Sasha Lane: I mean, I’ve definitely gone about it my own way and luckily, it’s been received very, very well. It’s...yeah, like I don’t really...I’m experiencing things that are still like “woah, okay” but luckily I’ve kind of just been able to do as I do, and they’ve taken that and that’s great.
Tim Jackson: I’ve got a process question -- I know Andrea doesn’t like to talk about her process much, but it sure seems like you guys are partying. I mean, I’m just wondering, are you guys really drinking and smoking pot? I mean, was all this just to sort of...did you have to act it all? I think it would be easier a bit inebriated, especially with the naked guy. (laughs) He’s really out there…
SL: [laughs] We were just in it, feeding off of the energies, you know?
HE: [laughs] Yeah, that was sort of one of my questions. Like, was it as fun as it seems? And I’m sure that it was.
SL: Yeah, but it was also way more emotionally exhausting and scary than it shows. So there’s a flipside, too.
HE: Right. So what was your biggest challenge in shooting the film?
SL: I think it was having to be very vulnerable in certain things, and it’s hard for me to open that up and to know that everyone’s going to be...that’s like spilling my soul out. And so it was really hard to have to get to certain places and bring back up memories and experiences and put that out there, but it just helps to think that I was representing a lot of people, too, and a lot of different things, and so it was worth it. And Andrea [Arnold, director] is very...you want to do anything for her. You know she has you. She knows that there’s, like, this trust and this connection and a purpose.
TJ: But not everyone can do that. What do you think it is about you that enables you to kind of access that. I mean, you know, it’s amazing performance. Everyone is saying it’s an amazing performance. You may not want to hear that it is, but it is.
HE: It really is!
TJ: You know, not everybody can access that stuff and focus like that…
SL: Empathy. You know, I think I’m very, very empathetic. I’m very...I listen to what’s around and I have a love for people and certain things, and I think all of that just fed into all of it. You’re able to go to these certain places and to push out an energy that gets across the screen because I feel everything so hard.
TJ: Yeah, and that’s what Andrea saw in you, obviously. She can see that in a person.
SL: Yeah! She’s another one of those people. She just gets that feeling, like, “this is right,” which makes you feel really good about yourself.
HE: Do you think that kind of contributed to your natural ability as an actor? Was this something that you ever considered as a career path, or even as a passion? Or was it kind of just something, like this project, that just fell in your lap?
SL: I mean, I’ve always had thoughts like, “I would like to be able to portray that and make people feel that” and “I wonder if I could,” whatever, but the industry and the fact that I’m really uncomfortable and all of those things...and you don’t think, as a Texas girl, you don’t think that can happen. So, yeah, I didn’t want to pursue it, and it wasn’t something that I even thought that could happen...but it was funny, like I always said “if someone randomly picked me up, maybe I’d do it.”
HE: And here you are!
SL: [laughs] Yeah, and there comes Andrea. Yeah, but I feel like everything happens for a reason and I very much feel like that was meant to happen and, you know, it was meant to be. So I don’t even take it as, “oh, lucky me” and “this was all…” It’s like, no, you stuck to who you were and everything that’s happened in your life is what’s got you here.
HE: And it’s because you stuck to that.
SL: Yeah! And it all, like, kinda comes back together.
TJ: The other people who were cast, have you stayed friends with them? Are they sort of on the same page, I mean, do they want to be actors? Has this affected their lives? Have you talked to them? Or are they just done with this?
SL: I mean, I think everyone was changed in some way through this, but the thing about it which is beautiful in its way because they’re so unapologetic. We’re all very much ourselves and have our own things. Like this is what I was meant to do, and a lot of them are like, “I’m good where I’m at, I don’t want that. This was an experience, cool, I’m gonna go back and do what I do,” you know? And they’re good. A lot of people are like, “oh, sadness, you should do this,” and it’s like, they have their little family that they’ve created, they have a beer, and they have their porch, their truck, whatever they love, and they’re good.
HE: Yeah, I feel like the assumption is that whenever someone gets a taste of the spotlight, they just need to grab onto it and just climb up. But it’s really cool that it’s just these people that had fun with the experience and leave it at that.
SL: Yeah, and they’re cool. And the way I’ve taken, it’s not like, “let me be in this world.” It’s more like, I feel this is a pathway for my purpose and that’s why I’m in it. And then you have people, like the guy who plays J.J. (Raymond Coalson), he wants to do, like, reality TV and you’re just like...you were meant for something like that, because you just wanna listen to him and you can’t take your eyes off him and he has that about him. So that can be his path. And the rest...yeah, they are good where they’re at. Like, “cool, we did that,” but going back to, you know, Virginia.
TJ: What’s amazing is that that’s also the theme of the movie. I mean, when you walk into the water, I said, “okay, this is going to be the last shot, it’s gotta be the last shot. You’re gonna go down and then come up.” But then the firefly that lights up...it’s like, “okay, you’re gonna keep going.” And that’s an amazing image. And it speaks for what the whole film is about and about what you’re talking about with the process of the kids, for all of them. They’re confident in what they are.
SL: Yeah, they’re unapologetic. Like they are very much who they are, and no one is gonna stop that. No one is gonna tell them they can’t be, you know?
HE: Absolutely. So after getting into acting, do you have any interest in other aspects of filmmaking, like writing or directing? Have you dabbled in any of that yet?
SL: I was working with a friend of mine, and we were trying to, like, make something. The idea of directing, like once I’ve gotten in a little bit, been on set and been a part of getting things done, that’s a really cool feeling. And I write a lot of poetry, I want to do something with that. And it’s so weird to think that you literally can do anything, and your mind just starts spinning. Like I wish I knew how to actually get it all together ‘cause a lot of it’s just in here and I can’t put it out, but it’s cool to kind of figure all of that out...to see it, to visualize things. Yeah, who knows.
TJ: I should ask the inevitable question -- it’s directed by a woman and it’s about a woman, and there is a lot of risky behavior in it. Did you ever feel that kind of hovering sexual threat through the whole movie? Did you realize that’s what you were creating? I mean, when you get in the truck with that guy...it’s like, everybody’s going, “just don’t do it. Don’t do this, don’t go with that guy.” You keep saying to the movie, to you, “come on, something bad’s gonna happen.”
SL: Yeah, there’s no way not to feel it. Even if I would see the side of that day and know that this is how it’s gonna end, I’d still have a feeling of, like, “are you sure?” But yeah, I liked that either it doesn’t go the way you think it’ll go.
TJ: And you knew it was not gonna go to a bad place, ‘cause you had the sides. But you still commit yourself
SL: Yeah, but still, because it’s a natural fear. It’s a natural thing, but it made me look at myself and be like, “Sasha, that person who seems scary can be sweet, and the one who just wants to help you out in a really weird way.” That’s kinda the point, and even with the other scenes, it’s like, “you think that you’re using me, but I have a purpose. I’m here to get this done. It’s like a transaction, so I can go do this for the person I care about,” you know?
HE: It’s more of a mutual thing, more than being used.
SL: Yeah! And never once is she completely victimized.
HE: Yeah, and you never really know who’s going to benefit. But it ends up being both people. I feel like a lot of people, in today’s society, tend to see the worst in people and just assume that if you look at someone and think they’re up to no good…
TJ: One of the sweetest shots in the movie, when you’re all singing in the car, [Q.T.] turns around and she smiles at you.
SL: That gets me every time, because those connections are so real and we really were just looking at each other, like…
HE: Like “we’re here, we’re doing this.”
SL: Yeah! It was a really beautiful moment. I’m happy it’s in there.
TJ: Yeah, that was a great choice. With the hundred hours of film, to take that one glance is really smart. She is so smart.
HE: We have to wrap it up, but I do have one last question. If you had never met Andrea, if you had never gotten involved in this project, what do you think you’d be doing right at this very moment?
SL: This was meant to happen, so there is nothing else. It’s a blank wall, like this was all meant to happen. All the studying, all the things I’m interested in, how I am...it’s flowing through this. When I think, “what would you be doing at this second,” it’s so blank because everything happens for a reason. I wasn’t meant to have another option. I can’t see anything else.