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She's talented and she's super beautiful and Soap Opera Intel had an awesome time speaking with Anne Marie Cummings who plays the role of Michelle on "Conversations in L.A" and is also the shows director. Cummings talked about her time on the show, the role she plays, if she would ever consider a daytime role and much more. Read the full interview for yourself below!
Hey Anne Marie Thanks so much for doing this Interview, can you share a little bit more about yourself as an actress with me?
I started acting when I was really young. I was around six years old! I would attend the Ft. Lauderdale Children’s Theatre – Ft. Lauderdale is where I was born – and theatre was always my go-to thing at a very early age. I acted professionally in a number of plays before I auditioned for the drama program at Carnegie Mellon University, and once I got in, I still studied acting over the summers at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, and Northwestern University’s Cherub (acting) program. I was very studious and very serious about the craft of acting. In fact, one of the first books I ever read on the subject was An Actor Prepares by Stanislavski; dense for a teenager. After I graduated from Carnegie Mellon, I went on to work professionally in regional theatre, and that’s when I jumped around the country quite a bit. I worked at The Alley Theatre in Texas, The Seattle Repertory Theatre in Washington, Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, Sacramento Theatre Company in California, to name a few, and I also worked with some of the most respected, and Tony award-winning theatre directors out there like Doug Hughes, Anne Bogart, and Michael Wilson. But after a decade of acting, I decided to focus more on writing and that’s when I wrote plays, one of which was produced Off-Broadway, calledIndia Awaiting. India Awaiting starred Maulik Pancholy (from TV shows “30 Rock” and “Weeds”) and a whole slew of other well-known and well-respected actors. It was also during that time that I wrote a number of plays that I had readings of at theatre companies all over Manhattan. Around that time, and after I survived 9/11, I became aware that writing was extremely important to me and that I preferred a more quiet environment so I moved to Upstate New York where I worked as a journalist and ran my own theatre company which did performance readings of modern plays, but directed by me in an avant-garde fashion. This period of time that I lived in Upstate was when I really flourished as a writer because that’s when I not only became very familiar with a vast number of other’s people’s work, and directed other people’s work, but I wrote, a lot, and I found my voice as a creative writer. And then when I started to be curious about film and television, that’s when I made the decision to move to Los Angeles. I knew I was ready to tackle something as big as working on a series as an actress-writer-director and creator of a show.
You have the uttmost pleasure of playing the role of Michelle on Conversations in L.A - what can you share about the character?
Well I created Michelle Macabee so I can tell you a lot about her! She’s a woman who’s experiencing her mid-life crisis. She’s also menopausal, single, grieving the death of her dog, and out of a job until she meets Gus Borrero, a Hispanic young man who’s twenty years younger than she is. She falls in love with Gus, but she’s not the kind of woman who needs to be in a relationship, nor is she even looking for one. She’s really just going through a difficult period in her life and Gus makes it both better and more complicated. Better because he lights up her world, but more complicated because even though he says he’s an old soul, he’s really young at heart so the two of them don’t always connect or understand each other. I think the fact that Michelle quit her decade-old customer service relations job at Amazon speaks to the kind of person she is and what point in life she’s in - a point when you start taking more risks and doing things differently because you realize that time is running out and if you want to get certain things done, you’re going to have to start doing them before it’s too late.
What do you love most about her and are there any similarities between your character and yourself?
Michelle has a lot of guts and a lot of courage for falling for Gus based on the kind of person he is and the soul connection she has with him despite his age. That’s what I love the most about her and I also love the fact that she really doesn’t care what other people think of her and her relationship; she doesn’t need Nicole and Alex’s approval. She’s also the kind of person who follows her heart and she’s like so many of us who don’t just settle for things in life that are only okay. She’s searching at a point in her life when many people her age are done with all that, or don’t care, or give up, or give in. And in terms of similarities – I’m much more assertive in my life than Michelle is, but I do understand her on every level because every character I write – men and women - come from my imagination sprinkled with pieces of me.
How did it feel to be nominated for an Emmy this year?
There is nothing more wonderful than being acknowledged for your hard work! It was terrific and I was so grateful – still am – to the Academy and its judges for acknowledging us. Yet I will say that while awards and recognition are valuable, the work and continuing my craft is what I love the most. The day we had the Emmy Award Ceremony was a day that I still woke up at and went through a long list of things that needed to be done for a film shoot for Season Two. Dressing up, socializing, and celebrating is one thing that can be great fun, but working with your cast and crew in rehearsals and creating the work itself is what it’s really all about for me and where I’m most comfortable.
Are you around for the long haul with Conversations in L.A?
I don’t think Conversations in L.A. would go anywhere without me. I conceived it, wrote it, am the series director for Season Two, and I’m starring in it. At this point we’re mid-way into rehearsing and shooting Season Two and after that…it’s hard to say. There are a lot of variables that have to come together if it’s to continue. We shall see. But regardless, I can say that I have developed another series and I’m interested in producing that as well as continuing work on my feature, Eat Bitter, Taste Sweet, which is being directed by Wendey Stanzler (“Sex and the City” and “Divorce”), and another film (adapted from a play) called Sinkhole.
Have you ever thought about acting on daytime television, say on The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives or General Hospital?
Whether it’s film, television, or theatre, if the writing strikes me, I’m interested. For me it always boils down to the writing – maybe because I’m a writer – but also because the writing is what I notice first, almost always. Some of my favorite television shows, Mr. Robot, The Sopranos, and Breaking Bad, superb writing, which in my book makes actors excited and results in terrific work!