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Interview with Sara Garcia, star of True Fiction
By James Whittington, Friday 30th August 2019

FrightFest 2019 was contained some of the best psychological thrillers we've seen in a long time. One of the finest was Braden Croft's True Fiction which boasts incredible performances from John Cassini and Sara Garcia. We chatted to Sara about her role of lonely librarian, Avery Malone.

HC: Did you always want to be an actress when you were growing up?

SG: I've always been a performer. As a child my parents encouraged my artistic side through dance classes, singing lessons and after school performing arts programs. When I was very young, I dreamed of being a singer and as a grew older I gravitated more towards the dramatic arts. I didn't seek acting out as a profession until later in life. I felt it was important to have a well-rounded education and seek out what other opportunities life had to offer before making the commitment to acting. But yes, I was bit by the bug very young.

HC: Were there any movie stars you admired and wanted to be when you were younger?

SG: Growing up I was always taught to be yourself and to love you who are, so there was no one person who I idolized or specifically wanted to be like. Today I admire the careers of actors such as Lizzy Caplan and Emma Stone who have been able to successfully cross genres, having the opportunity to play meaningful and complex characters for both comedic and dramatic stories.

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SG: Honestly, I never used to be. I'm the kind of person who watches the entire movie through the smallest hole in the crochet blanket and then has nightmares for weeks. After filming True Fiction I have a new found respect and admiration for the genre. I can see why people love it and I am definitely a convert... still iffy about anything with demons though!

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it?

SG: I thought the script was very relevant and had an important message about power relations and consent attached to it. In the wake of the 'Me Too' movement I read this script thinking the relationship between Caleb and Avery is one that I had heard over and over, and one that I and so many people have experienced in one way or another. Caleb is in a powerful position, a gate keeper to an incredible life changing opportunity for Avery, and on top of it all Avery idolizes him and his work. He dangles the proverbial carrot in front of her and she laps it up, after all, who would say no to their life's dream? As the story unfolds Caleb severely abuses his power by manipulating Avery, pushing her beyond her limits and ultimately refusing to relinquish control when Avery revokes her consent. Though placed in an extreme setting with an equally extreme outcome, the core message of the film was very real to me. The fact that it could happen to anyone is was made it so chilling.

HC: How do you prepare to play a character like Avery? Initially she lacks confidence, is susceptible and is exposed to some incredibly harrowing moments?

SG: I viewed Avery as a hopeful idealist with a tragic past who ultimately craved happiness and fulfillment. I saw her as a fighter, a person not to be underestimated but also someone who was deeply alone and starving for meaning. Her life was one big daydream. In my preparation I started by asking myself how are we the same and how are we different? Turns out there were a lot more similarities than I initially thought which made it easier to slip into her shoes. I tried to empathize with Avery every step of the way and needed to justify her choices. When a person's survival is on the line, I think they're capable of doing things they never even imaged... especially if they have nothing left to lose.

HC: What was is like working with John Cassini, whose character really does put yours through the grinder?

SG: John was absolutely amazing! He has an incredible amount of experience which was an invaluable asset for me and the whole team. He is a true pro and very different from the character he plays, which I think is a testament to the work he puts into his character development. The nature of the film required there to be a lot of trust between the two of us and I think we were able to build a really strong rapport. He has a great sense of humour too which is helpful when filming dark content, sometimes you just need a good laugh to bring you back to reality!

HC: Did you have much rehearsal time?

SG: Everyone arrived a few days before shooting and were able to squeeze in some good table talks. John, Braden and I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page with what we were trying to achieve. Having that time together was really helpful in getting to know one another and building the trust we needed before shooting, but for the most part all our rehearsals happened on set right before 'Action!'

HC: Without giving too much away, which scene was the hardest to get right?

SG: Without giving too much away... having to light a man on fire was definitely a first for me and required a lot of care and attention. I would say that was one of the more technically difficult scenes and required a lot of practice runs. We certainly wanted to get that one right!

HC: Have you ever used a lie detector?

SG: Never but I think it would be fun to test one out for real!

HC: So, what are you up to at the minute?

SG: Right now, I am focusing on a personal project, A two min micro short called 'The Red Ribbon' which I will be submitting to festivals in the new year. The film is centered around a young woman in the Victorian era whose sinister origins and dark secrets threaten the sanctity of her marriage. I am also looking forward to my next acting adventure.

HC: Sara Garcia, thank you very much.

SG: Thank you so much for the thoughtful questions!


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