Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Actor's Corner: Ricki Lake, PARK

Kurt Voelker's film, PARK (Screening Wednesday, 3/28 at 7:30PM and Thursday, 3/29 at 9:45PM) plays like a multi-character comedy of manners West Hollywood-style. Set in a handful of different cars parked but with several places to go. Among an eclectic cast including William Baldwin, Cheri Oteri and Treach is none other than Ricki Lake. Making a return to the big screen after eleven years, Lake teams with Oteri as a woman and her best friend spying on her cheating husband , which launches her into the possibilities and risks of a major life change.

Q: After several years focusing on television, what was it about PARK that brought you back to film?

A: After completing 11 years on my talk show, I was very excited about the idea of getting back into acting. I have two sons (ages 9 and 5) and I made a commitment to them to not go on location for long periods of time. Park turned out to be a wonderful script and just so happened to shoot in Los Angeles. I also loved the character of Peggy and could identify with her.

Q: You have had great success both acting and hosting - if you could only do one, which would you ultimately choose?

A: That is a really tough question. Hmm. I have been so lucky in my career that I have not had to choose. So many people think of me as solely a talk show host. People don’t know that I have worked on more than 15 films and a dozen TV shows. These days I can also be called executive producer. I have a documentary called The Business of Being Born premiering next month at The Tribeca Film Festival.

Q: How many takes were ruined because Cheri Oteri made you break on camera?

A: Cheri and I cracked each other up constantly. She is hilarious and a really good actress. We laughed the most during our lesbian kiss. I think she spit in my mouth a couple of times.

Q: What has the reaction been to your role from your gay and lesbian friends?

A: My friends, gay and straight thought my character's sexual identity crisis was very believable. My lesbian friends thought it was hot!

Q: Kurt Voelker said that your first day on the set included one of your most emotional scenes. How do you personally ramp it up with no warm up (so to speak) to pull off a scene like that without a couple scenes in character already under your belt?

A: I don't know. I think I just focused on my past memories from my own very difficult divorce.

Q: Because of the nature of everyone shooting scenes in their various cars, are there any cast members you have yet to meet?

A: I have since met the entire cast but I hadn’t met a lot of them during the shooting.

Lake will appear at PARK's first screening on Wednesday, March 28.