INTERVIEW ERIN WALSH
PHOTO CHRISTIAN HOGSTEDT
MEET Lucy Fry. SBJCT spoke with Lucy about her latest project, Night Teeth, learning to use her voice literally and figuratively (later), the importance of mind-body connection in the arts, and why she feels called to make art in the first place. Oh, and you know, being at one with nature, while we are at it. Read on for more…
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Erin Walsh Hello Lucy! Thank you so much for taking the time to have some fun with us- we are so excited to feature you and all you have been up to. I would love to start at the beginning- tell us a bit about your background and how you got started as an actor in the first place…
Lucy Fry Hi! Thank you! I loved our shoot and am stoked to be in SBJCT. I am from Brisbane, Australia. I grew up as a very shy kid, and my parents sent to me to speech and drama classes because my teachers couldn’t hear me when I spoke. So then as I learned how to use my voice with poetry and little monologues at speech and drama classes… I found that overcoming the fear of speaking was really thrilling and I found joy in expression and telling stories. Then I started an experimental physical theatre training called Zen Zen Zo, and trained in Suzuki, Butoh, and Viewpoints which are all essentially methods that teach you to act with your body and instincts and not your logical mind. I loved training and performing with that theatre company so much.
EW I would love to know more about Night Teeth-tell me everything. Will I be terrified? Also, tell us a bit about the filming process- I am kind of curious what happens BTS in movies of this nature…
LF Night Teeth is a really fun ride. It’ll give you some adrenaline, laughter, and thrill. I love my cast mates in Night Teeth. That made the filming process really easy. The whole movie happens in one night, so we were filming from 5pm to 5am most days and having good people around you when you’re all going a little nutty with the lack of sunshine and normal sleep was really important. Debby, Jorge and I would laugh so much and find moments between scenes to play music and dance, while also having great focus and team work in the scenes. Also Debby and I both do fight training, I do karate and she does boxing, so when it came to all the fight sequences we had so much fun learning and shooting those scenes.
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EW How do you go about deciding what projects to take on?
LF It’s always about how passionate I am about the story, the character, and the people I’ll be working with. With Night Teeth, it was that my character is the bad guy and totally irreverent and unpredictable and I’d never played that before and was really excited to. Also I think Adam Randall is a great director and I wanted to work with him. With Godfather of Harlem I love the historical context of the story, Harlem in the 60s with Bumpy Johnson, Malcom X, and Adam Clayton Powell. My character is a compelling wild card, and I was really excited to work with Forest Whitaker and Vincent D’Onofrio.
EW What is most helpful in the process of finding a character?
LF For me, it’s different for every character. It’s a process of getting to know them and because they are all very different people, they ask for different things from me. So I would say listening. Listening to who they are.
EW What helps you stay sane and tethered these days?
LF Getting into nature, surfing, karate training, good friends.
EW Any dream role you hope to come your way?
LF A badass surfer.
EW Do you often get “pinch yourself” moments when huge opportunities come through?
LF Yeah. When I was filming Bright with Will Smith I would often catch myself being a little stunned just thinking… ‘wow.’
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EW Do you consider acting or the arts as a vocation or something you were called to do?
LF Both. I feel called to make art, it’s part of my nature to be in a creative mode, and acting is what I chose to do as my vocation. When I’m not on set I paint and create in other ways.
EW What are your thoughts on purpose- like do you see a greater meaning in your work and what you are called to do? And what else do you feel particularly called to do?
LF The question of purpose fluctuates, but a few things stay constant. An intention to care for nature and make healing spaces for women has been with me for a long time. I am expressing that intention in some small ways right now, but I feel that seemingly disparate interests and skills will come together later in my life around this purpose. Protection and regeneration of ancient forests is an area where I have been working and feeling my deep purpose being fulfilled, and I am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds. And then, I think that when you are fully present in a moment the question of ‘purpose’ falls away. When I am painting, acting, or surfing I’m never thinking about ‘what does this mean?’ I’m just in the moment, and that is where everything makes sense. And in those moments, that’s all there is. That is the whole purpose and meaning of everything. Being here right now.
EW How do you connect your spirit with your work and your day to day?
LF I meditate. There is a visualization grounding meditation that I do which settles me into presence in my body. When I am feeling grounded and settled, there is room for spirit in every action. I notice that if I don’t meditate or take that time to check in with my body I can go through a whole day on auto pilot and miss out on the joy of the details. And if I can catch myself there like- ‘oops I’m on auto mode, time to check in’ I’ll pause and just feel my feet, breathe deeply, call my energy back to myself. When I do that little check in suddenly it’s like I see more clearly. I did that yesterday while I was painting, and it was like blood came back to my cheeks and I felt so much joy coming through the brush strokes. When I am on set, I make time to connect to spirit before I go into hair and makeup. Usually, I will offer that work up to a higher purpose so that it’s like, not about me, pressure off, just acting in service of the character and story.
EW How do you like to spend your days when you aren’t working?
LF Finding a balance with creative expression, study, nature, friends and exercise. I’m finally getting better at making structure for myself.
EW What inspires you?
LF Trees, Patti Smith’s music and books, the impressionists, Hima Af Klint, the ocean, Alice Neel.
EW What are some of your favorite ways to pay it forward? Any charities or causes we should know about?
LF Big Scrub Landcare is a group in Australia who I have been working with. They protect and regenerate critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest in an area of northern NSW, which is near where I grew up. Only 1% of that forest remains. I think that the loss of biodiversity and these intricate ecosystems will be what destroys humans, but what makes me really mad is that we are killing so many other species on our way out… who don’t have power to change it. We have the power to change it. And I think that it’s grossly unfair if we don’t all do everything in our power to protect the creatures we share this tiny little planet with.
EW Do you keep anything in the way of a 5 or 10 year plan?
LF No… I am trying right now to stay psychologically within the current month haha. Going too far ahead can be disorienting for me. I feel more clear and aligned when I’m focusing on things happening right now.
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EW Tell us how you use your platform to pay it forward.
LF Well, I noticed that when I started working with the National Forest Foundation, and then with Big Scrub Landcare, that finding ways to start meaningful conversations and action around protection and restoration of forests is quite difficult online. So, I thought okay how can I be creative here? So I auctioned off two of my paintings on Instagram to whoever would give the highest donation to the National Forest Foundation. That was pretty fun. I actually cried when the first painting got an $800 donation because it felt like, very in line with my purpose in a way that was directly fulfilling. And then with Big Scrub Landcare, I really enjoyed posting and sharing about that rainforest because it has a lot of personal meaning to me… it’s like home. And so I did one painting of a green tree frog and one of a creek there, and made cards and prints and sent those to anyone who made a donation to Big Scrub.
EW What do you wish people would stop asking you in interviews?
LF What was it like working with… (insert famous person).
EW What do you wish you were asked more often?
LF What’s your favorite animal?
EW What makes you hopeful after a year of pandemic life?
LF The joy of being out with friends again!
EW What makes you excited about the coming year?
LF Well it’s not 2020 so I’m super excited about it!
EW Book we should be reading?
LF Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
EW Lucy, What’s Your SBJCT? What really moves and motivates you?
LF Art… the moment… nature… which are maybe the same thing?
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