A 40-year-old actress , refuses to give up her dream of “making it," in Hollywood, but 20 years later, she won’t face the reality, that age and how many followers you have, dictates the rules for talent and and when she lands her big break, she struggles to tell the truth, when casting demands to know her "real age," before they'll hire her for the role. 40ish is directed by Traci Hays, a DGA nominated director. It is our pleasure to interview the writer and the lead actress of 40ish, Nicole Stuart.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film? I was sick of waiting to be chosen and hearing ridiculous things at auditions regarding my age. And also losing a part for looking too young, so I thought how can I make something productive out of the BS, I wanted to make lemonade out of all these lemons, so to speak. What is the most challenging aspect of working on this particular genre? Well, It’s a familiar story but I wanted to make it different and in a positive way. It was important to not be a victim with all the insanity that happens in this buisness, so bringing out the comedy was the hardest but I do think we achieved that.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films and what was the first film project that you worked on? I grew up in Las Vegas and my mom was a camera girl at Caesars Palace and I saw the shows everynight over and over, I thought it was something people just did and that’s where I fell in love with performing, dance, theatre, film, art, it was a magical time for a kid to see all that and left me with an everlasting impression. The first film I worked on was in A Few Good Men, I was Demi Moore’s stand-in. It’s a long story but in short, I fell into the job and got called to go the set at the Culver Studios, having no idea what it was for. I was brought onto the set and introduced to the DP, Director and AD and was hired, only to find out who it was for and the cast that was in the film. It was an amazing experience, and I felt truly lucky to be around those actors. How did you choose the cast and the crew of the film and what was the most interesting or challenging aspect of production? I used my talented friends from the years of classes I’ve been in and we all stay in touch, it was nice to be able to work with everyone outside the class environment. The challenge for me was doing everything to help it go off the date we set and help the producer Caitlin Renee Campbell with what she couldn’t do. Doing too many things is fine but when I’m acting not so much because a week before we shot it hit me that I had to be in every scene and I wasn’t used to that. I was like ‘Oh my god, I hope I know my lines,” for real. What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to continue working on? I’m not a director. I wrote, produced and acted in the film and for me it’s creating my own projects and I’m loving writing comedy these days even though the other film I wrote is quit dark but hopeful. How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society? I think telling stories people can relate to can give them hope and teach people certain things, like to never give up and make people feel things they normally wouldn’t, cinema can help society become more aware and educate people. What is your next film project? I have two projects I’m working on, one’s a comedy, The Egg and I, it’s about a 40 year old women who’s trying to have a baby and what lengths she’ll go to to make it happen. The other film I’ve been working on is more of a drama, Vegas Girl and that’s about my life growing up in Vegas and surmounting impossible odds to be alive and where I am today. I hope to be shooting both next year in 2022.