Milena Govich and Laura Vandervoort spoke with Solzy at the Movies about newly released episodic short Unspeakable.
The episodic short/proof-of-concept premiered during the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Laura Vandervoort stars in the short, which was written by David Cornue and directed by Milena Govich.
Unspeakable is an episodic short/proof-of-concept. How did you first come up with the idea?
Milena Govich: The tale of the imposter has been around for a long time, but rarely do you ever see it from the imposter’s point of view, let alone from a female point of view. In this series we are not asking, “Is she, or isn’t she the missing girl?” We are asking, “Will she get away with it and how?” David is the mastermind behind this intricate story and he has a detailed series bible with twists and turns you’ll never see coming. Thematically, he was inspired by the question, “Is truth the enemy of happiness?” And the idea blossomed from there.
Given that Unspeakable premiered at SXSW in 2018, what is the status on going forward as a television series?
Milena Govich: We have had considerable interest for the series from production companies and studios and hope to get it over the finish line soon. Fingers crossed!
Would you consider adapting this into a feature film?
Milena Govich: There is definitely a feature film version of this story that we could tell. At the moment, we are focused on setting up the full series, but if the right opportunity came along we would definitely consider it.
Milena, you participated in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Can you talk about your experience in this program and being mentored by Paul Feig?
Milena Govich: Being selected for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women was truly a life changing experience. The AFI faculty and industry professionals, like Paul Feig, were very hands on and offered tremendous insight and guidance. The program is incredibly intense, but I came out of it with a confidence and assuredness in my work that has been invaluable in the professional arena.
What was it that attracted you to the script for Unspeakable?
Laura Vandervoort: I have always been drawn to characters with duality. Characters you normally wouldn’t find humanity in and yet the audience finds themselves rooting for her. I was given the script for ‘Unspeakable’ and fell in love with ‘Kelsi.’ Despite the hurtful lies she had chosen to tell, I think many of us could relate to her need for normalcy. Her desire to be a part of a family. Kelsi had been through unimaginable things. We meet Kelsi in a panicked state, high stakes. She is broken, flawed, scared, hurt and angry. However, at the heart of it all, Kelsi does what she felt was best, not only for herself but for the family she is trying to protect.
After reading the script, I met with our film’s director Milena Govich and writer David Cornue to express my passion and excitement. I had so many questions about Kelsi’s past and where the character was ultimately going in the series.
David informed me of the story arc he had mapped out, an entire season with such a shocking plot I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was hooked.
Milena and I discussed ‘Kelsi’ and how best to portray her heartache and intentions within such a short proof of concept. We were all 100% on the same page.
Are you hopeful for a future opportunity to play the character again?
Laura Vandervoort: YES! Hands down. I would jump at the opportunity to explore Kelsi beyond our short film.
What do you take into account when selecting a project?
Laura Vandervoort: The most important piece of the puzzle for me would be the character. If it’s a role I feel excited to take on or a story I want to tell. I want to be challenged in new ways, show a different side of myself each time. I love when a character teaches me something new about myself. The people involved are always so important and crucial. Having similar goals and passion for the project is important to me. I’ve never been interested in telling a false female story. What I mean by that is selling the idea of ‘perfection’.
Humanity is flawed and thus those are the stories I want to tell. I believe women need to feel connected. So much of society now sells the idea of a perfect life, which in turn creates anxiety, depression and the overwhelming feeling of not measuring up. I believe a large portion of female audiences want to see themselves in characters whether that be indirectly or directly.
Given your background with roles such as Kara on Smallville, have you been participating in any of the virtual comic cons?
Laura Vandervoort: I haven’t been approached to do any! I think it’s a great idea though.
What are you doing to avoid going stir crazy?
Milena Govich: I’ve been doing some home projects, as well as playing my piano everyday – which has been joyous! David is fortunate to be working from home right now. He has a writers room going via Zoom for his ABC pilot, TRIAGE. Other than the video conferencing, his day-to-day hasn’t changed that much! Even though the world is quite tumultuous right now, we are trying to stay centered and sane, while sending love to all of those who have been affected.
Laura Vandervoort: I’m actually helping my sister and brother in law during covid by watching my niece and nephew throughout the week while they work. It’s been rather busy and eye opening. Schoolwork, outdoor activities, arts and crafts… basically whatever I can do to keep them busy and happy. I’m trying to keep myself personally sane when I have free time with workouts, painting, reading and developing projects. My production company currently has 2 projects in development. I am looking for a writer for a new female centered comedy and began writing myself a short film I hope to direct in time. Similar to everyone, every day is different. Some more difficult than others during this strange time.