In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actress Lauren Compton talks about her role in the western thriller, Once Upon A Time In Deadwood. Find out how the old west was won in co-writer/editor/cinematographer/director Rene Perez’s action-packed western.
A notorious gunslinger is slipped a slow-acting poison by an heiress and told he has three days to track down and rescue her sister, who has been kidnapped by a band of hoodlums and holds the antidote. Abigale (Compton) is being held against her will by the brutal and cruel Swearengen.
With Once Upon A Time In Deadwood available now on VOD, Lauren Compton discusses her role as Abigale, working with Michael Paré, who plays the unforgettable antagonist, Swearengen, and her upcoming projects. Check out our review as we head to the actor’s studio and discuss the craft of character-building.
Villain Media: Tell me how you became involved in the project.
Lauren Compton: I am friends with Jeff Miller, who is a producer on the film. I did a film with him called Clown Town. We had a fun time working on that movie. He called me up for this one and asked if I would be in it. And I saw yes!
VM: What I loved about Abigale is that even though she is a prisoner, she still acts motherly and caring towards Daisy. What interested you about the role?
LC: I guess I liked the adventure aspect. I thought it was cool that she gets kidnapped, she’s also trying to protect the little girl. And that was very interesting! While she’s going through the stress of being being held captive, she’s also super concerned about somebody else. She wants to make sure that they’re safe.
VM: Tell me about working with Michael Paré, who plays Swearengen,
LC: Michael’s really cool! And he’s an amazing actor because as a person, he’s not frightening at all. He’s super humble. We’re still friends. I met him on that set. The experience of working with him was really cool.
VM: Was it a challenge being scared, or pretending to be, by Michael Paré? Abigale is incredibly frightened by the menace of Swearengen.
LC: No. [laughs] If I can’t act afraid, I shouldn’t be an actress. I think acting afraid involves all the basic emotions. Acting in love, acting in tears, acting happy, acting sad — all of that is really basic training. Any time you indulge in acting in one of those ways, you have to pull from truth. You have to find something you can relate to. Whenever I’m afraid, I go to a part of my life where I have been afraid. Even being lost in a foreign country, or walking in a dark alley, you can imagine in your head how scary that can be. I’ve had those feelings, even though I’m making it up in my head. I think acting afraid is just encountering a truth that I lived and making it come to life, in a different scenario.
VM: Not only is this a western, it’s also a costume drama. Tell me about how the outfit added to the performance.
LC: I think any time you put a costume on, and you have a role to play, it adds to the role. It adds to character development. It’s like putting on a pair of gloves. It’s something that helps you adapt. That’s what it’s like being in costume. It was making it easier to play a character.
VM: How did Once Upon A Time In Deadwood change you as an artist?
LC: I think if you do any kind of project, you grow as an artist. You’re experiencing new scenarios. You’re working with new actors. I always love to talk to people, like Michael about his past and what he wants for the future; and what he’s been through. Working on any of these projects for me is about meeting people on set. That’s one of my favorite things about it. With this particular film, I really enjoyed the cast and the production. Every project that you do, you grow. You’re trying to perfect an art.
VM: What are you working on now?
LC: I’m a standup comedian. I do standup comedy a lot. I get a lot of offers for films. I have an offer on the table. I don’t know if I’m going to take it or not. At this point in my career, I’m more interested in quality projects. There was a point in my life where I just wanted to build my resume. If you’re starting out, and if you don’t know it’s something you want to do, do everything! Try it all!
I personally want to be part of projects that move my career forward. As I become busier in my daily life, I have less room for projects that go nowhere. That’s the reason why I like working with Jeff Miller. He constantly creates projects that have depth and are fun. I have enjoyed every single project that I have ever done with him!
I have a bit of a network that I trust. If someone comes to me, asking if I want to be a part of this, I’ll say yes. Outside of that, I’m in a comedy. I enjoy doing that. I really want to stay focused on comedic things. I’m shifting my focus and I’m looking for more comedic type of roles.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]
Once Upon A Time In Deadwood arrives on DVD November 19th, 2019.