Wendy Wilkins

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The No1 Bestseller list in the Charts

WENDY WILKINS

  

'' Acclaimed actress and writer Wendy Wilkins is making waves in exactly the right direction with her memoir Sex, Love & Cops about her five years as a young cop. She was just awarded the “best of Los Angeles” award for Best Memoir 2021 and it recently hit No 1 in the charts for Amazon Kindle true crime autobiographies in Law Enforcement. ''

 

 By Dan Peters

April 15, 2021

   

Acclaimed actress and writer Wendy Wilkins is making waves in exactly the right direction with her memoir 

Sex, Love & Cops about her five years as a young cop. She was just awarded the “best of Los Angeles” award for Best Memoir 2021 and it recently hit No 1 in the charts for Amazon Kindle true crime autobiographies in Law Enforcement. 

How do you show your cast mates the importance of communication?

Well I think as an actress unless you are clearly communicating with other actors the performance will not be as good it’s really important to listen and react. Ivana Chubbuck, my acting coach for many years really emphasized the communication that goes on between the lines that’s important. We all have an inner monologue in our head playing. When someone is speaking to us we can have a whole story going on, for example; as your love interest is saying something, you’re thinking why did you say it like that? What did you really mean by that? Are you looking at that grey hair that I noticed this morning? We have conversations with ourselves, but it’s also important to be present so you can react in the moment. Now that I write, it really informs my acting also. Great writing, I find, usually helps me find a way in with the character.

Can you describe what influenced you to pursue a career as an actress?

Since I was a small child I loved creating performances. I made my brother and sister be in them. We would perform on a little stage in our garage, mainly for my grandfather. It was kind of strange that I would charge him an entry fee, who does that as a child? I loved playing characters and then I began to do performances at school in the school play etc. I absolutely loved playing Estella in Great Expectations and loved being in acting

classes ... I was also picked out at school as a young child to be in a national bread commercial. I remember having to eat a sandwich many times and express how much I enjoyed it though in reality it wasn’t that tasty! I loved immersing myself into characters and reading great plays. I was also an avid movie watcher. I imagined myself in the movie playing a role. Though, I was brought up that acting wasn’t really a career so for a long time I just did the occasional night classes and workshops ... The first role I auditioned for I booked. (It doesn’t always work like that obviously.) Funnily enough I was playing a Mafioso Real Estate agent that dies in a shootout at the end of the film. It did really well on the film festival scene. I remember friends and family coming and seeing the film at the Cinema and my sister getting really upset when I ‘died’ on the big screen. It was so interesting to be in the Cinema and see my friends reactions. They were visibly upset to watch it. I was in real estate then in real life and remember saying to the Director “Do you want to use my Porsche for filming?” The script called for me to be driving a convertible BMW and I knew that they had a tight budget so I offered them to use my convertible to help them out. When I was filming I had to screech around the corner and pull up in front of a warehouse. More kids were showing up to watch the filming and they began calling out things like “I hope you get to keep the car!”

I was a successful real estate agent at the time. Some people were shocked that I left to follow my acting career but “it” kept calling me. So I went to study in London at RADA and with some great acting coaches, such as Giles Foreman and Diana Laurie and then New York at HB studios with Austin Pendleton and eventually ended up here in Hollywood.

What do you feel is more important for an actress, talent, or training?

Oh that’s an interesting one ... I have met and seen some amazing raw natural talent

and as Sanford Meisner famously said some of the most talented actors he had ever met did not have “acting careers”.

I do believe in talent, though without some technical training these days it will be hard to have a good career as an actor. Things move so fast on set ... if you don’t come prepared it could be quite difficult. I remember when I did a guest star on Neighbours, the hugely popular long running Australian TV show, my scenes were opposite the two young leads. It all move so fast. I got a new scene added the day before and we shot that first ... The very first take the director wanted me to “pick up the pacing”. Fortunately I knew what he meant so the rest of the day was smooth sailing and he thanked me at the end of the shoot. The two young leads were fun and super professional... Shooting a series like this moves so fast they don’t have time or patience for newbies to hold up the filming because they don’t know their lines or can’t hit their mark for example. They learned by watching and doing. I recommend if you are a new actor to do some background work on a major film or tv series if you can so that when you actually get to one of these big sets you’re not overwhelmed. Brad Pitt was doing background work and many other famous actors before he got his big break.

Which types of acting do you feel you are most suited to?

As far as doing a play or a film or role in a tv series, I enjoy all. The great thing about live theater is you get real time responses from audiences and also a chance to keep working on the character and the role more than once. I also love being on set and seeing everything come together in that way also.

I love playing the dark comedy type characters. There is a movie I did called Deany Bean is Dead ... Where I play a Devil wears Prada type Boss meets Goldie Hawn. I would say this is my wheelhouse. It was such a fun movie to do because I basically got to play two characters and had quite an arc.

How do you rehearse a scene if the other actors you need to interact with in the scene are not available? 

I workshop it with other actor friends and sometimes with an acting coach I often go to Katt Shea. She is fabulous because she’s also a writer/director. She just directed the latest Warner Brothers movie Nancy Drew and has such a keen eye.

But I know that often you don’t get the luxury to rehearse with the actor you are playing opposite. I remember doing a workshop with Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock, when I lived in London. She told me that when she did the movie Alfie with Jude Law, she arrived on set and had to do a sex scene in the back of a car with Jude, pretty much thirty minutes after they met and without any rehearsal. I always remember thinking “wow you didn’t get to rehearse”. That was a good lesson for me that you may not get that chance to rehearse.

Where do you go to practice loud vocal exercises? 

Ha ha, yes sometimes in my home. The poor neighbors! Though I don’t do it too often ... Sometimes in my car when I’m driving and sometimes when I’m walking my dog. I’m in the moment so much that I forget I’m in a public place every now and then. 

How do you react when you receive a negative review about a performance? 

Fortunately I haven’t had one so far... But I know that if you put yourself out there the more you do, the more you perform you will not please everybody all of the time. I do welcome constructive criticism. There’s always work to be done and possible improvement. Most creative artists never feel like their role is finished, or their book is ready, or their play is ready to put up. It’s part of being a creative. That’s the upside of doing live theater. I remember doing Shakespeare,Twelfth night and the audiences were so different each time. Some audiences were silent. Some were boisterous. There was some great reviews each time also. Even Meryl Streep has had a bad review though I don’t agree with her ever getting a bad one... I have loved everything she has ever done. With social media these days some trolls can be really mean ... Hopefully you’re a bit of a barometer yourself for your work ... I will say as creative artists we are generally much more sensitive and our own worst critics so ...

How do you maintain confidentiality about plot twists and other developments in TV productions before they air? 

Well these days we mostly have to sign NDA and Confidentiality agreements. I’m pretty good at not giving spoiler alerts because I don’t like people to do that to me.

I do remember telling a few people about a movie I did where they tried to kill my character several times and then realized when it aired in the cinema I had told my boyfriend at the time but he actually forgot so was suitably shocked and pleasantly surprised when I didn’t die each time.

What steps do you take to understand the importance of your character to the story fully?

Yes it is important to understand your place in the story because if you are a co star and your job is just to move the plot forward then not to do too much . I think it’s important to bring a truly authentic point of view and well rounded character to a role ... Real people are not one note. For example I’m a pretty easy-going person in real life and then every now and then something makes me so angry I scream and turn into a crazy person for a few minutes. I find it surprising myself my reactions. My previous partner, when we’re having a fight, would say “you’re so dramatic you’re such an actress” which would make me even angrier, because I was being a real person with real reactions. part of me was watching myself as an actress thinking well I just went through the whole gamut of emotions in a scene there!

Who do you consider to be your acting role model whose career you would like to emulate, and why? 

I really love Rose Byrne’s career She’s playing a wide variety of characters and can be really funny also ... of course, Nicole Kidman and Reece Witherspoon because they are really paving the way as bona fide producers and excellent content creators. Nicole Kidman has always had such interesting and varied roles. She really has a wide range which I think we are getting to see now. I remember going to see the industry screening of The Rabbit Hole, years ago that she produced and starred in. At the Q&A Nicole was discussing how difficult it was to get it made but she persevered. I really was surprised but have since learned so much more about what it takes to get a movie made now. 

What techniques do you use to create a believable character? 

I use a combination of tools. I often breakdown a script using Ivana Chubbuck’s 12 step technique ... you bring a lot of personal stuff to the role. How you resonate personally with the circumstances. Obviously if you’re playing a murderer you can’t use real life experiences but you can use feelings that made you feel the same way and why you would be driven to do something. I recommend people read her book The Power Of The Actor. 

I also use exercises and improv that Katt Shea taught me to help let go and free me up to be more present in the moment and not ‘in my head’ about it.

I have portrayed some real life characters also. In that case I research to get as much info as I can. Fortunately there is so access to material these days.

A couple of years ago I portrayed Audra Lindley, a much loved American actress most known for her role as Mrs. Roper in Three’s Company. Fans and loved ones came to the performance. It was a fair bit of pressure to do her justice. I found she had a particular voice and that helped me to find a way to her also ... I would repeat a saying she would say to myself before commencing several times.

What was your longest-running role on stage? 

Forever Fosse ... It probably wasn’t but it felt like the longest running performance because I had to sing and dance every night and wear tiny outfits and kick my legs really high. It was an Off Off Broadway production and I think I was the oldest cast member, mostly the girls had just graduated! I did it as a challenge as I am not traditionally a musical theater person, but I did teach Jazz ballet for a period in my young life.