One of early 2016’s most discussed films was the supernatural horror movie by Drew Hall, Convergence is set in 1999, and Atlanta detective and new dad Ben Walls (Clayne Crawford) is checking out the bombing at a women’s clinic.
After he wakes up a la 28 Weeks later in a deserted hospital, and he realizes nothing is as it seems in this ghostly supernatural horror film.
M&C spoke with Louisiana native and actress Laura Cayouette who discusses her role as Esther in her new film Convergence, her work with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and more.
Monsters and Critics: How did you wind up in Convergence?
Laura Cayouette: It was just one of those projects that came on the radar and I went in for it.
M&C: tell us about your character Esther…
LC: Some characters just come to you, and some characters you have to build and find the character and it takes work to ask the questions that would lead you to this character. And then every once and a while a character comes along that sort of pops up totally formed for you, and, for me, she was one of those.
She was doing things I didn’t realize she would be doing, and I guess the clearest explanation for that, that you can actually see in the film would be the way she runs. I didn’t even realize it until maybe the second or third day of doing scenes where she would run from one place to another that she has a very funny way of running that was very sort of, dainty, and not practical!
And it was one of those things that I as the person doing it, didn’t observe the way she moved until I had been doing it for a while. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s fascinating.
M&C: Did the director, Drew, give you a lot of direction on how to play her, or did he give you more freedom to let you portray her how you thought she would act?
LC: Drew is smart because he hires the right people and lets them do their work, his methodology was to be very full of information at the beginning, to give us a lot of insight as to what was going on in his head and how he saw the overall film and the overall themes and then sort of let you run with that. And then there were moments that you had to work out together.
But he mostly just hires the right people, gives them enough information to do a good job and then gets out of their way.
M&C: Talk about your previous work in Pulse 2, Dark Places, Maggie, Django Unchained. Which has been your favorite and why?
LC: The ones that you listed, obviously, Django is probably the most life changing/career changing of the films. It’s also the longest I was ever on for a particular project. I guess we shot about 5 months there. I got to sit with that character and work with the same people for a long time which creates a completely different environment than when you are working with the new people over and over.
It allows for a lot more growth with the character. A lot of times, I’m called for a day here, a week there ,and you are put into an already up and running machine, and I was for Django as well. They were already shooting for a several months before they came to New Orleans, but having them on a project for that long I still got to grow the character and grow with the rest of the cast. So that meant a lot to me. I’m not sure entirely how to answer that.
As a moviegoer, I’m a fan of lots of types of movies, but I do think that Kill Bill and Django Unchained are quite the achievements that are fairly rare, not rare for Quentin obviously, but rare for actors to have that experience of working on a project that you know from the start will be something great and potentially something important.
It also sets the experience of going to movie apart because when you buy your ticket you don’t know what you are going to see, but when you are going to a Quentin movie you already have a sense that you will see something spectacular, visually stunning and wildly entertaining, and maybe important.
M&C: Talk about Quentin and your history…
LC: I already knew Quentin before Kill Bill even, so I never actually had the experience of walking in cold and having to audition for Quentin. From the start, I walked in as a friend and had that advantage that at least we knew we’d get along on set, and by the time we got to Django, which was the fourth film we had worked on together, that part he wrote with me in mind. So that was a completely different experience.
I think what’s pretty obvious is that the most memorable [Quentin] moment is my exit from Django. That was a goodbye heard from around the world! That moment not only played well in America, but it played well globally. Not all films are universal, especially when they have to do with comedy, which doesn’t always travel well, Different people find different things funny. I wasn’t sure if my exit scene would play as well with foreign audiences as it did in America.
For me, it was pretty unforgettable as well because I have always done my own stunts but that was the biggest stunt I had ever achieved, although, I have to do one next week that I’m a little nervous about.
M&C: You were a zombie in the movie the Flight of the Living Dead. Talk about that character…
LC: Our makeup team on that was really great. They were pros and have been around for a long time and have done a lot of exciting stuff. They churned us out fairly quickly. But for me, I was the one who had the makeup on the most days. I was the first zombie, so I had more days in the makeup chair than everybody else, but I did not find it terribly tedious.
Honestly at the end of the day, it took almost the same amount of time to give the no makeup look in Django. Those elaborate hairdos took forever. With Flight of the Living Dead I was very impressed, because with a low budget you have to cut corners with time, and they were able to, I think, do very satisfying looks with minimum time.
In the movie world, three hours in the makeup chair is average for any women whether you’re playing somebody who is going to work or whatever else. And it wasn’t more than two hours to get the full elaborate makeup. So I found that very impressive.
M&C: Is there a book in the works?
LC: Yes, The Secret of the Other Mother. A mystery that takes place during the run when the Saints were coming to the Superbowl in New Orleans, where I live now. During Mardi Gras when they won. It will be out in the next month and I will be doing a book signing actually during Jazzfest. I am very excited for it to be out. It was actually Quentin’s idea for me to write a series of mystery books and about 10 years later I did it.
M&C: Any filming in NOLA?
LC: Yes, the name of the film is Cut Off. It is filming here in Louisiana. But as it often happens, there is a lot of dark material, but a lot of times I am the moment of lightness in the material, especially in Convergence. You see it in Django as well-laced amongst all that leather, but in Convergence, that is something that Drew had talked about with me, of me being that sort of a bright spot in a very dark world.