INTERVIEW: ‘Suck It Up’ Star Erin Carter Talks Female Comedy & Summer Getaways
Suck It Up is written by Julia Hoff and directed by Jordan Canning, explores the story of two best friends who go on an adventure in hopes of getting over the death of a loved one. Erin Carter plays Faye, and with Ronnie (played by Grace Glowicki), the two women deal with their grief together during a summer getaway. The movie is set to make its festival rounds starting at the 2017 Atlantic Film Festival on September 17.
Carter is an accomplished actress and filmmaker, an alumni of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s prestigious Actors Conservatory. In this interview, she discusses her role in Suck It Up and what inspired her to pursue acting.
Hi Erin, thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Suck It Up looks like an amazing movie about women for women. Can you tell us more about it?
Oh my goodness, that is quite the way to put it! I am very proud to call this a female driven project, so many of our cast and crew were female, and the project was conceived by women, but, I think the beauty of the film is that it’s not just for women, it’s definitely a story for everyone. It’s a movie about two young women who suffer a mutual loss. Faye’s love of her life, Garrett, happens to also be her best friend Ronnie’s brother, and when Garrett passes away of cancer it forces the two of them to redefine their lives without him. Which for Ronnie means an epic drinking spree, but for my character, Faye, it means taking care of her best friend Ronnie. The two end up in the quaint town of Invermere, BC, due to a rash decision on Faye’s part, and they’re then forced to face their grief at Ronnie’s childhood cabin.
It’s got the fun and humor of a road trip film, and the depth and weight of a character driven drama, so I think the film is really universal in it’s themes. It’s a movie about grief and ownership of grief, but ultimately it’s about friendship. The beauty of the film for me lies in the complicated ways in which these two characters communicate. Sometimes it’s the people who are closest to us who are the hardest to talk to, or at least that has often been my experience.
What was the best part about playing your character, Faye? What was the most challenging?
Faye was such a fabulous character, but it is very interesting to step back and see really how different we are. I love Faye and I think being a part of development from day meant I had a really special place in my heart for her, I became quite obsessed with adult coloring books in the final months of pre-production. I love Faye’s genuine kindness and reserved nature, but I will say it took a lot to understand her organizational skills and need to control. I am a very laid back person and those are definitely not words I would use to describe Faye.
The most challenging part though, was by far her speech impediment. Faye had dealt with a stutter as a young girl, and stress tends to bring it out of her. I was very nervous about being true to that experience, and I never wanted it to come off as false. I think the nicest feedback I received at Slamdance was from someone who had dealt with a very similar impediment. He had been so greatly affected by one of the scenes he came up to me and thanked me afterwards. It was really lovely.
What do you hope people will take away after watching Suck It Up?
When we first started talking about making this film we had spoken mostly about female characters, and what we felt was lacking out there in the world of female driven comedy specifically. We wanted to move away from some of the caricatures we see so often, and although Faye and Ronnie both have very specific characteristics and coping mechanisms, we wanted to really ground them in reality. I hope that women who see this movie walk away thinking that it’s okay to be flawed, to feel, that it’s okay to grieve, and it’s okay to ask for what you need. But then again, that message isn’t just for women, that’s for everyone!
If you and your best friend go on a summer getaway, where would you go and what would you do?
I mean, the funny thing is, my co-star, Grace Glowicki, and I both spent most of our summer get aways as kids in Invermere. When we rolled around the idea of a feature there was no question about where it should take place. Growing up in Calgary has really spoiled me for summer hot spots, you can drive forty-five minutes and be in the Rocky Mountains, and it’s really hard to beat that kind of beauty and calm. I actually just got back from a camping trip near Field, BC. I think it has a population of about 165 people, and it was amazing. I love getting off the grid and seeing new places. If not camping, we’d probably go to some lake town. Sitting on a dock in the am with a good cup of coffee is really one of the best feelings there is.
When did you know you wanted to become an actor? What or who was your biggest inspiration?
This question is always so hard to answer, I genuinely always wanted to act. I can clearly remember being devastated I wasn’t British when the first Harry Potter film came out. I was 11 at that time. Much to my mother’s confusion, I came home in tears because I knew I’d never get to be one of 300 some kids in that film. I guess I didn’t see it as a career though until I was in my later years of high school, it was always a pipe dream prior to that. I was really lucky to have a drama teacher that pushed boundaries with the material she gave out. We were always able to explore really mature and complicated pieces, and she also encouraged us to pursue it professionally. I developed a taste early on for some pretty intense films, I think around the twentieth view of Thirteen and the seventeenth view of White Oleander my mom had some questions. I have always been inspired by very gritty portrayals of the human condition. Martha Marcy May Marlene and Short Term 12 are some more recent inspirations.
Do you have any other projects that are coming up that you can share with us?
I am actually very excited about an upcoming short film called Soft Spot. It’s a short produced by the wonderful production company, Without A Flock, and I co-starred in it with the lovely Alison Louder. I’m particularly excited about it because I also wrote it, something I’ve been doing more and more of lately.
It really is a slice of life piece, and the director, Justine Stevens, and I were really inspired to make a queer centered piece that didn’t specifically focus on sexuality. We wanted the characters to move through life like any other (straight) characters would. I think it’s themes are extremely universal and will resonate with a lot of people. I’m very excited for it to start it’s festival run early next year.
One last question— if you could have one superpower, which one will it be and how would you use it?
Oh wow, what a great question. So many superpowers to choose from… Well, okay, I’d have to say teleportation. I’m not a great flyer and traveling is one of my favorite things. If I could go somewhere very far and remote with the snap of my fingers that would be amazing, truly amazing.
Follow Erin Carter on Instagram at @erinmcarter.
Erin Carter’s headshot by Justine Stevens
Movie still courtesy of Suck It Up