Gavin Schmitt Interviews Actress Victoria Summer
I had the pleasure of speaking with Victoria Summer in early August 2010. She is an English actress living in Los Angeles. Allow me to share this with you and get the very first news on “Dracula Reborn” (affiliate link) before it even hits the Internet Movie Database!
Actress and singer Victoria Summer is best known for her role as Julie Andrews in Saving Mr. Banks, and a supporting role in Transformers: Age of Extinction.
GS: Despite a successful career on the stage, you’re new on the film scene. So, tell us about Victoria Summer.
VS: I’m an actress and singer from England. I started to perform at age three as a ballerina which led into acting, singing, piano and modeling. After landing many lead roles in school and local productions and studying my A-Levels at school, I won a scholarship to train up in London as a triple threat – singer/dancer/actress for a three year degree in Dance and Musical Theatre. After doing a number of musicals on London’s Broadway, I got my first lead role in a movie as Leanne in Zombie Diaries which got taken on by the Weinstein Brothers and released in the US in 2008. I moved permanently to LA in June 2009. I am currently working on my own music whilst doing print, commercials, film and voice overs here in LA and I just wrapped the lead role as ‘Lina’ in ‘Dracula Reborn.’ Life is very busy, I work hard and I like it that way!
GS: And I hear you’re still taking ballet now? Is this a personal or professional hobby?
VS: As I said, I started ballet aged three and I went on to train professionally, doing ballet everyday as basic dance training at stage school – Arts Educational Schools, London. Now I do ballet once a week as a hobby here in LA because I enjoy it and it maintains my fitness and flexibility.
GS: Haven’t I heard you singing in clubs around the Los Angeles / Hollywood area?
VS: Yes. I have sung at a number of locations in Los Angeles; for example ‘Crustacean’ in Beverly Hills. Just last weekend I was singing a forty-five minute set with a seven piece band at a Celebrity Gala in Hollywood. I sing mainly adult contemporary and I look to the likes of Sade, Karen Carpenter and Ella Fitzgerald for inspiration.
GS: I have to ask, because people love gossip… any names or stories at this celebrity gala we can mention?
VS: It was a wonderful, classy event… no dirt to dish…
GS: As an English native, what was the biggest “culture shock” about coming to America?
VS: Everything is so big in America! That is from the food portions, to the roads to the cars and people’s personalities… In England we are somewhat more reserved you could say! When I go back to the UK now I feel like I am in toy town – I also realised that the car parking spaces in the UK are tiny!
GS: How has parallel parking been?
VS: I always go for the larger spots to save any embarrassment! I have to watch the high curbs in the US… I drive a sports car and need to be careful when opening the door… that is it. I love cars and I love driving.
GS: As you mentioned, horror fans might recognize you as Leeann from “The Zombie Diaries”. For those who missed it, what was this film about and how did you fit in?
VS: In ZD Leeann is a reporter documenting an unknown virus spreading through the populace at an alarming rate. Here is an excellent overview of the film I think you may be interested to read. [Victoria sent a review, which is attached below… it is worth reading.]
GS: Your next horror project is “Dracula Reborn”. You’re playing the lead, Lina Harker. I heard this takes place in modern-day LA but otherwise news is not leaking very fast. What can you tell us?
VS: I can tell you that we filmed all the scenes in Los Angeles; Downtown, Malibu and on a stage set-up in Van Nuys. The film is very well cast and is a modern take on the Bram Stoker classic. It has some interesting twists and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product. It should be released end of 2010 or early 2011.
GS: Other than yourself, I have heard nothing about the cast… who else is in it? Who is Dracula?
VS: Dracula is played by a British actor, Stuart McKenna. He has been in LA a lot longer than I have – I really was the new girl in town on set… Stuart does an excellent job as Dracula (Viscount Vladimir Sarkany is his full name…). He has done a lot of work in LA previously as a Tom Cruise look alike which I was amused to find out… he has some great stories and we joked around on set that after the movie was wrapped we would start showing up places and I would be his Katie Holmes…! [Among other places, you can see Stuart as Cruise in “Meet the Spartans”.]
My husband is played by Corey Landis, he plays the role of Jonathan Harker and we had some nice scenes together… a little raunchy at times… we love each other, we are newlyweds… what can I say…
GS: The film’s producer is Ray Haboush, who had a big hit with the remake of “Last House on the Left”. How was working with Ray, what kind of character is he?
VS: I just finished working with Ray for the last four weeks and it has been a pleasure – we joked around a lot on set and it was a great atmosphere to work in although we spent long hours on set, Ray did a good job of keeping us all upbeat. As an actress, I like to be given trust and freedom to interpret a role as I please and Ray was unquestioning in my creative choices. I didn’t find ‘Lina’ a tough role to play. In many, many way we are incredibly alike. Ray told me after offering me the role that he had found it hard to find a ‘Lina’. They had been casting for a while before I snapped up the role in the tail-end of call-backs.
GS: In what ways are you and Lina similar… and where did you have to stretch your range as an actress?
VS: Lina is sweet, honest and fun… she has a sharp tongue.
I have never had to have so much blood in my mouth on any movie before… it was poured into my mouth take after take after take for one particular scene. Red coloured corn syrup… it took me a while to get over that one just mentally because it felt very real at the time. That was my best scene and the hardest scene… it took a lot of patience and the shot had to look just right… I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
GS: Do you have any dirt you can share on David Hasselhoff?
VS: Why David Hasselhoff??
GS: Oh, that’s just my thing…
VS: In my early teens I was obsessed with Baywatch… but I haven’t crossed paths with David just yet!
GS: What is on the horizon for Victoria Summer that fans should be on the lookout for?
VS: I am in talks with producers and directors regarding my next film role and for right now, I am going to continue to work on my music with my producer here in Los Angeles with a view to getting into the studio and finally recording which I am excited about!