Interviews: Actress Arielle Brachfeld Talks About The Neo-Noir Film Los Angeles Overnight

Arielle Brachfeld stars in Los Angeles Overnight

In Los Angeles Overnight, broke actress Priscilla (Arielle Brachfeld) overhears a bizarre riddle about hidden loot, she recruits lovelorn mechanic Benny (Azim Rizk) to help crack the code and fund her Hollywood dreams.

It was written by Guy J. Jackson, directed by first timer Michael Chrisoulakis, and stars Arielle Brachfeld, Azim Rizk, Peter Bogdanovich, Lin Shaye, Ashley Park, Camilla Jackson and Julian Bane. It was produced by Camilla Jackson, Michael Chrisoulakis, Guy J. Jackson, Kimmie Yan, Kate Rees Davies, and Guy J. Jackson. Freestyle Digital Media acquired the North American distribution rights.

"We're very happy to have the opportunity to work with Michael Chrisoulakis to bring Los Angeles Overnight to audiences across the US," said Dan Fisher, VP of Acquisitions of Freestyle. "He has told a very LA-centric story that will captivate audiences all over the country." "We're thrilled to be working with the incredible team at Freestyle Digital Media on the US release of Los Angeles Overnight," said producer Camila Jackson. "Moviegoers are sure to be on the edge of their seats throughout the film."

It is currently in select theaters and on digital platforms. You can read our review here.

We had the opportunity to speak with actress Arielle Brachfeld about the film.

TMS: First off, can you provide us with a little bit of background information. Did you always want to act?

AB: Always. My older brother was in an acting class when he was 7 or 8, this awesome children's community theater in Colorado. I was carted along as younger siblings tend to be. I remember at around 4 years old playing with costumes and masks. I couldn't stay away from theater. I was a part of every school and community production. At one point I was only going to theater classes and ditched every other class, only went to that and play rehearsals. I didn't get into film until my final year in high school.

TMSDid you have a lot of support when you decided to get into acting?

ABI had massive support. I had extracurricular theater programs across Denver that I attended (and was given rides to). My parents would run lines with me. I had a guaranteed audience for puppet shows I'd put on. Even more than that, we went to shows. Not just plays and musicals, but the ballet and the symphony. My mother is a visual artist, and my dad has a musical and performance background. The arts were exceptionally important. They were thrilled I loved theater as much as I did. They were happy to support my artistic pursuits however they could. We went through some financial hardships while I was growing up, but, they always found a way to provide artistic opportunities for me and my brother.

They still have the same concerns a lot of family members have when loved ones move out to LA to pursue the industry. And rightfully so. This town, this industry can do a number on you. But, I think I lucked out for many reasons, one of which was being raised able to pursue my love of acting. I'm also very fortunate to have a wonderful husband who's in the industry as well, and it's a lot easier out here with someone fighting by your side. Yes, I'm very fortunate to have the support I've had, and continue to have.

TMSWhat do you want people to know about the movie?

ABI want people to know that this is an honest look at LA and Hollywood. Maybe not the murder part, but the part with the desperation and the loneliness and the soul sucking nature of trying to find success as an actor. This movie is an honest allegory for LA. It's full of equal parts sunshine and grime. And yet, the movie itself was made out of love for film as an art. Every single person poured their heart into this movie, with no other purpose than doing the best job they could for the love of it.

TMSWhat attracted you to the project? How did you end up being cast? Did you go through an audition process?

ABI was really excited about playing a complex lead in a type of film I'd not been able to make yet. Up until LAO I'd mainly done horror and sci fi, which I love, but this was a more traditional Drama/Thriller/Noir. Plus, I knew I could play Priscilla in a realistic way. I knew her emotions, and her struggle. I empathized with her.

Funny story, I didn't know my audition was my audition. Kimmie Yan (one of the producers) invited me to an informal table read, where I met Camilla (Rosie, Producer), Guy (Smalls, Writer), and Michael (Director) basically for the first time. At the end of the read, Michael offered me the role. It was the best, and least stressful audition I ever had!

TMSDid you do any research or prep for the role?

ABKnowing how indie films schedules' tend to go, I needed to do a thorough script breakdown so that I knew where Priscilla was emotionally every scene. With ultra low budget films like this, you generally have breaks of a few weeks, or couple months in between shoots. So, I had to know her arc inside and out and keep character continuity for whenever we would be able to film whatever scene we ended up shooting. God, this is actor-y, but I had what's called 'a psychological gesture' for the core of her character. That means I had a physical action/gesture to help get me into her mindset.

TMSWhat did you draw from in building the character and your performance?

ABWell, I've had a lot of experience auditioning and being rejected haha! The desperate actor aspect was easy enough to draw upon, the constant obsession about why you didn't get this part or that part, or why you can't get into certain rooms. But, I made the choice to have Priscilla love the idea of Hollywood. She's a dreamer, and only has one foot in reality. A lot of her life is played out in her head, as if she were following a script about her life. Her decisions were influenced by what she thought they should be if her life were a movie. It was a coping mechanism to deal with her loneliness and fear of failing at her dream, and allowed for her to be very egocentric and justify character decisions, while still being likable. One thing I'd like to add is that Guy's script had such a beautiful arc inherent in his writing, I knew where she had to go, I just had to find certain internal justifications for her actions and interactions.

TMSWhat was it like working with the director Michael Chrisoulakis?

ABMichael is so sweet, and mellow. He is so humble. And, that really carried over to every other department. The director sets the tone for the set. I didn't want to let him down! He was always available to talk about character stuff and if I had a question about an approach to the scene, he would collaborate with me to find the answer. As an actor, it's very gratifying to make discoveries, and I feel that Michael enabled that. He never dictated, but would work with me to find the right approach. A lot of the shooting was disjointed, we barely filmed scenes in order, but he held the entire movie in his head. I really admire director/editors. I feel like they have the best grasp on how to craft a movie during the shoot.

TMSHow was the shoot? Was it any tougher than other films that you've worked on?

ABThe shoot itself was extremely bare bones. We didn't have trailers, or really any frills. I'd often have my makeup done in Cindy's (Lead makeup artist) car. But I love these types of indie shoots, it's raw and everyone is just there to work.

In some ways there was more pressure than other films I've worked on. Priscilla carries the movie, so I had to be on point during every shoot, and bring it every take in case we didn't have time to do another take. I also got the opportunity to work opposite actors like Lin Shaye, Sally Kirkland, and Peter Bogdanovich. So yeah, I felt more pressure than other films to give everything I could every take. What helped tremendously was that every single other actor was so generous, and gave so much to play off of, so the emotional workload wasn't exhausting like it could have been.

TMSLow budget film productions have been historically known for being difficult and demanding. How was this production on the cast and crew? Any challenges or funny stories?

ABMy character's wig became a running joke. It was a cheapo wig, and not designed for heavy use. It got so ratty and disheveled by the end of shooting that it took as much time prepping it to look decent as my actual hair and makeup time. Also, I didn't have that many 'cute' outfits (mainly nerdy T shirts and beat up jeans), so Kim Filchak and Kimmie Yan ravaged their closets dressing me across the shoot.

Honestly, I didn't experience any real hang ups or challenges while shooting. The production team kept any drama off set, which was wonderful as an actor.

TMSCan you tell us anything about the other projects that you are working on or planning on working on? Or, anything else that you would like to plug?

ABI'm prepping my first feature that I'm going to direct later this year, so that's really exciting! And, a feature I produced and co-starred in Snake Out of Compton should be coming out this year. You can stay up to date on the projects I'm working on by following me on Twitter @abrachfeld, my Facebook page: Arielle Brachfeld, and Instagram: ariellebrachfeld. Please continue to support indie film! And, thank you so much for having me on your page!