Tag Archives indie film

Molly Evensen in ‘An American Pickle’ with Seth Rogan Premiering This August

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We sat down with up and coming actress Molly Evensen in ‘An American Pickle’ with Seth Rogen premiering this August. The actress got her start at an early age through theatrical groups and soon moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and television. Beyond acting, Evensen commits herself to UNICEF’s Unites Team and hopes to one day be a Goodwill Ambassador. The actress is clearly on the rise as she takes up the big screen. For now, her new film, ‘An American Pickle’, will be the first HBO original film under Warner Max film label, premiering August 6th, 2020. Here is what she had to say on the film.

Cliche Mag: Talk to me about your work and character on the upcoming HBO Max original, ‘An American Pickle’.

Molly Evensen: I play Clara, Herschel’s very enthusiastic intern who essentially runs the pickle company in exchange for college credit. Her job gets pretty complicated when she realizes Herschel’s morals and social views are a bit dated and not acceptable in modern times. She struggles with how to explain to her boss who lived over a hundred years ago that his opinions aren’t exactly kosher now. This leads to some unfortunate predicaments and moral dilemmas for Clara. I found out I booked the part on a Thursday afternoon and flew out to Pittsburgh the next morning at 4am. It all happened very fast so I pretty much had the weekend to prepare. But Seth and my wonderful director, Brandon Trost, were aware that ‘An American Pickle’ is my first big feature film so they gave me the space to learn and ask any and every question along the way. I don’t think I can ever thank them enough for showing me the ropes.

What was your favorite moments on set with co-star, Seth Rogen?

Never in a million years did I think I’d be making my debut opposite Seth Rogen, but here we are. My first day happened to be the first day of the whole shoot. I heard Seth’s laugh from a distance, you can’t mistake that laugh, and next thing I knew, he came right up to me in his full Herschel garb, shook my hand and said, “Hi Molly, I’m Seth and I’m so excited to work with you.”  Somehow I played it cool on the outside, but on the inside I was anything but cool. Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite moment because the whole experience is so special to me but…if I had to choose, we shot a scene late in the evening on Halloween outside in a park in the rain. In the scene, Clara is dictating back a list(you’ll understand more when you see it) Herschel had her type for him. Simon, our writer, typed up a new list, which I wasn’t allowed to read until they called action. So my reactions were very genuine to these rather extreme things I was reading out loud for the first time. We laughed a lot that night and it’s definitely something I won’t forget.

Who else do you hope to work alongside as your career progresses?

Oh gosh, this list could go on and on. I really admire people who wear more than one hat creatively. It’s actually a goal of mine to be a multifaceted creator like Seth who produces, writes, and acts. I’d love to work with more individuals who do that, like Olivia Wilde, Margot Robbie, Reese Witherspoon, and Dakota Johnson.

What are your favorite roles to play? What role would put you outside your comfort zone?

Comedy is my forte. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, but especially awkward, sometimes uncomfortable, and dark comedy. I don’t know why, but I really enjoy sitting in the discomfort of it all. I relish in the awkwardly long pause. So because of that, I gravitate towards characters who are more of the underdog or the train wreck who’s trying really hard.

As for a role that would put me out of my comfort zone…something emotionally heavy, and honest. I think to be really raw and vulnerable requires a lot of bravery. I would love the opportunity to sink my teeth into something like that.

What inspired you to pursue film and television over theatre?

I’ve always wanted to pursue film and television, but I grew up in Colorado and there really isn’t much of a film industry there. So instead, I did theatre and once I finished school, I packed up my car and moved to Los Angeles. I still have a deep love for theatre and would love to be back on stage somewhere down the road.

Do you hope to incorporate your passion for music into your work with film and television?

Absolutely! I’ve actually been working on a musical dark comedy script about camping and backwoods cults that I’m hoping to produce in the not too distant future. I would also really love to play a pianist in a project someday and put those skills to use.

You are involved with UNICEF. Tell us more about this and why are you so passionate about this organization?

I’m a member of the Los Angeles UNICEF Unite team. Essentially our goal is to advocate politically for change and to raise funds to aid in UNICEF’s work overseas. But really that’s just the beginning of what I hope my involvement with UNICEF ultimately will be. Eventually I’d love to be a Goodwill Ambassador.

As a bit of backstory, my Mom is a nurse and my high school was just down the road from the hospital she worked at. So I’d go there after school to wait for her in the newborn intensive care unit while she finished up her shifts. I’ve always admired how she helps people. I actually thought for a brief period of time that I wanted to be a nurse too…except I hate needles. But I have a passion for helping and especially helping the most vulnerable: children. I believe children transcend politics and that they should feel safe, have access to an education, clean water, and vaccines among other things. Children are the future and so many of them are suffering for reasons that we have the power to change. UNICEF is a beautiful nonpartisan organization that works tirelessly to provide for children and families in need.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How do you spending your time away from acting?

I grew up in a very outdoorsy home and have always had a deep appreciation for nature. So outside of acting, I love camping and hiking. I actually just spent some time in Olympic National

 Park and in the Red Woods for the first time (socially distanced of course) and they were both just incredible. But other than that, I also really love music, which was briefly mentioned above. I play piano any chance I can get and also recently picked up the guitar just for fun. I quarantined with my family in Colorado for a few months and my Dad and I built a ukulele together, which was a really fun project. Now I’m back in LA teaching myself to play and probably driving my neighbors crazy.

What is next for Molly Evensen?

That is a really great question with the world the way it is right now. While there’s not anything set it stone, I’d really love to be cast in some sort of dark comedy, book adaptation, or limited series.  Who knows! The sky is the limit and this only the beginning. But in the meantime, I sincerely hope you enjoy ‘An American Pickle’ and that it can bring some joy in a time where joy is greatly needed.

Follow Molly Evensen: Twitter  &  Instagram

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Images provided by Matthew Fischer, Robyn Von Swank, Ian Runnels

Appropriate Behavior Review

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I am a big fan of indie movies. In fact, my entire Netflix queue is filled with movies from the ‘Independent Movie’ section. When I found out that we were looking for someone to review Girls’ star Desiree Akhavan’s film Appropriate Behavior, I jumped at the chance.
The movie begins with Akhavan’s character, Shirin, moving out of her shared apartment with her now ex-girlfriend, Maxine, played by Rebecca Henderson. The scene and setting appear normal until the audience sees the gift that Shirin bought for Maxine that Sharin refuses to throw away, which just happens to be a strap-on sex toy. Shortly thereafter, we meet Crystal, played by Halley Feiffer. Crystal is Shirin’s best friend and is happy that Shirin and Maxine broke up. Crystal tries her best to discourage Shirin from trying to get back together with Maxine, but her pleas don’t work, and after Shirin moves into an apartment in a rougher neighborhood, she heads to her old co-op job that she and Maxine worked at together and tries to seduce her boss into giving her the job back.
Shirin’s plan doesn’t work, and she finds herself back at square one: jobless, single, and at a dinner thrown by her strict Persian parents who have no idea that she and Maxine broke up. This is because  they have no idea that Shirin is bisexual. Crystal gets Shirin an interview with Ken, who works with Crystal. Ken played by Scott Adsit, offers Shirin a job as a film teacher to whom she believes are teenage students. She finds out quickly that her assumptions were wrong as she goes in to teach a group of elementary students.
Shirin signs up on a dating website and meets a man with whom she goes on a date. This is  before bringing him back to her apartment to have sex with him. The film makes it very clear  early on that Shirin uses sex as a placeholder for love and intimacy. Shirin treats sex like it is the  only way to show affection and intimacy. While  sleeping with the dating website guy,  she has a flashback to a time when she had intercourse with Maxine as they admit for the first time that they are falling in love with each other.
In fact, any sort of sexual encounter that Shirin has in the film triggers a flashback to a moment in time with Maxine. Throughout the film, the audience is treated to snapshots of Shirin and Maxine’s relationships as Shirin tries to navigate living without Maxine and embracing who she is  as a single person. A particular moment of their relationship that was poignant, was when Shirin brought Maxine to her family’s “Persian New Year’s Party” and didn’t tell them that she was in a relationship with Maxine, which launched the first of many fights about Shirin being afraid to tell her parents.
There is a new trend in indie films where the storylines are no longer neatly wrapped up by the end. The new indie film endings are very open-ended. Appropriate Behavior’s ending falls on that same line; however, the film truly works when it showcases Shirin in all of her misfortune and longing for intimacy. Desiree Akhavan takes a character that could have been bland and frustrating and made her a full, three-dimensional, and loveable character. You’ll laugh, cry, and shake your head at Shirin, but you’ll root for her the entire time, and those are the characters worth seeing on screen.  
For more information, visit appropriatebehaviormovie.com.

 
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Appropriate Behavior Review: Photograph courtesy of Appropriate Behavior