By L. Tanner Smith
NOTE: Yes, I am aware this post is really late, as we’re well into production. But I have another recasting announcement to make soon, and I realized I forgot to interview Elissa for the blog, so…better late than never, right?
Back in April, there was a scheduling conflict that caused me to recast the role of Meadow Keaton in “Millennial With a Cane.” (Thankfully, the original actress, McKenzie Stell, is fine with it…as long as I cast her in a future film project. Fair enough!) I needed to find someone that would A) capture the perky, energetic essence of the character…and B) be brave enough to shave her head bald. Along came KC actress Elissa Schrader!
At first, I wanted to try our luck with a bald cap. I reached out to a local makeup business who specialized in makeup/effects for KC independent film. But I have a certain bias against skin caps–very rarely do they look real in movies/shows. (Seeing a particularly unconvincing one in an episode of the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle” was the thing that made me think otherwise. I mean, we don’t even have 25% of the same budget as “Malcolm”!) So, I reached out to a friend in KC…she said no; but she knew somebody who would!
Elissa was the answer to my prayers when she agreed to play Meadow. I’ve filmed with her for two days so far, and she’s nailing the role! She’s quirky, enthusiastic, cheerful, and funny, but with a strict, motherly side to her as well–that’s Meadow!!
And now, the interview:
- What drew you to the project and/or the part of Meadow?
I think it might be more accurate to say the project was drawn to me. You guys were looking for an actress who was flexible with her appearance, and just happened to ask a friend of mine who knew I’d be down for a head shaving.
2. Why do you want to participate in this project?
I’m happy to get to be doing any acting with what is going on right now. But it always nice to work on projects that focus on educating, not just entertaining.
3. Who do you think “Millennial With a Cane” will speak to? Why should people be interested in it?
We all want our audience to enjoy watching, but it’s nice that we also are giving them the chance to learn about a condition and its obstacles that they might not otherwise be exposed to.
And now, here’s a behind-the-scenes video showing Elissa’s first steps at getting into character: by having her head shaven.