Danielle Dawn is a young actor who appeared in Andrew Vallentine's submission to Sigur Rós' Creative Invite. She caught our eye with her performance alongside Wes Haskell in their emotionally charged portrayals of a couple and the testing and loss they endure through time.
We got to chat over email and she talked a bit about she is and what she enjoys about her craft and what she hopes to do.
TH: How long have you been into acting? When did you know you wanted to pursue it?
Danielle: I knew I wanted to pursue acting after my first acting experience at 7 yrs old. My mom signed me up for a summer acting camp and our play was called "The Farmer and His Animals". The farmer got sick a few days before our performance and I was picked to be the farmer. The title of the play was changed to "The Farmer and Her Animals" and although the entire thing was narrated by our teacher, I still remember the rush of excitement I felt on stage. So I'd say it was at that moment when I fell in love with the art of acting...and I haven't been able to shake it since.
TH: On your Twitter feed you mentioned you just took an acting class in Hollywood. Has film always been your medium, or were you coming from a stage background? What’s the biggest thing you took away from that experience in Hollywood?
Danielle: Yes, I'm taking classes at the Rossi/Snyder Theater Labs in Hollywood. I've only been here for two weeks but thanks to a good friend and fellow MSU alum, I already have a great acting coach, 4 acting classes under my belt and had the opportunity to read for 4 casting directors.
Until college, my medium had only been stage. Once I got to Michigan State and was cast on The Show (longest student running sitcom in the nation), I found something very rewarding with on-screen acting- I can be both the cast and the audience.
TH: Are you in LA full-time? Has that been an adjustment?
Danielle: As of September 14th, I am officially living in LA full-time! I have 5 other roommates, all of which worked on the Sigur Rós video in some way. It's nice to have each other for support through this big change because it has definitely been a huge adjustment for me. It's so fundamentally different from my Metro-Detroit suburb...from the people to the traffic to the endless amounts of opportunities.
I believe that acting is living truthfully in imaginary circumstances
TH: Who are your favorite actors, past or present?
Danielle: My favorite actors are Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn, Claire Danes, Meryl Streep and Christian Bale.
TH: Which directors do you admire and would want to work with?
Danielle: Tim Burton is the director I aspire to one day work with. He so seamlessly transports me into the worlds of his films. Whether it's dark or whimsical, his work has a way of bringing my childlike imagination back to life.
TH: Any favorite roles? Do you have favorite kinds of roles? Any you’d like to give a shot?
Danielle: I love storybook characters with the modern day twists. I also find that a "damaged" character like Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted would be an interesting role to one day challenge myself with. And since I have an obsession with crime-scene investigation shows, I would love to get to play an investigator/FBI agent/etc.
TH: The emotion in the Sigur Rós video was very palpable. How intense is it shooting something that is only on screen for seconds at a time but obviously (maybe it’s mere perception) has a longer connection? Was it as an emotional experience as you portray?
Danielle: Shooting the Sigur Rós video was an incredibly emotional experience. I learned so much about myself that weekend and I'm grateful to have had a director who not only pushed my talent but also made it safe to become so vulnerable. I'm also grateful to have had such a talented co-star who trusted me and wasn't afraid to take this story to a place that wasn't comfortable or easy.
I believe that acting is living truthfully in imaginary circumstances, so when asked "was it as emotional as you portray" my answer is- it was that and more...so much more.
TH: Any music you jam out to? Something that gets your creative focus where it needs to be?
Danielle: On a daily basis I listen to country. I'll mix in some Elvis Radio and some today's hits but I was raised on Country so I guess, in a way, it helps me feel connected to my roots & now to my family back home.
TH: If you could cast and star in any production, what would it be? No budgets, no restrictions, your dream job!
Danielle: No restrictions?? Well then, I would go back to 1939 and play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.
TH: Do you have any projects coming up you’re excited about?
Danielle: I'm really hoping to have another project to look forward to very soon! And when you live with such creative and talented roommates as I do, there's always a new project brewing!!