Exclusive: Interview with Ava Cantrell

With more than a decade of experience, Ava Cantrell has steadily built her resume with some notable roles including that of Penelope Pritchard, Amelia Voss and Teen Diana. Her most recent role was in the hit series “Young Sheldon”.

An award-winning actress, a great dancer, and an inspiring personality, Cantrell has worked really hard. She is now reaping the fruits of her perseverance through projects that is helping her to not just showcase her caliber as a versatile actor but also to expand her scope of learning. A journey like hers can teach aspiring artists a lot about the path they intend to take and how they can fare well in their endeavours.

She will now be starring in a movie titled “My Father’s Joy”. The script has been written by Gunnar Garrett whose screenplay won Metropolitan Film Festival of New York City  & 6 nominations from Malta Film Festival, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival, Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest, Shore Scripts Screenwriting Competition, Creative World Awards and Underground Film Festival.   

“My Father’s Joy” is set to start filming this year at Film Mare Island Studios home of “Thirteen Reason Why” and Transformers “Bumblebee.” This will be Cantrell’s third feature.

In an interview with CelebMix, Ava Cantrell talks about her experiences, her new project, philanthropic work, and much more. Check out the complete interview below:

It’s been more than a decade since you began your career as an actor. How has been the experience?

It has been one wild ride! I have loved every minute of it and can’t wait to see what my career has in store for me. My career has been pretty slow and steady. I started with non paying short films and non-union commercials. I am so grateful that I have worked for a whole decade. Of course it is mainly auditioning rather then working, but I really enjoy that as well. It is always exciting getting that call and then hustling to see what I can do with the sides I have been given. People have a hard time comprehending how I can live in San Diego and be an actress in Hollywood, but it is my secret weapon to prevent burnout as well as getting too wrapped up in the things I cannot control in my career.

Throughout these years, you have done a variety of roles. So, we would like to know about your perception on acting. That is, how do you view your art?

How I view the art of acting has developed with each role. When I started, I was really green. Acting was also something that has always been a pretty natural talent for me. Over the years, I have taken the raw talent and honed it to be a more professional talent. I also believe that sometimes you just have to go with your gut. My manager works with me on scripts and some of the best times I have as an actress are with her. In that room a lot of the learning is done. We have worked hard on my voice, keeping it real and just simple vocal issues that can effect a read. As your resume grows, your work will grow. I think a maturity is required for certain roles. There is so much to it, and with each genre you add to your resume, there is a new skill to add as well. Every casting director, set, and experience is so varied it really keeps changing your perspective. I think one of the best tips I recieved,  was allow a little of yourself in each role. I think that keeps it real.

With several awards that speak for the work you have done till now, we would like to know the challenges you might have faced while pursuing your dreams and the lessons that stayed with you while overcoming them.

I have faced many challenges pursuing this career. In the beginning when I was just a little girl at school there was extreme jealousy that other girls felt seeing me on TV. I was even physically bullied. I never spoke about what I did, or jobs I booked, but it got harder to hide when I was in school. My parents pulled me out of public school, not because of work, but because of bullying. Of course the endless rejection in the biz is hard, but I actually have a good attitude about that. There is only one role and many talented actors for it. So many things factor in. I don’t really let not getting a role get to me anymore. I missed so many birthday parties and play dates growing up and that made it hard to have friendships. It is hard to explain that I couldn’t go to a party because I was basically on a job interview, to other kids. At the same time, I really tried to have friends out of the industry and when I would go to the parties, many times I was left out or again, bullied. So I stopped caring about what I was missing out on and focusing on all of the great things I was gaining. I have developed lasting friendships with people I have worked with of varying ages, and I am so grateful for those friendships.

Be it Penelope Pritchard, Amelia, or Diana, each role has shown the talent you possess as an actor. Which role would you consider as most rewarding?

All three of those roles equally rewarding. Penelope my big break, Amelia my most dramatic, and Diana my first studio film.

Congratulations on “My Father’s Joy”. Please tell our readers a bit about the project.

I am so excited about “My Fathers Joy”. It is my first feature film that I am the lead. I play Abigail and she is so complex, crazy, dangerous and multi-layered. It has a feeling of old Alfred Hitchcock to a younger version of “True Romance” mixed with a little of “Lights Out” which I played Teen Diana. Abigail is going to keep you on the edge of your seats for sure.

From the synopsis, your role seems to be different from the ones you’ve played till now. What kind of creative process did you go through/are going through to prepare for this movie?

I do think it’s different in the way that Abigail is the focus of movie rather then a supporting character, other then that I feel Abigail is totally in my comfort zone. I can do crazy and pychotic really well. LOL.

If we read it right, the project is still in the process. What can the viewers expect from the plot?

“My Father’s Joy” is adapted from an award winning book and screenplay, though the movie will twist the characters and events new directions.  I’m very excited to work with some very talented actors and director on the film. I think you can expect this movie to leave you guessing and freaked out by the end.

Considering that the movie is based on the book with the same name, we are intrigued to know your general opinion on movies that are based on plot released via books. How do you perceive the difference between books and movies?

I love reading for fun, and it’s especially exciting when a book I love becomes a movie. Books plus movie magic = two of my favorite things! They say the book is always better than the movie but I’m also a very visual person and when I see a book I love as a movie on the big screen, it is literally one of my favorite things.  I love the idea of filmmakers and actors interpreting and bringing to life a book and transporting it onto the big screen.

We have also read about the work you have done with charities and we find it really inspiring. Would you like to tell our readers about the causes you work for and the ones you’d like to contribute to in the near future?

I have been involved with LA Mission for a long time. It is a tradition serving the homeless for the holidays. I also love the art and back to school day that LA Mission does. I am usually on face painting duty. I am not a stencil user, and that might be a bad thing, but I love doing art on the kids faces. I am an ambassador for Project Wildsong. I love the messaging of bringing nature and wild animals together with people to show how close the bond is as well as how we are both connected to the earth and environment. I think giving back is really important and it’s something I do on a regular basis. Recently I spent the day helping build the Easter Seals Float for the Rose Bowl Parade and that was an incredible experience.

Would you like to share with us your future projects or endeavours?

I literally just graduated high school early and I have so many plans professionally and personally. I am excited about my future acting projects, but I am even more excited about starting this next phase in my life. I am taking over one of the family businesses. I am figuring out what I want to do as an adult as well as acting. I am developing some skills that I already have like writing and photography. I would love to one day work for National Geographic and I am figuring out how to tie some of these goals, skills and dreams together.

Are you excited for “My Father’s Joy”? Share your thoughts via tweet @CelebMix.

Written by Ayushi

Hi! I am Ayushi from India. The only thing that is consistent about me is my passion for writing and reading. Weaving words to form a story is the best thing I know and the only thing I want to do.
"Writer by nature is a dreamer, a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers

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