Close-up: An Interview with Lillian Solange

Where does your passion for writing and storytelling come from?

LITERALLY, I think this is my way of processing the world and my own internal life. My mother deserves huge credit here. As a writer herself, I grew up surrounded by books and a parent who consistently made time to write, read, and often seemed most passionate when discussing these subjects.

For myself, I sometimes feel like the path in my brain from nameless emotion or abstract idea to verbal communication is a long and twisted one. But writing has always offered a direct link between the complexities of my brain and the outside world.

So, in a way, writing is a means of survival. And storytelling is a natural next step.

What kind of stories do you want to tell in the future?

AS many as I can. I find myself consistently interested in identity, memory and the power of perspective to radically alter what any given person knows to be true.

There have been calls in US and UK cinema for more diversity behind the camera. Have you faced any of these struggles in your career?

RATHER than linger too much on myself, I would rather take time to underline what utterly necessary and important tools representation and inclusion are.

At a time of spotlighted xenophobia and resistance to change in much of the Western World, the media has the opportunity to take risks and advance narratives that can play an active social role in bridging these divides.

I do not believe that art must always strive to serve or advance the “greater good”. But it seems wilfully ignorant for wide-audience entertainment media to absent themselves from these larger sociocultural conversations.

In my own work as a script doctor and creative consultant, projects which seek to include a wide variety of humanity from a perspective of empathy are worth their weight in gold. It continues to surprise me how many scripts utilize women as sex objects or romantic plot devices. They also reduce characters of colour or members of the LGBTQ community (when included at all) to little more than their arbitrarily-assigned race or sexual identity.

It is the job of the writer to create a textured, fully-realized world. I have yet to encounter a story which would be undermined by radical inclusion.

You have an upcoming role in Clint Eastwood’s film 15:17 to Paris. Can you tell us anything about the film and your role?

THE film follows the real-life actions of Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos – and their involvement in the 2015 Thalys train attack outside Paris.

Ultimately, the narrative seemed deeply interested in unpacking what it means to be a hero – and examines milestone events in the lives of the young men that might have spurred them into action on that day.

What was it like working with the legendary Clint Eastwood?

IT was one of the easiest, most relaxed sets I have been on. Clint is notorious for knowing what he wants and moving on as soon as he gets it – so I was expecting a whirlwind shooting schedule where I would barely have time to breathe.

Instead, I had the opportunity to work with a crew of immensely talented, professional men and women – in an environment where Clint was incredibly hands-on and involved in the best of ways. Though obviously a legend and an icon, he was very kind.

Which character – whether it be in theatre, a short or web series – have you enjoyed playing the most in your career? Are there any characters you would like to play in the future?

OH it feels like being asked to choose a favourite child. No experience is ever perfect, but I tend to follow my gut and so I have had the invaluable sensation of creative fulfilment more than a handful of times.

That is the unicorn worth chasing. For the future, I am notoriously terrible at planning beyond next week, but I will always find myself interested in projects that seek to capture a complex world.

Away from acting, you volunteer for the STAR Eco Station to help out with exotic animals and teach children about wildlife. What joys do you get from this work?

I GREW up in rural Texas on a ranch, so there is a central part of my core that responds to – and requires – the nearness of nature in my life.

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I did not know anyone beyond the people I lived with in a small, one-bedroom apartment. I quickly began to feel confined and depressed.

Ultimately, I stumbled into a day job as an educator at the Eco Station, which operates as an interactive children’s museum and exotic animal rescue.

I adore animals of all sorts, even the traditionally unlovable ones – I will wax poetic about macrotermitinae to anyone willing to listen. So it was a chance to grow a passion while sharing it with others. After moving on to writing and acting full-time, I have stayed in the loop and volunteer when they need me.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I AM in the initial steps of self-producing a personal project. Other than that, I will continue working on projects that catch my eye.

Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

I RECENTLY had the singular experience of working with artist Paul McCarthy on his latest project, which is set to be made public sometime in the spring of this year. It is unapologetic and satirical and I am quite proud to have worked alongside the many talented people involved in bringing it to life.

I am also set to star in an experimental spy thriller designed specifically for mobile devices. I cannot say much more than that – but the idea of tailoring the narrative approach of a series specifically for cell phone viewers allows for novel technology use that I find intriguing.

Visit Lillian’s website and IMDb page

Photo Credit: Bjoern Kommerell



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