Actress Erin Darke takes the lead in indie film Seven Lovers
Actress Erin Darke stars in the recently-released indie film Seven Lovers, a tale of love and heartbreak in New York City, a story so many of us New Yorkers can relate to. On screen, Erin is refreshing and super relatable as the main character of Laura. Equally as charming and down to earth in person as she is on screen, we spoke with Erin about her career, her recent role and what’s up next for the actress.
COOLS: Tell us what drew you to acting in the first place, and how you’ve found the experience so far.
Erin Darke: I started doing plays when I was a teenager in Michigan at the Flint Youth Theatre. I decided when I was 14 that acting was what I wanted to do with my life. I was enamored by the sense of community and communicating a story with an audience. As I have pursued my career and gotten into film and TV as well, I have only fallen more in love with my job. The lifestyle has its challenges, but I truly love what I do. Every day that I get to work as an actor is a good day and there are few things I love more than just being on a set.
COOLS: You’ve played a myriad of roles in your career thus far. Is there one character you’ve felt closest to?
ED: I have been incredibly lucky in the variety of different characters that I have been allowed to play and I love many of them for different reasons, but I think my favorite was Cindy in Good Girls Revolt. She was smart, capable, a little bit awkward and odd, but also finding herself and her own strength and worth. I was utterly in love with her. I honestly miss her like I would miss a friend.
COOLS: Walk us through the process as you prepare to play a certain role. What helps you feel connected to the character?
ED: I always start out by trying to find the things about the character that I can relate to and that are similar to or a part of myself. Then I just, you know, play with the things that are different— experiment and try to find qualities that feel different, but still real. Does that make sense? I find it kind of a hard question, because I think of all these things beforehand, but when I’m actually performing and shooting I try to just listen and be in the moment and hope that the prep work will be a good base.
COOLS: In Seven Lovers you play the central character of the film. Did you feel a sense of pressure taking on this lead role?
ED: Absolutely! With most roles I feel a sense of responsibility and that just intensifies when I’m the lead. As an actor you are sort of the representation of the work that everyone does on the film. You are the face people will watch, but there were dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of people who contribute behind the scenes on any film. I never want to let them down.
On a film like Seven Lovers, where I was in almost every scene, I was also acutely aware that if I was not at the top of my game, it made everyone’s day harder. If I came in not knowing my lines or not knowing my blocking, I would slow down all of production and make everyone’s day longer. I spent a lot of time prepping for this film, as I never wanted to be the reason anyone else’s job was harder. Performance-wise, it’s a lot of pressure, but you can’t really think about that when you’re shooting. You just have to take each scene at a time and do your best…and hope it’s working.
COOLS: In the film we see the main character Laura as she transitions in and out of seven very different relationships. Did you resonate with Laura in any way?
ED: Of course I did! Dating is hard! I’ve been in a relationship for the last few years, but before that I definitely had my single days in New York City and it was rough. Each of Laura’s relationships in the film sort of represents a different phase of her dating life and you watch her trying to learn what she wants and needs in a relationship. That is definitely a journey I could relate to.
COOLS: The film melds different film genres together throughout the story. Is there a type of film genre you are most drawn to?
ED: I grew up as (and remain) a total film nerd, so it’s hard for me to pick just one genre. My favorite films range from Jurassic Park to Vertigo to Drop Dead Gorgeous, so it’s hard to pin down. I think one of the things I liked so much about Seven Lovers when I first read the script was that it wasn’t just one genre. It spoke to the film lover in me and the different ways you can tell one person’s story using shooting style as almost another character.
COOLS: In Good Girls Revolt a light is really cast on the struggles women faced in the workplace for equality in the 1960s. Do you think the same still stands true today? Especially, in the entertainment industry…
ED: I have a lot of feelings on this topic, but I’ll try to be somewhat brief. Working on Good Girls Revolt has turned me into an increasingly loud and proud feminist. There are definitely many ways that the world and the entertainment industry have improved for women, but we also still have a long way to go. While there are more female leads [now] in films and female directors and writers, we still have a huge under-representation of women both behind and in front of the camera, especially women of color. For example, in the last decade women made up just 4% of directors on the top 1,000 films and only seven of those women were not white. And while there are more roles being written for women, a lot of them are still bordering on offensive. I can’t count the number of times that I have seen a professional female character in a script who’s only descriptive quality is “hot” or “beautiful, but doesn’t know it.” I think there’s still this myth in Hollywood that men won’t watch a film about women, but I hope that movies like Wonder Woman are proving that wrong.
COOLS: I understand you also do a bit of your own writing. Can you tell us a little about that?
ED: I have spent the last five years working on a script called Mad About Saffron. It’s ostensibly about two sisters dealing with an unusual situation. We have an awesome female director attached and we’re hoping to shoot next year. This is my first foray into writing, but I don’t think it will be my last. As an actor, you are always waiting to have someone give you the opportunity to do your job, so it’s really lovely to have a creative outlet that is under my control.
COOLS: When and where can we look for you next on screen or on stage?
ED: I have a small role in a film called Thank You for your Service that’s coming out this fall and I am currently shooting a couple of episodes on an awesome new show for Amazon called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.