'Loves Her Gun' Star Trieste Kelly Dunn Talks Improv, Road-Tripping and Directors

Interviews
by Sophia Savage
January 8, 2014 11:42 AM
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Geoff Marslet's "Loves Her Gun" was a talking point out of last year's SXSW, not only because it centers around violence and gun control, but because the improvised dialogue makes for a naturalistic portrait of a woman's progression from victim to aggressor. She's well-played by Trieste Kelly Dunn, who broke out in SXSW 2010's "Cold Weather" and went on to star in Cinemax's "Banshee." The story starts off with a random act of violence in NYC before a road-trek to Austin, Texas, where the majority of the drama unfolds, complete with hipster band, mustache and river tubing with beer.

Dunn talks about making "Loves Her Gun," the state of indie film, and the filmmakers she's hungry to work with. "Loves Her Gun" opens January 10, 2014.

Sophia Savage: I saw you in "Cold Weather" back in 2011. How have things changed since that film premiered at SXSW, and how did you get connected to "Loves Her Gun"?

Trieste Kelly Dunn: I had a couple films run the festival circuit in the same year, "Cold Weather" as well as "The New Year." I got to meet and hang out with a lot of the same filmmakers. I first met Geoff at an amazing little festival in Northern California called The Nevada City Film Festival. Geoff's film "Mars" played a lot of the same festivals and we spent that year running into each other and drinking together in various cities. I wanted to work with him and then sometime the next year he sent me an email about "Loves Her Gun." I read the outline and was dying to do it. Then he mentioned it would be all improvised dialogue and I got really terrified.

What do you look for in a script and in a character? Do you need a personal connection to the character, or do you enjoy playing with something totally unknown?

Jeremy Renner said something at the Indie Spirit Awards one year that really stuck with me. He said something like "as actors we love doing indie films cause we don't have to play likable cliches." As a female you are often being asked by directors to be warmer, softer, flirt more, smile more etc...None of those things are bad and obviously we are capable of a variety of human behavior, but it gets really old having to play into somebody's stereotype or ideal. I think if a personal connection seems far off, I have to work and find a way to bring it closer to me or I don't feel grounded.

From the film, I'm guessing there was an actual road trip while you were shooting the NYC-Austin portion of the film? How was that?

Oh man. That road trip was the worst! We basically drove from Austin, Texas to Brooklyn straight through and we had to shoot scenes on the way. I think it took us over 40 hours. We slept in contorted positions on floors of crew vans. I remember seeing Amy Bench the DP sleeping on top of a bunch of metal film equipment. Ha! We had to take the RV we used in the film but it couldn't go faster than 65 MPH. We were all thinking it would be really fun to go on a road trip but we ran out of time so the trip became tedious. We got to Brooklyn and couldn't find parking for the van of course and none of us had showered in two or three days. We were a mess but thankfully we were alive and could finally take a shower.

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