Swerve Series – Sharon Belle & Winny Clarke
By: Krista Ann Freego
Q) What was your favorite scene in Season 1?
SB: Probably the scene with Jen, where she comes in with the groceries and we have that moment where it is almost like a fight. It’s a very quiet moment. I think it’s a really important moment too because Elise, she shuts down pretty easily. It was a really cool moment there that they worked through. Jen didn’t let her (Elise) shut down. They talked about it and I just think it was really important for Elise and for her relationship with Jen that they had that moment. It was also the first time that someone said out loud, “So, I think Stevie likes you.” So, that was a big moment and the first time that had been verbalized. There are just a lot of things happening underneath the surface during that scene. It was just really fun to dissect and do with Kat. I really liked that one.
WC: I was thinking about this last night. I thought about one scene and have now changed my mind. The scene I really loved was when Elise went and sat on the curb and it was the first meeting between Elise and Jen. I just, I was like… it embodies what Swerve is because I couldn’t tell…I wasn’t sure about Jen yet. Who is this person? She was so loving and there was something about her. I was intrigued, but there was also something where I was like, “I’m a little skeptical.” I feel like that embodies what the series is, it’s Swerve.
Q) What was the most challenging scene for you to film in Season 1 and why?
SB: Obviously the last one. That was really hard. Reading that letter from Jen. It just… you know, getting to that emotional level was difficult. It wasn’t too hard, because I just, in that moment, it didn’t feel like just Jen died. It felt like Kat died. And I just got my worlds confused and it all just felt very real. That was really hard.
Q) As an actor, how do you get yourself to that point, harness those emotions?
SB: I’m pretty method in the way that I think myself into an emotional place. I will use real things from my life. It’s real feelings and real tears. It’s hard to be there in that state of mind, sometimes. That was definitely the hardest.
Q) How would you describe Elise in Season 1?
SB: Romantic, independent, stubborn. She’s adventurous. Just looking for a place to call home.
Q) How would you describe Elise in Season 2?
SB: I wouldn’t really describe her any differently, except maybe a little more hopeful because she is going home. I think there is that hope there that she has finally found it. She’s finally found home.
Q) How would you describe Cassidy in Season 2?
WC: She’s a fireball. Cassidy is a little conservative. She’s intelligent and strong and loves the people that she loves. She doesn’t care so much for the people that she doesn’t (love). I feel like she doesn’t make too hard of an effort with someone that she is not jiving with right off the bat. It’s not a vicious thing. It is just who she is.
Q) In what way, if any, do you believe Elise has changed from Season 1 to Season 2?
SB: She has always been running from something. You can tell from Season 1 that she has always been running. There is just something after Season 1 that feels a little more urgent, I think. I think she is a little more unstable. A little more desperate. A little more hopeful to find home.
Q) What was your favorite monologue from Season 1?
SB: The monologue after we have all hung out and talked, maybe episode three. The way it was written it was just so nice to say. It was so long ago though, I can’t really remember. I download scripts into my brain and then once I’m done I just like “delete, delete, delete.”
WC: I feel like I’m molding monologues from the second season into first season. So, I don’t know.
Q) What aspect or aspects of your character really resonate with you and why?
SB: I think the romantic side to Elise. Like that question that Jen asked her, “What do you want out of life?” The way that she answers that, I resonate with that so much. Just in the way that she just really hopes for something brighter in the future. That there is just something better out there for her in the future. She just knows it is there and she really believes or hopes that things will get better. I have that romantic kind of way that I think about the future. I just believe. I just feel like there is something great out there. I tend to over romanticize that, I think.
WC: I think that I value relationships like Cassidy does. I think, again, the people that mean a lot to her. She just really would go to the deep depths of the sea to do things for. I think that you’re going to see that. I feel the same way. I am so lucky for the people in my life and I would do anything for them.
Q) Describe Season 2 in three words?
SB: I don’t know. I hate playing the word game. I always just want to keep talking. I would say that I feel it is a little more fast-paced. It’s not one word. I don’t know. Can it be more suspenseful than Season One? I don’t know. It’s pretty “Swerve-y.” Jason [Armstrong] just has a way of making people feel all the things, all the time. All the feels. All the feels, DONE!
WC: You’ll find out. Rollercoaster. Like, I don’t know. That three words thing, I mean you can’t really. There are so many more words than three.
Q) Sharon, you were not only the lead in Season 2, but also one of its Executive Producers. Can you tell us a little more about that experience?
SB: That was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that. I got to have a hand in casting. I got to have a hand in organizing some of the pre-production meetings and helping out with the crowd funder. I really enjoyed being part of the production side of something I am in because I am already passionate about it. It just made me push that much harder and care that much more about the thing that I was a part of. It’s nice. It’s really nice to be a little more immersed in a project that you are doing. A little more than just having the responsibility of acting. I like being responsible for my art. I like that! I definitely want to do it again in the future!
Q) Did serving as an Executive Producer change your perspective as an actor at all?
SB: No. I just got an insight into it. Not just this project alone, I also wrote, directed, produced and starred in my own short before this. So, with that experience as well, I learned how important every aspect of every other department of a production is. Whereas if you are just an actor and have only been an actor, it’s easy to just show up on set and do your job and leave. Your face is on the poster, it’s easy to feel like a big deal. I guess I learned how much of a team effort it is. It is really nice to feel that team feeling. I like that.
Q) Winny, what was it like joining Swerve for its Second Season?
WC: It was awesome. Sharon had contacted me to potentially audition if I was interested. And I was. As soon as she told me about the character breakdown and my character in relation to Elise, I was like “YEAH!” So, after I auditioned, I remember your (Sharon’s) email back to me was just a little fire emoji. When I got the part we did a table read, which I am so thankful for because I got to meet the entire cast. I didn’t work with most of the cast, actually. I am so glad that I got to meet all of them because now I can piece together a little bit of what I think it is going to look like before I get to see it. I am interested in seeing if what my vision is, is what comes out of the actual series. It was just cast so well. Good job (to Sharon). I felt really honored to be thought of to be a part of it.
Q) What was your favorite part of filming Season 2?
SB: I thought about this briefly. In the moment it was brutal. We were so tired. So sleep deprived and we started to lose our minds, I think. It was one of our biggest days and it was me, Winny and another cast member and were just sitting on the ground and we were just improving. We are just saying the stupidest things and just laughing so hard, at nothing. I don’t know. Looking back on it, it was just really nice. I remember feeling like my brain was in a lot of pain.
WC: It was like technically, by the time we got home, like a 24 hours day or like a 23 hour day.
SB: Yeah. There were brief moments in the interactions that we were having that were just really, really wonderful and funny and really nice – one of those moments to remember kind of thing for me. I just remember wanting to die sometimes from exhaustion. But when you’re doing it together. It really makes a team.
WC: You connect, like pretty easily with people that way. I didn’t know the other cast member in that scene coming in and when you go through this experience you just know what each person is going through and I think that connects you very quickly to someone else on set, which is why you feel like such a family by the end of it. Even if you are only shooting for like 7 days or 10 days or whatever it is. My favorite part actually was when Cassidy and Elise first meet. I’m not going to talk about it, because we can’t give spoilers. I imagine this will come out before everyone sees it. When you do finally see it, you will be like “that is your favorite part”? It was just that day was my first day of shooting and I was so excited.
SB: We were in a room together for the scene and we were like “so this is really happening”. (both laugh).
WC: So I can’t tell you more, but I love that day.
Q) What surprised you most in Season 1?
SB: Jen ordering her own hit.
Q) Season 1 had a very small and intimate cast. What was it like in Season 2, going to a much larger cast with more episodes?
SB: I was just so much more fun. So many more people. So many more energies. It was just such an energetic set to be on. There were people around to talk to all the time. We had to film so much, very energizing.
Q) During the intense eye contact scene in Season 1, what were you thinking during that scene?
SB: I love you. I love you. I love you. I think I love you. Oh shit, I think I really like you. (laughs)
Q) What was the most uncomfortable scene to film in Season 1?
SB: There wasn’t anything too uncomfortable. I didn’t feel too uncomfortable around those ladies. We shared a room for like four days. There wasn’t anything where I felt uncomfortable around them. I didn’t feel uncomfortable.
Q) In Season 2, do we get to find out what Jen wrote in her letter to Elise?
SB: You don’t get to know. I’m a vault. I’m not saying anything!
Q) What was the most difficult aspect of filming Season 2?
SB: Something that I can’t talk about. Big spoiler. Can’t talk about.
WC: Yeah. Other than the things that we can’t talk about. Just some of the days were really long. Mentally that can mess with us as a human. So, then to rein that in and be like, “I’m not Winny right now. I’m Cassidy,” is just a little more challenging than it usually is when all things go according to plan.
Q) How much time has passed between the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2?
SB: I think it was just a couple of weeks. Not much time at all.
Q) Elise is a character that has a personality disorder. How did you prepare for that aspect of her character?
SB: I really just let the character inform me. I had a lot of conversations with Jason and just really talked it out with him. There was no studying the dynamics of a person with a personality disorder. I really just wanted to make Elise, just Elise. I just wanted to be true to the character that Jason wrote. So, really just developing the character with him (Jason).
Q) What is one thing that each of you will take away from this experience and apply towards future projects?
SB: Communication is always key. A happy set equals a good movie.
WC: I think just appreciating all the moving parts of a set. Understanding that everyone really has a key job to do, otherwise it is not going to get done. Just trying to merge into this moving vehicle with patience and grace.
Q) Now for some questions provided by our readers. This one is from Alaina Bryan @IrishLaina for Sharon. Sharon, what was it like to go from Danny (in “Carmilla”) who was so strong and confident to Elise who is so broken and confused? Do you see any similarities?
SB: Those characters are very different. The main similarity I do see between them is that they are both very stubborn, and so am I. That is something else that I think we all have in common. The characters are very different. There isn’t any going from one character to another. Danny was a character that I did and then dropped. Months later I picked up Elise. There really isn’t a transition. Every time you get a new character you just kind of jump into their skin and try to make each character as different as possible.
Q) This is a question from Chloe Stothers @CSRizzoli23 for both of you. Who has been your inspiration to make you want to get into acting?
WC: It’s just evolved so much over the years. I remember being a little girl watching Pretty Woman and being like, “Oh, I want to be Julia Roberts!” I even think that I wrote that on my college application because that question was on there. It was for an acting school. I think as we evolve and grow as humans that changes. Currently, I am in love with Judd Apatow and his wife Leslie Mann. I find a lot of inspiration from them. I love their comedy. I also find inspiration from Sharon. We were talking yesterday about how in Toronto, specifically women in film are supportive of one another. That in and of itself inspires me to want to be a stronger woman in this industry. It makes me feel like there is longevity in this industry. There is inspiration all around.
SB: I totally agree. I’ve never had one inspiration. For me how it began was just something I liked doing. I did high school theatre and community theatre. There wasn’t any person where I was like “I want to be this person.” It was just the way I felt when I was acting, that was the person I wanted to be – me that happy. That is the person I wanted to be all the time. That is what inspires me, this passion for acting. This feeling that I felt when I was doing it. And exactly what you said Winny. The women in this industry are just so inspiring and they keep it going.
Q) This question is from Nancy Sinapi @1wiccangirl for Sharon, have you ever written anything? If not would you like to?
SB: I made a short film about a year ago. I did it with a friend. It was just about a year and a half ago that I started writing. I wrote a couple of features and then wrote a short film. Then, I went to my friend and said, “Let’s just make a movie for free. No money. Let’s just make a movie.” He said okay, so I wrote a film – a short film that we filmed it in my apartment and we just made it. I mean, it ended up costing money. I mean, let’s be real folks. But we did do it on a real shoe-string budget. It’s just a drama between two women and I don’t really want to talk too much about it right now. I’m just seeing where it goes right now. Hopefully, it will be places within the next year. I do enjoy writing. I am trying to get into it a little bit more.
Q) And one final question from JSn Armstrong @SkinlessJSn for both of you. Is it true if you spoil plot things the director sends wraiths for your soul?
SB: Yeah, I believe it was in my contract. It was a deal with the devil kind of thing. You just kind of signed your life away.
WC: I just want to shout out a big spoiler right now to see what happens. Like does it happen right away?
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