Arts & EventsInterview with Irish Actress Tara Lee

Interview with Irish Actress Tara Lee

Interview with Irish Actress Tara Lee

Tara Lee is a name that you are going to hear a lot from in the future. This up and coming actress was recently in Ottawa as a featured guest for the Irish Film Festival. With multiple credits behind her and more upcoming projects she has a unique talent that stands out. Perhaps her best quality is that she doesn’t realize how great she is. She seems to be as excited shopping in downtown Ottawa as the Festival organizers were for having her come to premiere her new film.

‘A Date for Mad Mary’ is a movie that I recently enjoyed and Miss Lee’s acting is very good. Ottawa Life recently had the opportunity to talk to her about the movie, what’s next and her celebrity crushes.

Ottawa Life: What was it that attracted you to this project?

Tara Lee: There were a few things, when I first read the script the thing that I noticed was all of these really well developed female characters. For me that was the number one thing because that is so rare. They (writers and director) didn’t stress that to me it was just something that happened naturally. The second thing was how real and authentic the story was. The third thing was the musical aspect. It felt like a real girl and it felt like there was some semblance of me that I had to have the part. There was room to discover so many sides of this person and it felt more challenging of a character than anything I had done before.

The director mentioned the shoot was about 26 days to shoot. Did that include the table read?

No there were rehearsals. The coolest thing was that it was all women. Then about a week of rehearsals.

Your character ‘Jess’, in my opinion, is such a central character in this film because she keeps ‘Mary’ grounded. In life you basically have the angel and the devil on each shoulder but she’s Mary’s conscience. She is basically keeping her in check. When you are reading a character like that can you identify with those aspects of her? Is that who you are?

Yeah, I think so. I was talking about this yesterday and ‘Mary’ probably bullied someone like ‘Jess’ in school. I’m realizing it as you’re asking me the question, I feel like it’s kind of what you wish you could say. and after you leave school you get that confidence. You know who you are and you don’t have to deal with that and you can choose who you want to be around. You don’t have to be around people like that.  I think I have always had that thing in me where I can see if someone is a good person and to stay true to who you are. I have always said that ‘Jess’ for me her niceties were the one part I really had to act as I wouldn’t deal with the things she dealt with. I’d tell them off. I think it’s a really good description because I feel that she is kind of like a conscience. It’s like ‘I can see who you are, stop acting like that!’

Aside to being a fantastic actress you also have a musical career going. Was that also part of the attraction to this role that you had the chance to combine the two?

Absolutely! It’s weird in most of the acting roles I have done, including my next one, there is always this massive musical thing. I don’t know if it’s because we are like magnets. When there is a musical element it tugs on my heart strings and I have to do it. I think that scene where she (Jess) is singing in the bar and I think that helped the cast directors because they knew I was in music and it’s a little easier because it would be authentic. It was amazing that was one of my favourite days and where I was the least nervous. If it were just me I would have done a different track, I would have worn something differently. It was still really cool for me to act. For me ‘Jess’ doesn’t really have this star quality, she isn’t necessarily the next Beyonce. She is just some girl singing on a stage and feeling it. It was really nice to play that nerve when someone you really like is watching you play and it makes you nervous because I’ve always told people to stay away from my gigs so I don’t really have that thing of someone watching me.

What was the name of the song?

Tara Lee:  Til the Doccklands Drown and it’s by a guy named SJ McArdle. He’s really really great. We actually had a rehearsal with him and his band to practice the song to learn it. He’s a really nice guy and is a friend of the director.

Regarding distribution, I know the plan is a late summer, early fall release. Do you know if the film is going to be at the Toronto Film Festival?

I never really know. I get an email a week before that says ‘Hey, do you want to go to Ottawa?’ but I did hear something about Toronto. I know there are talks but I don’t know if it’s going ahead.

What’s the next project you are working on?

It’s a movie called ‘Schemers’ and its set in Dundee in Scotland. So I get to go and hang out there for 6 weeks which will be really really fun. It’s set in 1979 and has  kind of ‘Trainspotting’ vibes. It’s a true story about a guy who sees a girl and needs a reason to talk to her so he goes and tries to sell her a ticket to a disco. It’s about gangs, violence and love and some really good music. The soundtrack is going to be sick! It opens with The Ramones.

Are you looking at a 2018 or 2019 release?

I’d say 2018 as we are filming this summer.

You have had the opportunity of working on independent projects as well as major studio ones. Do you find there is a major difference?

Yes. On ‘Moondogs’, a Scottish film I did before and ‘(A Date for Mad) Mary’ my experience shooting those is it was really beautiful, almost therapeutic thing where you are really soul searching your way through the movie. Because there aren’t millions and millions invested in it people are usually doing it for the right reasons. It tends to be people who are starting out and are still hungry and really want to make good stuff and really want to make the right career moves so they picked a good script. People don’t have their egos massaged and they have to get by on the bare minimum. I look back at these two movies and smile and I don’t know if anything will ever compare with these experiences. I was on ‘The Fall’ and everyone their brings their ‘A’ game where with these movies you work your way through it. There is a difference and both are cool but I will always have a thing for Indie movies.

One of the things I love to do in my interviews is ‘Rapid Fire’ questions. These are just some fun random questions that pop into my head and I’ll ask.

Oh, this could be dangerous.

What was the last movie you saw in the theatre?

It was ‘Life’. I went and you saw it with my boyfriend and I really liked it. I thought it was sick! I hope there is a second one.

Many times when you hear of Ireland many names pop up and I am sure, if your performance in this film is any indication your name will be added to that list. When you think of one of your greatest exports do you think of U2 or Conor McGregor?


Celebrity crush?

You know who I am really girl crushing on at the moment is Chloe Moretz. I have such a girl crush on Chloe Moretz. I can’t think of a legit celebrity crush at the moment . I‘ve never been a celebrity crush person but I have a lot of girl crushes. There is also a singer in this band called Phantagram (Sarah Barthel) and I was recently in the studio with a producer and he said ‘You’ve got to check out this song’ and he put on this song called ‘You Don’t Get me High Anymore’  and her legs are the length of Africa, it’s crazy. Her and Chloe Moretz are my girl crushes. 

Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?

Ben & Jerry’s Blondie Brownie

Tell me something that people would be surprised to know about you?

I love ballet. I don’t think I come across as a very graceful person but I’ve actually been a ballerina since I was three. I am a total nerd. I have a little ballerina bunny that goes everywhere with me that I have had since I was four and she’s my bae.

We are of course here at the Irish Film Festival? What’s your favourite Irish Film?

‘Once’ by John Carney and ‘Sing Street’ his latest.

If we were to expand that, what is your favourite movie?

True Romance. When I was a kid it was ‘Moulin Rouge’ and I’m a big ‘Girl, Interruped’. Angelina Jolie is my favourite actress.

Maybe the opportunity will come up for you two to work on something.

That would be sick!

Comments (1)

*Please take note that upon submitting your comment the team at OLM will need to verify it before it shows up below.

vyana slattery December 27, 2017 8:23 pm

.... loved .... loved ..... you in "Mary" .... so penetrating and convincing your performance ..... Best forEver!!!