SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Gwyn LaRee: I am Gwyn LaRee, a professional actress who also runs a retirement home for old alpacas in SW Washington state.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?
Gwyn LaRee: I was one of those annoying kids that was performing as soon as I could. My poor younger brother was drafted for all of my crazy presentations and our living room was my constant theater. Luckily, I discovered community theater when I was 10 and he got a reprieve.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Fort he Road Dollar Baby film?
Gwyn LaRee: Simon Scott reached out to me once he got the rights to make For the Road. He wanted a strong female character to partner with Took and actually wrote Booth with me in mind!
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Gwyn LaRee: For the Road, as with so many of Stephen King’s short stories, speaks to the everyday people that fill our world. We have all met these characters and to be able to share the experiences of everyday people in extraordinary circumstances is thrilling to watch.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Gwyn LaRee: Simon Scott wrote his characters with several local actors in mind and then brought us all together with the strength and clarity of his vision.
SKSM: You worked with Simon Scott on this film, how was that?
Gwyn LaRee: Wonderful! Simon allowed all of us to interpret and bring more life to the characters he presented and gave us the time to really sit with those characters and understand their motivations and experiences. Simon even allowed me to pester him with videos of my ideas of Booth outside of For the Road and I think we both learned from that experience.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Gwyn LaRee: Lisa Hinds shared with you about our overnight filming on Mt. Hood! That was crazy, cold and very spooky. The bar is a neighborhood hangout in Portland, OR that was so perfect as Took’s Tavern. As we were leaving one morning, I dropped all of my “cigarettes” into the outside ashtray so that the owners wouldn’t have to deal with them. A homeless man saw them there and started pulling them all out. I had to explain to him that they weren’t actually tobacco but just film props – he was rather disappointed!
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Gwyn LaRee: The film industry isn’t very large in the Pacific Northwestern United States where most of us live so we get to see each other on a pretty regular basis and are all hoping to work together on another project soon! Lisa Hinds and I were able to represent For the Road at the Sanford International Film Festival in Maine last Fall. Patrick Green and I just attended a local auditioning workshop together and we are all cheering Jeffrey Arrington on as his career progresses.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Gwyn LaRee: I finally became a full member of the American SAG-AFTRA union this year and am working toward building up my television credits with that membership. There is nothing I can talk about just yet, but I am travelling to Los Angeles fairly regularly and hope to show up on your television screen very soon!
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Gwyn LaRee: Absolutely! Though I have always believed that as vivid as his writings are I would never want to see what his dreams are like!
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Gwyn LaRee: I was pretty sick for a long time after I got out of the US Marine Corps. I actually spent two years in a wheelchair due to Persian Gulf contaminants and then over ten years regaining my strength and mobility. My service dog, Simba, really taught me to walk again and he is now happily retired and getting a bit chunky in his old age!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Gwyn LaRee: Please support your local film!! These Dollar Babies offer such a great opportunity for beginning film makers to really dive into what it takes to run a production. There is no better way to learn than by doing and I know that we all learned so much in bring Simon Scott’s For the Road to life. If we were to do it again today you would see some changes and even stronger performances, but this version is precious to everyone involved and we are all very proud of what we accomplished.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Gwyn LaRee: Thank you so much for reaching out to me! It is an honor to be a part of your wonderful web site. God Bless Stephen King!