In 2021 actor Amy Forsyth had a real breakout moment, starring in two very different but highly acclaimed films: Sian Heder‘s “CODA” and Lauren Hadaway‘s debut feature “The Novice.” In our exclusive video interview (watch above), Forsyth looks back on her big year and shares with Gold Derby what she learned on both professional and personal levels from working on the two aforenamed films: In addition to discovering the importance of “slowing down” while working, she learned “to rely on the people around you to lift you up when you’re down and to do the same for others.”
Written, directed and edited by Hadaway, “The Novice” premiered on June 13 at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was released in select theaters, on digital platforms and on VOD on December 17. The IFC Films movie stars Isabelle Fuhrman as Alex Dall, a college freshman who joins her university’s rowing team and embarks on an obsessive physical and psychological journey, determined to make it to the top of the varsity boat. Forsyth plays Jamie Brill, a lifelong multi-sport athlete and Alex’s teammate who is in need of a scholarship to stay at her school. For her performance in the film, Forsyth has received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
SEE 2022 Independent Spirit Awards nominations: Full list of Indie Spirit nominees in all categories
In order to play Jamie in “The Novice,” Forsyth had to a lot of physical training, most of which took place while she was still shooting “CODA.” However, since the Apple TV+ movie was filmed in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Boston has a big rowing community, Forsyth was able to train on her days off from the film. Like Jamie in the “The Novice,” Forsyth herself played basketball and volleyball in high school, which is why the role was a perfect fit for her. “The real focus was just on rowing and weight training,” the actor says about her physical preparation, for which there was little time, she reveals. While Forsyth admits that the physical training was certainly “grueling,” she simultaneously underlines, “I was just thrilled to have a project that required so much of me and [for which] I could throw myself into training. So, I did as much as I could.”
In regard to the relationship between Jamie and Alex, who start out as friends but end up as frenemies, Forsyth explains that creating chemistry with Fuhrman was rather effortless since the actors had already known each for several years at the time of the shoot. At first the only person on the rowing team to like Alex, Jamie soon distances herself from her fellow novice, whom she regards as her competition, so Forsyth. At the same time, though, Jamie is “not focusing much on Alex,” the actor says, highlighting that her character is instead focusing on herself. However, after Jamie learns that Alex is already a presidential scholar and thus granted a full ride, she confronts her about her motivations for striving toward the end of the film. “Because Jamie tries to protect herself so much from being hurt by other people and [from] the way that she was [hurt] by her father, that’s game over for her,” Forsyth concludes about the information Alex did not disclose with Jamie.
SEE Gold Derby interviews with 2022 Oscar contenders
Also in our exclusive video interview, Forsyth discusses her experience shooting “CODA,” which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and bowed on Apple TV+ on August 13. “It’s truly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a set,” she says about working on the film, in which she plays the best friend of Emilia Jones’ Ruby, a child of deaf adults who is the only hearing member of her family. Finally, Forsyth briefly teases her role as Caroline “Carrie” Astor Wilson in HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” which premiered on Monday, January 24.
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