An actor's first role in the film industry is critical. While many fail to even make a dent due to boring, generic role selection, Anessa Ramsey does the polar opposite by picking to play Mya, a woman who suffers from a lack of confidence, control and appreciation in the psychological thriller, The Signal. Telling the story of a radioactive signal that gets into your head and convinces you that murdering others will make you happy, the film is sure to generate some buzz for its lead actors and could create some box-office gold. And though her time is stretched thin between promoting the film and working on some future projects, the beautiful Ms. Ramsey found time to sit down with us and spill the beans on her life and her first lead role.
Our first topic of conversation was her new film, which hits theatres tomorrow.
"The role was actually written for me," Ramsey admits when asked how she scored such a strong role. "The majority of the cast knew each other before the film began shooting, and most parts were written for certain people."
But even with that said, Ramsey continuously reiterates that the film was never suppose to reach the height that it did. Playing at Sundance, it was quickly picked up by Magnolia Studios for an estimated 2 million dollars, and from there the cast and crew have been sent on a tour to promote and sell the film.
"None of this was expected in the beginning. We shot the film in February of 2006 for a total of twelve days," Ramsey recounts. "We were hauling ass, and because of that and the fact that the film was shot completely out of order, I had no idea what to expect."
But in a way that was a good thing as even Ramsey says that the film is definitely open to interpretation. In fact, Ramsey herself didn't know what the director of the film wanted while shooting; yet somehow she nailed it perfectly, bringing a frightened, confused and unconfident woman to the screen in a time of chaotic crisis.
The Signal, which features three different transmissions, written and directed by three different persons, is definitely a new and innovative type of film. And Ramsey confirms that from the get-go they knew that it wasn't going to be a normal type of film.
"The script changed a lot from the first read through to what is on the screen," Ramsey says. "The three different writers had to makes sure that overlapping stories and characters were still the same. But there good thing was that with three directors always on set providing input and suggestions, I was able to learn so much as an actor."
And that is not all that Ramsey learned. Growing up, Ramsey studied stage acting and dancing, two performances that generate immediate feedback. However, in film, there are no applause at the end of each take, no instant glorifying of your work. And that is something that she had to get used to.
"I am still not use to seeing myself in the New York Times," Ramsey laughs. "I just stare at the paper or at a movie theatre and think about how I am performing in so many places at once. And then there is no applause at the end of the day. It is just silent as we all move on to the next scene."
But the delayed gratification is something that Anessa is going to have to get used to. In the next couple of months she will begin work on a handful of other films, one of which could be a sequel to The Signal.
But either way, The Signal was great. And as a first movie, even its star was impressed.
"Given the budget and time that we were given to finish the project, I was pretty impressed," Ramsey pips in. "And the DVD should feature a lot of extra footage, so that will be something to check out."
I'm already there, where do I get in line!