Faulkenberry thrilled to work with Scorsese
That time she played Al Pacino’s daughter; that time she sang for India Arie ... Rebecca Faulkenberry knows she has a lot to be thankful for.
The actor finished her run in Broadway’s Groundhog Dayand was immediately booked for Martin Scorsese’s film, The Irishman.
She believes that and a guest role on CBS drama series Madam Secretary, will give her a firm footing in the world of film and television.
“In anything you do in life, you have to stop and take gratitude for what you have,” said the New York resident.
“When you’re complaining about the bloody subway, or working out, or all these trivial things, you can say: ‘I’m on Broadway; I’ve just met India Arie, who came to see me perform.’”
Rehearsals for Groundhog Day began on January 8 last year. The show closed on September 17. She even met Bill Murray, the star of the film version, after one of the performances. Then, she wrapped scenes on Madam Secretary and The Irishman in November.
“The end of this year taught me that things can change in a second,” she said.
She was called in September to audition for “huge” casting director Ellen Lewis, who works with Woody Allen, Stephen Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. She auditioned with no script.
“There’s something about getting into an office like that. I felt, no matter what happens, that I was considered at a level to even get in here, is a win for me,” she said.
Two weeks later, she was told her tape would go forward to Mr Scorsese. The following week, her manager gave her the good news.
“I was ecstatic. Trying to work equally in both mediums has felt like a lot of work, so to be validated in it is ... you don’t even fathom that.”
The film, set to be released this year, stars Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. Ms Faulkenberry plays Barbara Hoffa, daughter to Mr Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa.
She teased her online followers with a shot as she had her blonde locks died brown, then went off to audition for Madam Secretary.
“I was a lot more relaxed about it. It does wonders for your auditioning, going in with a Scorsese film in your arsenal,” she laughed.
She filmed both within the same week, returning to The Irishman two weeks later for a scene in front of 200 extras.
“I’ve done indie films before, which I loved doing, but the difference of a $100 million budget. You see what is achievable with that money and the type of talent in every department that works at that level is quite astounding,” she said.
“I was really a student on that film. I thought, I’m around the best of the best and I’m going to soak up everything that they do.”
Every week, she’s a student at the Anthony Meindl Actor Workshop.
“I learnt very quickly that I needed to have that in order to make my auditions better,” she said. “I think of acting as clothes you put on. You can tell if the clothes aren’t quite fitting or they’re not sitting right. You have to make adjustments until you can say I’m wearing this appropriately for what this script is asking for.
“In anything you do, it’s important to be really honest about when you’re not good enough and also acknowledge when you do good work. As soon as we closed [Groundhog Day] I was right back in class. It’s so important to exercise those muscles no matter what level.”
She moved to New York in 2001 “on a whim” hoping that it would bring greater opportunity than her time in London, where she had booked High School Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo, a play at the Royal Court and a role on the BBC’s Doctors.
“I loved living in London. I love the art they create there, but I didn’t feel that enough opportunities were coming my way. I would look at casting notices online and there seemed to be a lot more in New York.
“Within two months of moving, I had Rock of Ages.”
For four years, she worked eight shifts a week, leaping from the Rock of Ages tour straight into Rock of Ages Broadway, straight into Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark Broadway. She spent the following three years laying the groundwork with auditions, indie films and voiceover work.
“There is stability to it,” she said. “The more I do, I feel more confidence that with this work, something is coming; I just don’t know what it is.
“I’m incredibly driven and hard-working. I found what my passion was, my path in life, what I’m here to do, all that stuff, from a really early age and never had any doubt.
“I have no issue working really hard at it because I don’t want to do anything else.”
She laughed: “At the same time, I’ve been lucky to achieve quite a bit of success. I probably would have quit by now if nothing had happened.”
Working with Scorsese was “incredible”. “You look at them as these incredible gods of cinema, but on the day he’s just working. He’s just making a movie. Being in the same room with him ... it makes you feel that the struggle gets you somewhere.
“It’s still unbelievable that I could be working on a movie that Scorsese is directing, but then you have to stop and say, ‘I’ve worked hard and I deserve to be here’.”
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