Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all. Today we have a wonderful interview for you at all with a star on the rise that you absolutely need to know. It’s Sarah T. Cohen, Everyone! I recently caught Sarah in the wonderful, and recently released, indie-horror film Cupid from director Scott Jeffrey (who coincidently was involved in a film we unexpectedly loved from last year entitled Pet Graveyard). While the cast was great as a team, Cohen really stood out to me as somebody I should be following, as the sky is clearly the limited for this insanely talented performer.
Regular readers here at TWS know that we are obsessed with the world of horror around here. And while it’s not the only world that Sarah works in, she absolutely excels within it. We were very excited to talk to her about this, the release of Cupid, and much more. She turned out to be an absolutely wonderful interview subject and was gracious enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to share a few words with us here. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Sarah T. Cohen!
What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you have aspired to do since your youth? I understand that you may have had a bit of influence growing up, but when was it that you personally decided to get into this world?
Back in Primary School, the cool thing to do was to take part in the Christmas Pantomime. Everyone auditioned each year, but they really only gave out roles to the children in their final year. When Year 6 rolled around, I managed to get the role of the Evil Queen in Snow White. I’m not sure if its something to brag about, but I was the first kid at the school to ever get booed. After that, I caught the acting bug. I always knew I would do it for fun, but I’m the practical sort, and when deciding what to study for university, I was leaning towards law, as I knew it could guarantee me a reliable income. Ironically, it was my parents (both of whom were computer programmers) who encouraged me to pursue acting as a career. They said it was the only time of my life I could really give my dream of acting a proper go. As always, they were right, so I applied to New York University for acting, and never looked back.
What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?
I was incredibly lucky to get my first paid job while I was still at university. It was only my third audition, and I went in for the role of Young Cathy for the Amazon Pilot called The Interestings, based on the infamous book by Meg Wolitzer. I get a call a couple days later, and they asked me to audition for the role of Ellen Jacobson instead. She was the older sister of the main character, and was fantastically cruel. I went into the audition, and was surprised to see not only the casting directors, but the amazing writers (Lynnie Greene and Richard Levine), and the renowned director Mike Newell. It is undoubtedly intimidating to be in a room full of the industry greats, but I went in, guns blazing, and threw a middle finger into the scene just for fun. The following week, I found out I got the part. I will forever be grateful to Barden / Schnee Casting for taking a chance on an unknown actor like me. It was a dream come true. I was flown out to LA, and I got to work with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met, whom I had looked up to my entire life. I thought my career was set, and I would never have to worry about getting jobs again. Boy was I wrong. After that, I only got two more auditions for an entire year, and the pilot did not get picked up. That was my biggest lesson. Learning how to deal with the mental struggles of the industry. I had assumed that auditions would land in my lap, after already bagging such an amazing role. When I subsequently got so few opportunities, I put so much weight on each potential role, and I think that ended up sabotaging the quality of my work. I had to come to terms with the fact it would still be a hustle, and to cope with lack of opportunities. I learned to be proactive, but realistic, and not simply expect things to be handed to me. That has stuck with me ever since. And more importantly, I learned to not take the acting world too seriously. At the end of the day, it’s meant to be enjoyable, I learned to have fun with all aspects of my work, to do justice to the role, and worry about nothing else. It allowed the joy of acting to stay alive.
I really enjoyed one of your latest films, Cupid, and you were absolutely fantastic in it. I am curious what drew you to this role? What was it about this particular story that made you want to work on this project?
Thank you so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Cupid has been one of my favourite movies to date. I particularly enjoy working with the Proportion Production team. Scott Jeffrey and Becky Matthews are infinitely talented, and the quality of work they produce on the budgets they have is mind-blowing. I had already worked on Clown Doll with them, and knew I adored working with the team, so when they approached me about Cupid, I was ecstatic. The role of Elise was just glorious. I’ve always found the unlikable characters the most fun to play; they are so layered, and you get to say and do things you would never usually get to in real life. Elise takes the cherry for unlikable characters, she is straight up awful, egocentric, a bully, and I love her. As an added bonus, Scott (the director), let me throw in improv here and there, which made her even more fun to play. There was a lot I really liked about the story too, 1) high school drama, 2) fun characters, 3) an evil Cupid, and 4) the script didn’t take itself too seriously – it allowed for hammy acting, and hilarious one liners, which is a B-Movie dream. On another note, I liked that Cupidtackled the issue of bullying, showing the psychological impacts it can have, and the extremes people will go to on both sides. Bullying is still far too prevalent, especially in schools, and I think Cupid helps shine a light on that.
While it’s not the only genre you have worked in by far, but you have done some amazing work in our favorite genre of film, the world of horror. I am curious as to how you enjoy working in this realm? What is it about the world of horror that sets it apart from the other genres you have worked in?
As a viewer I always enjoyed scary movies, I love the adrenaline rush you get from watching them. It was interesting switching over to actually being in the movies. I think working in horror Is an actor’s dream. It allows you to put yourself into the most extreme circumstances, and truly test yourself as an artist. Life and death scenes are certainly the most demanding to portray, and scary movies have those in bucket loads. I still love working in drama and comedy, but horror often has elements of these and more. Horror is certainly more technically challenging to shoot than most other genres – you have to find angles and effects to make the gory scenes look realistic, so it is a lot more of a puzzle piece to film than other genres I’ve worked in. That being said, I’ve always loved a challenge, so horror is right up my alley.
If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?
What a great question. You know what, I would actually love to play Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Ruth may be more of a recent figure than you had in mind, but portraying her would be an honour. She is just such an incredible woman, a pioneer, and an inspiration. Furthermore, I think from an acting perspective she would be fun to play. She has a lot of specific mannerisms, and a very distinctive way about her
What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
There are some really fun things coming up. My recent films Clown Doll, HellKat, and Awakening the Nun will all be coming out over the next few months. I’m also going to be filming a shark film, and a dinosaur film, currently titled Deadly Water and Jurassic Island (although the titles are likely to change). I am very excited about these. I’ve never worked with CGI before, so I’m pretty pumped.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
I love this question. Just before this interview, my friend sent me a picture of her dog looking out at a view of Chicago from his potential new apartment, and proceeded to point out his “lil adorable poot poots”, or as the general public calls them, ‘paws’. I genuinely laughed out loud.