Known for her solid work in a bevy of high profile supporting roles from ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ to Fox’s Series ‘Touch’ to a role in the upcoming ‘Poltergiest’ reboot, Saxon Sharbino has established herself as a young actress on the rise in Hollywood and leaves her poised become a breakout star in 2014. Sharbino is an incredibly expressive young actress who pours her heart and soul into each and every role. Continuing her showcase her talents with captivating and highly emotional performances, her latest role teams her with writer/director/star Clark Gregg (ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”, The Avengers, Iron Man 1 & 2) on his outstanding new film, ‘Trust Me.’
In the film, Gregg leads an all-star ensemble cast in this smart, sardonic and unpredictablefilm as Howard Holloway, a former child-actor turned floundering child-actor agent. But when Howard gets his new client (Saxon Sharbino) a shot at the lead in a huge movie franchise, he’ll also have to deal with a slick rival agent (Sam Rockwell; The Way Way Back, Iron Man 2, Moon), an icy casting director (Allison Janney; CBS’s “Mom,” Juno, NBC’s “The West Wing,” American Beauty), a cutthroat mega-producer (Felicity Huffman; ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” Transamerica, Magnolia), his single-mom neighbor (Amanda Peet;2012, Identity Thief, A Lot Like Love, Something’s Gotta Give), and a secret that could destroy more than just the deal of a lifetime.
The stellar cast is rounded out by Paul Sparks (HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” MUD, Edge of Darkness), Niecy Nash (HBO’s “Getting On,” “Reno 911,” “The Soul Man”), Molly Shannon (NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Never Been Kissed), and William H. Macy (Fargo, Dirty Girl, The Lincoln Lawyer, Showtime’s “Shameless”). ‘Trust Me’ is a true gem filled with amazing performances and has been heralded as “a dark comedy with a touching and dramatic flair.” Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Saxon Sharbino to discuss her journey as an actress, bringing her characters to life, the challenges involved and what the future might hold for this star on the rise.
I wanted to give our readers a little background on you. How did you get started on your journey in the entertainment industry?
I didn’t really know acting was a thing until I was about 9 years old! [laughs] Then I figured out that you couldn’t follow people around all the time and have exciting things happen. [laughs] I found out about acting when I was 9 or 10 and, as soon as I discovered it, I wanted to do it! I started taking acting classes and got an agent in Dallas, which is where I am originally from, and they helped me get an agent in Los Angeles. Everything took off from there!
Your latest film is Clark Gregg’s “Trust Me.” You turn in a terrific performance in this film. How did you get involved with the project?
I first auditioned and then they brought me back to meet the director, Clark Gregg. It was a 13-page audition! We went over that and then they brought me back again and we basically went through the whole script a couple of times. We had a couple of meetings about it and then he finally offered it to me! I was really nervous when I first auditioned because there were so many pages and I wasn’t exactly sure how I was supposed to go through all of it because it’s a very unique character. Clark really invested a lot of time in me before I booked it and I spent a lot of time with the script before filming, so we worked everything out before I got the part.
What was it like meeting with Clark for the first time? I imagine it could be pretty imposing with him being both the writer and director on the project, controlling your fate in a way! [laughs]
Yeah! It was kind of nerve-racking. I actually didn’t know he was the writer when I was meeting with him. I just thought he was directing the film. As we were going through the scenes, he would say, “Do you like that line? I think we should change that line.” I was like, “Can you just do that? What about the writing credit or the writers?” He said, “Oh no, no, no. I am the writer too.” [laughs] He did such an amazing job balancing all of the elements of the film. It was amazing.
What was it about the character or the role that made you so passionate about pursuing it?
I wanted to play Lydia because she was such a deep character and had so many layers. In the beginning, you think she is so sweet and her character has some really nice development. That is why I was so intrigued because I like doing the deeper stuff and I like being able to show years. There aren’t many characters in my age range that really allow you to do that so I was very thankful that I got to play Lydia.
What elements did you bring to the role that might not have been on the written page?
I think I brought some of my own personal experiences to the character. I am still new to acting and I am still trying to figure out who to trust in the acting world in Los Angeles, so I feel I brought some of me in that way.
What was the process of preparing to play this character?
When I first auditioned, I memorized the lines and figured out how I related to the character. You have to figure out your choices in the scenes and figure out how you can show as much of the character in each scene. I really prepare as much as I can to play the character before the audition.
In addition to Clark Gregg, this film has a wonderful cast. What did you learn from your time on this project?
I learned something from everyone on set. It was an amazing experience. It was awesome to watch all of these great actors do their thing. Clark taught me a lot. In between takes he would take me back behind the camera and show me things from the director’s point of view. It was really interesting to learn about the technical stuff. Allison Janney was so funny and we got to laugh so much in between takes, so it never got old! Sam Rockwell was great too! He would never say the same line twice! All of the actors were so fresh and incredibly talented in every scene. That made every scene important and brought life to every moment.
What do you consider the biggest challenge of this role?
I think the biggest challenge was trying to show how deep Lydia was and to be able to put all of that into one moment. Clark really helped me with that, along with everyone else in the scenes. We all worked together to show each moment clearly.
You have been able to play some diverse roles in your career and you have a bright future ahead of you. Are there any particular types of roles you are anxious to tackle?
I would continue to show the depth of characters and be able to make people think after they have seen the movie. I like the deeper stuff, the crying and the stuff you have to rewatch and things like that but I would be blessed to do anything!
You mentioned some of those amazingly emotional scenes. As an actor, is it difficult to put yourself out there and bare your soul, so to speak?
In certain situations it could be tough but we had an amazing cast and everyone made me feel very comfortable. It was very easy to cry and feel emotionally vulnerable because they all were too.
You have some very talented siblings. Has sibling rivalry ever reared its head in any way?
My sister, my brother and I are all very supportive of each other. My sister, Brighton Sharbino, is on “The Walking Dead” right now. I think we really support each other in our careers more than if we weren’t in acting. For example, I think if my sister wasn’t into acting, I don’t think she would be able to understand what I have to go through and vice versa. We really work together and support each other in everything we do, which I think is really cool.
You are obviously very focused on your career as an actress but do you have any interest in exploring the world behind the camera in terms or writing or directing?
Yeah! In the future I would love to pursue writing and directing. I think there is definitely a lot of stuff I need to work on in the meantime and I have to learn. I think my experiences as an actor can help me with what I might eventually do behind the camera. Right now, I definitely want to focus on the craft of acting and learn everything I can about that before I try to pursue another part of my career.
What other projects should we be on the lookout from you in the near future?
My movie “Poltergeist” is coming out next July. In addition to that, I am auditioning for new parts!
I know, we are really excited about “Poltergeist.” Were you familiar with the original film before you took on the project?
I had never seen “Poltergeist” before filming. Actually, I still haven’t! [laughs] Scary movies terrify me! I love acting in them and I love bringing them to life but when I actually watch them, it is so scary! [laughs]
How does working on a larger film like “Poltergeist” compare to “Trust Me” or smaller projects?
The scale of a film like “Poltergeist” is much bigger. There are more camera and lighting people. With “Trust Me,” many people were working together and pouring their heart into it by doing multiple jobs. Both casts and crews were working really hard, don’t get me wrong, but there are obviously a lot more people on a larger film. Both of the films were terrific experiences but “Trust Me” was definitely a more intimate experience when it comes to acting.
Looking back on your career so far, what was your biggest evolution as an actor?
That is the cool thing about “Trust Me.” I think it shows a lot of how I have grown as an actor. I learned so much on set. It was one of my first real jobs. I had “Touch” before that but “Trust Me” was really hands on for me. It really taught me a lot of the technical stuff in regard to what the camera can and cannot see. It also taught me how actors work with each other. Like I said, on set everyone was really friendly and helped each other while on set. I took a lot away from that and it really has inspired me to grow as an actor.
What is the best advice you would pass along to aspiring actors looking to pursue a path in the entertainment industry?
The best advice I have gotten is to trust your instincts and follow your dreams. When you are in a scene, do it like you would do it in real life. Follow your instincts! It is also important to keep pursuing it. If you love it, do what you love!
Thanks for your time today, Saxon! You were terrific in the film and we look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future! All the best to you!
Thank you so much, Jason! Take care!