Grace McPhillips stopped by Solzy at the Movies to talk about The Origins of Wit & Humor.
Thanks for joining Solzy at the Movies today. How are things treating you?
Grace McPhillips: We are well and looking forward to winter for the first time in years! After over a decade in Chicago we moved south to the growing film market of Atlanta.
Congratulations on your performance in The Origins of Wit & Humor. What attracted you to the role of Rachel?
Grace McPhillips: I was offered this role right after finishing the indie thriller The Other One which I starred in and Executive Produced. I was frankly exhausted, and was thrilled to just act- especially with two incredibly funny guys! It’s an added plus that I ended up being the one woman in the film who’s not super impressed by their humor- fun to play.
If given the option to take a potion that would make you funnier, would you do it?
Grace McPhillips: Absolutely not. I’m not sure my husband’s bladder could handle it. He used to be a music director for Second City and yet, I can seem to make him laugh harder than any comedian out there. But like in Origins, I’m sure it’s all to find sexual favor with me too.
How did you first get interested in acting and filmmaking?
Grace McPhillips: I was the little girl who played Mary in the kindergarten Christmas play and was bitten by the bug. The world is my stage and thankfully I’ve figured out how to make a living from acting. God Bless SAG-AFTRA.
You’ve been involved in several aspects of filmmaking, whether it’s acting, producing, or writing. Have you wanted to tackle directing a film yet, be it short or feature?
Grace McPhillips: I actually directed a film called Death with Dignity just before leaving Chicago in the Fall of 2015. I’m not sure it’s for me. I have a lot of choreography experience and I do like creating and calling the shots- I had directed some industrials, but I did the classic thing of Acting and Directing. I think it’s better to focus on just the one. We decided it was probably best not to produce a nationwide tour, have a baby, and take another film into distribution at the same time. The film is still waiting for more of my direction and I hope to get it back on the front burner. I don’t like projects unfinished.
DS: As filmmakers, women have had a hard time with cracking the big-budget movies. Do you hope to see this trend change in the sooner rather than later?
Grace McPhillips: I think it all depends on the economy. I have personally seen women, genuine leaders in the industry, lobby for greater equality in film for years, but then I’ll read an interview with Sofia Coppola where she laments about her recent film and people complimenting her by asking if her father helped her. This is a roundabout way of saying the men who hold the purse strings still have this kind of opinion, even for Oscar-winning Directors like Sophia.
And leading ladies can keep complaining until pigs fly, gaining and inch here and there, but until the economy is in a place where those men feel they can take more chances on women with their “extra” money, they won’t. I’m hoping those generations of opinions are dying out and haven’t trickled down to their sons and grandsons, but I don’t hold my breath.
As women, we’re seen as pets or children. I drive a dually Dodge Ram 3500 and just this morning a man yelled across the street at me saying “That’s a big truck for a little girl!” I replied “It’s a good thing I’m not a little girl.” He tucked his tail and said “I know,” but I doubt that old dog is going to learn any new tricks anytime soon.
We women and the men we love, just need to try better for my daughter and her generation. Keep reminding everyone of women’s ability and worth of investment. I’d love to get access to funding to make my other film and TV projects reality. I’ll keep asking but know the chances are less for me because of my gender and I’ll have to ask probably 10 or 100 times more, but there are game changers out there and I hope more people with access to capital also take up the charge.
Thanks again for your time.
Grace McPhillips: You too! Thanks for enjoying our sweet little comedy and letting me jump on my soap box for a bit.
The Origins of Wit & Humor is available now on VOD. Click here for more.