As an actress, Celeste Thorson has appeared in many roles including an episode of How I Met Your Mother and will soon guest star in The Haves and the Have Nots. Also a writer, producer and director, her new series Joie Ride will be airing new episodes soon along with her film Apache Wife due for release this year. Speaking to us, Celeste tells us more about appearing in How I Met Your Mother, the release of Apache Wife and working on comedy projects.
Is acting something you always wanted to do?
I remember enjoying performing in local theatre as a child. A lot of my friends wanted to play Cinderella, and I recall enthusiastically wanting to play Peter in Peter and the Wolf. I was so enamored with the fact that Peter got to run, and play, and hunt, and roll around on stage. I auditioned with all boys and somehow got the part; it was the first of my action roles. I don’t think I considered acting as a possible profession until I was about nineteen.
What was your first professional production you were involved with?
My first professional production was a national commercial campaign for Sprint. I had just signed with my agency and hadn’t been on professional on-camera auditions before. I had a streak of beginners luck and booked that job for a series of three Sprint commercials. There was some choreography involved with a huge cast and the scale of the production was enormous, so it was all very new and exciting to me.
What was it like producing and writing Joie Ride?
Joie Ride has been a passion project I started developing during my travels around the world. I began my professional television career as a screenwriter on a couple of other travel programs and had always found diverse cultures and destinations fascinating. Currently, the short form version of Joie Ride covers events and lifestyle content online. I am developing a half-hour version for television that will include primarily travel and lifestyle-oriented content.
How are you involved in USA Network’s Unsolved?
I had the pleasure of working with the talented cast and director Anthony Hemmingway on Unsolved for the Tupac and Biggie true crime series. The character I played was actually a real reporter who interviewed Tupac outside of the courthouse during his infamous sex abuse trial. It was amazing to be able to go through archival footage and pull up the exact conversation. Marc Rose, the actor who portrayed Tupac, was so eerily similar it gave me goosebumps. The casting director, Jennifer Cooper, really nailed it when she cast him because his performance was impeccable. The production didn’t make a carbon copy of the scene verbatim but kept the essence and tone of those historic moments.
Who is your character Nalin in Apache Wife and do you know when it’s due for release?
Nalin is inspired by a real person in Apache oral history who overcame incredible adversity to avenge the death of her husband. She was a mother and wife until she witnessed the murder of her husband and transformed into a warrior. She lived in New Mexico in the late 1800s and was able to survive extraordinary circumstances to bring honour to her family. It was because of her courage I felt compelled to tell part of her story in a female-driven dramatic film. It is currently being submitted to festivals for release on the festival circuit before public distribution.
What are you able to say about Antidote?
I filmed Antidote in Mexico with a wonderful cast which included Rafael De La Fuente, Randy Couture, Wil Traval, Alyona Chekhova and Natali Yura. The film recently came out in theatres last month and explored adventure, mythology, and superstition in a small town in Mexico. We had the pleasure of shooting it in Playa del Carmen and Cancun which was just paradise. My character is a bilingual nurse dealing with an epidemic plaguing the residents of a tiny village in the jungle. Natali Yura plays a doctor investigating the disease and Randy Couture brings the action when there is foul play involved.
Who is Mrs. Kincaid in A Kid Called Mayonnaise and what was it like to film?
Mrs. Kincaid was a prim and proper mother, who’d fallen on hard times but still strived to keep up with appearances. She was a wonderfully quirky and noir character who was cast by Alexis Koczara and Christine Shevchenko. They brought to life Will McRobb’s creation by curating an eclectic and whimsical world of characters for director Luke Matheny. The tone reminded me of Pete and Pete with a Wes Anderson twist. It was delightfully surreal to film because of the larger than life props and character archetypes. Amazon Studios also made it an enjoyable work atmosphere. It is currently available in the US on Amazon Prime if you’re curious about the show.
What was it like on set of How I Met Your Mother?
The set of How I Met Your Mother was like walking into a well-oiled machine. The entire cast and crew were so pleasant and professional. It was fun seeing all of the sets on the sound stages and recalling some of my favourite episodes. I still remember walking past Jason Segal napping on the couch of his character’s apartment and feeling like I was walking through a real slice of HIMYM life. The director Pamela Fryman was incredibly efficient in her multi-camera filming style. The lead writers were very involved in making on-set contributions creating a very collaborative environment.
Who was your character Lisa and who were you working alongside?
My character Lisa was one of Barney’s love interests at his favourite pick up spot, MacLaren’s Pub. I worked alongside Neil Patrick Harris whose shows I’d seen since the Dougie Howser days. He was so friendly and hilarious in the scene. His monologue was a bit of a tongue-twister, so when his tongue got tied, he just picked up where he left off and didn’t miss a beat. I enjoyed his work in Harold and Kumar films, and I found it so funny that he often plays the womanising characters because it couldn’t be further than his kind and considerate personality in real life. Collette Wolfe also starred in the scene, and she was a lot of fun to work with as well.
Where will people be able to see The Veiled Avenger?
I’m excited about that project because it was a women-led production who adapted the Veiled Avenger comic book from the 1940s. The comic stars Ginny Spears who was ahead of her time as leading female comic book hero during that era. I believe the production company is currently completing post-production and plans to seek distribution either through festivals or other platforms. My IMDb will have more release and distribution dates as more information becomes available.
Are you currently writing any productions?
Yes, I am currently writing a comedy film titled Home Free which is about a petulant executive whose life turns upside down when she develops an unlikely friendship with a homeless veteran. I just can’t shake that in Los Angeles alone, our city has over 55,000 homeless neighbours. I often volunteer with non-profits who provide support and relief to people living on the streets. It’s such a heartbreaking issue that has motivated me to write a story that humanises the reality of someone who struggles with homelessness while still being entertaining and palatable. I’d like to create a feel-good movie that has a hopeful outlook to contrast the dark realities our neighbours face. I want to make it more relatable in an effort to inspire other people to take a more proactive role to help the most vulnerable in our communities.
What do you enjoy most about working on comedy projects?
I really enjoy the upfliting feeling you get when watching comedies. Life can be so serious and painful that I feel we need more positive influences in our media to lighten the mood. They say laughter is the best medicine and I remember when my grandfather was dying of cancer we would sit around and watch his favourite Laurel and Hardy reruns and just laugh together. It was such a difficult time, but thankfully I have those fond memories to remember him smiling and laughing through the pain. I love action and drama films, but comedies will always have a special place in my heart because of the light they bring into the world.
What will you be working on in 2019?
In 2019, I will be appearing as a recurring guest star in the seventh season of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots on the Oprah Winfrey Network. I also just finished filming a movie called Dutch which just went into post-production. I will continue to produce and release new short-form episodes of Joie Ride TV in addition to developing the 30-minute episodes. And I will be working hard on the feature film script Home Free to try to feel my soul.
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