The mystery guest we have interviewed is…*drumroll*…Elizabeth Lazan!
Elizabeth Lazan’s career includes gigs as an actor, TV host and a producer. Notable credits include ‘Fat Pig’ by Pangdemonium Theatre Company, for which she was nominated for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at the LIFE! Theatre Awards 2015, and ‘The Chef’, which was nominated at the Asian Television Awards ’10 and selected for the Shanghai Film Festival. She was also a recipient of the National Arts Council’s grant for Professional Acting and is currently divides her time between the US and Singapore.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I started training in a youth theatre company as a kid (shout out to Act3!) before moving on to work with the Singapore Dance Theatre and Hong Kong Ballet group as a dancer. I stopped ballet in my teenage years, focused on acting, worked for a few years in Singapore and then moved to New York when I got an Acting Grant from the National Arts Council to train with William Esper. I’m now working between the US and Singapore as an actress, host and producer.
2. If you could act opposite or direct any actor in the world, who would it be?
Do I have to choose one? Right now, I would love to work with Mark Ruffalo, Christopher Walken, Tony Leung or Cate Blanchett. These actors blow my mind in everything I see them in.
3. Name 3 films you think every actor should see.
Good Will Hunting, Who’s Afraid of Virgina Wolf, Lord of The Flies.
4. What has been the hardest role you have ever worked on? Why?
It would have to be (ironically) one of the very first roles I worked on. It was a stage production at The Substation – a young wife, waiting for her husband to return from fighting in World War 2. Many years later, thinking he was dead, she falls in love with another man, only to have her husband show up unexpectedly. Definitely a battle and steep learning curve for me as a young actress. I would have made different choices now, but that’s the beauty of acting – no two moments are ever the same!
5. What do you do to prepare for a role?
I get into each role differently, but I’m a very visual person so I usually create a whole world in my mind for them. Their background, clothes, upbringing, relationships (imaginary or in the script), and work from that point. I like to get the lines down very early in the rehearsal stages so that I’m free to play.
6. How would you explain what you do and why you do it?
A life as an actress gives me so much truth, and being able to find the rhythm of each person I play makes me feel so alive. Above that, knowing that I can move or inspire people in some way from these make-believe worlds we create is very, very fulfilling.
7. We’re always hearing the term “making it” with regards to actors. What level of success would you need to reach for you to be like, “Yeah, I’ve made it”?
When the mentors and peers I respect and admire, respect and admire the work I do.
8. What do you know now about acting and the industry that you wish you knew when you first started?
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, and be strong in your beliefs because confidence is everything.
9. What advice would you give to actors/directors who want to work abroad?
As much as it sounds fun and adventurous, be sure you are grounded in what you want and why you’re doing it. Not to debunk the romance of it all, but save enough so that you can concentrate on building a life without worrying too much about finances. It’s a tough call moving away from home to pursue a larger, more competitive, foreign industry.
10. What do you hope to see for the future of acting/directing in Singapore?
I hope actors/directors play more with social, political and mental issues that exist in the real world. That we are able to raise authentic, truthful issues in our scripts and discussions on stage, television and film. I also hope that more diverse training is accessible for the craft.