To celebrate five years of Close-Up Culture, we are welcoming our favourite interviewees back onto the site to see what they’ve been up to.
Actor Samantha Robinson returns to talk about her exciting new project, Jazz Kitty, and her creative plans for the future.
Hi Samantha, welcome back to Close-Up Culture! A lot has changed in the world since our last interview in 2018. How do you reflect on these past few years and your artistic journey in that time?
Hi James! Yes, quite a lot has happened since our last interview, to say the least! I think these last years have been ones of personal growth, which in turn has helped me develop my depth and skills as an actor. The pandemic has also ushered in a desire to create my own content; to collaborate with fellow artists and creators. It has given me a profound sense of fulfillment to take more of an active role in my career.
You recently produced and performed in a tremendous art dance video, titled Jazz Kitty. Can you tell us about the project and what your inspiration for it was?
So it was mid 2021 and I was feeling creatively stifled. I had been auditioning for great projects but none of them had materialized. It was in this limited capacity jazz class that I had been taking, when the idea struck me of making a dance video, as a retro, sexy “Jazz Kitty”. The initial idea was to shoot it on 8mm film. The project then evolved from there. I choreographed the dance and then linked up with Ed Dougherty, who was interested in directing and co-producing the project with me. He brought his wonderful crew on board and decided to opt for 16mm film instead. I am thrilled with how it turned out!
Jazz Kitty features a very physical and playful performance from yourself. How much did you enjoy diving into this performance?
I loved it! There is something very freeing about expressing yourself through movement. The piece is also campy and silly, so I was really able to have fun with it. I think after the pandemic and personal life struggles, I wanted to make something that would be easy to make and didn’t take itself too seriously. After all, we all need a little fun in our lives!
After watching Jazz Kitty, I found myself wondering what a Samantha Robinson-made film would look like. Do you have any desire to produce or direct feature films? If so, what do you think your vision would be like?
Yes, after having a taste of having more creative control, I definitely see myself producing more projects and on a larger scale.
I think in terms of vision, I am quite open minded. As long as the characters are fun or interesting, telling their truth or the story is compelling, I can be drawn to the project. Writing is something I am trying to dabble with more, however, I must admit it is like pulling teeth getting myself to sit down and write.
Since we last spoke, you’ve worked on some great projects. I particularly enjoyed you in Cam and the short film For Your Consideration. There’s always something electric and intriguing about your on-screen presence. What typically draws you to a project? And how do you approach your characters?
Thank you! I sincerely appreciate those kind words! I really just enjoy acting and feel extremely blessed whenever I get a chance to do that. Whether it is playing someone quite similar to myself, or very different, it is extremely fun for me to psychoanalyze the character. I have an investigative mind and am interested in psychology. I like getting to the root of why people are the way they are and how I can relate that back to my own life. I do think the key to playing believable characters, even if they are campy or exaggerated, is to find ways to connect and relate to their background, desires, insecurities and defense mechanisms.
In our first interview, you mentioned your desire to work with Tarantino – and you got to in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. How was that experience?
It was a dream come true! I have always greatly admired Tarantino and love his films, and to have him direct me was a major “pinch me” moment. Then of course, to be part of a film like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which will go down in film history, is a dream in itself.
I hear you’re currently working on a short film about grief. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes. In 2019 I lost my mother to ovarian cancer. As you can imagine, that was an incredibly difficult experience for me. I met Ryan Jaeger working on Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and after my mother passed, we connected on our mutual understanding of grief and loss. He had an idea for a short, that deals with the desire to accelerate the grieving process. He wrote the script and we are now moving forward on filming it.
If we were to speak again in 5 years time, when Close-Up Culture turns 10, where would you hope to be – personally and artistically – in that time?
I hope to be artistically fulfilled, playing interesting characters in film and TV, as well as producing my own projects. And personally, I hope to be happy and healthy, surrounded by those I love.