Close-up: An Interview With Rachel Brann

AS she makes her feature film debut in Jesse V. Johnson’s The Debt Collector, actress Rachel Brann arrives on Close-up Culture to tell us more about the film and her journey so far.

Q: The Debt Collector is your first feature film. Was it daunting or did you fit into the role straight away?

A: YES! It is my first feature film and I will cherish it always. It was truly a blessing for so many reasons. I have a deep love for action films so to have the opportunity to work with Jesse V. Johnson and alongside Scott Adkins was a dream come true!

From the moment I received the sides for the audition, I knew there was more to my story within the film. I loved sharing a story about what the outcome of abuse in many forms can look like for a woman and the struggles that a lot of women can face when they struggle with love, finances, education and trying to move up in society.

Q: The Debt Collector is an action film with tons of fighting going on. Do you get involved at all?

A: TONS of fighting! I’m actually very glad that you asked this question, because funny enough, if you notice I am the only person in the film that is not involved in the action at all. I think that in the story, I became good at avoiding the fights and I think its part of my street smarts. I imagine that in a different part of this story, maybe way before this timeline, I had experienced a lot of fighting.

Q: Director Jesse V. Johnson has come from stunt work and is now doing great stuff in action films. What was Jesse like to work with?

A: I wish everyone could meet Jesse V. Johnson. Me trying to describe him in words just wouldn’t do his brilliance justice. Sometimes, I would just watch his mind work like a Mad Scientist. He’s a quick thinker and very creative. He has a great understanding of how to communicate with the actors and I really enjoyed working with him.

Q: Do you have any fun memories to share from working on the film?

A: WE shot a lot of the scenes East of LA and let me tell you… it was THE HOTTEST week of the year. It had to have been… and when were shooting our dialogue, we have to shut off all of the fans and air conditioning. In between shots, we were all wiping our sweat moustaches and using blow dryers to dry the sweat stains from everyone’s shirts. That was a great memory. Oh, and driving my Maserati (smiles).


Q: The Debt Collector is action, but I’ve seen some fantastic clips online of you do a comedy sketch with Keegan-Michael Key. Do you feel there is a genre that plays into your strengths as an actress?

A: I think the beautiful thing about being an actor is that we have the ability to show all faces of life. It’s our privilege to share comedy and tragedy no matter the genre. I’m not sure there’s a genre that I wouldn’t want to play in – actually, I pray I never have to do a scary movie. I am the most terrified grown woman of scary movies – ghost thrillers specifically. Give me something tangible I can scare or beat up. But a ghost? You can’t reason with them! Same with cockroaches.

Q: Are there any actresses out there at the moment that you would love to replicate in the future?

A: I always say that Zoe Saldana has the best female acting career! She’s got to kick it with Britney, been in some chick flicks, Avatar, Guardians, Columbiana, Losers. But I have many, many women that I look up to in the industry, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Alicia Vikander, Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett – the list could go on forever. Their duty to storytelling and humanity is powerful and I hope to share stories with them all.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your journey into acting and where you would like this to end up?

A: MY journey into acting started back in my bedroom in Virginia Beach, VA. I was a little girl that would act out scenes in front of the mirror and I even filmed, produced, shot, edited and acting in my own Christmas special one year. A tape that I pray never surfaces!

I made my move to Los Angeles when I was 23 and drenched myself in classes workshops and people in the industry and long story short, here I am in my first feature film. Its amazing! I can’t wait to find out where I’m at in 3, 5, 10 years!

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

A: I am working on a few projects here in Los Angeles with some friends and I’ve found an amazing acting class at the Imagined Life with Diana Castle. She is so wise, I am so grateful to have her as my mentor.

Follow Rachel on Instagram

Title Photo by Anthony Tran

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