Jacqueline Bisset relishes ‘intimate’ role in latest film

Jacqueline Bisset’s vexing and intimate role in her latest film, “Loren & Rose,” premiering at the Sonoma Film Festival, made for a complex and riveting performance led through powerful monologues.

“I’ve had lots of fairly good parts in my life. But compared to the role in ”Loren & Rose,” there’s really no comparison,” Bisset said. “Loren & Rose” is a “jewel.”

Bisset spoke to the Index-Tribune about her experience filming with director Russell Brown and how Hollywood has changed over five decades of work, from “Bullitt” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” to “Birds of Paradise” and “Loren & Rose .”

“Loren & Rose“ – which screens at SIFF March 25 and 26 – focuses on the relationship between a young, up-and-coming director with an older actress whose bond grows over the conversations in three acts, discussing the hardship and complications that arise in life.

“I felt like I haven’t been allowed to do the kind of parts I’ve wanted to because they don’t exist in many films,” Bisset said.

The movie, written and directed by Brown, began as a series of monologues by a mentoring actress, telling stories of “spiced foreign lands and honeyed liaisons conjured from a combination of her memory and imagination.” The effervescence in one conversation can be equally as morose in another between Bisset and her co-star Kelly Blatz, who stars as Loren. These tonal shifts in conversation mirror the course of a meal, beginning with the light and appetite-whetting appetizer to the savory entree and the succulent dessert.

“The intimacy between (Loren and Rose) is the most essential part of the movie in a way,” Russell said. “And when we cast Kelly, one of the really key things we were looking for in that actor is someone who is a great listener, someone who would take in everything that Rose was saying.”

Bisset said that Hollywood is often not great at listening to artists, but “Loren & Rose” is an antithesis of that. Bisset said she was taken by the script, the “brilliant” writing and the relationship arc of its title characters.

Bisset said that she’s worked with people in the past who limited her abilities as an actor that has made her feel “cheated” because they’ve stopped her from performing as she really wished. But the character of Rose has a “resonance,” she said, which she believes audiences are hungry for in their media consumption.

While she noted that roles for women in Hollywood have improved in the past 15 to 20 years, many of the roles offered to women prior to that were relegated to auxiliary roles as girlfriends or love interests. But her character de ella in “Loren & Rose” is dynamic, with a complicated past that continues to affect her present de ella.

“I think Rose is a lot more argumentative that I am… and I enjoyed Rose’s aspects,” Bisset said. “When I read the script, the young part of her was really noisy and difficult in a way, funny and a bit wild.”

“What Jacqueline does in this movie is very unusual,” Russell said, “You don’t see a lot of women at Jacqueline’s age getting parts like this, and getting roles like this that are full of vitality and intelligence and living a full of life.”

With the tricky lives and ambitions of Loren and Rose, Russell said he believes audiences should “take your time” with the movie, which is why he said he was keen to present it at a film festival, where the movie can be watched more intimately. .

Bisset prefers the intimacy of small films, and she hopes “Loren & Rose” helps people to think, to listen and be wrapped up in the surreal stories her character weaves.

“I feel now with the rise of independent films and foreign films, there’s a lot more interesting material if you have a cinema to show it at,” Bisset said. Lots of people have loosened up. God knows the world has changed — it’s a much less stuffy than it was.”

Contact Chase Hunter at chase.hunter@sonomanews.com and follow @Chase_HunterB on Twitter.

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