Renee O’Connor Exclusive Interview on the Set of “Fitful”

Renee O'ConnorTheStarScoop.Com spoke to Renee O’Connor on the set of her upcoming film, Fitful.

Photo Credit: Traci Grant

How did you become involved in Fitful?

A casting director approached me. She was casting for Rich [Brauer, the writer/director]. She sent me the script and said, quote, “I hope you get this” [laughs]. I thought it was great, the reason being is that it has a very peculiar tone to it. It’s a dark comedy/thriller. I was intrigued by the comedy aspect and when I realized the writer was going to be the director, I thought it would be a good fit for me. It’s such a specific tone that I thought that the writer needed to direct this to get the tone to come across on screen. I really didn’t do much research on Rich; I didn’t know much about him at all.

That’s not my usual style. I usually try to find out what someone’s done and how much experience they have and if they are a first time director. And if so, then I usually call and try to get an idea of what they’re going for. With Rich, I didn’t at all. I just completely went by an instinct based on the script. The script, again, was so quirky and interesting. After I finished the script, it probably took me an hour to try to figure out what the whole thing was about. Then I called back and said I’d love to do it. It was just a matter of Rich looking at my reel and figuring out if I was a good match for him. And that’s how that worked out.

Had you been to Michigan before? What do you think of it?

It’s my first time in Michigan. I just love it. My significant other is from [Michigan]. His whole side of the family is all from here, but I’ve never had a chance to come up here since they’ve moved elsewhere over the past few years. I don’t think I’m going to have much of an opportunity to see all of Michigan outside of Manistee, but I appreciate the scenery that I am seeing. It’s just spectacular, Michigan.

I’ve heard stories over the years of the shipwrecks and the waves that come in on the lake and I was quite bewildered at first when I arrived to think that it was a ship on a lake. It just didn’t make any sense to me. But it’s been fun to hear some of the stories of the sails and Rich is full of history of different stories from his family. He’s been entertaining me [laughs] with ghost stories.

The character you play is Paula. How would you describe her role in Fitful?

Paula is a woman from the National Preservation Society. She’s been celebrating a recent event where she helped an item become embraced by the organization. On her way back to Chicago, she stops by this ship to try to help them become a member as well and everything starts to go wrong [laughs].

The whole film is a series of small events that happen to her and she’s confused by a lot of it. This was very human to me because of the state of our country right now. There’s so much chaos going around and so easily we get sucked into believing that you are directly affected by everything around you, and yet that’s actually not true. It’s all an illusion really, to get esoteric. I thought the script was really great. It deals with that; a series of things that happen to her and she’s completely emotionally involved in each scenario. And yet, there’s an underlying sense of calmness that prevails in the end. I hope that doesn’t give anything away.

For fans who are interested in your work, what comes next after this?

Actually, one person was kind of curious about the size of my role in this [Fitful], which is kind of funny because I don’t take on roles depending on the size of the part. It’s more about how does it resonate with me at the time, maybe with what I’m experiencing around me, or, how am I questioning myself at the time? I have been looking for a higher sense of purpose for what the heck’s been going on with our country and the whole world. I’ve definitely been questioning what it’s all about. This film has just been great because it’s helped me get back to the root of “don’t sweat the small stuff,” because it’s all small stuff.

What’s next for me after this? I’ve been very involved in developing my own projects. Again, out of the essence of the economy, there’s so few opportunities that are really worthwhile that resonate with me. I’ve been looking at doing my own projects and it’s been a big year of developing things and then seeing them kind of fall away, too. It’s been interesting. But you have to keep your passion; you have to keep holding on to what drives you, what motivates you. Then you also see the things that actually develop and then create excitement, and keep going forward.

So, that’s a lot of BS. But in the end, I’m just developing a lot of projects, and I’m very curious about which ones are going to keep moving forward and which ones are going to fall away. Because eventually, you have to choose one. I’ve had a huge plate full of different types of projects. It’s been a crazy year like that. I’ve got five different projects and I’m nurturing them. Now one has fallen away, which is fine. There’s another one that might fall away, so that leaves about three that I can get a little more specific with. That’s where I’ll go when I get back – to look at which one of those needs my attention right now.

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