It’s only a matter of time before the talented and funny Lizzy Caplan finds the role that will finally break her out in a big way. We recently placed her on our 15 Actresses On The Rise list, saying that she’s “a new spin on the Diane Keaton type.” But for those who have been paying attention, they’ve already noticed her talents in “Cloverfield,” “Mean Girls” and more recently on the two season run of “Party Down.” Not content to sit and wait for Hollywood to come calling, Caplan has three low-budget, but high concepts flicks on her slate: the improv comedy “High Road” directed by Matt Walsh; the wacky music comedy “Queens Of Country” and the equally ambitious “Frankie Goes Boom.”
We recently chatted with Caplan as “High Road” prepares for its premiere tomorrow at the Newport Beach Film Festival and she talked to us about her two other upcoming films and the curious connection between them.
To recap, “Queens Of Country” finds Caplan toplining the film, playing a young woman obsessed with the titular singers, the likes of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. When she discovers an iPod full of songs by those artists, she becomes intent on tracking down its owner, convinced that it’ll belong to her true love. The film is directed by Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke, who were behind the documentaries “The Heart Is A Drum Machine” and “Blood Into Wine,” and co-stars Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, Fairuza Balk, Ron Livingston and Joe Lo Truglio. And yes, it’s about as awesomely bonkers as you might expect.
“It’s a super strange, really funny movie that hopefully will be seen by people. I think maybe just about to be locked for real. I’m not entirely sure where it will end up. But I’m very proud of that movie because it took unbelievable risks in that it’s the strangest movie you will ever see,” Caplan said. And while we won’t get to hear her sing in the film, we will get to see her dance. “I do not sing, I line dance. It’s more of a line dancing movie. [It’s] Me and my boyfriend in the movie — it’s Ron Livingston — and then the other couple is Matt Walsh and Joe Lo Truglio who plays the transgendered person. It’s pretty awesome.”
Wait, Joe Lo Truglio playing a transgendered character? Interesting. And it turns out, in Caplan’s other forthcoming film “Frankie Goes Boom,” Ron Perlman plays Phyllis a transsexual, a curious connection we couldn’t help but point out to Caplan. “I only want to make movies with transgendered people. I have a feeling — you know how everybody makes superhero movies, vampire movies — I think the next big thing is going to be transgendered people [laughs],” she joked.
Anyway, first announced last fall, details were slim on the project other than noting the director Jordan Roberts and the cast which also includes Charlie Hunnam and Chris O’Dowd. But Caplan was happy to share with us the details on the film as well as reveal another member of the cast.
“….I’m excited about it. It’s about a guy whose life has been ruined by a YouTube video that has gone viral and so he’s been hiding out and he gets brought back into civilization — because he’s been living in the middle nowhere — by his really manipulative, horrible brother. And everybody in his life is sort of terrible [and it’s about] how he deals with that,” she said.
“I’m the daughter of Chris Noth,” she explained about her role in the film. “And Charlie Hunnam’s character gets kind of sucked into this world because Chris O’Dowd — who plays Charlie’s brother — is roommates with Chris Noth in rehab. And then Charlie and I meet in a very interesting way at the beginning of the film.”
For any actor and actress rolling the dice on a low-budget that may not find an audience is a risk that few are willing to take time and again, but for Caplan, it’s all about doing interesting work instead of fielding roles in bigger films where her talents might be more muted. “I think why not. It’s like swing the bat, the odds are kind of stacked against you when you make movies like these, but they are fun because it gets a little boring to continue reading for the killjoy girl part in a big studio comedy,” she said.
“I think that there’s no shame in having to take a job for money. I’ve definitely had to do that. Luckily, not very often but you know, you have to make a living,” she explained about how she’s chosen work in the past. “The jobs that I have not enjoyed myself at all on are the ones I’ve done for some sort of strategic purposes to try to move ahead. They’re never any fun and its the most fun job in the world and it should be fun. You have to take jobs sometimes that are going to be widely viewed or you think you can do something cool with the character but there’s also something really therapeutic about doing these smaller movies where it’s just a creative thing.”
No word yet on when these films will hit your local cinema, but “High Road” will begin its journey tomorrow night at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Stay tuned tomorrow with more from Caplan and Walsh and their work on the improv comedy film.