Shock Interview: Alex Essoe of Starry Eyes


4092bbb083117285eceafe21089b2b25Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Starry Eyes hits theaters and VOD this Friday. The film centers on an actresses named Sarah who finds that all she has ever wanted is at her fingertips for a deadly price.

Starry Eyes is a film that deals with the selling of one’s soul in the ultimate way.

Alex Essoe plays Sarah, the films victim of her own expectations and Shock spent some time with Ms. Essoe to talk about just what makes Alex tick and the horrors of bringing a character like that to life.

Shock Till You Drop: With the subject matter being what it is, how did you feel when you first read the script?

Alex Essoe: I actually loved the script when I first read it. It was kind of a dream come true. I got to do some many different things and be like three different people essentially. A lot of the physical stuff was exciting to do so I was just “Bring it on! Let’s see what happens!” You know, You train, and you go to classes, but you rarely get a chance to apply all of those things. Especially when you’re entry level, like me. You’re still breaking in and you don’t really get a chance to really go full hilt so I was so excited!

Shock: In reference to the situations in the first half, in dealing with all the other characters like Erin (Sarah’s friend/rival). Were any of those situations that you could relate to in your history?

Essoe: Oh totally. I’ve met a million girls like Erin, for sure. That was very easy to relate to as well as that felling of not really belonging. Her group of friends, for instance. She’s not really a part of them, or at least she doesn’t feel like she is. I’m sure if she made more of an effort and was more accepting of them, they would be more accepting of her. But she doesn’t look at it that way because she is used to feeling like an outsider and I could relate to her in that way as well.

Shock: When you turn the switch on and you’re having your fit in the restroom, how did you get to such an intense place?

Essoe: I just really turned to that feeling of being so disappointed in yourself. That feeling of reaching for the ring and missing it. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had moments like that, so for Sarah, since she is unhinged already, you have to take personal experience and use your imagination to expand it.

Shock: From your point of view, what do you think is wrong with the character of Sarah?

Essoe: I think her real tragic flaw is her lack of sense of identity. I think that she is a victim of her own ideals. She has this idea of who she should be and this expectation that she’ll never achieve. This is someone that demands perfection from themselves which is impossible to achieve for anyone. So for her to try for that and fail, as anybody would, she doesn’t know how to forgive herself. It’s like “I don’t know who I am so I’m gonna make these people, who hold the key to what I want, tell me who I am.” Which makes her ripe for exploitation.

Shock: How difficult was the scenes when you went to meet “The Producer”?

Essoe: The second one was very difficult to shoot. That was probably the most uncomfortable scene for me to shoot. Which it should be. I hope that the audience feels uncomfortable watching it. It’s the concept that made it difficult for me. Because I find the idea of compromising yourself or feeling that you have to compromise yourself that way, to be really heartbreaking. That whole idea of coercion, like “I really don’t want to do this but the carrot is being dangled and I want it”. She has a line, “I’m already selling myself, it may as well be for something I love.” And that, I think, says a lot about her philosophy, and of her opinion of herself too.

Shock: What is your hope that people will take away from your performance?

Essoe: I hope people will take away the personal struggle that she goes through, more so than anything else. Especially for other actors, people who have been presented with really tough decisions and want it so badly, more than anything else. I would hope that they watch that and see that it’s not necessary to compromise who you are or your integrity to do what you want to do. If you really love to do it and you stick with it, it will pay you dividends no matter what.