When did your interest in directing films first come about?
I’ve been wanting to direct since I was about nine or ten years old. The first films that I worked on where I really felt like I was an actor, starting with “Paradise,” were also the first ones where I noticed that according to everybody else, the most important person on the set was the director. That got me thinking, ‘If that’s the most important person, then that’s what I want to be doing.’ On every project I worked on from that point on, the role of the director became my focus. I would always pay attention to the directors and I was fortunate enough to work with some of the best, like Sam Mendes, Mary Agnes Donoghue, Lesli Linka Glatter and so many other great directors all throughout my whole career. At the end of the day, that’s what I thought I needed to be doing. I needed to be telling people what to do.
In what ways did those three particular directors you named inspire you on set?
I would say that amongst all three of them, they had a pre-calculation and a thought process about approaching the material that they would be working on. They also knew how to deal with their crews. I loved watching Lesli handle a crew like any other person would. She just showed up onset and was like, “Yeah, I’m here with Demi Moore and we’re fuckin’ producing and directing!” [laughs] Back then, it was a little bit more of a novelty to see so many women in power like that, so to be a 12-year-old actress working under those auspices, I was like, “Oh my god, fantastic! This is what life is gonna be like.” It was encouraging and inspiring and it made me want to stay in the game.
According to IMDb, you directed the 2006 short film, “I, Witness.”
That’s true! My friends and I thought we were gonna be Funny Or Die before Funny Or Die actually came about. We had this dream of doing all these short comedy sketches online and just blast them out. We could shoot them in our off-time, and “I Witness” was one of the ones we made together. Then Funny Or Die arrived and eclipsed us. I directed a couple other shorts as well, but nothing to share.
What was your previous experience with Lifetime like while starring in 2003’s “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story,” for which you received an Emmy nomination?