With three films in the can, two of which are for actor/director James Franco, Fallon Goodson believes a good work ethic and a little luck can get you where you’re trying to go. With a role in the indie female buddy comedy L!fe Happens coming to theaters next week, we got a chance to talk to her about how she approaches the work, career advice for aspiring actors and her surprisingly odd dream role.
Nerdist: You started in acting fairly recently and already have a lot of traction. What has the experience been like?
Fallon Goodson: There’s no formula, there’s no one answer. The main thing I did when I first got out here was just study and work as hard as I could. And really delve into the art of acting, really work on the whole “If you build it, they will come.” I met people through acting classes and got the opportunity to go out on auditions and it was really all about the work for me and that led me to the right path.
N: How do you identify with a character that is a) vastly different from you and b) not given as much of a detailed history as some of the other characters?
FG: I’m glad you brought that up. My favorite part of acting is to make a backstory. No matter how small or large the character I will write and write and write; it could be like a page of lines and I will write a 15 page backstory, because my favorite part is creating a whole life and creating memories for a whole different person and how they got to where they are in the script. That’s the coolest thing, it’s like starting a painting from scratch; you can’t always show the whole painting in the movie, but when colors pop out here and there it comes from something that I’ve created and that’s my favorite part.
N: You’re coming off a movie where the actress and director took a very personal story of theirs and made it into a film. Do you see yourself transitioning into a creative role and making your own opportunities?
FG: I have a love for writing. I have a journalism background and I know that will come into play. I’ve just finished writing a pilot with a friend and we’re in the process of having table reads and going on that journey, so it was cool to see hear about the journey that Krysten (Ritter) and Kat (Coiro) went on and also working with James (Franco), to see how many things he has his hands dabbled into. It’s cool to see that you really can do as much as you want to. There’s no boundary in this industry with what you can do creatively. I’ve always been someone that’s kind of like one to stick my hands in lots of pots. It’s an exciting thing for sure.
N: Speaking of James, you’ve got a new film coming with James Franco called Maladies. When is that coming?
FG: It was going to be in Sundance but the producers wanted to keep editing and decided to wait on it and they’re almost done. They’re in the process of making the final cut right now. I’ve seen a version and it’s really cool. It’s a complete 180 from anything that I’ve done. I saw the cut on Sunday and then I watched L!fe Happens on Monday and I was like, “Whoa, these are way different people.”
FG: It was all about research. I love research. I was in New York for about two weeks before we started shooting and I spent my time there exploring, doing some actor’s activities and holing up in hotel room writing as many experiences as I could about this character. I got to go to the house that we filmed in for most of the time and I sat in that house for hours. I went around it and explored. There was a lot of creative process that went into that character.
N: In the next couple years, what sort of projects do you see yourself doing? Would you have any interest in doing a genre piece?
FG: I’m open to everything. I came to L.A. and thought that comedy was my thing and then working in drama just opened up this whole other level for me. I’m game for anything. Actually, this is really strange, but I have this secret desire to play a patient on a show like Grey’s Anatomy who’s either got something chopped off or a drug addict – something extreme, I’m obsessed with doctor shows and I just want to be mangled. [gasps] Oh my god, that sounds so bad! Pretend I didn’t say that.
L!fe Happens opens in select cities next Friday.