Taking Advice From Her Jiminy Cricket, Jay Z

Have you ever seen the dark side of Hollywood that everyone always talks about?
No, but I have seen the dark side of independent film.

There's a dark side of independent film?
Yeah, now you know. Any sort of world that you're in, people can be pretty competitive and that can be very disruptive to relationships.

What would you say is the hardest part about independent film?
The day-to-day is kind of brutal. You don’t have much money or support, which is what I love about it. Everyone is wearing multiple hats and working together to create something. If I ever make bigger movies, I would love to hold onto that impulse of camaraderie.

Do you think about breaking into “Hollywood”?

For me, it's hard to not want to be a part of the Hollywood system, to not look at how glamorous it is and feel like I am failing for not being a part of that world.

For me, it's hard to not want to be a part of the Hollywood system, to not look at how glamorous it is and feel like I'm failing for not being a part of that world. I'm not against big budget Hollywood movies, but it's very important for independent film to exist. It’s very important for there to be an alternative to this sort of shallow, glamorous, beautiful-people films. But I guess it’s hard for me to not get a little frustrated or swept up and feel like I am a less valuable person because I don’t succeed in that way.

On a good day, when I am feeling into my higher self, I feel really happy that I'm not a part of that and I feel happy that I am outside of a system that's run by capitalists and is all about making money. But on a bad day, when I am being really greedy and small, I wish that I had millions of dollars and had all these really nice clothes and was making this dumb movie that everyone is going to go see, and that I don’t care about all this other stuff.

But at the end of the day, I feel lucky that that side of me hasn’t taken over.

There's this whole thing now where everybody wants to be best friends with a celebrity they see on screen. Would you want to be famous in that sense, where everyone wants to be your friend?
Honestly, I’m really uncomfortable with that thing in myself that thinks that celebrities are better than regular people. In our culture, there’s an obsession with celebrity as a concept, and this idea of being famous. Like just because you’re famous you’re famous.

Celebrity is very personality driven. 
Right, and some of those celebrities are very talented, but there’s a whole other group of people who literally don’t do anything or contribute anything, and are still revered. I’m not that in touch with what teenagers are into these days, but it’s so hard for me as an adult to feel centered and valuable as a person with all this stuff going on. I could only imagine what a 12-year-old girl is feeling when she looks around trying figure out what she wants to grow up to be.

Who do you idolize?
I look up to people who carve out a stance for themselves and don’t compromise that. I can’t think of anyone right now, but I’m always struck when it seems like, whether it’s a filmmaker or an actor, his or her vision is for themselves is uncompromised. As I work more and more, it seems like it’s so easy to give in because it’s so exhausting if you don’t. It becomes even more admirable in another person the more I find myself wanting to take the easy way.

What do you think about movies that seem to get done just for a paycheck?
Sometimes people doing things just for a paycheck opens them to be able to do something even more daring after.

Do you go on auditions?
I do. I actually hate auditions, and I think they're terrible. I hate them. I wonder if I'll ever get used to them. I feel really vulnerable and maybe one day I'll be good at them, but maybe I don’t go on enough to be good. [Laughs.]

Have you ever experienced rejection from a big role that you wanted?
I don’t think so. I'm always really embarrassed if I have a bad audition. My ego gets into it, so no matter what I am auditioning for, even if it’s not something I care about, I really want to get that part because I'm competitive.

Sometimes people doing things just for a paycheck opens them to be able to do something even more daring after.

Has there ever been a movie or a TV show that you did audition for that made you think like, “Oh my god, I am actually here auditioning for this!”?
I kind of feel that way about every audition that I go on.

What's the most common critique that you get from a casting director? 
A lot of times people tell me to slow down. I tend to speed up because I am nervous. [Laughs.]

Is it a goal for you to be in a big blockbuster? 
It would be cool. It would be cool to have my choice on what I want to do and never have to audition for anything. But I like the freedom and creativity that comes with independent film and working with my friends and working on what we believe in. I don’t want to have to give that up.

Has moving to L.A. crossed your mind? 
Yeah, my husband and I are actually going out there in the spring for a little while, trying to see if it’s a place where we would want to live for more than a couple months.

Do you have that mentality that everyone in L.A. is so fake and New York is better? 
I always had that in my brain, but what I've come to realize is that there are really shallow, competitive people in New York and really shallow, competitive people in L.A. and really shallow, competitive people in Montana.

If you could give advice to someone who is trying to grind the way you are what would you tell them?
I always think of a Jay Z lyric, “He who does not feel me is not real to me, therefore he doesn’t exist, so poof, vamoose, son of a bitch!”

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