I’ve made no secret of that fact that I love “Hated”. It’s a great film; it combines two of my favorite things – a damn good story and music. But there’s something else that is pretty great about “Hated”; it centers on the story of a woman.
Now, more than ever, a film like this seems really important. You only have to open your internet browser these days, to find stories about the bullying, rape-shaming, and suicide of young women. There’s no doubt in my mind; it’s challenging being a young woman in 2013.
The women in “Hated” certainly face challenges. Their gender leads them down a different path than they may have followed if they were men. This film has some remarkable female characters in it. The main character, Veronica (played by Genevieve Padalecki), fights an uphill battle in “Hated” as she tries to promote a band she believes in. By her side through most of the drama is, her friend, Arryn (Played by Ellen Woglom).
Ellen and I spoke on the phone about “Hated”. Her warmth and enthusiasm came across the line clearly – and she certainly believed in this project. Here’s part of our exchange.
ELLEN: I met Maria (Maria Lorenzo, writer) while we were doing casting and all of that. It’s Maria’s story, obviously, and Arryn was an actual person. I never met Arryn until halfway through filming – she came to set one day for filming. It didn’t really shift my interpretation. For me, Arryn just seemed incredibly strong even in comparison to Genevieve’s character. She provides strength for Genevieve’s character in going through this as well. She’s strong enough that she’s not as sensitive. She just doesn’t take stuff personally.
It was really fun to play. There are so few strong female roles.
IMP: Funny you should said that. One of the things I wanted to touch on was how the women in the movie seem to be strong in a unique way and, like you; I thought that Arryn’s strength was how she managed to navigate through things a little bit more unscathed. She’s almost like the baseline – while everyone else goes a little crazy does she stay sane?
ELLEN: Yeah, she does. I don’t know if I was conscious that she was staying sane, I think that it was just more of a result of the personality that I found for her. Just personality-wise – the fact that she lets things fly off her shoulders more. She’s just honest. She’s honest with who she is, she’s comfortable.
IMP: What was it like meeting the person your character was based on?
ELLEN: It was weird. It was really, really weird. She was more feminine than my portrayal and she was just nicer. [Laughs]. She was really great.
IMP: Do you approach a character differently knowing that your character is based on a real life? Do you prepare differently?
ELLEN: No, I think if [the film] was really accurate to events and to people then definitely. But I think this was such a combination of things that we’ve all – there’s always some aspect of the story you can relate to. It didn’t really affect how I approached playing Arryn. It was much more general.
IMP: Do you think that “strength” in women is a huge part of this movie and how women might be treated in the music industry?
ELLEN: Yeah, I think for Maria that was really important. It was important for her to tell her personal story but also to tell the story of how women are treated in the industry. Not even just the music industry; any field. Not to victimize them, because I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think it was important to show that it’s not a fair playing field.
And even going back to saying there are such strong female characters in this movie and that’s really refreshing because of the way they’re written. They’re not just someone’s girlfriend or wife or supporting or setting someone else up. It’s really rare that we have these totally fleshed out female characters. So I think it was important to Maria to show what she had been through and some of the injustices of what comes with being a woman in an industry that requires you to be sort of heartless.
Sometimes, it seems like we think that women can’t put aside emotions and do a job or get to a goal. Genevieve’s character does, sometimes, get emotional. Arryn’s a bit different, not in a heartless or detached way – but just like she can’t let it get to her.
IMP: There’s no glorifying of the music industry in this movie. I think a lot of independent bands face this roller coaster ride. Social media has entertainers in more direct contact with fans. Do you think that the industry might change in the future?
ELLEN: Oh, definitely, I think it already has. I think the music industry is going through such a transition. There’s really no need for labels. You can record an album now, by yourself. You can put it out on the internet. You can have a website, put it on YouTube, you can get followers. Really, the only thing that the label serves a purpose for now is touring.
Yeah, I think that labels are freaking out because they know that their role is becoming more and more unnecessary and they’re trying to hold on to that. I definitely think there’s more room for the grass-roots. I think that’s kind of the way it’s gonna go – so artists can have more control over their art. You’re not trying to navigate people telling you what to do or change where you’re trying to go with your work. I think it will eventually just go more that way.
IMP: Do you have a music background?
ELLEN: I wish. I wish. [Laughs] I so wish. No. I do not. It’s the one thing, I’m so jealous of anyone who does. The thing that made me want to get into acting was I saw “Almost Famous”. I just thought, I can never do that, I can never throw my life away and go on the road and, oh you’re right, I can’t play music either. But I can do that in the movie!
IMP: Interesting cast! There were some people with a musical background, people new to acting, people with a lot of experience. What was it like working with the cast and crew?
ELLEN: We went to New York, we were all living in this apartment complex, and we became really close. For instance Auggy (August Prew / Joey) is one of my best friends. He’s my neighbor I moved him in across the hall from me. [Laughs] We just all became really close. It was great being there and doing that. It’s so rare that you work on something that creates that kind of bond. Because usually people are, you know, it’s just a job and they say they’ll try to stay in touch but people don’t really. This wasn’t like that. We had a genuine friendship and a genuine bond which I think helped our performance because we were so comfortable with one another. It became seamless; the time that we were filming and the time that we were not filming.
IMP: How long was filming?
ELLEN: I think it was a month in New York and about three weeks in LA. In New York we were essentially living together, going out the next morning to explore. We don’t get that in LA. It’s not a pedestrian friendly city.
IMP: You’ve worked on things that are more mainstream as well; do you have a preference for that or independent film?
ELLEN: For the process I like [independent film] so much more. Because I think everyone’s heart is in it. I know it’s cliché but it’s true. When you’re trying to make something without a studio or big backing you put more of your heart and soul into it and that makes everyone want to do the same in return, to help the next person out for their own benefit.
I mean, I’d prefer to do something like this and then you still have to make a living. You can do mainstream and make a living and then do the project that YOU get rewarded for. I think that’s true of anyone doing any type of art. It’s hard, people say don’t be a sell-out, yeah, but you also have to make a living. I don’t think it’s selling out I think it’s just trying to do both.
IMP: Do you have projects coming up?
ELLEN: I just finished a pilot for TV Land called “Brothers In Law”, it’s a comedy. Tried that!
IMP: How was comedy?
ELLEN: I love comedy. I really enjoy back and forth and last year was kind of a big comedy year. But I’d never done multi camera in front of a live audience. That was a new medium. It’s terrifying! But I mean it’s also terrifying doing comedy where you don’t have an audience because the crew members don’t laugh and you have no idea if you’re funny or not. [Laughs]
I’m also working on writing something with my brother. Just keepin’ busy.
“Hated” recently screened at FirstGlance Film Festival in L.A. & Genevieve Padalecki won “Best Actress” for her performance.
Upcoming: Interview with Maria Lorenzo, the woman behind the story