In the Seattle International Film Festival premiere of Cornelia Moore's The Dark Horse, Seattle theater goers will recognize many faces, most prominently the film's lead, Carol Roscoe. The Seattle actor/director often is seen in plays at Intiman, Book-It Repertory and Seattle Children's Theatre.
Roscoe plays a ballet teacher returning to her parents' Orcas Island home, bridging family and crisis through a fiery Friesian horse. A locally produced effort, it also features veteran Seattle actors Seán Griffin and Kathryn Mesney.
On playing the lead in a feature film:
I didn't realize that when you're making a film, if the principal player doesn't show up for work you don't have a movie. That creates this strange hierarchy on the set; if you ask for a piece of gum, there are dozens of people getting it for you. That's so different from theater. I actually found it very uncomfortable. I look at what I do as a craft. I go in every day to work on my craft just like everybody else. My focus is not on being the center of attention, but on the director, and if I'm providing what she needs to get this story across.
On working with a very large horse:
When I went into the audition, I was asked, "Are you afraid of horses?" I said no, because I'm not. But what they really meant was can you ride horses. I had ridden horses when I was 12, started to do some showing as well, but I really hadn't ridden a horse again until about a month before filming. The real star was (the horse) Cobus, and his trainer. The actors had to share a trailer; Cobus had a pasture. He is a sweet, sweet horse, a gentleman. He has an extremely long gait, so when he's doing a posting trotting, it's a really big trot. The rhythm is challenging; you are in the air for a really long time. He was very patient with me.
On working with familiar Seattle theater faces:
Seán (Griffin) and I had recently done a show together at Seattle Children's Theatre. It was fantastic. Working with him and Katherine Mesney (as her parents), was an incredible experience because they're such gifted professionals, so generous and collaborative with me. The movie is very much about family, and it made it easier to work with people I had some connection with already. That was a real gift.
On being a working actor/director in Seattle:
Corrie (director Cornelia Moore) is a big supporter of the local talent in this town. It's my guess that she wanted to cast locally as much as possible because she believes in the talent pool here. Having had experiences in other cities, I have a really strong appreciation for the support that the Seattle theater community has for itself. I think that we're very lucky to be in a community that talks to each other, likes each other and seeks ways of working together.
On striking out for Hollywood:
I'm not packing my bags yet. I'm booked through mid-September directing shows. I don't have time to pack my bags now.
"Dark Horse" plays Wednesday at 6:30 and again Saturday at 1:30 p.m., both at SIFF Cinema.