We caught up with the beautiful and talented actress and producer Sheena Colette, winner of the “Best Actress Award” at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. Her works include A & E’s The Glades, House of Bodies, Walt Before Mickey, One Last Time, which screened in Cannes. In the following interview Sheena shares her recent and upcoming projects, including her love for writing and producing new films.
Hollywood Insider Interview with Actress and Producer Sheena Colette
Hollywood World: What do you love about the role that you are currently playing?
Sheena Colette: Right now, I am working on creating projects, a series as well as a feature, which is time consuming, and more of the opposite side of the industry spectrum I usually do (acting). Producing, writing, and developing is very exciting but it takes so much effort, and being in front of a computer screen. I know the reward will be the fruition of every efforts attached. There’s no better feeling than seeing a successfully made project with your temporary film family. Also, I was required to do a thesis for my master’s so I am currently piecing together a documentary style film for leisure. This will be a first for me.
Hollywood World: What is the storyline about?
Sheena Colette: The projects I am working are a feature film titled TRAINED, and a series titled TRAFFIX. Can’t go wrong with a “T” title. Trained is about cultural perceptions in America and centers on a Mexican man. Traffix, you guessed it, is about trafficking. The story follows the implications of trafficking from all points of view.
Hollywood World: Who else is involved in this production, director, producer, actors?
Sheena Colette: For Trained, I am still in the development stage, and working with Jan Klier. He is an awesome person, cinematographer and has been super helpful making Trained become a reality. Casting has not begun for Trained, and I hope for it to be my directorial debut, but we will see what happens (as long as it happens). TRAFFIX, which you can follow at www.traffixseries.com, features an amazing core cast of NY actors, many of which you can see often on Broadway and off Broadway. The TRAFFIX cast includes Elizabeth Bove, Theodore Bouloukos, Joomin Hwang, Claire Kennedy, and Steven Russo. The music for the promo is by upcoming artist BNORA.
Hollywood World: What makes a good scene partner?
Sheena Colette: Someone that knows the material-insert laughter- but in seriousness, when you are past the point of thinking and it is fluid for both of you that is where magic happens. I think a great scene partner picks up on how you work and takes it into consideration. Obviously, if it isn’t an intense scene it is great to shoot the what have you, but if not, and there is a method in your immediate preparation and they and you are mutually cognizant of this, I think senes work better. Also, being aware of what triggers them emotionally based on your output to give them their best performance. Lastly, being there present and in moment even when it isn’t your camera coverage.
Hollywood World: What are your favorite projects you have been part of?
Sheena Colette: I am partial to dramatic dark roles, not that I am a big ball of sunshine in everyday life, but there is something cathartic. Eccentric characters are my preference or being able to take what appears plain and find the quirks. I haven’t found “the project” role wise to date I know it is out there. I think it will be an Irish boxing drama, or period piece. Someone write it for me please. I am reprising an alcoholic, drug riddled American wife in the feature film versions of This Modern Man is Beat, so that will hopefully, be the nicest gem I will have dug yet.
Hollywood World: How much experience do you have in field?
Sheena Colette: Enough to make you curious, not enough to make you cringe.
Hollywood World: Describe your best quality as an actor?
Sheena Colette: I can set my own marks, check my own light, be my own stand-in, and yell action in case. Aside from that I think adaptability in moments, and intuitive, in the moment choices are my best qualities.
Hollywood World: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Sheena Colette: Being able to travel for work, meeting new people, and just learning new characters; however, leaving my bulldogs behind is my least favorite part.
Hollywood World: What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
Sheena Colette: Don’t over exert your energy if you have many consecutive days of an emotionally intense type of scenes; tear ducts eventually shut. Trust that the director has the bigger picture in mind and flow scene to scene of where each level should be. Be yourself and have fun.
Hollywood World: From where have you learned acting? What training do you have?
Sheena Colette: I’m a Gemini, duality and reactionary impulse are innate, useful for the screen but not in life threatening situations. I used to go to acting classes growing up (not by my own will), and I really didn’t enjoy the five different mandatory courses of it but would go because there was a deli that had the best NYC chicken Parmesan sub and it made it worth it. I like learning on my feet and through action or even inaction, but I do believe heavily that voice training is essential. When you find, decide, and develop a character’s voice, things happen organically. Occasionally, I drop into voice session if I am super excited in creating something or have the privilege to.
Hollywood World: What has been your biggest achievement in the field of acting?
Sheena Colette: Winning awards are always great. I don’t have a specific linear goal with acting, I just more or less try for different characters and getting great ones is always the most immediate achievement.
Hollywood World: What other types of movies would you be interested in filming?
Sheena Colette: I want to do a period Irish drama, or boxing type of film.
Hollywood World: How do you see your role as an actor?
Sheena Colette: I am one that is partial to being mum about myself personally, so as an actor I try to never indicate my political or religious beliefs, but I do feel obliged at times to speak about causes; although, more times than often causes are politically embedded, the reasons behind problems, or harm onto others is the result of some political play, I try to refocus the energy on specific solutions and speak about how I would like to move forward or contribute to a better turnout. In terms of my role in the wheel of film, television, or theater production, I am one tiny spoke that can help make the wheel turn, or drag it. It is a group effort to say the least.
Hollywood World: What was your most memorable role? Why?
Sheena Colette: Dr. Jeanine Markham in ‘Irrefutable Proof’ because I had a lot of things stacked against me to play the part. I was younger than the part called for. I was studying for the GRE at the time or had just taken it and wow did that help with the intense vocabulary in the screenplay.
Hollywood World: What is your secret?
Sheena Colette: Every tenth word of my reply in this interview spells it out. Don’t tell anyone.
Hollywood World: What other hobbies do you have?
Sheena Colette: I love to paint with acrylic and oils; I have a killer green thumb, no pun intended (I mean it), and I am pretty adept at binge watching Netflix.
Hollywood World: Who is your role model?
Sheena Colette: Ethically: Esmond Bradley Martin who recently was killed. He was a pioneer in investigating and calling out rhino and elephant ivory trade. My heart breaks when I think of this. This is one of those ‘causes’ I won’t stay mum about. Professionally: Cate Blanchett, and Lucille Ball.
Hollywood World: What makes you feel like a star?
Sheena Colette: You asking me this.
Hollywood World: Any tips about how to be a successful actor?
Sheena Colette: Be humble. Warrant the right attention. Study vocal, accents, and learn some stunts.
Hollywood World: What do you want to be remembered for in life?
Sheena Colette: What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today? That is a great question. I think I would like to be remembered as ‘the person roars with thunderous force, storms with energy, yet has the driest sense of humor’. Yes that sounds about right and proper for my grave stone. Lessons I have learned: the loudest person in the room often has the least to say, but in this industry make sure you say something.
Hollywood World: What’s next?
Sheena Colette: I am doing a small part in a musical based feature film, I am set to play a martial artist in a comedy, I am hopefully reprising my role in the feature version of This Modern Man is Beat, shooting TRAFFIX, and holding out a cup on the sidewalk to raise money for the my film TRAINED.