There’s a wave of talented actresses who are pushing the boundaries onscreen in riveting fashion and Rebecca Rowley is genuinely catching the eye. Prison can be a real bitch as in “Jailbait” where she has a meaty role as the unstable prisoner Switch in this no-holds barred indie film that’s disturbing as much as it’s uncomfortably eye-opening. From Sara Malakul Lane to Jennifer Robyn Jacobs and of course Rebecca, their characters are fully-fleshed out with tragic back stories that will have you clamoring for them. Although seeing her fierceness in the orange garb does show she can cut up a bitch if she needed to…onscreen of course! The fact that “Jailbait” rises above its perceived exploitation themes are because of the stirring displays of its female cast and I have huge respect for the exhausting mental and physical experience they went through.
Here’s the interview with the amazing Rebecca:
1. Hi Rebecca. Can you tell me more about your role as Switch in “Jailbait”?
Wow. My role was fascinating. The background I created for Switch is one where she had a history of mental illness and thought she had recovered by taking therapy and as time passed, she’d believed her illness was behind her. Unfortunately, years later she had an episode where her mother attempted suicide and the stress she went through from that event caused her mental illness to resurface. She was in a healthy relationship at the time. However, she began to have delusions and thought her fiancé was cheating on her and conspiring against her. So she began to implement techniques to kill him, such as poising his food, putting water on the stairs on a winter night just before he left for work in the morning, so he can slip. The one that finally worked was, she filled the house with carbon monoxide by unscrewing the gas on the stove and placed papers near the stove and BAM! he was dead. She then was taken to the correctional facility where she was sentenced to life. There she fell into the gang with the other lead characters of the film. One of which, gave her the black widow tattoo on her neck. My character progresses throughout the film from; denial of being incarcerated and full of hope that she would one day get out, to despair, to the realization that she will be in jail forever and she now had to learn to survive in that world, as if she were surviving on the outside.
2. “Jailbait” is a dark, gritty film about female incarceration. Why do you think there’s so much buzz attached to projects with this kind of subject matter?
It occurs to me that the superstition of males being the only sex capable of acting animalistic and on pure impulse is dwindling. Society is ready to see how females function in that ‘animalistic world’ and what their perspective is on it, so we can learn as a society how the entire race functions when put in all circumstances.
3. What was it like working on “Jailbait” and what was the best part of playing your character?
I loved the professionalism of the crew. They were all so focused while the camera was rolling and between takes. The whole crew had a sense of humor, and that light heartedness and passion for the product, which what I enjoyed coming into everyday.
4. With the strong female cast, are women getting enough recognition for their performances especially in the indie scene?
Honestly, I say no. What I want to see more of, which is what I touched on earlier, female characters lives from their perspective, rather than the male perspective. Are there really great indie films that do that? Yes. I want to see more; I want to see strong female character roles carry the same weight that let’s just say, Mel Gibson had in “Lethal Weapon”, for example. I really love the Hunger Games series. Now let’s continue with that and investigate deeper.
5. The TV series “Girls” has its fair share of nudity and likewise in “Jailbait”. What’s your take on this and are we too shy to admit it’s actually cuts close to real life?
I have not seen Girls so I cannot speak about that show in particular. I must admit, when I watched Jailbait for the first time I was stunned. I did not expect it to be so exploitative towards women. However, there is realness and grittiness to it that I really appreciate. I saw Jailbait as more of a film to sit around with your friends and a play drinking game with. EX: Drink every time some one does a drug, or every time a girl makes out with another girl.
6. Riding on the themes of onscreen violence and drama, what is the type of role you would “kill” for?
I would love to play a character that does a complete 180 from a violent killer with no self-confidence or self-worth acting on ignorance and desperation, to a warrior of a woman who functions in society with grace and integrity.
7. Your portrayals on film are drawn from personal experience. How has that help you to tell a story and the all the nuances that come with it?
I take the back-story, like I told you earlier and think about it, feel, it, see it in my minds eye, then walk the walk so to speak. During breaks and between shots, I actually hung out in a jail cell and allowed myself to just live with it. Then when I was called to set, I would walk out of the cell and my walked naturally changed, they way I looked at and acted towards the women ‘acting’ as prison guards, totally transformed,
8. Tell us any interesting and/or funny incident on set that you can remember.
Haha. Well, I remember there were a few scenes where thirty or more of us women staged in an all out brawl. There was one in particular where us girls were on the playground and once Jared, the director called; “Action!” we were ready to brawl and boy did we brawl. No one got hurt. It’s just amazing what can happen when someone tells a group of people; it’s ok to fight. It gave me permission to just let loose and it’s easy for me to go there when given permission. And that’s how it occurred to me; and also that the other girls were experiencing the same thing. Before the cameras rolled we could just feel a sense of frustration and chaos in the air that seemed to come naturally. I felt like I was manifesting the novel Lord of the Flies, where a group of British boys are stuck on an uninhabited island that try to govern themselves with catastrophic results. Even though the girls had structure, the guards were not there to teach then morals or how to be ‘ladies’. It occurred to me that these girls were completely on their own, and had to do WHATEVER they could to survive. I remember during that brawl the director call cut and we just went on fighting. Man does society have a lot of pent up aggression, that is also something we as a universe need to look into healing, the suppression that we have allowed ourselves to live in. And it is happening everywhere, everyday, in everything we do.
9. Besides acting, You are also an accomplished writer. Can you give a tease of your upcoming projects?
Ideas are stirring in my head. However, I am currently focused on creating structure, or a foundation, where I have financial freedom. When I have financial freedom, the skies the limit. I will have the power and confidence to create without holding back. So when that occurs I may write, and whatever that is, it will be magical.
10. Lastly, what do you think best represents being an entertainer? Is it distinctive beauty, the talent to stir hearts or the ability to connect with audiences?
Great question. I am still exploring that subject. Right now, I see that everyone on the plant is an entertainer and we all have the capability to act, create and design ourselves and our lives into WHATEVER we want. Now, the one’s who choose to sing or act for example, they must know who they really are so they can become something else fully, without holding back. And that takes being honest with yourself and others. In addition, it takes extreme heart and courage to let go. I wish that capability for all of humanity. I really want to thank you Haren, for this opportunity to express myself. I appreciate you.
Kudos to Rebecca for taking the time to do the interview. There will be plenty more to come from Rebecca so keep supporting her work by watching her story unfold.