Interview with Amber Tamblyn in Atlanta, GA
Bang Ditto Tour, Borders Bookstore Buckhead, Atlanta, GA – Oct 22, 2009
In October 2009, Amber Tamblyn toured through different bookstores in the US to promote and read from her newly published poetry book, Bang Ditto. One of those stops was in Atlanta, GA, right around the corner from where Sisterdebmac works. Deb was lucky enough to snag Amber for a 30-minute interview after the reading, which you can read and listen to right here.
You can download the audio file here or listen with the embedded player below. The quality isn’t too great since it wasn’t recorded with professional equipment.
Deb: I really appreciate you doing this.
Deb: Everybody’s gonna be so happy…
Amber: I’m glad we had time.
Deb: … that we finally pulled this off.
Amber: Yeah, I know.
Deb: We got, uh; we got Becky and Chris last year. We weren’t able to get Michael, but we did go dinner with him and his mom, so that was great. And Aaron was sick, so… but we got to meet everybody so that was nice.
Um, I know it’s been a long time Since Joan of Arcadia, but you know it still has a life on the Internet.
Amber: Does it?
Deb: There’s still fan forums, there’s fan fiction being written still.
Deb: Yeah, I mean, people still love the show. So we had a few questions we wanted to ask you and we’ll go ahead and jump to the most important one first just in case we don’t get to spend a lot of time together.
Um, I know that you’ve heard from everybody that the whole cheating scenario with Adam and Joan just broke everyone’s heart. And uh, we’ve talked to Chris a couple of times about it and he said he was pretty upset with that storyline when he first read the script. And we were just wondering how you felt about it.
Amber: Oh, man, you’re gonna be so mad when you hear me say this…
Deb: That’s OK.
Amber: But, uh… what was that storyline?
Deb: He just basically cheated someone he didn’t even barely know.
Amber: Oh, that’s right. He cheated, that’s right. Um… I think it’s, I think that stuff happens, and I think that the point of the show was to say, uh, this is real life, things aren’t perfect. I know people probably wanted that, I know people would write in and get angry about certain things. And Barbara Hall felt, sorry, that’s life. We’re trying to make an honest show about real things that happen to people. Under the position that God is trying to direct you and help you in any way God can. Whether you choose to listen or not is up to you. And uh, I think that it was great. I wish that there had been more of that kinda stuff in there, um, but, you know, I think that— It was heartbreaking, but that’s what it is, you know?
Deb: Do you think they, what do you think would’ve happened in season three, because they were setting up that whole bad guy versus Joan thing and…?
Amber: Um, I think that it was, you know, I think that it probably was headed for uh, a situation where, uh, I mean I don’t think that our show was anything like Buffy, but I think that there was an element of it going into a, um, not a darker place but more searching, and um, what’s the word? Looking into dark versus light, which that was a heavy theme for the show, but um, I think that they were really going to get into that and sort of have it so that Joan never knew if she was talking to God or the devil. So she didn’t know and it would’ve been… she would’ve gotten into all kinds of trouble.
Deb: Do you think they they were gonna turn her friends into like a Scooby Gang type, I mean were they all gonna be told that she was talking to God and that these…?
Amber: Uh, I they were, that was kind of happening at the end of the second season, right?
Amber: That they were…
Deb: The very last scene made you think that she was gonna go and tell them.
Amber: Didn’t she end up telling, doesn’t she tell, um, Becky Wahlstrom’s character, or did that not happen? She never tells anybody?
Deb: It didn’t happen, but there was a lot of talk, they say that they were going in that direction, that she, Grace would’ve probably been the first person that she told.
Amber: Right. I uh…
Deb: Wasn’t really discussed?
Amber: No, no. Nothing was ever discussed, you got your script and you know, if there was anything, any larger themes, its talk to Barbara about it, but that’s television. I mean you don’t really go into the details of it unless there’s some really big problem, and/or uh, things are going really great, which are both the cases for that show. For the supreme rise of it and the supreme fall.
Deb: Yep. Do you think there are any real Joan of Arcs out there?
Amber: Oh yeah, there’s thousands of them every day. (Points out a young woman passing by) There goes one.
Deb: I like that.
(The young woman turns and asks Amber what she said, Amber replies.)
Amber: Huh? She was asking me if there’s any real life Joan of Arcs in the world. And I said your one.
Woman: Oh, oh. Is that as a compliment?
Amber: Yeah. Did you hear that? She said, is that a compliment?
Deb: One of things we always enjoy so much about the show is the chemistry between you and Chris.
Deb: It just seemed to click somehow, you know? We’ve read some of the scripts and one of the first things we noticed is that a lot of the little business between the two of you, the looks and touches and things like that, weren’t really scripted.
Amber: Yeah, no they weren’t.
Deb: We were wondering if you had just such a good working relationship that it all just sort of fell into place that way, or…
Amber: Um, I would say yeah, that um, I always felt like. I still to this day feel like Chris hasn’t been even challenged as an actor. Which is a compliment.
Deb: Yeah, we feel the same way.
Amber: Meaning that, um, I never, I, to this day I’ve never worked with anybody that was so emotionally available, and just knew the um, knew the direction that you were trying to take the scene in and was willing to follow you there, emotionally. That’s, that doesn’t happen.
Deb: Same could be said of you.
Amber: Yeah, but I’m, hate to say it, I’m a woman. It’s a very different thing for a woman to go there, than for not only a man, but a young man. A young actor, who are, for the most part, um, you know, dealing and trying to extrapolate their own egos and sort of figure out who they are, and figure out their own masculinity. So for somebody of Chris’s age at that time, I think we were both 21, 22. For him to just, you know, be able to go there was pretty amazing.
Deb: We always felt that you guys were robbed of even a chance at Emmys for the big break-up scene, because it was just beautifully acted by both of you. Just amazing stuff.
Amber: Yeah, that was uh…
Deb: And honestly, that was the night that I just, he really just blew me away that night. Because he was so wrecked.
Deb: He was so destroyed in that scene.
Amber: Yeah… what was the reason that there was the break-up?
Deb: He cheated, and then you guys had that weird trial scene, where it was this metaphor with Jack & The Beanstalk and stealing the golden goose and all that.
Amber: Oh yeah, I remember that.
Deb: And you guys have this big argument after the trial scene and he just was completely destroyed. Well, you both were, but like you said it was really intense seeing that from a guy, just seeing a guy so destroyed by his own actions.
Amber: And I think too, you know Chris and I were really, really close. We don’t talk as much anymore just because we’ve gone our separate ways. But uh, we were really close and when you work with someone, we worked long hours on that show. I don’t know if he told you, but we would work anywhere from 16-17 hours every single day. Yeah, and that, it’s a lot. And I’m not saying 16-17 hours where 10 of those hours are being pampered, like I think most people think…
Amber: … actors are. Hell no. That is not the case.
Deb: I’ve worked a little bit in production, so I’ve seen how it really is.
Amber: Yeah, and when you get into, you know Friday, and we’re there together, and it’s five o’clock in the morning, and you’re so tired that you’re eyes are like sunken in and you’re trying to remember your lines and… You know Chris and I would really watch out for each other, and we were always, we just were really good friends. We’d prank each other, oh my God, we were the worst. Jason Ritter, too, oh my God, the worst I’ve ever experienced pranking. All those long hallway scenes, where I had to be rambling on like some crazy Lucille Ball… And uh, you would never see it underneath the camera, but like Chris would slide out, on the linoleum and you’d have to step over him.
Jason would do it too, or would like throw inanimate objects, and fuck you up. Or a lot of the times too, you’re like doing a scene at a locker and you know you shut the locker and turn and say something to him and he he’d have like some Post-It stuck to his head that said, You’re a douche!
Amber: He couldn’t keep a straight face though, I could. I was a better liar than he was. He would instantly crack up.
Deb: He told us about the giant props, the big pickle and everything. He said he use to tease everybody with it. He would like roll the pickle at Michael and mess him up when he had this Luke dialogue.
Amber: Michael was our favorite to pick on. All three of us were just, and Becky would just shake her head. Aaron Himelstein too, but Michael really was the most fun to pick on just because he would lose his shit. He was quintessentially like the best little brother. I have no brothers too, so it was really great having all those guys. And God, the amount of nipple twisting I did. Jesus Christ.
Deb: We heard about that. (Laughs)
Amber: I think I have — Do I have my phone on me? I’ll show you this text I got from Jason Ritter. I don’t…
Deb: Chris actually told us about the nipple twisting and the biting.
Amber: Yeah, I think there was biting too.
Amber: One time onset, I made him, he would die of he knew I told this story. But uh, I made him… We used to make each other laugh so hard and Chris has got the kind of laugh that is like a roar, it’s like so infectious that it makes you laugh. And we got into, I forgot what it was we did, but we were fuckin’, we were fuckin’ around and we were laughing so hard, and uh, and he farted.
Amber: And that was it. That was it.
Amber: We single-handedly shut down production for fifteen minutes because my make-up was running off my face, I’d fallen on the ground, broke my mic pack. Like, it was done. It was done.
Deb: Ah, that’s great. Thank you so much. Because that’s the best story anybody’s told us so far.
Amber: Yeah, because he was already laughing so hard. Yeah, and we did um, we used to do things… Uh, Jason was my favorite because we would uh, we would torture Mary, oh my God, poor Mary. But Jason was the best prankster, by far, of anybody, and he’d do things where you’d have like a big emotional scene, and you know, like yelling at Joe or something and Jason would be the first one to go out of the room and then I would keep yelling and I’d go out of the room, and Jason would be like in the back…
Amber gets up to demonstrate.
Amber: Like he would storm out of the room and there he would be in his chair…
(Amber lays a chair on the floor and lays on the floor with it, showing how Jason would pretend to have fallen over in his chair.)
Amber: …like with one wheel spinning, like…
(Laughter as she mocks Jason fake cries)
Amber: …he just fell over and just with one wheel, I don’t know why that’s so funny to me but, every single time he would get me by doing something like that. Or he would do it, by going out the front porch, and then he would slam the door. And this happened numerous times, I would turn to Mary, we are about to have like another page and a half of dialogue, and he would just take his chair and just throw it down the Girardi front porch, but it sounded like he died. That he was like BANG…BONG…falling along these stairs.
Amber: When we would start laughing he would go: Ooohh – make some horrible noise, he was such a jerk. And then when would have to, you know, cut, and start over and all that stuff.
Deb: He’s a very bad boy.
Amber: We had a lot of fun.
Deb: Do you ever see any of them again at all?
Amber: Um, do you know who I see the most is Mary. I see Mary a lot, um.
Deb: I can’t believe you just said that. Because I was actually going to tease you and ask you if you could hook me up with her. Because my one big thing is to … I would love to interview her because she still talks so lovingly about the show.
Amber: Yeah … the end of it was the hardest for Mary. Mary cried a lot and was very upset. Mary and Joe both. And I will never remember, I mean I’ll never forget Mary saying to me at the end, when everyone was sort of like fighting to keep it. She said to you know: You’ll never have anything like this. Trust me, you’ll never have anything like this again. You should try, you should try as hard as you can to keep it. Um, and she’s right you know I probably won’t. I just, I had my own reasons for … feeling like the fight the fight wasn’t up to us. You know, no matter what we did. But that’s another story.
But Mary is uh, I see her all the time. And um, I just ran into her in New York and Jason’s, I’m having my big L.A. release party on the 25th, and Jason is going to come.
Deb: That’s great, that’s great.
Amber: Yeah. I haven’t, the only, honestly the only people that I don’t ever see are Chris. I haven’t seen Becky in years. I ran into Barbara Hall every now and then. I see Joe a lot. Um … but yeah.
Deb: It’s not like you’re not busy.
Amber: Yeah … (laughs) that’s the hard part.
Deb: Um, you know, we also love The Unusuals. And, um, one of our friends has already written some fan fiction for that show as well.
Deb: Uh, and we were just wondering you know how much fun that was to shoot. Because I mean what a great cast. They…
Amber: It was the same, it was like Joan of Arcadia. It was- everybody was very, very close. Um, uh, you know, and I’m still, I’ve stayed close with everybody. With Kai, with Monique, Terry, Adam, Harold. Harold just came to one of my shows. They would all come to my shows, you know, at the Barry Poetry club in New York, they came. Terry Kinney, was actually the most supportive of this book getting made. Because when I submitted it to this publisher, which is a really tiny publisher, Manic D out in San Francisco; they are very like prestigious and they are very picky about who they, who they print, and or publish. And I kept saying, I shouldn’t submit it, I shouldn’t send it in. I need to go with a bigger publisher. There’s no way she is going to publish me. I’m too much of a, like a celebrity person in her eyes. Uh, Terry was the most … was really the one who just encouraged me, and would text me and be like: Did you send it in yet? Did you email yet? And I did, she accepted it. So, um, you know, I love that guy a lot.
Deb: That’s great to hear. He was one of my favorite people, um on Oz. And he was just and it was so great to just see him go into another show that Harold was also in.
Amber: Yeah, Terry’s great man. We all um, he directed Reasons to Be Pretty, the Neil LaButte play on Broadway.
Deb: Oh wow! That’s great!
Amber: Um, which, which was recently nominated for a whole bunch of Tonys. He wasn’t nominated. He should’ve been, but uh … you know we all banded together at the end of the season. And, and all signed a petition to make sure that he could get out. We all basically waved any requests to like get out on certain days for a month. So that Te, We were like: put Terry above all of us if he has to get out for something. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the first scene and I have the rest of the day off and I have to come again at 8:00 at night. Do whatever you can for him. That’s the kind of atmosphere we had there.
Deb: You guys were a real troupe.
Amber: Yeah. Everybody really, really, really loved each other. And to the point though, where like in Joan of Arcadia, there was a lot of dicking around between scenes.
Deb: Yeah (laughs)
Amber: That just drove the first AD up the wall. Cause it was basically like a social hangout. Where everyone was just like… you know, especially with Jeremy Renner and I. Oh my God, with our foul mouths, and making jokes, and not listening.
Deb: you guys clicked really well too.
Amber: It was like high school. Yeah, Jeremy, I’m really close to him and his girlfriend. Like I just texted him cause he got nominated for a Gotham Award. I’m so happy for him. I uh, he invited me one night after work, he said: Hey I did this little film called the Hurt Locker that’s uh, you know they are doing a screening of it at IFC and its just this, it’s a little thing we did last year if you want to come check it out.
I said: Oh yeah, okay sure.
He made it seem like it was no big deal. And I saw the movie, and I turned to him, and I still believe, and I still believe this. And I said it to him that night, I said: You’re going to get nominated for an Academy Award.
Deb: Everything I’ve read said …
Amber: (continues…) do you know that?
Deb: I can’t wait to see it. Yeah
Amber: And he gave, just like, you know this goofy laugh. What the hell, fuck off.
Deb: I honestly think he has a huge, huge chance. And the film…
Amber: Oh yeah well Kathryn Bigalow will for sure, and the film will for sure. He should because what people don’t know about Jeremy. In all the articles I’ve read they made it seem like its Kathryn Bigalow’s, which it is very much so her film.
Amber: But Jeremy is responsible for the most part of getting all those people together. He had the script first.
Deb: Did he? Wow!
Amber: He approached Anthony Mackie, and then got producers on board, and then they went after Kathryn Bigalow. So, it’s really Jeremy that did it. He worked really hard to get that movie made.
Deb: And I’m so glad they got her too. Cause she is, she is amazing visually.
Amber: She’s a power house.
Deb: She really is.
Amber: So good…
Deb: Because she’s a painter, her films are like art.
Deb: You know. They are just gorgeous.
Amber: Yeah, Yeah, very much so.
Deb: Great, um, wanted to talk to you real briefly about Stephanie Daley. And I just thought your performance in that thing was just stunning.
Amber: Thank you.
Deb: I mean it’s a, it’s a, it’s a great little film, but YOU! Oh Man! I mean if I didn’t already know what you can do.
Amber: (laughs) Aww, thank you.
Deb: That would just knock me sideways. And I gotta tell you also, I love the commentary on that, on the DVD.
Amber: Oh yeah! I forgot about that.
Deb: You, you are so hilarious on that commentary.
Amber: Oh my god, I don’t remember it.
Deb: And it’s like 180 degree, 180 degree turn from the performance on the film.
Amber: Oh no, so, they…
Deb: So look what I just noticed.
Deb: (reads) “Voices Of Saints, Casebook For God.” (Laughs). We’re sitting in the right section I think here.
Amber: Oh, that’s funny.
Deb: (Laughs) Isn’t it? Isn’t it just kind of ironic?
Book Store Guy: I didn’t do that on purpose.
Deb: Yes you did!
Deb: That’s great, that’s great. I just looked over there and realized we are in the God section of the bookstore! (Laughs) Catholicism for Dummies! I wanted to ask you about Stephanie Daley.
Amber: Yeah, yeah.
Deb: Is this a role that you went after or did you just kind of get it you know, by coincidence?
Amber: Um, I read it. It took a little while to get made. The director wanted me. She was a fan of Joan of Arcadia. You know that’s the uh … Uh … yeah, so that was actually really Hillary Brougher that approached me. Uh, then it was it took a minute to find the financing. And um, and then you know. I mean it had Tilda, and that was back when Tilda was still just a very cult, cult actress.
Amber: Um. And Tilda to this day, I think out of all the actresses I’ve ever worked with, that I remain the closest with.
Amber: Yeah. She and I are very, very, very close. In fact I went and finished this book in Scotland at her house. I flew out there cause I couldn’t … I couldn’t finish editing it. And it was like the last process, the hardest process is, you know the old saying is: “Kill your darlings.” And I couldn’t uh, I just couldn’t edit it. I couldn’t cut stuff out, I had no vision, and I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing with it. So, and there’s a few things that had happened that sort of made it possible, um to finish it.
But yeah, it was really Hillary. And um, I think there’s a lot of personal, uh, things that were going on in my life during that time that lent itself to the um, to the depth and vulnerability that’s in that film. Um, I don’t know if, if I had been in like a really happy place if I could have done it. Maybe I could’ve. You never know, you never know what you’re capable of. But um, I’ve actually, um, I think I’ve done my last, “beyond reasonable doubt” type movie and I’m going to go back to doing films like that.
Deb: Oh great!
Amber: Just you know, doing things that have more emotional edge as opposed to things that might or might not become a blockbuster hit.
Amber: I just um, they don’t satisfy me. But I wanted to try them. Just like I wanted to try doing um, you know the horror movie stuff. I did several of those and was like: Don’t like this either! Ehh.
Deb: So the heavy dramas are kind of like your favorite thing?
Amber: Yeah. I think it’s, I think it’s very therapeutic in its own right. And um, and if you find a good character, and if you find something great it can be a really powerful experience, can be a very spiritual experience to go through that with the character that’s already written on the page. And um, Stephanie was definitely that exact, exact kind of thing.
Deb: How do you work your way up to that scene in the bathroom. I mean that was just astonishing.
Amber: I did it very fast. You don’t think about it a lot. Um, I had talk to Tilda, Tilda talked to; she had twins, as well as our director had also had twins. So I talked to them about the labor process and um, I asked for a big bucket of ice water. And uh, they would say: rolling. They would roll the cameras, and it was just, in the stalls it was just me and David our DP with the camera, and like two lights in there. And he was in there, there was no one else. And they would say rolling and I would stick my face in ice water for as long as I could hold my breath. Pull my face out; the wardrobe woman would like pat it down with a towel. And uh, I would go in, and um. And a lot of it, I mean, a lot of it already, believe it or not, because your not making any noises. Because you were, she’s suppose to be silent, she doesn’t want anyone to hear her, already forces you to get red and light headed. And um, and uh, oh, I almost passed out several times in the toilet there.
Deb: That rattling … with the scream. That … I mean just that right there is so powerful.
Amber: There’s not even a scream in it. Not a sound.
Deb: Silent scream.
Amber Oh, that’s right.
Deb: So, you’re totally silent the whole time. And your rattling that toilet.
Amber: Yeah. Yeah.
Deb: Oh! I – I – I’ve recommended the movie to so many people and I tell them: Do not look away in that scene.
Amber: Yeah. It’s hard.
Deb: It’s really hard not to. But you owe it to the character.
Amber: People that saw it got really – We had a couple of people that had to leave, that left the theater. You know, and then, they kind of realized. – I mean maybe you shouldn’t recommend this if you ever have, if you’ve like lost a child. Or if you’ve had, you know problems with a labor; probably not recommend it to see that scene. It’s rough!
Deb: Yeah! Heh. It sure is! I’ve gotten into a couple of discussions with people on the internet who think Stephanie was raped. And, I didn’t really see that scene that way. Just saw it as a really bad first encounter with a jerk.
Amber: That is a complicated discussion. Um, I think its both.
Deb: That’s, yeah. I could see that.
Amber: Uh, I think that yours is probably a little more correct. Most people would call that a date rape.
Amber: You know, of, of a certain variation. But, the truth of the matter is, as women, we know that it’s probably either happened to us or it’s happened to our friend. I mean one out of two women it happens to. They have had a very bad sexual experience. Whether it’s when they were children, whether it’s their first time losing their virginity, whether they’re adults. You know, it happens, so and it’s, you know, that particular thing is a very hard thing to define. But, the fact that he takes this very vulnerable girl and he knows exactly what he’s doing, and she doesn’t at all, and they play that little game, which we uh, we sort of worked out in the room. That was also not scripted, the whole: kiss my cheek here; and you know I said: well what if we did this kissing the cheek game and then when you tell me to kiss your cheek, just turn and kiss me. And that will put us into the thing. ‘Cause there was – they were kind of missing that moment in the script where she gets forced to then face that. And then its like, and then it’s like a deer and headlights, no, no pun intended. Um, from that last scene, hah! But uh, but uh, yeah.
Deb: Makes sense.
Deb: Um, there was also a lot of controversy about Normal Adolescent Behavior, and I know that sort of made you angry.
Amber: I don’t want to talk about that at all
Deb: I was just wondering if we were even allowed to like it cause I kind of do.
Amber: I really don’t want to talk about it at all.
Deb: (laughs) that’s a great answer (laughs). I also just wanted to touch on something really quick that I also asked Chris and it, I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or what, but it seems like a lot of the work that you’ve both done deals with really heavy subject matter: like sex, and death, and God, is that a coincidence? Or are those the kind of stories that you kind of like and pursue?
Amber: Well, I think those are a lot of the things that I have done, but I mean, the last like several movies that I’ve done have been shit. I mean just … I don’t know where my head’s been. I guess just in this book, but they’re definitely not things I’m particularly proud of. Um, but it, you know, I think that is what I am drawn to if it’s there. You have to realize though, that’s, you gotta do a lot of hunting to find those kind of things. They don’t just pop up luckily. It takes years and years to find them and track them. I’m tracking several things right now that are really, really good. Um, but you never know!
Deb: So that’s not the majority of what you’re offered? Serious things like that?
Amber: No, uh, no. I mean – it is sometimes, but you also have to fight for some of the things, that you know, that you really wanna do because, you know, Evan Rachel Wood is alive and well, and she’s also a very, very, very fine actress.
Deb: She really is. She really is.
Amber: She is. So it’s hard when you’re looking at two people you’re going: well? And, you know Evan’s done a lot of really big movies. She’s doing uh, another great thing that I’ve read right now – what I’m saying is there’s plenty of actresses to go around. So you gotta fight when you find something great.
Deb: The competition’s heavy.
Deb: So you mentioned, uh, at the book reading that you were writing a script?
Amber: Uh, I’ve been thinking about it. There’s a book, I don’t want a say right now, but that’s uh, that I want to adapt. Um, uh, which I think would be perfect for me and it’s definitely a very Joan style character. Um, but not based anything, uh-uh, like of the, you know the mysterious, spiritual realm. But it is about sort of a young lost girl, which for some reason I’m good at playing.
Deb: Have you written scripts before?
Amber: uh, uh, but I’ve read a bazillion, and I feel like, its like, I feel like it would be like getting on a bike, at this point. And I see it all in my head, so I’ll just follow that idea.
Deb: Right. Adaptations are really hard; I wanna warn you about that.
Amber: We’ll see.
Deb: Because like you said, you have to kill your babies and it’s even worse when you have to kill somebody else’s babies.
Amber: Yeah, but I probably will be writing with my really good friend Ed, uh, who’s a phenomenal writer. And um, you know, he’ll help me chop everything off. But the book reads like a movie. I mean, you wouldn’t have to do anything crazy. Literally reads like a movie. In fact this writer, uh, had another movie written about one of her books, and it was a huge big, um success, so…
Deb: That’s great, that’s a blessing…
Amber: So, her stuff is easily translatable in that sense.
Deb: Excellent. So, tell everybody why they should buy your new book.
Deb: What’s wonderful about your new book?
Amber: Um, I think if you like me as an actress, there’s a lot of pieces in here that were written on the set of, uh, Normal Adolescent Behavior, of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, of The Unusuals. There’s a poem in there called ‘Learning To Trust Legs,’ which specifically is about being, just about dressing up like a hooker, and um waddling around, think I say in there, “waddling around 7th and Ave A, in the East Village.” With like a gun stuck to my hip and going like: is this fucking for real? This is what I do for a living. Like, this is hilarious. So I wrote a little, I wrote a poem about it.
Deb: That’s great.
Amber: But there’s a lot of personal family stuff in there too. I think if you want to get to know me at all then that’s, that’s the best way. I think that’s better than any interview I’ve ever given or will ever give. It’s about my father, it’s about my relationship with my stepsister, it’s about my, you know, um, my mother and her relationship with my grandfather and my feelings about my grandfather, and, there’s a lot of family stuff in there too. But, also stuff about the biz, some, uh, some shop talk.
Deb: We’ll, we all loved the first one so I’m sure were gonna love the second.
Amber: Yeah, it’s a good little book too.
Deb: So, when are your fellow spoken word artists gonna take The Drums Inside your Chest on the road and bring it down here?
Amber: Oh man! I think it’s gonna go to New York in 2011. That’s what’s gonna happen.
Deb: Gotta widen that out a little bit.
Amber: I know. If you have, uh, three million dollars you’d like to give me? Cause I’ll put that shit to use!
Deb: (Laughs) If I ever come up with it I’ll –
Amber: Yeah, um, some day we’ll be like a traveling circus, but for now it’s like, we wanna make a big enough event that people would come to Los Angeles and see it, and that we could also get a bigger theater. Right now we average about four to five hundred people in that theater to come see it, which for poetry show is pretty big.
Deb: Yeah, oh yeah! If we could ever arrange a trip out, around when it’s happening…
Amber: Yeah, come check it out, for sure.
Deb: So one more question.
Deb: What’s next?
Amber: What’s next is I did, um, a film Main Street, which is gonna be really good. I’m hearing really strong things about it. It’s the last thing Horton Foot wrote before he died. Um, and it’s myself, Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, Ellen Burstyn, and Patricia Clarkson.
Deb: Oh, that’s the Orlando Bloom movie.
Amber: And uh, it’s gonna be a big movie for Ellen Burstyn, that’s all I’m saying.
Deb: That’s great! That’s great.
Amber: It’s gonna be a big one, and for me! It’s a, it’s a great role too. I sort of play like a young Ellen Burstyn. A woman who has been living in Durham her whole life and she needs to get out and wants to get out. And Ellen is this woman who has lived there her whole life and doesn’t want to leave, but has to leave cause she has no money left. It’s a, it’s a true American story in the way that Horton writes. I mean it’s brilliant. So…
Deb: Yeah, I love his stuff.
Amber: There’s that there’s you know, starting to get some pilot things in but for television, but uh, we’ll see.
Amber: We’ll see.
Deb: It’s great! Is there sort of a projected idea of when that might come out?
Amber: I don’t know. I think it’s gonna do the festival route. That’s what I hear. Toronto, and…
Deb: Next year?
Amber: Yeah. And then um, and then come out, so we’ll see!
Deb: Great. So maybe the tail end of next year we might get to see it!
Amber: Yeah. I think that’s gonna happen. And John Doyle, it’s his first film, so I know he’s taking his precious time. As he should, uh, putting it together, and really making it the vision that he wants. So um, yeah, and I’m very lucky to be in the position where I don’t have to run into doing another project. I’m really just gonna wait to find, uh, you know another Stephanie Daley, or something that I feel like is valuable as that.
Amber: Yeah. There it is!
Deb: That’s great. Well, I’m gonna let you go ‘cause I need your, I know your trying to get out of here, and uh, we really appreciate it!
Amber: Of course!
Deb: So much.
Amber: I’m going to go text Jason now. You made me miss him!
Deb: Please do that! Once we get it all uh
Amber: Did you see his girlfriend’s film?
Deb: ‘Good Dick?’ Not yet, not yet. It’s starting to make the rounds and all of our, all of our people are starting to see it. So uh…
Amber: It’s great. Marianna.
Deb: We have one guy that’s telling us about it a month or so ago, and he’s seen it. One of our members has seen it so far. We’re all on Netflixing it.
Amber: It’s very sweet.
Amber: And it’s good of you to support it.
Deb: Oh, of course! Everything all of you guys do, we are right there for. So, much appreciated, thank you so much.
Amber: Yes, of course!
….. Photos of the poetry reading
….. More talk about Amber on the message board