Odd Brodsky is a zany, uplifting and lovable comedy about the escapades of 30-something Audrey Brodsky (Tegan Ashton Cohen) who quits her unfulfilling day job to seek and conquer her lifelong dream of becoming an actress. When Audrey meets an aspiring cameraman (Matthew Kevin Anderson) and moves in with a sexy new roommate (Scotty Dickert) the adventures of her new life finally begin. I recently interviewed the lead actors Tegan and Scotty where we discussed when they first caught the acting bug, their personal struggles as working actors and why it was important for both of them to be apart of this movie. Odd Brodsky is about following your bliss and creating magic in your own life. Good film to watch the start of a New Year.
Tegan Ashton Cohen
How old were you when you first caught the acting bug? What was the first role you ever played?
I’m pretty sure I was just born this way, if my parents are to be believed. We have me on tape at two and a half reciting the opening witches scene from MacBeth. I used to close myself into the closet and instruct my mother to introduce me as my favorite character du jour, “And now, recently returned from her tour performing for the crown heads of Europe, it’s Dorothy! (or Alice, Snow White, etc.)” Then I’d make my entrance, hands aloft, thanking my adoring (albeit imaginary) audience.
The first official role I remember playing was a clown in the kindergarten circus. I pushed another clown on stage in a baby stroller, and she kept throwing her teddy bear for me to pick up. On the third throw, she jumped out and hid when I went to get the bear. Where did she go? I give up! I sat in the stroller and she reappeared to wheel me off. Prescient, since I grew up to own a clown company.
What was it about this project that made you want to become involved?
The people. A dear friend and fellow actor taught me to always “Bet the people”. I have known and admired Cindy Baer and Matt Irving for many years. Then the material was just so darned delightful, simply being able to audition was exciting enough.
How did it feel taking on your first lead role?
It was an honor and a challenge, because I had never considered myself a “Lead”. Those are simply not the kind of opportunities typically presented to someone like me, to someone who looks like me. Then again, there aren’t a lot of characters written like Audrey.
I initially submitted myself for one of the supporting girlfriends. But Cindy asked if I might be interested in coming in for Audrey, and you don’t say no to that. When I got the role, I had no doubt that I was ready for it. Odd Brodsky may be my one shot at carrying a feature, so I was in it to win it.
Could you identify with Audrey and her struggles of becoming a working actress?
Absolutely! But any creative person should be able to identify with Audrey’s struggle. Any person with a dream for something more, anything more, should be able to identify with Audrey. That’s what makes this film so universally charming. We get her. She is a part of all of us, regardless of what you may choose to pursue.
Can you tell me some of your favourite moments working with the cast and crew of Odd Brodsky?
Tough to choose a favorite! At its core the project was so funny and uplifting it informed a lot of our day-to-day interactions on set with the cast and crew.
My co-leads, Matthew Kevin Andersen and Scotty Dickert, were a delight. There’s a scene when we’re all sitting in a bathtub together. I remember the feeling of actor camaraderie squished between them, and I thought to myself, “This is the life…”
How old were you when you first caught the acting bug? What was the first role you ever played?
Very young when I first caught the acting bug. My dad used to have me watch old movies all the time and I quickly found myself being in awe of the actors and productions. Soon I started imitating the actors. I began seeing how far I could take things and if I could get people to believe something I was creating… playing jokes… pranking friends; I don’t think I knew it at the time, but I guess I was subconsciously fulfilling this inner desire to practice acting. I was in fourth grade when I landed my first big role in the school play, Gone Fishing. Haha.
What was it about this project that made you want to be a part of it?
When I moved out to Los Angeles, I had made up my mind that I would stop at nothing to become a successful actor. I was with my first agent when Odd Brodsky came to me in the form of an audition… one of very few theatrical auditions at that point in my career, to be honest! I knew that I had to make the most of it and that I was perfect for the role. I did my research, found out who was involved behind the camera and what they had done. I watched director Cindy Baer’s first feature, Purgatory House, on Netflix to get a feel for her work (even though it’s very different from Odd Brodsky) and watched some of the titles on cinematographer Matthew Irving’s impressive list of movies to try to wrap myself in the world of a film I really didn’t know much about yet.
Before my callback I was in touch with the casting director, sending photos as I got myself into shape for the role before I had even gotten it. I went on a very intense diet and workout plan, I literally started living the life of Spuds before anyone in the real world told me I got the role. It wasn’t until a month after my callback that it was offered to me and I was finally entrusted with the full script. I remember having this innate excitement as I read it… I couldn’t fly through the digital pages fast enough!
Was there something in the role as Spuds (Steve) that you have been able to harness and use in other roles since?
As an actor you’re always learning and building confidence with each role you play and each experience you’re gifted with. Odd Brodsky was the first film I worked on that felt like we were a family day in and day out. Since wrapping, I have been fortunate to book several tv shows and movies, and I happen to book the “stoner-type” quite often. Surprise! OB’s one of the first chances I got to play a role like that, which set the ground work for how I would approach that type of character later on shows like Workaholics and in movies like XOXO. I make conscious character choices with each role to make them different and give them a noticeable uniqueness, even when they’re in the same realm or genre, while making sure not to lose the groundwork that the audience wants to see. I also learned the importance of “time” through playing Spuds. So many actors feel rushed, especially in auditions, when one of the wisest and most effective things you can do is slow down the room and own the moments between the lines.
Did/Do you have a mentor when you first started out in this business? How important is having a mentor?
I wish I could say that I did because I think that having someone to guide you can get you farther faster as well as make you way more comfortable in a crazy, intense, cut-throat new world; but I had to figure everything out on my own. The only fortunate thing that really fell into my lap without hard work was a connection my dad had with a business associate of his, whose daughter knew an agent that I was able to meet with. Yeah… a friend of a friend whose dog knew a guy… that whole bit! And that got me started with the whole process of figuring out one of the most important things in this industry… building a team around you that believes in you and gets you opportunities.
After quite a few years, I finally found an acting coach that blew my mind and became far more than a coach but a great friend and mentor- Eden Bernardy. Sadly, she passed away a couple months ago; but I will be forever grateful for the time and relationship I was able to have with her. I can’t imagine anything comparing to that and I largely have her to thank for where I am now and am heading as an actor.
What was it like working with the famous (his words) Matthew Kevin Anderson?
Who now?… Ahhhh… Matthew… Matthew Kev… Anders… Ohhh! The host of MTV Select in 2003?! Now I know who you’re talking about. Camera One in Odd Brodsky. In all seriousness, MKA as he is sometimes referred to, was an awesome guy to work with. He’s such a talented actor, one of those people you work with that makes a scene fun and easy. It comes as no surprise that he continues to book bigger and bigger projects and I’m happy to see such a good dude and dedicated actor find success. I know Matt will be around for a long time. It was really fun working with him as well as Tegan Ashton Cohan. Matt would always say, “Man, this chemistry is so hot right now. It’s just sizzlin’.” And he would just keep saying that… every day… over and over… Or would he?…
You’re also a musician, what was it like having one of your songs in the film? How much fun was the making of the music video Hands Up? Was this the first time your love of music and acting has crossed over? Are you looking to have them cross over again in the future?
My band, Reasons Be, and I actually wrote the song “Hands Up” for the movie. It’s about Audrey Brodsky’s journey and finding a place where she feels like she fits in. So it was awesome that production decided to put it in the movie and make a music video. We had a blast shooting it! We got to film on –not only one of the biggest green screen stages I’ve ever shot on– but one of the biggest I’ve seen. My band and I had the easy part… show up for a day and have fun. Cindy had to do the real work!
Acting and music have crossed over many times. I’ve been fortunate to get my music on some tv shows and in films, some that I’ve starred in and others that I have not. I look at my artistic passions like this – Though music has always been a love of mine and we still write and record for placement and other artists, acting is my career, my love, my heart. The two art forms often cross over and the ultimate dream would be to have a career in the vein of Jared Leto’s. I think there will always be places in my career where music opportunities will present themselves and I’ll be more than happy to embrace them when they do.
Watch “Odd Brodsky” through iTunes click the link below!