SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Laura K. McKenzie: I am currently a stay at home mom. I have four boys, ages 17, 15, 13 and 11. I live in Morgantown, West Virginia. My husband is a doctor of mechanical engineering. I went to West Virginia University on an acting scholarship. I occasionally do acting projects that interest me as I have time available. Until my children finish high school I plan to be with them as much as possible.
SKSM: How did you become involved in The woman in the room Dollar Baby film?
Laura K. McKenzie: Another actress that I know from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania told me about the audition posting in the WV Film website. I decided to read the short story to see if I would be interested. Once I had done some research, and decided I would like to audition I drove to Charleston to participate in the auditions. It was very exciting as this was the first time in a long time I felt on top of my game. It was a wonderful auditioning experience, and fortunately I was given the part.
SKSM: What do you think it is in the story that attracts people so much?
Laura K. McKenzie: I think that we all struggle with the different realities between life and death. The main character is given the power to choose what is best for his mother, with whom I, as the actress playing his mom, interpreted as having an extremely strong yet unspoken emotional connection, one that surpassed the traditional mother-child relationship. He has to agonize over what would be the best to do for everyone involved as he is now the caretaker. I think there is a fear in all of us as to what we would choose if faced with the same set of circumstances and that conflict is compelling to watch but will also hopefully give us insight as to what another human being would do under those circumstances.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Laura K. McKenzie: I auditioned. It was a wonderful auditioning experience!!
SKSM: You worked with Dave Brock on this film, how was that?
Laura K. McKenzie: I actually think that Dave Brock my be my very favorite director to work with. He is friendly, open, and direct. A very supportive director who does not give idle praise. One of our rehearsals is still in my mind as one of the very best acting experiences I have ever had. I only hope he writes more so that I can work with him again.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Laura K. McKenzie: Well, apparently while we were filming a scene while I was in bed resting I fell asleep for real. I believe they actually caught me snoring on camera.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Laura K. McKenzie: I am Facebook friends with Dave Brock, and we email. I’m also Facebook friends with our make-up artist. We spent a lot of time together. I feel the closest to them- but I would gladly work with any person from that film again. I wish I had had time to get th know Rodger Echols better. I have enjoyed following his filming of a project hecworked on after The Woman in the Room.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Laura K. McKenzie: Well, I’m currently only doing projects I have been asked to do. My four boys are 17, 15, 13, and 11. I’m not ready for my oldest to leave for college.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Laura K. McKenzie: I actually scare very easy, and therefore cannot read much of his work, however I did research on Stephen King the person when I was working on the film and was very excited to find out what a great man he is. I tried twice to get tickets to hear him speak when he went on tour for his last book, but was unable to get tickets. The thought that he will watch The Woman in the Room is thrilling beyond belief.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Laura K. McKenzie: I think people are surprised, and also actually don’t believe me when they find out I only wanted Boy children. We started out just wanting children, and it didn’t matter either way. But with my last pregnancy I actually prayed the baby would be a boy. People find it hard to believe I didn’t want a little girl to dress up and so on. Personally I can dress up, or dress down and I’m good either way- minus high heels, but boys are so very much fun. I love my family.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Laura K. McKenzie: Well, it’s nice to think that people will be reading your article including me. That’s very flattering. I spend a lot of time doing for others, so it’s kind of novel to me.
SKSM: Do you like something to add?
Laura K. McKenzie: I would just like to add that it was an honor to be asked to be interviewed and I hope I didn’t wait too long to get back to you. Thank you!!