Actress Auden Thornton spoke with Solzy at the Movies yesterday about her role as Angie in Beauty Mark, which is screening this Friday night during the closing night of the Flyover Film Festival.
Thanks for joining Solzy at the Movies today. How are things treating you?
Auden Thornton: Good. How was Detroit?
It was amazing and I had a lot of silent F bombs but it was very well done.
Auden Thornton: Awesome! I’m so excited to see it. That’s great.
Congratulations on winning the LA Film Festival Special Mention for Breakout Performance. Can you talk about what winning this award means to you?
Auden Thornton: I was really surprised to get it and really grateful. The story meant so much to me and it was my first experience as a lead in a movie. I think everyone just cared about it so much as we were working on it that for it to be recognized at all and get into the LA Film Festival and get to be appreciated in that way was really wonderful.
It was my first award I’ve won for acting. It was just nice. I felt like people were saying that they appreciated it and I really appreciate getting the opportunity to work on it. A wonderful surprise.
What drew you to the role of Angie in Beauty Mark?
Auden Thornton: I read the script and was incredibly moved by it. I think what drew me most to the role in the story was she was someone who I said should have a ton of support coming to her in life yet she really didn’t have any. That tension between what she had to do because of that and the choices that she had to make…that she did make felt really compelling and I cared about her. I feel like this—the way the sexual abuse figures into the country as a whole. There’s specific examples of it–I’m not going to say–but it’s scary to me.
I remember reading the script and really shocked and appalled me that there’s a law that says once you’re 24, there’s a statute of limitations that says you can’t come forward in the same way and that sort of silencing of someone and putting them on the government’s time schedule as opposed to what it’s actually like to heal in the process psychologically through something like that really shocked me. The question that Harris had in the script: What does someone do when they can’t come forward in a way that someone should be able to?
Do you hope that this film will get people to start talking or speak out?
Auden Thornton: I do, absolutely. Even the fact that I didn’t know that that was a law and that most of my friends who I spoke with about it also didn’t know, it’s crazy and I really hope it changes as soon as possible, definitely in our lifetime. I hope that there’s awareness to this subject and can affect change somehow.
What did you do to prepare yourself for the role?
Auden Thornton: I read the script. I had a month to prepare when I knew it was on and we were going to shoot. I just immersed myself. I read the script over and over. I come from a theater background so I just would read it out loud, read it on my feet, get into a rehearsal room and go through it so that when we were shooting out of order, I could kind of have a physical body memory of where she was at this point—physical work was really helpful for me, imaginative work of what it would feel like.
I also did a lot of research about this, in books and online, about the psychological damage that can happen to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and the healing process that needs to happen for someone to come out of it. I worked with a lot of those. I did the best I could to learn as much as I could in Angie’s situation and I went from there, imaginatively.
Harris and I worked together in the office and read the whole script. Catherine Curtain played my mom and we sort of talked through and read scenes a bit in New York before we flew down to Louisville. Once we got there, it was such a fast process. It was 11 or 12 days, I can’t remember. It was non-stop. In that sense, in a way, it was actually helpful. There was not really time to think and to sort of reflect that. We just did as we could, showed up and memorized and just went for it.
I had to learning how to drive stick shift as we were shooting, part of that is obvious if you watch the movie, but that was another learning-on-the-job type of thing.
Was this your first trip to Louisville?
Auden Thornton: It was. It was my first time there and we’re going back this coming weekend, which I’m so excited about.
When you were there last time, did you have a chance to visit some of the sites or was it really non-stop like you were just describing?
Auden Thornton: It was pretty non-stop. I’ve asked some friends who had worked at the Humana Festival down there for advice this time because I’ll be down there for 3-4 days and really want to check out. I loved just being there and the energy of it and the people but this time I think I’ll have a little bit more time.
I remember one bakery we went to was called Please & Thank You. They had really great chocolate chip cookies so I’ll especially have to go back there. I’m excited to just enjoy this time to just explore a bit and celebrate.
There were so many producers of the film that were really hands-on with their generosity and their time so getting to celebrate with them and be back in Louisville will be really just fun.
I know that Gill Holland had asked me if I was coming in town for Flyover but unfortunately, my schedule just won’t allow it.
Auden Thornton: Are you from Louisville?
Born and raised!
Auden Thornton: Wow, cool!
I moved to Chicago mainly because of the improv scene.
Auden Thornton: Oh, awesome. That’s great. I was in Chicago once. I really loved it. I need to explore there to. Do you have any recommendations for any restaurants I should check out?
In Louisville or Chicago?
Auden Thornton: In Louisville.
I didn’t really eat out in Louisville because I keep kosher. The Orthodox community back home isn’t that large and it’s not large enough for a kosher restaurant to be sustainable.
Auden Thornton: Right, right. I’m a vegetarian so most of the time so I feel like—I’m from Houston—we have such great barbeque that I can’t partake in and we’ll probably have some more but we’ll find a good spot.
If given the opportunity, would you come back to Kentucky for another film?
Auden Thornton: Absolutely. I really, really loved it. I really loved Kentucky. One of the first things I saw there was a gas station named Thornton’s and I was like, I know why my last name is Thornton and I don’t know if I have family there but I just felt at home there. I really did. A special place.
Thanks again for your time and have fun this weekend in Derby City.
Auden Thornton: Thank you so much. Take care.