With more than four decades in the entertainment industry Lar Park Lincoln has built one of the most unique careers in Hollywood. She blazed her own trail in the worlds of film and television, landing high profile roles on some of television’s most iconic series. Fans of classic television know her best as the scheming Linda Fairgate on CBS’s primetime soap opera, “Knot’s Landing,” while genre film fanatics instantly recognize her as the telekinetic teenager, Tina Shepherd, from “Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood.” What you might not know is she is also the driving force behind Actors Audition Studios, a company she founded to put her extensive knowledge of the business into the hands of a new generation of talented actors. Her passion for her craft is undeniable and she continues to raise the bar on every project. Her latest cinematic offering is no exception to the rule!
Co-written and co-directed by Sean C. Stephens and Aaron Jackson, “Expulsion” follows the story of Scott (Colton Tapp) and Vincent (Aaron Jackson), who are top recruits at the prestigious Cicero Market Technologies Corporation. They are tasked with the development and implementation of cutting edge technologies, solely to bring about medical, environmental and physics advancements. However, beaten by their own curiosity, the pair begin to sneak their work home with them. They push the boundaries of particle collision science to undiscovered levels stumbling upon a parallel universe complete with an alternate version of Scott. As their days and nights unfold, they discover that others seek their tech to advance their own agendas – agendas they intend to fulfill at any cost. In the film, Lar Park Lincoln delivers a captivating performance as the dark agenda driven futurist, Shara Fanning.
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Lar Park Lincoln to discuss her journey as an actor, the lessons learned along the way, her connection with her “Friday The 13th” family and bringing her unique skill set to the set of “Expulsion.”
Thanks for taking time to speak with me today, Lar. It’s always a pleasure to speak with someone who’s been a working actor for decades. You’ve been a part of so many great things! It’s quite a career you have built.
That’s very nice of you to say! Thank you so much!
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get involved with the arts early in life?
I decided in third grade that I was going to be an actor. I was in an Army family and I’m an Army Brat, so there weren’t very many opportunities at the time. I got started in modeling and did that for eight years, but I always had my eye on acting. Finally, my dad had us off military bases and living as civilians, so I was finally able to get some solid acting classes. Really, I went the traditional way of most actors. I just kept auditioning, getting agents, losing agents and going to each audition as it came!
What was it about the craft of acting that spoke to you?
Gosh, I really love comedy and I thought that would be the direction I would go in originally. I was just mesmerized by roles and characters. I loved all the dramatic Hitcockian films, along with anything with Jimmy Stewart in it, so imagine when I got to work with him and met my idol. That was pheromonal. It just seemed like acting was supposed to be what I was doing, and coaching came right along with it. I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else! I think that’s the sign of crazy, which is probably what acting is! [laughs]
What went into finding your creative voice as a young actor?
In the beginning, and for many actors now if they are not under great mentorship and coaching, you just kind of flail. Since I had modeled for so long and had been doing commercials and worked overseas, I was really comfortable in front of the camera. I was taking acting classes and pursued it in college, but things didn’t take shape until I got into a really solid film class in Los Angeles. That’s where I started learning the technical side of the camera and everything really woke up for me.
I knew I wanted to work in a film and television career, as opposed to a theatre career. I had so much fun with the technical aspects of the craft. For example, walking in the scenes or the seeing and creating things that aren’t there until they put it in later. That whole aspect of filmmaking fascinated me and that’s really where I found my direction. Then, you just keep going on auditions! When you are first starting out, you take every audition you can get! Hopefully, some stick and you get booked for a few things. I had worked as a performer for 10 years before I got into the SAG union. It was a good, solid, long time! [laughs]
Is there a project from that time period where you felt the tide turn?
There is! My first project, “Children of The Night,” was the one that put me into the union. I was playing a real girl’s life story. She was a young teenage prostitute. That’s where I had to learn, and what has guided me since the very beginning in 1985, that you can’t be an artist if you are judging. You can’t play someone’s life if you are judging it. Coming from an Army brat and military world, I had not seen the seedy underworld of what a lot of young teenagers were forced into in Los Angeles. At first, it was really hard for me to figure out how to play this girl and not judge her choices or judge where she ended up. I think that gave me the ability to become other characters and to look at all sides of the situation in a problem, instead of being critical and judgmental. That’s what I strive for in my life. It’s hard but I try!
You touched on mentorship and that’s another element that played a huge role in your career. Who had a big impact on you in that regard?
Kathleen Quinlan was the star in “Children of The Night” and she was a huge help to me. I was so green! Like I said, prior to that I wasn’t in the union and they had to put me in the union so I could be in that film. I had never done anything like that before. She was an awesome co-star in that film! She gave me advice and taught me how to focus. As I kept going and got to “Knot’s Landing,” working with that cast that had been around for so long was a great experience. You had Michele Lee, Kevin Dobson and William Devane and the crew that worked with them were phenomenal. Another crew and person that affected me was Michael Landon on “Highway To Heaven.” I was blown away by the way he ran his show and the respect he had for people. His ship was so tight, and he knew what he needed. We didn’t waste time during the day. We ended our day at a certain time and people went home to their families. That was very important to him. He worked with the same people from when he had done “Bonanza” as a young boy, all the way through to “Highway To Heaven.” That was an incredible learning experience and I’ve never forgotten that!
What lessons learned early on have carried forward over the course of your career?
I learned a big lesson in high school that has never left me. I’ve always been a person who has been very on time and I’m very conscientious about keeping on schedule for other people and respecting their time. However, when I was a teenager, I had been accepted into a fashion board where we did the local fashion shows in all of the malls. It took a couple of years to get accepted into that fashion board and it was a big deal for a young teen. It was before I was driving, so I was about 14 years old. One year, we were planning the big fashion show for the year. They sent us a note at home, and it said, “If you are available for the show, be sure to return this RSVP.” I didn’t! I just thought, “Oh, I know where the place is. I know what I’m supposed to be wearing. I’ll have my mama drive me.” After driving across town, we got to the place and I was all ready to go and thinking I was so important! I saw a note on a door, which I’ve learned is never a good sign! [laughs] There were so other girls on my team there and the note said, “If you are reading this note, you are one of the people who did not get your RSVP in, so you don’t have the address of today’s fashion show and we won’t see you on the board next year.” That was a pretty painful reality. I had worked for something and I had just let it evaporate in my hands! I’ve tried very hard to be sure that never happens. I’ve seen other actors have it happen on sets before, where they mess up and they don’t show up and so many years of work evaporate.
You are one of the rare performers who has a unique connection with a mega-franchise — “Friday The 13th.” How did that project, ‘The New Blood,’ come into your life?
It’s just been wonderful. How much fun can it be to have a job where you can go appear somewhere or someone can write you these wonderful letters because they had fun watching something you did. You can’t ask for much more than that! It’s a pretty exciting job. Getting “Friday The 13th,” I was a horror fan myself, so I knew the series. When you are reading for them and just going on a million auditions, you are doing so many auditions a day and you are just trying to get someone to believe in you for something and to give you that role. The show was under a false name when we went for the audition, so people supposedly wouldn’t know it was “Friday The 13th.” It was called “Birthday Bash,” but we had the script, so it was pretty easy to figure it out, even though they had different names there. It was terrifying getting that role because I didn’t want to be the one who took the series down a road that the fans hated. [laughs] So, a few migraines ensued but I think it turned out OK!
What did you bring to the role that wasn’t on the original written page?
I wanted to bring a sense of realness to her. I didn’t want Tina to be sexy. I also didn’t want her to be trying to be getting other people’s attention or striving for other people’s acceptance. She hadn’t gotten it and she didn’t get it. I wanted her to feel like someone you could pass along in your day and if you didn’t spend a lot of time with them, then you might not know that their current’s run deeper. That’s really what I wanted to bring to her. She has an undercurrent under the surface.
You get to hit the road, travel the world and meet your fans in person. What is it about this role that resonates with so many people?
I think it’s the fact that Tina was very vulnerable. What happened to her was an unusual twist in her life and she spent years trying to get someone to understand and listen to her. She did have unconditional love from her mother, but she was thrown into the mental healthcare system and ran into Dr. Crews, who wanted to take advantage. When we were starting to put Tina together, some of the producers wanted her to have dark, black hair and heavier makeup. We did a few different makeup tests and, thank goodness, director John Buechler went back to, “No. Let’s keep her with plain hair. Plain, light skin and blue eyes. Let’s keep her very soft, natural and unaffected by the world around her.” I think the way Tina viewed her problems was very internal. She couldn’t get anyone to understand them, so I think people relate to that. I think that’s kind of a trait of human nature that a lot of us have.
Another interesting aspect of this role is the bonds it led you to form with other cast members from the franchise. One of my favorite things at the various fan conventions is to see you all chat, reconnect, share laughs and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. It’s a beautiful little family you have!
It really is quite fun! It’s a relaxed feeling because you know the work of the show is behind us. It’s harder when you are actually on the set to develop relationships because the characters are the key thing. After the fact, it really is quite fun. You develop these relationships and you look forward to seeing each other, talking to each other and meeting spouses and friends. Kevin Spirtas and I became the best of friends years after the show. He’s an incredible singer and he even sang at one of my daughter’s Miss Texas pageants. She was Miss Texas Junior Teen. That was super fun that he was on the stage singing. I also got to go support him for his Emmy-winning series that he has out now called “After Forever.” It really has been an extension of friendships that I didn’t really expect at all but have enjoyed quite a bit!
That family is reuniting in a unique way as well with the “Fanboy 13” project we are all looking forward to!
Yeah, it’s super cool! It was really fun. I actually saw Deborah (Voorhees) had posted a few stills from it last night. I had always wanted to work with Dee Wallace. My character is not in scenes with her, but I’ve met her a few times and what a fabulous human being she is! The series was really good, and Deborah did an awesome job. She, as a director, was right on target. I loved that she let my character, who gets kidnapped and put into a boiler room basement, lose her mind with insanity. I thought that was really cool and super fun!
We are together today because of your latest project, “Expulsion.” This brings things full circle as this role came to you through a student of yours. Tell us a about Actors Audition Studios and how it ties into this project.
I always loved coaching actors, even when I was a young actor. I always just felt I could see things from the outside, although directing isn’t something I’m that interested in. A lot of people ask me that and it’s not. Running a whole ship and doing all that from a director’s standpoint is really not my gig. Individual coaching, creating careers, helping people put a plan to a career and then creating characters that make it come true is something I truly love! It just grew quite organically and ultimately became a full-fledged studio where we pretty much do everything! It’s my life and I love it to pieces.
Colton Tapp, who is a very good friend now, plays the dual characters in the show. When an audition comes in, we work on the scenes, we get the auditions right and send them in. Sometimes you will get the whole script and sometimes you will just get a few sets of sides. We had the whole script for “Expulsion,” and we loved reading it. It was a really exciting story and super fun. Him playing the dual characters was really interesting. He had done a good amount of work, but this was to be the biggest undertaking for him with both characters. I was lucky enough that my character was not cast, and they thought it would be a perfect blend. So, I was on set coaching Colton in the two different characters, along with being on set with my own work. I’ve gotten to do that on a few projects. There was a Lifetime movie where I got to be on the set coaching one of my actors at the same time and it’s really crazy but it’s so much fun!
What is your process for bringing a new character to life with a project like this one?
I feel it’s very important to understand all of the characters in the project because you will learn so much about your character by understanding how the other characters are playing into it. That can often be missed by newer actors that are just focused on their own character. The things that are said in the script and the things said about your character will give you a lot of direction. It’s very important, of course, to know what’s similar and what’s different with you and a character but also to understand how the character fits into the overall show. That’s why I really love background extras and actors starting in the field. A lot of people will say, “Don’t do background. Blah, blah, blah.” Well, we all generally start in background. If we don’t have background atmosphere actors, we don’t actually have a scene! You would just have a couple of heads talking! It’s the background, music, crew and the editing together that gives you a juicy scene. I really believe the different roles brings it all together. That goes for wardrobe and costuming as well. Those play a huge role in how a show is received. Wardrobe also works with the prop and set designers, so all of those colors and styles go together to create the mood of the show. I like looking at all the aspects!
You have a unique point of view as a coach and working actor. When you look back on your body of work, are there clear milestones?
I really feel I came into my own on “Knot’s Landing” because that character switched through a lot of different arcs over the years. I really do like episodic work. I like television a lot because of the pace of it. Film can just drag on for a long time in the days you’re shooting. That’s fine but I really like the pace of television. I think it’s fun and, through the years, I have found I like that more. Of course, as an actor, you’re constantly striving to be still on camera, to let your eyes do as much work as they can and trying not to let your nerves come out in body movements. I really loved trying to create the body movements of characters, so that it looks different than my own personal movements. All of that works together!
What do you look for in the material you take on today?
Like most actors, I would say a really solid story. I just signed onto a role last week called “Autumn’s Road.” The woman, one of the supporting characters in the film, one of her daughter’s has died. She has kept her room and everything in it exactly the same for a decade. She really believes that maybe the daughter will come back, which is unlikely. She is very weighted down by the grief of the past and hope for the future, so she is nowhere today. I found that to be a very interesting choice for me to play. In my life, I have had many losses. I lost my husband really young. He was just 43. When my children came along, my parents were gone along with a brother. I think it’s very important to remember that we have today. This woman’s character, her name is Kennedy, is just very frozen in that time. I find that really interesting.
Another interesting aspect of your career is how you bring your unique perspective to all you do. That leads me to your work as a writer. Tell us about what you have going on there.
“Get Started Not Scammed” is the book that is out and published. That one was a dream for me because I hate to see all of the scams that go on with artistic careers and there are so many! When someone wants something so badly, and it’s a career that’s a little bit more unusual than a lawyer or a secretary, our path is typically rewarded for education or for years. You can get a great role and then no role for years. We have a different kind of ratings scale for our own success.
When I wrote “Get Started Not Scammed,” I was really unhappy with the scams I was seeing everywhere and the hearts and souls they were hurting and breaking. It’s a book about trying to help people get a good handle on what they need to do and how to make it happen. It’s very practical. “Lucky Girl” is an autobiography but it’s not done. You get bored with your own stories, so it’s taking a bit longer. [laughs] I’ve been very lucky in my life. I have lived through everything, I really have. I’m always knocking on my wooden head, but I hope it will be very inspirational for people, if I can get that finished and put together.
As you said, you faced your fair share of highs and lows in life. Where do you look for inspiration?
That’s such a hard question, especially during this Covid-19 period. I don’t work with hobbyists. I only work with those wanting a career or already in a career that I can help redesign. I’ve really been amazed by how many people have taken this time and said, “Ya know what? This is a weird time in life and I’m going to go after some of my dreams.” I’m completely full up with actors saying, “Let’s see if we can make this work!” Then there are the people putting projects together. Now that things are starting to shoot again, people are working. There has been a lot of casting. You get cast and hold. The people putting projects have taken this time to finish writing their shows, doing their storyboards and getting things ready to go. I’ve seen a real resurgence and forward movement in the creative process, which has been great. I wasn’t sure what to expect last March when we stepped into this arena, but I find that very inspiring.
You poured so much of your heart and soul into your career. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey?
Oh my goodness! That’s a painful question because it’s so hard. You must spend so much time thinking of difficult questions. [laughs] I feel it’s very important to get very specific about what you want to do and figure out the steps to get there. I think that’s where people make a lot of mistakes. They kind of go after something but they don’t believe they can do it. I believe that if one human has done it, then another human can do it! You just have to figure out what it is that you can do. Read the best books. study with the best coaches and get off on the right foot from the beginning. That’s really important!
Before I let you go, I want to see if we can shine a light on any causes close to your heart.
Oh, that’s wonderful. Feeding America is a charity that I really care to support. I’m also a breast cancer survivor. Breast cancer was a very long ordeal for me and I ended up with 17 surgeries in five years. It was a really long ordeal with a lot of recovery. There have been a lot of advances. In my case, I found it myself and had to argue with the doctors that it needed to be taken care of. I really stress with people to take care of yourself and your life. It’s so important to value your inner instincts when you feel that something is a little off and then try to get help from there. Don’t take no for an answer, AT ALL!
Thank you for your time today, Lar. I appreciate your positive outlook on life, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us all in the future!
Thank you so much, Jason. It’s really been lovely chatting with you.
‘Expulsion’ is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Prime Video Direct, AppleTV, VUDU and Google Play digital platform.