Interview: Tracey Fairaway from "Enough Said"
Tracey Fairaway is one of Hollywood’s young and talented actresses who has just had the unbelievable opportunity to work with some of Hollywood’s veterans in the new film “Enough Said”. Tracey plays the daughter of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and also stars opposite the late James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, and Toni Collette. Tracey sat down with Movie Room Reviews and talked all about this wonderful experience.
Nick Leyland from Movie Room Reviews: So let's just talk about this new movie "Enough Said". It just came out recently, and you play Ellen. So can you tell our audience a little bit about the film and your character as Ellen?
Tracey Fairaway: The film is based on my mom's character, Eva, who is played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. And she falls for a guy named Albert who is played by Gandolfini. Albert has relations with Catherine Keener's character. My character, Ellen, is a college-bound daughter of Eva's and she's just trying to get herself prepared for this move over to the east coast 'cause they're from California. And in the meantime, her friend, Chloe, played by Tavi (Gevinson), she kind of takes over the roost. So Eva starts inviting her over to be in Ellen's room and whatnot, to live there when Ellen's gone. That's where the problem arises there, I guess.
MRR: Well, it's a comedy, and it has tons of great actors in it. Could you kind of give me some of your favorite scenes from the film?
Tracey Fairaway: My personal favorite scene is the one where Julia and James... I don't want to spoil too much. They have their first kiss. That's probably my favorite scene. It makes me cry every single time. It's so sweet.
Of my own scenes, there's an airport scene that I shot, and a lot of people have come up to me and telling me that it really affected them, it really moved them. So I'm pretty proud of that. I'd say that's the scene that I enjoy, and I like a lot of Eve Hewson’s scenes. She's a very talented actress, she plays Gandolfini's daughter in the film. I like her scenes a lot.
MRR: Well, it was written by and directed by Nicole Holofcener and this film is very dialog-driven. And when a movie is dialog-driven like this, it's kind of up to the actors to produce the comedic timing, among other things, to make the film great. Was it challenging for you to find your strive for your character?
Tracey Fairaway: Not really. I had auditioned for the character, and I kind of felt who she was, and I felt that pretty strongly. But I didn't hear anything for about a year, and then finally they called me back and told me that they liked what I'd done. So I really related to Ellen pretty fast, though I would say that the part where I was studying a lot was picking up on Julia's mannerisms and Julia's comedic timing because I wanted it to feel like you would believe we really are related. So picking up on her natural comedic timing was something that I was trying to hone in on and just things to make it look more real to the audience. I'm a natural blond from California, so I'm trying to look like Elaine from Seinfeld.
MRR: Well, speaking of that, you do look different as Ellen than you do in real life. How fun was it to take on a whole new different look for the film?
Tracey Fairaway: It was totally fun. My sister's a brunette, I'm the only blonde in the family. [chuckle] So it was so cool to be a brunette. But every time I pass a mirror, I would have to do a double-take. I was like, "That isn't me." And then you realize, "Oh my God, that is me." It's just a bit weird, but it's not that different. [laughter]
MRR: I'm not saying that Ellen's not attractive, but on a side note, does a character's physical appearance in a film make you kind of wary of taking a role? Because you're an attractive girl and would it bother you to play a character who is presumed unattractive to the audience?
Tracey Fairaway: Well, that's what's wonderful about acting, it's an art. And I love the art as truly as I can, portraying a human being that before the moment the material's in your hand, that person is just a wondering soul that's in the imagination of a writer and a few other people. They don't have flesh, and they don't have a pulse, and they don't have breath. I give all that stuff to the character and in doing so, I have to completely let go and forget who Tracey is. And whatever hangups I have about my appearances or whatever things I like about my appearance, I really have to be okay with letting go with that.
I play young characters a lot. So going without make-up or whatever, you just get used to it. [laughter] It's just not that bad, you know. When you know who you are inside too, it motivates you to kind of... Like you want to play uglier... Physically, I guess uglier characters, but also personality-wise, maybe it could be fun too. It's different.
MRR: Well this movie will probably go down in cinematic history because of the fact that it's James Gandolfini's final role. How privileged where you to get to work with him on a film, and what does he, as an actor, bring to a film like this?
Tracey Fairaway: Well obviously, he has driven himself as an actor. So, just having him involved with this was a blessing. When I heard that his name was attached to this, I was thrilled. I don't watch "The Sopranos", I've seen a few episodes, but I've seen "Zero Dark Thirty". I've seen a lot of other things that he's been in and I've always appreciated him. I put him in that category with Pacino, De Niro, just some of the greats. He's in that category for sure. So when I found out working with him I was going to be doing that, I was really thrilled.The way I feel about him, about this being his last film, is just bitter-sweet. I wish he could make more films from a selfish point of view. As a fan, I wish he could make more films. But he's never going to, so it's very saddening, and I feel so special that I actually got the chance to have this opportunity before somebody passes. You never entertain that thought then. It's just the worst. And it happened. So we're all just kind of dealing with it the best as a person can. But it's his family that I always pray for, worry for...
MRR: Well, the women really hold this film together. There's so many. You've got amazing actors like Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, you, Toni Collette, and a few other ones. But this isn't a movie just for women. Why will both men and women really enjoy this film?
Tracey Fairaway: Well, I think that the demographic there can be large because... I mean, not only is it gonna to be like housewives dragging their husbands to see this, to which the guy says, "Well, Tony Soprano's in it." [chuckle] But I think that it's... You're a cinephile, and if you do enjoy cinema and film, and a lot of males do tend to like films. I think one would seem like you can't miss it, in a way. If you really, really do love, and you're passionate about cinema, I don't think you could miss a chance to see Gandolfini in a performance like this. Especially when he is playing, essentially, kind of a version of himself; charming, self-deprecating, hilarious guy. And I think men and women will both see the value in a film like that. It brings them both together, in a sense, too. So I think that's why it kind of stands for both a male and female audience, is you've got those things going.
MRR: Why did you get in the world of acting, and what about it has drawn you to making it your passion and your career in life?
Tracey Fairaway: What drew me to acting was when I was really young, the first thing I ever wanted to do was be a vet, but I realized that I would have to put down animals. So when I was about four or five years old I was at one of my friend's houses, and we were watching "Grease" or something on TV. I was so inspired just because they sing in that movie and there's so much going on. After the movie was over, and they did a flash cut of Tom Cruise doing an interview about some film he made or whatever. And they flashed to the film. And in that moment, I realized, "Oh my God, that's a career? I can do that. That's what I know that I want to do." I didn't know you could get paid for that. I didn't know it was a thing. I thought it was just a hobby, I guess. When you're a kid, you don't know.
It's always something that I loved, and I realized that artists have a certain gift. Like my gift, I I have a gift to help people feel. If you haven't cried in 10 years, give me three hours, okay? Just get it out of you, it'll be good. If you just got fired, give me two hours, and I'll make you laugh. I feel like this is what I'm meant to do and I feel this is what gives me the greatest amount of joy. I love being able to touch people and let them put down their guard when they're in that theater and get to know them in that sense. I'm just so passionate about it because literally Tracey leaves and the soul comes in as a character. I'm not even present when the character is there. It's a very spiritual, almost, feeling. It's indescribable. Any artist, or anybody that loves what they do, can relate to what I'm saying though. It's just that passion where you've always known it was in you, and it's just about unlocking it. I used to search through the Yellow Pages for ages. I mean, I was desperate at that point, and I just had to let go and say, "If this is meant for me, it's gonna to happen." And surely enough, everything just started kind of lining up and falling in place, and I am where I am now today because of it. And I'm never gonna stop. I'm never gonna stop. I want to change the world in this way.
MRR: Good for you. That sounds fantastic. I'm really excited for you and your new film, "Enough Said," it's a great film. Where and when can they see the new film? And what else can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Tracey Fairaway: Well "Enough Said" is going to be expanding. We're kind of like an Indie film, but we are making such a killing at the theaters that they're going to keep rolling them out, and now we're expanding to about 450 new theaters around the country. So they should be popping up in cities all over. And if we do well in those theaters, then you will see them rolling out in more theaters. So, it's all about how many people go to see and how much each theater makes for the film that determines how many cities it'll be in. So, hopefully it'll be in every city.
But for now, it's supposed to be concentrated in the major cities. So I would just encourage everyone to go on to the Fox Searchlight “Enough Said” blog and check out where the cinemas that are playing in your city are showing "Enough Said". For me, I got a lot of things coming up. I'm traveling at midnight tonight to fly out to the east coast, and I'm gonna be working with my other half, my boyfriend, with a music collaboration project. So, we're gonna be in the studio here as soon as we get back. And then after that, I've got potential films and stuff lined up. But I can't say too much about it.
MRR: Torture, huh?
Tracey Fairaway: Well, a lot of exciting stuff. Just really pushing forward, and always gonna be striving to find as many diverse roles as I can. I wanna mix it up as much as possible.
MRR: Well, thank you so much and best of luck in your career. And I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me, and hopefully "Enough Said" goes to theaters all over the country, all over the world, right?
Tracey Fairaway: Yeah. It can always hope.
MRR: Well, thank you so much.
Tracey Fairaway: Well, thanks Nick. You were so awesome.