Of course, I started with the obvious question: How did she come to play our beloved Rita Haywith?
"First I should say I didn't think I was going to get the role. Rita was a comedic part, and I had done sci-fi and horror, but never comedy," she began. "It was as Monday...I remember a lot of nervous girls in the lobby, but I wasn't nervous because I didn't think they were going to pick me." Drawing from Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood as inspiration for her portrayal of Rita, Crystal did the audition.
"Four hours later my agent gets a call and is like, 'Martha [Williamson] wants to talk to you.' At the time I was in talks to be a regular on another show, and I didn't want to talk to [Martha]. I knew if I did, I wouldn't be able to say 'no' to her. So I get on the phone and one of the first things she says to me is, 'I will write for you every single day.'" Promising to work with Crystal to develop Rita as as character and that "every day coming to work will be like heaven...Martha absolutely stayed true to her word." And aren't we all so blessed she did?!
So what can we look forward to from Rita in One In A Million? As is to be expected, Crystal was tight-lipped about details, but did share "[we] will learn a little bit more about Rita's past."
The past got me thinking about parents---and as you'll remember from my ill-fated predictions that I could have sworn John Cassini was playing her dad. "[Martha and I] have a talked about the possibility of meeting a relative or two of Rita's...some names have been discussed as casting options...," in other words, stay tuned, POstables!
One of the areas we POstables have had the most fun with, especially here on the blog, is their life on set. So I asked what her favorite thing on set was, and the answer probably won't surprise you. "Kristin Booth---I know that's a person and not an object but...," she answered immediately. Crystal also shared her love for the DLO, "I think we like filming outside and away from the set, but the DLO is home."
Of course, even the DLO has house rules. Apparently Crystal broke them once, forcing her to contribute to the swear jar. "I said [the word] and then said it again as a response to the first time. Martha was just laughing behind the monitor"---they were filming at the time. The swear jar became $5 richer that day.
“It’s like...Directors are the brush and the actors are the paint, it’s painting with actors and watching the story come alive.” Almost sounds like what Martha does with Crystal and her cast-mates, right? So would Crystal ever direct something Martha wrote?
“Oh, gosh, absolutely I’m hoping for that---praying for that! I think it would be hard to do with SSD...especially because I’m in it. But I know Martha will be writing for a long, long time, so I hope one day that will be a real possibility.” Crystal, so do we!
In the meantime, Crystal is gathering some valuable advice from Martha about directing, in particular about what Martha calls, “protecting your actors.” In the editing room, “you always want to choose film and moments that features an actor at their best.” It’s about “uplifting and encouraging...telling the story, but not at the expense of the actors.” Sure explains why SSD seems to be frame by frame perfection that we watch repeatedly!
For instance, her most recent project she was working on with her husband---and recently submitted Warner Brother's Pictures for funding consideration---is a short film about a sumo wrestler who wants to become a ballroom dancer. "[The film is] about duty and desire---It's something that I have to direct...it's something I have to do. So no matter what it will get funded---I will get it made." With an attitude like that, we know it will get made, too!
And I'm hoping the project she was working on just before we Skyped will get made as well. It's apparently an Agatha Christie/Clue-inspired romantic comedy she's currently writing with her writing partner. We know nothing goes together better than a little romance and a little mystery!
My sincerest thank you to Crystal for being open, honest and a ton of fun to laugh, chat and learn something from. When I think of you now I "can't help but feel like [you're] going to make a difference in this world." Indeed, as us POstables know, you already have.
All About Crystal,