In Diane Paragas‘ directorial debut, Yellow Rose, she tells the story of a young undocumented immigrant, Rose (Eva Noblezada), who finds herself alone in a country that doesn’t know she exists, when her mother is arrested by I.C.E. and threatened to be deported home to the Philippines. Liam Booth plays Elliot, Rose’s only link to normalcy in her chaotic life on the run. I spoke with Liam about his role and his experiences on set. Yellow Rose is currently available in select theaters and on VOD.
Tell us a little about your background? Where are you from, and how did you get the bug for acting?
I grew up in Burbank, California, and moved to Texas when I was 12. When I’m not acting, I have a huge passion for art and animation. I think I got into acting by always loving movies and TV shows when I was little. Another huge factor is my mom, who’s been acting since before I was born. I grew up watching her on sets and catching her sometimes on TV.
What films influenced your decision to get into the business?
As a kid, I loved dressing up as other characters, so I thought it was a natural progression. I grew up mostly watching cartoons. If I had to choose films, probably Spider-Man, Ghostbusters, Who framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future, Wolf of Wall Street, and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
How did you find your way to being cast in Yellow Rose?
I got an audition and tried to approach the character from a particular angle that really didn’t work out. I was a lot more like me in the audition than intended. I got a callback and got to meet Eva. Thankfully, she was easy to talk to, so the scenes quickly turned into two actual friends talking. I walked out after the audition, thinking, “well, if I didn’t get it, I know it wasn’t because I messed anything up.” Then I think a couple of days later, while working at my retail job, my phone rang with my agent saying I got the part.
What did you think of the story when you first read it?
I thought the story was so moving and so relevant that if I weren’t a part of this, I would definitely be seeing it. The script was well written. So when I read it, I could immediately visualize it.
“…she was easy to talk to, so the scenes quickly turned into two actual friends talking.”
What was your first impression of director Diane Paragas? And Eva Noblezada?
My first impression of Diane was that she was very laser-focused on what she wanted but was so kind and listened to any kind of ideas you had. She helped me mold the character, and when something didn’t work, she would let me know, and we’d find another way to do the scene, which was amazing.
When I got the callback, that’s when I met Eva. I was super lucky that she was really down to earth and easy to talk to. It made the audition so much easier. On set, she and I quickly turned into two friends that were hanging out on set and doing scenes together – not afraid to mess up in front of each other and try to make each other laugh.
Any funny or poignant moments on set that you can talk about?
The only thing that really stood out is when we had the night shoot. We went from 8 pm to 8 am (something like that). The night shoot consisted of a pinnacle moment in the movie with Rose’s mom coming in contact with ICE and then us running into the field at dawn. Eva spent the night screaming for her mom, I spent the night driving all over, and we spent the morning running in the field. We were tired, sweaty, and exhausted. Needless to say, the next day, I felt everyone on set bonded closer to each other. I joke that it was almost like going through war – going to your comrade after the battle and saying, “So, how are you holding up?”
Any hints or tips that you would give to your friends who want to get into the acting or filmmaking game?
I always think people should pursue any passion they have. Just make sure they have a job to fall back on, but keep working at your passion on the side. Once your passion starts to consistently make more than your job, that’s when you should quit. The more you work at your passion, pushing yourself to do different things. Eventually, someone will notice.