Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Exclusive interview with the fabulous Robinne Lee.

Image courtesy of IMDB.com

Robinne Lee is a Los Angeles-based actress (Hotel For Dogs, Seven Pounds, Hitch) who is a mom, movie producer and budding novelist.

It should be noted that she is so lovely that even the Sartorialist himself (noted street fashion photographer Scott Schuman) insisted on photographing her (more on that later).

She is married to film producer Eric Hayes, and together they have two adorable kiddos (Dex, 6 and Arabelle, 2). Currently she has three independent films in post production: The Under Shepherd, Miss Dial and Forgiveness.

We chatted by phone last week about her movies, motherhood and her creative life.

On the set of "Miss Dial."

Is it hard to balance motherhood and your work life?

Yes, but no more difficult than any other working mom. And I do have help. When I’m working on a film there are days I leave before the kids wake up and get back after they’re in bed and that's really hard. But I do maybe two movies a year, which amounts to a month or two of work, depending. In between I’m auditioning and I have lots of time to be with my kids.

Filming with Will Smith in "Seven Pounds"

Is it hard to keep the kids grounded? Do they know what you do?

So many of our friends are in the entertainment business, that it’s not that big of a deal. Dex has only seen me in one movie in the theater, Hotel For Dogs, and he was quite young when it came out so he really wasn’t that into it. When he came on the set of Seven Pounds he saw me shooting a scene where I was basically being jerked around in a car with Will Smith and he thought that was pretty cool. He had been watching Fresh Prince on the Disney Channel and really liked that show. But he still thinks Will is just one of my friends from acting class. He has no idea what a big star he is.

A still from "Hotel for Dogs" with Don Cheadle.

Tell me about the movies you are working on now.

Forgiveness, with Richard T. Jones, Miss Dial, in which I’m the lead, and one of the producers, and The Under Shepherd with Isaiah Washington. The Under Shepherd is very powerful. It deals with the Baptist Church and it is about two ministers (Washington and Lamman Rucker) who follow very different paths. One leaves the church to start a more humble congregation, and the other stays there and basically usurps the bishop’s position. It may be controversial because it deals with the church and this power struggle. But I hope it's well received and people are drawn to it.

How was it working with Isaiah Washington?

Isaiah is phenomenal. He is incredibly talented. The moment he comes out of the makeup trailer he is in character. It's inspiring to work with an actor who is so fascinating and so committed to his craft. He puts 150 percent into every scene. Everyone in this cast was just phenomenal and gave powerful performances.

Pregnant and glowing on the red carpet.

You were recently featured on the Sartorialist, the popular blog of noted fashion photographer Scott Schuman. How did that come about?

I'm a huge fan of his. I found out about two years ago that he was doing a book tour and coming to LA. So I went and stood in line like everybody else. I just met him briefly and we talked about New York, where I’m from, and he said, “I don’t have my camera with me now, but I would love to shoot you next time you are in New York.” We kept in touch, but it never worked out until a couple weeks ago when he was in LA and gave me a call. We met at the Roosevelt Hotel and we did a shoot at the pool. I brought my own clothes and he just sat me down with minimal makeup, my hair in a ponytail. It wasn’t a fancy shoot. He was great to work with. It was just very simple and easy.

click here to see robinne's sartorial moment.

Robinne and her pal Gabrielle Union.

I hear you are writing a novel. What is it about?

I won’t tell you the title yet, but it’s about this young Jamaican-Chinese woman who is kind of based on me. She is a professional living in New York, working for a fashion magazine and seems to have her life together. Everything is going well and one day she gets on a train and meets this guy. That changes everything. He is everything she is not, they are opposites in so many ways - race, religion, class, which brings up a lot of conflict. But he becomes the love of her life. I’ve been working on it for a long time – about five years. I can’t wait to see it “in a bookstore near you!”

On the set of "Miss Dial."

I read somewhere that when you were a kid you wrote to the producers of Diff'rent Strokes because you wanted them to cast you on the show. What would you say to young people who want to follow their dream?

To stick with it. To persevere. Realize that the road may not be easy, but arm yourself with as much information and knowledge as you can. Know as much about the industry, the craft or whatever it is that you endeavor to do. And get your education - first and foremost. I have a law degree - which has very little to do with acting, but it has certainly helped on the producing front. Use everything in your arsenal to get to where you want to be.

Are you in talks to do any feature films? What is next for you?

I'm doing a day or two on another independent later this month. It's a romantic comedy with Jamie Lynn Sigler, Jonathan Bennett and Elliot Gould. It's a small role, but an awesome cast. I'm looking forward to it!

thanks, robinne! (and thanks to my brother-in-law rupert for having such a fabulous cousin!)

1 comment:

Christina Simon said...

Great interview, enjoyed reading about everything you're doing Robinne!

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