Hey, friends! Barbarella here. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, the story of a man searching for his missing daughter, came out this weekend in Theaters, On Demand and Digital. The film stars Paul Sloan, Jake Weber, Richard Dreyfuss, and Taryn Manning. I had a wonderful chat with the latter who played my favorite character Pennsatucky in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. That series finale made me bawl. I’m talking ugly crying, curled up on the couch amidst multiple tear-soaked tissues. The only other time that happened was during Six Feet Under’s finale. I began our chat by sharing just how hard that story hit me.
“Oh my God. Thank you so much. I'm sorry that you had to cry like that, but thank you so much.”
Well, you're welcome. But no, it was great; it's very cathartic. Sometimes you got to get that out, right?
“Right. Totally release that. Release that throat chakra. Sometimes I just hold tears right in my throat, it just stays there, like, "Come out.” I so get it.”
Maggie seems to do a fair amount of cooking and baking in EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM. Do you think that she cooks to express her love and appreciation of her family, or do you think it's more of a way to deal with stress?
“Hmm. I think that's a great question, and I think it's probably a way to deal with stress. I don't know how much family she really has – she has her brother – but I would say to deal with stress because it's something that you can control. Putting that together and watching it cook, there's kind of a beginning, middle, and an end. I know for me, I do it for that reason."
I was just going to ask you if you enjoy cooking or baking. It sounds you kind of do.
“I do. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm getting better, but I definitely, really enjoy it. I feel that the pandemic definitely brought out the cooks or the bakers in us without much to do, so. Got into that one.”
Do you have a favorite recipe or thing to make?
“I'm vegan, so I just love all the stuff that you can make, and making stuff for people that really aren't [vegan], and just tricking them, and them being like, "Wait a second, this is..." I make really good tacos. Basically, I make as if they're from Taco Bell, except they're fake meat and vegan cheese and vegan sour cream, but no one knows the difference, really; they're so tasty. That's probably my very favorite.”
How did you get involved in EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM? And, when did you learn who else was attached to this film, and what was your reaction to that?
“This one came about in a pretty unique way. I live out in Palm Springs, in the desert, and I was working out with my trainer, and he was kind of tentative to ask me, but he said his friend was a director and wanted me to read a script, if I was interested. I said, "Of course. I'd love to read it." I really didn't know if it would be good or anything, but I read it, and I loved it.
“I talked with Christian Sesma on the phone, and I just thought he was so cool. Then the cast started shaping up, and I was like, "Man, this is going to be amazing." It was probably the second movie that I did, not during the pandemic, but right when we were allowed to go back to work, so it was just really cool because everybody was so happy to be there and grateful and just bringing their A-game. To be able to shoot it out here in the desert too was really special. It was a very magical place. Yeah, it all came together perfect.”
Would you discuss meeting Jake Weber and talk a little bit about how you workshopped scenes together?
“Absolutely. Yeah, Jake's a very unique human being. He's really flexible because he came in very last minute, and there's a lot going on in that script, and he was a real champ, but also very humbled and not shy to ask for help, not help to act, but just sometimes we, I don't know, maybe we're just too proud to ask for help, but he was just so humble, so nice.
“And what I loved about him was that he loved to read lines before, go through them, and practice and stuff. Some actors don't do that, so I was really grateful, and then we talked about it, and he's just a really down to earth, humble, kind person. I really like Jake. He's a good dude.”
There’s a lot of revenge going on in this movie. What are your personal thoughts on revenge?
“I don't really believe in revenge. I think that sometimes when we're really hurt or angry, or feel slighted or rejected or just betrayed, that's our initial reaction because we want to see people suffer the way that we did. But really, if you believe in cause and effect and just the nature of nature and the universe, all darkness comes to light. And not that you want someone to get theirs, but whatever happens, it eventually happens in some way, shape or form. You can end up in jail for this type of stuff, so that's no fun.”
“Yeah, but we're not always thinking when we're hurt, right?”
“These are the mistakes that we make, but sometimes, some people they don't think that way, and revenge is real. And listen, if it came to my child, I don't know if I could say the same thing. I might go all in or something, so I'm always speaking on what I've experienced.”
Would you prefer playing incredibly likable characters or really hated characters, and why?
“Both are very black and white. I think that no one's all good, and no one's all bad. That's just how I think in real life. I think that a lot of times, God puts a mirror in front of our faces so we can learn a lot. If we meet somebody, and there's certain things we don't care for in them, that maybe that's part of us, too, that we don't like.
“So basically, no. I don't play to just bad or just likable. I like to be a likable person that isn't perfect, and I like to be a bad character that might have a good side. Just trying to find those layers, because as humans, we are so layered. So, yeah. When I'm playing a psychopath, sociopath, narcissist, yeah, that's a bad person and not much redeeming. A likable character – that’s a lot to live up to just being likable all the time. Those people snap.”
What did you learn from working on EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM?
“I worked around Richard Dreyfuss, and I always love to, whenever I'm around a legend or seasoned pro, it's just watching how they work, and study, and how they break stuff down, and what makes them tick and everything. So, I just learned a lot being in his presence. He also is a big storyteller, so I learned a lot just by listening to him, too. That was really cool.
“What else did I learn? I learned a lot about dates because we worked on a date palm farm. I ate a lot of those, and they were delicious. Oh, how to make a motion picture with a skeleton crew. Basically, because of COVID, [we were] just down to the bare minimum amount of people. I loved just seeing everybody pull together in such a team effort. You know what I mean? Every job's being done, there's no one just hanging around, so that was really special just to see people pull together and how resilient we are as humans. That was pretty cool."
How did you spend your time on set when you had downtime?
“This particular movie, I'll never forget. We go in our trailers because that's where they prefer us to be, just so they can keep tabs on us and stuff. I was visiting with people that popped in, but also, I discovered this app called Redecor, and it's where you design a house and a room, and then you get graded on it. I just got obsessed with it. I had to yank myself out of that rabbit hole. I was, "How much money have you spent on this?"
How good were your grades on that?
“I don't know. I either did really good or really bad. Almost like your question, it was all one way or all the other. I was trying to learn. Some days I felt more daring, and some days, I'm like, "Fine." I noticed that just the very straight away, easy kind of designs got me further than kind of being a little bit edgy or different about it. God forbid. Those never got me the good grades.”
I think there should be extra points for edgy and different.
“Yeah. But you know, if you do kind of go a little bit eccentric or mix and match, you got to be good at it. That's why they go to school, I'm sure.”
Do you ever dream in character?
“Wow. No, I don't think I ever have, which is good because that means I'm not traumatized by them.”
Have you ever had a nightmare about work?
“Oh gosh. Yeah. Oh my goodness, you kidding me? Too many.”
Is there one you want to share?
“I can't remember how many times I've just got up to deliver lines or a song and just completely forgot. Just that, the age-old tale, "Blah, blah." And the song's going, everybody's like, "Taryn." And I'm like, "What?" Yeah. Those ones. But those are terrible.
“Oh, oh. Another one is not being able to find set, driving there and just maybe they forgot to put up the signs or something, I think. And I couldn't find my way, so I was late, but I really wasn't late. I was going to be early. But it's like telling them the dog ate your homework. They're just like, "Yeah. Yeah." I remember that one. I'm like, "Please." Or sometimes I'll wear the jewelry home or a bra home or something because I'm like, "Just get me out of here." Then forgetting it [when I return], and just the panic that they go through, and that's traumatizing, because your house is an hour and a half away.”
Was there a wrap party for this?
“Was there a wrap party? Yeah. I think there was. Because there's a lot of casinos out here, and also a lot of it took place in a casino, so I think we all went to Agua Caliente, one of the ones around here. It's a good time.”
Any good stories from that, or have you blocked them all out?
“No, I love playing. Give me a roulette table, I love playing that. But once I win, I have that thing, even if it's the first hand, I'll just walk away and be done with it. Sometimes I feel that they spruce you at the top, that way you'll go spend it all again, and I'm like, "Yeah. I'm going to go ahead and just take this." So that happened.”
What was the most memorable day on set for you, and why?
“Well, every day was pretty fun on that set. I loved this kid who would drive me from my trailer to the set on this…it wasn't a golf cart; it was like a four-wheeler golf cart elite. It went really fast, and he was just a lot of fun. And again, we were all just fresh out of our houses during the pandemic so everyone was just happy to be out and about. It was just really fun. Honestly, it's going to sound corny, but every day was awesome because we got to be outside and amongst people.”
How do you approach watching your own performances? Do you analyze yourself or do you just try to get into the story?
“Well, if I do watch, I try not to judge myself too much because it's like, "Yeah. There you are. Face for radio again." Literally, if I really looked that hard and that long, I would just cry probably and just be like, "Oh my God." So I pretty much just go, "Well at least you're a good actor. At least you've got that going for you."
“Girl, it's really hard to watch yourself. And that's why the directors don't let us watch dailies because then you get in your head about the way you look, and that's not what it's about. So I kind of just I try not to judge and just get into the role of it. Sometimes I'm really proud, and sometimes I'm disappointed, or I know I was having a tough day nailing something, but it's cool, sometimes.”
I have to say that I whole-heartedly disagree that Taryn Manning has a face for radio, but her saying that reminds us that even the actors we know and love can struggle with body image, like so many of us do. I think it’s a shame how much easier it is to focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves and ignore the things that truly make us beautiful. I hope that we could flip that so that when we look in the mirror or at a photo or video of ourselves, rather than immediately zooming into the parts we hate, we instead zoom into the parts we like or love. It’ll take a lot of practice, but I think it's something that could benefit most of us. Maybe we could at least try it through the end of the year, and let’s watch some movies, too.
If you want to start with EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, starring Taryn Manning, Paul Sloan, Jake Weber, and Richard Dreyfuss, it's now in Theaters, On Demand and Digital. Here's the trailer.