Actress Lea Thompson, 2012 Female Indie Icon Honoree at LVFF – Pt 1
Actress Lea Thompson was presented the 2012 Female Indie Icon Award by actor/director Ash Adams during the Las Vegas Film Festival following the World Premiere of her new film “The Trouble with the Truth” on Friday, July 20th at the Las Vegas Hotel. Thompson also answered questions posed by Adams and the audience during a Q&A on Friday night and then responded to more during a press conference at the hotel on Saturday.
Ironically enough, Louis Gossett Jr., the festival’s 2012 Male Indie Icon winner appeared with Lea in her first film “Jaws 3-D”. Gossett congratulated her from his seat in the audience and after thanking him she said that Gossett had given her good acting tips during that time, but at the moment she couldn’t remember any of them. Her second film was with Tom Cruise in “All the Right Moves”, but it was being cast as Lorraine Baines McFly in “Back to the Future” that brought her recognition. “We didn’t know there were sequels, but there was a great script,” she said explaining that no one realized back then how much the story would resonate with audiences. Referring to the part as a great Tour de Force, she enjoyed playing several aspects of the character showing her as a silly teenage girl and as a mature woman in her 40’s. “It was a really difficult part to pull off, so I was really excited to get it,” she acknowledged.
Lea confided that it took her a while to warm up to co-star Michael J. Fox because he was a replacement for Eric Stoltz, whom she had worked with in “Some Kind of Wonderful”. Six weeks into filming Stoltz was fired making the shooting schedule longer. Originally the second and third installments were written as one script, but it was too long and broken down into two sequels, which took a year to shoot back to back. Thompson considers the iconic role a good one to be remembered for. “I could have been known for screaming in Friday the 13th,” she laughed. Asked if “Back to the Future” changed her life she responded, “It changed in the sense that I had a long career. It mostly changed because I respected myself as an actress.”
At this point Lorraine is one of four favorite characters Thompson’s had the chance to play. The others were portraying Sally Bowles in Cabaret for the Roundabout Theatre Company at the Studio 54 Theatre in New York, and her parts in the TV Movie “The Substitute Wife” with Farah Fawcett and her latest film “The Trouble with the Truth”. With a smile she promised, “I’m going to get to 10 by the end of my lifetime.”
Before opting to concentrate on her acting aspirations Thompson thought about becoming a dancer. When Adams asked her about the decision to stick with acting Thompson shared that her pursuit in that area ended when she was at the ABT (American Ballet Theatre) and ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov told her she was too stocky despite the fact she weighed in at 94 pounds.
Still dancing and singing interest her and she would love to do a musical on the big screen if one were available, although she readily acknowledges how difficult it is to produce that type of project and the limited number of roles for women her age in them. In fact, she enjoyed singing on the Broadway stage because of the control it allowed her as an actor since once the curtain goes up nobody stops the show. “That was probably the most fun,” she admitted adding that with a good song and a great band you can tell a great story and effect people quicker. That said, she’s interested in all types of projects stating with a laugh, “I think I mostly prefer having a job.”
More including Lea’s take on working with director Clint Eastwood on “J. Edgar” and some tips for aspiring actors in Part II.