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Six Things You Didn’t Know About "Conversations in LA" Creator Anne Marie Cummings
1. The film “Victoria” by director Sebastian Schipper was a major inspiration for Conversations in L.A. “It’s one of the few feature films shot in a continuous take (23 locations between in Berlin) that simply blew my mind! And, I loved how the director gave the cinematographer, Sturla Brandth Grovlen, the first credit, as he clearly deserved.”
2. She looks at art and paintings on a regular basis. Some of it directly inspires her direction for the cinematography for “Conversations in L.A.” Most recently it’s been cityscape work by Jonathan Ahn, Eric Bowman, Stephen Magsig, and Ben Aronson. She’s also a fan of Max Wanger and Samantha French’s swimming pool series. “Abstract realism certainly sparks my imagination as a writer,” she said.
3. She loves interviews with people who talk about manifesting their dreams through visualization. She recently watched Oprah Winfrey being interviewed by LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner. “I do it every day, sometimes three times a day! I see what I want in my mind first and then I watch it unfold in my life!” Cummings said.
4. She’s dabbled quite a bit with meditation. “It all began in my late 20’s. I started going to Zen Buddhist retreats where we would sit and concentrate on our breath for three days straight. Very intense, but it showed me what it means to be in the present moment.” This might explain why she likes empty churches. “I love going to church, but when no one is there. I find it easier to connect with God that way,” she said.
5. She saw a production of Ingmar Bergman’s “Miss Julie” and that changed her life! “Lena Olin, the Swedish actress, played Miss Julie and that production had the intensity of Bergman’s films. While I watched the actors on stage, I saw everything as if it were a film as well. Not only was Bergman’s direction outstanding, but every piece came together in that production. Very memorable!”
6. She adopted a baby elephant named RAPA with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. “After my dog died, my family told me about this baby elephant orphanage that they had actually visited. I watched their baby elephant rescues online and to be honest, that actually helped me deal with the death of my dog. And then of course adopting one of them, sealed the deal with my grief.”
CONVERSATIONS IN LA, the dark comedy from East Coast native Anne Marie Cummings (creator, writer, director, star) and Immediate Vision Productions emerged as this year's sleeper hit with its modern-day story about a young Hispanic man (Gustavo Velasquez), who’s already had a fair amount of sexual experience and is genuinely searching for a meaningful relationship whose world collides with Michelle Macabee (Cummings) who is dealing with career transition, pet loss, and menopause. While Michelle’s age is something Gus grapples with, for a time, it’s Michelle who’s torn between her desire to just have sex with the young Gus versus be in a loving, committed relationship with him. Michelle turns to her pet loss therapist for help and her two close friends, Alex and Nicole (in the midst of denying their own mid-life crisis’), witness Michelle’s transformation and become obsessed with redirecting her life down a path they deem acceptable and “normal.”
Cummings and Velasquez received 2017 Daytime Emmy Award nominations in the lead acting categories for Daytime Digital Drama Series, as well as Vanita Harbour for her supporting role.
Season 2 premiered September 13 via iTunes and Amazon -- with new episodes releasing every Wednesday -- and will feature guest star appearances by Sterling Jones, Jack Plotnick, Rebecca Metz, and Mike E. Winfield, among others. This season, when Gus asks Michelle to marry him and adopt a child and she can't give him answers, they struggle in therapy - and with friends and family - until they realize they're better together than apart, so Michelle finally accepts Gus' marriage proposal.
Catch-up on this ground-breaking series -- this week's episode guest stars Rebecca Metz from "Shameless."