Monday 23 April 2018

Interview with Tracey Birdsall - Star of "Who's Jenna"

The new comedy Who’s Jenna…? (out this week on DVD and VOD) tells of a woman who is mistaken for an adult entertainer. Which adult entertainer? Well, as actress Tracey Birdsall explains, the threat of legal action has seen that we never get that answer.

Okay, we want the dirt. Who is Jenna?

The title is really tongue in cheek, as it refers not only to the main character in the movie (my character) but also the confusion as to Andy’s (Joseph D’Onofrio) curiosity as to who she might possibly be. Not to give away a spoiler, but Jenna in the film (my character) is a woman who is a lawyer who is a doppelganger for someone else named Jenna in the adult film industry.

Originally, mistake me if I’m wrong, the ‘Jenna’ of the movie was originally going to be a certain adult film star – but then the script changed?

Yes, any good Googl’ing of the title will unveil that story; however, the producers (who thought of the clever title in the first place) were threatened with legal action unnecessarily. Since they felt it wasn’t pinnacle that the last name be used, they abbreviated it. It really doesn’t change anything, as it’s a comedy!

How much has the script changed, or even the tone of the movie, since you initially got involved?

Besides the above question, the film remained the same right through my involvement. Several months later when they went to film the scenes I wasn’t in, the film took some side turns having to do with the chemistry of the “boys network” as I like to call it. The ending specifics also changed due to the above question, but the interweaving thread of the love story and mistaken identity remained the same.

What films would you compare it to?

Some parts of the film (the love story) have a very Sleepless in Seattle feel, some of the crazier moments have a very Hangover feel, and some of the “boys network” scenes are a bit of a cross of the lighter moments in the television series The Soprano’s.

You’ve worked on bigger budget stuff. What’s the difference working on Who’s Jenna..? to something on a larger scale. Does it all come down to craft service?

I do very little craft services during filming because then I constantly have to brush my teeth! Some of the larger films I’ve worked on are very much like a machine where everyone has a job and it all gets done more seamlessly – to the actors perspective. A film like Who’s Jenna…? is more of a committee or a conglomerate effort… Both extremes are quite enjoyable to me.

Were you a fan of “The Sopranos”- there’s a couple of guys in this movie that fans of the show will recognize. Was it fun working with them?

I was a fan of The Sopranos, and Goodfellas, etc. I loved working with these guys and their Italian American elements. Particularly Bill Sorvino, Joseph D’Onofrio, and Garry Pastore were an absolute blast both on screen and off! Super amazing guys and actors…

Having done a few sci-fi movies now, is this the new route – comedies? Shaking it up a bit?

I try not to get stuck in a genre, but I also try to mix it up within the genre. Who’s Jenna…? although a comedy, has many dramatic moments. The sci-fi that I do also has many action and drama moments, along with some comedy. You see, being an actor is about living a life, and the elements of developing a character has to do with feeling all that they feel. I don’t usually choose projects within any genre that doesn’t allow for the character to have an arc, have a journey, laugh a little, and/or cry a little (even if it’s masked). It’s experiencing being a human being no matter what the genre.