Actress Suzanne Willard talks to MoviePilot about making the transition into acting after spending time in the medical field. Her latest film, The Wolves of Savin Hill, premieres at the San Diego Film Festival on Saturday.
Tell us how you broke into the acting game, because we read that you worked in the medical field previously?
Working in Cardiology was very rewarding but also very taxing on my emotions. Over the course of 7 years I developed friendships with patients and unfortunately some expired during that time. I didn’t handle the losses well and was encourage to take improvisational classes as a source of “therapy”. After 3 months I was asked to audition to be a conservatory perform at the Second City of Chicago. I remember driving downtown, during a work day, with 2 of my cardiology nurses. As we walked up the stairs to view the new performers on the door, one of the nurses ran up and read my name then screamed “you need to quit your job”.
Was acting something you’d always wanted to pursue?
No. I was always performing for patients but didn’t have that, “light bulb moment” until the improve classes.
Are you determined to keep a finger in both industries?
Absolutely not. I still keep my knowledge up to date, but I haven’t worked clinically with the new technology for years.
How did you get the job in Wolves of Savin Hill?
I did a short directed by John Hill, which also starred Kurt Fuller, 8 years ago. I am very thankful John thought of me for his next project.
How long ago did you shoot it?
It has been a project over the last year and a half. Just recently completed.
You work closely with David Cooley in the film. Had you known him before?
Yes, he is a college friend of John and was also in the short film.
Are you an actor that can watch herself on screen easily-enough? I know many actors can’t…
I absolutely can watch myself on screen. I just cannot critic myself.
The film has been accepted into the San Diego Film Festival. How important do you think festivals are to independent films?
I will say, I am currently at the Festival and last night John Hill won the Chris Brinker Award for outstanding first time feature film maker. The gathering immediately following created a buzz and possible connections that would not be possible without the festival. I feel festivals are very important.
Has Wolves of Savin Hill opened up doors for you?
Time will tell. I am enjoying the ride and will contu
The Wolves of Savin Hill premieres Saturday at the San Diego Film Festival