It’s not every time I do an interview that I’m told I’ve made someone’s day, but that’s just what happened with actress Dee Wallace.
It turns out that we had trained with the same singing teachers (both gone now) so we had a good time reminiscing about how much we missed them. Wallace told me she looked forward to seeing them every week, as did I. She’s been through a lot in her life (alcoholic father, also widowed) but that hasn’t kept her from living a life full on with an abundance of love and curiosity. Wallace is a busy lady, with a Sci-Fi thriller coming out called “Beyond the Sky,” as well as many other films.
Wallace sat down with us to elaborate on her career and inspirational ideas before she zipped off to her next project.
Moviehole: When you made “E.T.,” did you think it would it become so famous?
Dee Wallace: I don’t think actors ever think that going into a film that it will be so successful; we knew we had a wonderful script by Melissa Matheson, but as Blake Edwards once said to me, “If we knew what made a hit we’d have a lot more of them.” We just want to go in, do our most truthful work and serve the project as much we can. There’s so much to it — timing, editing, how it’s distributed, how they roll it out with, so much has to come together.
The big studio films had that budget built in, and the more successful the film is, the more is behind it. Then you have sleeper films and it happens to hit and the studio says holy hell! And puts money behind it. With “The Great Santini,” that was a lost film and someone found it again and it was a big hit, it’s crazy what can happen; it has to get in front of the right people at the right time.
Moviehole: You’ve been through some heartache in your life. Any suggestions on how to get through hard things?
DW: In one short answer, it’s love and getting your power back; most of us spend our lives blaming someone and saying why we can’t and why they held us back — as long as we do that we can’t get empowered, you are the only person in charge of creating you right now. I live it and I’m proof of it, I have a lot of good stuff and free stuff on my website to get the principles down (www.Iamdeewallace.com).
Moviehole: How did you get involved with “Beyond the Sky”?
DW: They brought an offer to me, I read it, I loved the message in the film about love. And I loved her (role), I could’ve portrayed it as one of many ways, she was spunky and sexy, and I loved working with Ryan (Carnes) we had a lot of sparks and fun going on. I often go in and help young filmmakers with financing and distribution, I do that quite a bit and everyone wins.
Moviehole: Do you have a method of acting?
DW: I do, I studied with Charles Conrad — he taught us how to channel a character which I had been doing and didn’t know it. He taught us how to get our energy very high, not plan stuff out and be in the moment and it’s magical – Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood work that way. A lot of big people came out of the Conrad studio. And that’s why I love Rob Zombie, he’s open to all that exploration.
Moviehole: Who would be your dream actors/actresses to work with and why?
DW: I have always wanted to work with Anthony Hopkins. Also Jessica Lange, she has this hummingbird quality, you never know where she will flit to but you want to watch it. I just worked with Mark Harmon, one of the sweetest, nicest actors I ever worked with, in “NCIS: New Orleans.” And I’d like to work with Meryl Streep.
Moviehole: Any advice to newbies?
DW: First, you gotta love it (acting), and second you have to lose the belief system that it’s going to be really hard; it wasn’t that hard for me, also you hear it’s hard for older woman and I’ve done five films. And be yourself — most young actors are trying to figure out what they want you to be. But you’ve gotta be you, that’s the only instrument you’ve been playing from.
Moviehole: Upcoming projects?
DW: Rob Zombie’s “3 From Hell”; “Every Other Holiday”; “Jingle Bell”; a few horror films; a beautiful short called “Elixir,” and then I’m off to do a Christmas film in Lexington. I’m also doing a TED Talk and a lot of conventions.
You can’t believe all the limitations and focus on them or you’re going to keep living them. I had never been out of Kansas and I moved to NYC and in five years I was in “ET,” so watch carefully about what you think.
Moviehole: Anything more to add?
DW: I encourage everyone to love life and what they are doing. (She started singing “love is all you need!”)
“Beyond the Sky” was released on September 21.