Sometimes in life, with talent, tenacity, and a lot of creativity, you’re able to live the life of your dreams. This is true of Juliet Landau, as she gets to wear the hats of actor, director, and author, among other things. Landau lives a life where she immerses herself in all of her creative abilities, and has some amazing projects in the works.
The Tidbit: You’ve recently joined the Amazon series, Bosch. What has that experience been like, and how is working on a series for a streaming service different than working on a standard cable series?
Juliet Landau: It’s been such a creatively fulfilling experience. It’s always a joy when you are working with people at the top of their craft. It’s supremely inspiring to be working with Titus Welliver and the rest of the cast. This would include Michael Connelly, Eric Overmyer, Daniel Pyne, Tom Bernardo, Shaz Bennett, as well as the lovely crew, most of whom have been there since day one. Rita Tedesco is a multi-faceted role. She’s been living a dual life for 16 years, but now is threatened with being exposed and is terrified that all will topple down around her, that she’ll lose everything she loves and cares about. It’s nice with streaming outlets because often there are less episodes per season. For instance, instead of the traditional 22, Bosch has 10. This allows for an attention to detail and the careful building of the story arc. Also, of course, the way people watch has been revolutionized. Many people binge-watched all 10 episodes of Bosch in the first 24 hours!
TT: You just made your directorial feature film debut with A Place Among The Dead. I understand that this was a very personal project. How did you decide to share this story, and what was it like being behind the camera?
JL: Well, I’m both behind and in front of the camera in A Place Among The Dead. My husband, Deverill and I, worked closely on every aspect of the movie. I love having an idea and bringing that concept to fruition. It’s exciting to be the one responsible for every choice, for creating the whole.
We had a stellar cast of what I like to call cameos on steroids because the roles are much larger than traditional cameos. These include Gary Oldman, Ron Perlman, Robert Patrick, Lance Henriksen, Joss Whedon (my old boss from Buffy) and Anne Rice, appearing for the first time ever in a film. I feel like filmmaking is the ultimate form of communication and connection.
We recently held in-house screenings and this has been the most exciting part! The response has been so powerful and beautiful. It’s everything we’d hoped our special movie would illicit. We did one for a theater full of young people from the Midwest. They were inspired, galvanized and moved. The response was electric. They kept asking if their teacher had told us the inner thoughts they’d confided in him and if that’s why he brought them to see the picture. He didn’t even know what the movie was about and of course, hadn’t shared their private affairs!
We held three other sneak-peek screenings in LA, London and NY, which included industry notables such as Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), David Greenwalt (Grimm), Jim Kouf (Natural Treasure), Jodie Foster’s (Money Monster), David Grossman (12 Monkeys TV series), April Webster (Star Trek Beyond), Eryn Krueger Mekash (Ratched, American Crime Story) and many more!
The entire audience, many who came out crying, stayed to talk about the film unprovoked for an hour and a half afterwards every time discussing the nature of evil, their experiences with it, their own childhoods, their parenting, their unhealthy relationships, the voices in their heads which drive them, and the times they’ve ignored red flags. I truly have never experienced anything like the cascade of intensely personal stories shared at a movie before.
TT: You’ve had an incredibly successful career with a multitude of credits. You’ve also had the pleasure working alongside some impressive talent. How did it feel having some of these talents (Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe, Tim Burton, etc.) come back into your work life to appear in your film?
JL: It has been phenomenal! All of the talent in A Place Among The Dead came back to work with us on our other project as well, The Undead Series. It is a documentary and interview show. We have also talked with Tim Burton, Willem Dafoe and many other unparalleled talents! It’s a bit like Jerry Seinfeld’s, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But this is Vampire In Coffins Getting Blood! We have 35 interviews in the can already… Or should I say “in the coffin!”
TT: You’re also a voice over actress and a writer. How do you juggle successfully wearing so many different hats? What advice would you give to someone looking to get a foot in the door of the entertainment industry?
JL: The last few years have encompassed a lot of juggling. Dev and I raised the financing for both projects, co-wrote, secured the A-list talent, shot the movie, did the first pass edit of the film and then worked closely with our brilliant editor Patrick Sheffield, who cut the Bafta nominated, Tim’s Vermeer. We then started putting together The Undead Series and began shooting it while finishing all the post on the feature. This was all while I was balancing acting work. I have a personality type where I like to completely focus and submerge myself obsessively in one thing, but that has just not been possible. This is truly a quality problem… Being inspired and working at what you love is a remarkable gift. By the way, I love doing voice over!
As far as advice, I’d say work on your craft. Get as good at you can at what you do. Build relationships. Be tenacious. What do they say about performers? “You have to have the soul of a poet and the skin of an armadillo.” I think that’s true. Also, generate your own content. Make stories which explore things you really want to talk about.
TT: What other projects are you working on now?
JL: Deverill and I are penning the companion coffee table book to The Undead Series called Book Of The Undead. Dev is shooting gorgeous imagery as well as Gary Oldman, who is taking spectacular, tintype portraits on his camera from 1853.
I’m also about to start shooting a starring role in William Malone’s Thallium’s Box. Bill directed House on Haunted Hill with Geoffrey Rush and Feardotcom with Stephen Rea. We are in the throes of developing the make-up and costume design for the character.
I’m also in prelim talks with a couple of the biggie distributors on the feature and the series. The interest and momentum is exciting, but what’s most important is meeting everyone to decide the right home for our babies!
To catch up on Juliet’s next projects, be sure to follow her on social media!