Interview: Toronto Star – How Leah Fay Goldstein became a movie star, without really trying
By: Peter Howell Movie Critic, Published on Thu Aug 06 2015
At a TIFF party in 2013, Toronto filmmakers Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson saw the multi-talented Leah Fay Goldstein perform with July Talk, her energetic local band.
The singer was concentrating on her music, but co-directors Moondi and Robertson were thinking movie: Diamond Tongues, their indie drama about a self-destructive young actress named Edith, who is trying to navigate the not-so-nice streets of Hogtown.
They wanted Goldstein to play Edith, even though she’d never acted before. You sure couldn’t tell that from her mesmerizing performance in the movie, which lit up Slamdance back in January. It opens Friday at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
“Pavan came up to me and said, ‘We’re making this film and we really want you to be in it,’ and I said, ‘I’ve never acted before.’ He said, ‘We don’t really like working with actors anyway. You’ll be great!’”
Goldstein chatted with the Star about her instant movie career, playing an unsympathetic character and what to look forward to from July Talk.
It’s not a big leap for musicians to also act, but what do you think Pavan and Brian saw in you that night when you performed at the TIFF party?
I’m not really sure. I remember that show was particularly chaotic. It’s really easy for bands to fade into the background at those industry parties and have nobody pay attention to them. I was drawing on all sorts of party tricks and concert tricks that I like doing, like trying to make the audience do the limbo with my microphone stand, and pouring beer all over the place, and just wreaking havoc. But I don’t really know what from that performance made them think that I would be a half-decent actor.
Your character, Edith, is a difficult person to like, because of what she does of what she does to people she supposedly cares about. But she’s also hard to hate.
I think how people react to Edith says more about them than it does about her. Because I really hated her on the page. I read the whole script in one go, I couldn’t put it down, it was like watching this car wreck, watching a pileup on the highway or something. How bad is this going to get? Why can’t she just get it through her head? I thought it was a much more intriguing role than playing the typical female protagonist who has to be likeable and has to be beautiful and has to be well-put together and all of those sorts of things.
Do you think you’ve ever met any Ediths in your line of work?
People do grimy things to get what they want or attempt what they want, but I think Edith is just doing these awful things that she thinks are going to help her but they obviously never end up helping her or anyone. I think musicians get to be a little more upfront and honest and there’s also, particularly in the Canadian music industry, there is this unspoken rule that you can’t be an assh— because our country is too small. You’re going to be touring with bands who are going to be touring with other bands and if you are an unpleasant person, people will know about it and they will choose not to work with you.
Do you see yourself acting more in the future?
I do like it, and I am really lucky in that I can afford to be picky about whether or not I do it again. It will just be based entirely on whether or not something comes my way that is interesting and that I think I can do and that I think will be a good experience. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a full-time actor and having to stab people in the back in order to get paid or whatever. I feel very grateful to be in the position that I am in. My job is writing music and playing shows and touring around.
What’s the situation with July Talk?
We’re doing a tour for this summer, but mostly we’re just writing and demoting. We’re hoping to get into the studio in September and work on our second album, which is very exciting and terrifying. I guess the other thing that we know is that while it’s going well today, this could all be taken away from us tomorrow. Maybe I will be eating my words and making the attempt at having a life in acting or something. In a year, it could all just go to s—t.
Source: Toronto Star