If horror and sci-fi is your thing, then you more than likely have heard of, or rather seen, Rhoda Jordan. To be more specific, if you’ve seen films such as “Galaxy Hunter”, “Death Factory” and “Aquanoids”, then you more than likely remember Rhoda Jordan, this up and coming actress who took a little time with us to describe her life in indie film.
How did you get into acting?
It’s something I’ve always wanted from when I was younger. You know, I was in all the school plays…I was constantly searching for some way to get into the spotlight…And so the second I graduated college, I was off to Hollywood to try and make it!
My first “acting” gigs consisted of extra work and music videos. I thought it was all fascinating at first, but that wears out pretty quickly when you realize that what you’re doing doesn’t take a drop of acting skill, and any warm body can fill your spot. So I moved on from that pretty quickly and started working on a lot of indie films, mostly sci-fi and horror stuff at first…
Do you have a passion for horror and sci-fi or are is the genre something you just kinda fell into?
You know, truthfully, it’s just something I fell into. It’s like, you do one–and then somehow, you end up doing another and another. The world is actually really small, so you are constantly working with the same people. All this is not to say that I don’t enjoy it. Because I really do. It’s really a cool thing, working on a horror or sci-fi movie…A lot of these filmmakers have such a love and enthusiasm for this world, and it’s infectious sometimes…I mean, producers like Mark Gordon, Dave Sterling…there’s this sincere appetite for the genre, and that makes it fun on-set. Which it should be, because who wouldn’t enjoy being chased around, screaming and splattered in blood?
What are the advantages of working on these smaller independent films?
Oh, wow…let me see…there are definite advantages to working on these smaller films…A major one, I would say, is the comfort level on the set. Nobody’s rushing around worrying about losing thousands of dollars because we’re wasting time on a shot–because there aren’t crazy amounts of money at stake. And so the low-budget factor is nice. Because the filmmakers are apt to take more risks and break away from the shooting schedule and venture into spontaneity, which is very liberating when shooting…I really go for that…I think it just helps my performance when things are jumping around like that…I love the freshness. When I did “Aquanoids,” the director (Ray Peschke) created a great set, where we would be adding all these moments and lines at the last minute that just seemed to work when we got there. There was this looseness and enthusiasm there that I liked.
How about disadvantages?
And as for disadvantages…there are a few! A low-budget set is not the most comfortable at times. Sometimes there’s not enough Craft Services on-set and you’re starving like mad, but you’ve gotta shoot for 6 more hours before you can eat a thing. And during down times, when you’re not needed on set, and you just want to find a place to chill out and talk on the phone or read a book, there’s nowhere to go.
No “I’ll be in my trailer” for you! There may be a fold-up chair outside in the cold somewhere, but you’re exhausted and that’s the last place you want to be. Also, there are tons of indie films that don’t have any hair or make-up on-set, so you’re pretty much in charge of maintaining everything–which can be tricky sometimes when you want to put all your focus toward your performance and not worry about whether or not your hair’s all out of place…
So, yes, it can be tough at time…but it’s definitely all worth it…
Which of your films is your favorite?
In terms of my favorite that I worked on–hands down–“Galaxy Hunter”…There was a lot involved preparing for the film, in terms of rehearsal and fight training…I really love a good challenge, and it was quite an experience being on-set everyday. We were trained by a couple great stunt/fight choreography pros in the industry today–Jan and Dan Speaker. They were extraordinary to work with. Also, director Mark Borchetta was attentive and precise about everything he wanted, which helped all the talent involved to hit their marks just right…
Now, in terms of my favorite film to watch, I would say “Aquanoids”…It is not a great movie by any means, but I enjoy watching it for its willingness to be ridiculous.
Who have been some of your favorite people you’ve worked with?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of talented people these last few years. But I would have to say, my recent favorite was Ernest Dickerson. I worked with him on the set of “Never Die Alone,” the DMX/David Arquette film that came out last year. I played this jazz lounge singer…Unfortunately one of my scenes got cut and so everything we shot did not make it into the final version of the movie, but I was still happy with it…Ernest is an amazing director–just very patient and thoughtful and open…He’s incredibly bright, and through his talent, he always has so much to work with, it’s amazing…
Have you learned any major lessons in your acting experience that you would like to pass on to others?
I’ve learned not to take rejection too seriously. Especially not in this game. If you have enough faith and you are willing to put all of yourself into this, then you will get work. Eventually. And as you start to develop a body of work, the rejection won’t sting as much. For me, rejection has come to be a good thing. It serves as a reminder that I have no choice but to kick a*s the next time.
Describe your dream role.
My dream role? Hmmm…it would probably be anything that Julianne Moore or Angelina Jolie ever got to play. I respect them so much for their choices. I mean, they may choose movies that do bomb here and there, but they’re always going for great roles. Roles that show their strength with clarity, roles where they can be tough and vulnerable at the same time…They’re constantly demonstrating this enthralling openness.
What’s up next for you?
Well, I recently completed shooting a supporting role in the film “Bad Penny.” It was directed by Jesse Kerman, who recently had his last film selected for one of The Best of Tromadance editions. He’s a very sharp director, definitely one to watch.
Also, I am developing a sci-fi screenplay with my husband, Eric Shapiro. He’s from the literary world. He’s an author of sci-fi and horror stories himself. He has a book (It’s Only Temporary) coming out in the next few months, and in-between promoting that and working on some other things, he is developing this latest project with me. And it’s definitely nice to be collaborating like this. Things are moving along in a great direction…