting long before I became acquainted with it as a career. My first experience occurred when I was 4 years old and I accompanied my mom to my older sisters performance in Snow White. I hadn’t been given a part in the play and I didn’t like being left out. So right at the beginning of the performance on opening night I rushed up onto the stage and jumped into the narrators lap just as the curtain opened. I was determined to be a part of the show!
You’ve got a huge year coming up, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of you, has it been a stressful time, or are you feeling confident?
I’m feeling very confident and excited about the endless possibilities each new day brings!
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to mention?
I am working on a few great projects that I can’t talk about right now but I know they will be very exciting when announced!
Do you have any major goals as an actress? Things you’d like to accomplish or see change within the film and television industry?
My goals are to not only provide deeply moving and realistic performances, but to also become an accomplished actress in both dramatic and comedic mediums, so I am not limited in the choices of roles I wish to play. I’m continually striving to be a very versatile performer. My heart lies equally in both genres.
The main thing I would like to accomplish is to continue honing my artistic skills and to be a positive role model.
What part of America are you from?
I was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Northern Virginia
Did you grow up within the film and television industry?
I’m actually the first person in my family to work in this industry!
Are there certain genre’s you’re particularly a fan of or find your strengths in?
I am a huge fan of both drama and comedy and I especially love sketch comedy where I can play unusual and colorful characters!
My strengths lie in all of those areas.
Could you name a few of your favourite films and TV shows?
TV: I Love Lucy, Golden Girls, Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, Law and Order: SVU, Scandal to name a few Films: Pretty Woman, City of God, Scarface, The Godfather, There’s Something About Mary, any period piece, A Bronx Tale, The 40 Year Old Version, A Christmas Story, The Notebook…..
Finally as well have you faced any major obstacles or challenges as you’ve started getting more recognition for your work and talents?
No, not so far!
On that note do you have any talents aside from acting?
I love to ask people questions and have been told I would make an excellent interviewer! Also, I grew up dancing and riding horses! In addition to that I believe I was born with a “flirt” gene because I harmlessly flirt with everyone including senior citizens, children and puppies! Not sure why, but I have done so all my life.
Did you receive formal acting training?
Yes I have and continue to study with many great acting coaches.