The Lifetime Channel breaks with tradition a bit to present a supernatural feature about a young girl who can see the evil spirits within others. “Within” stars Mia Ford, a young up-and-coming actress, who was kind enough to answer a few questions for Skewed & Reviewed.
What is the background and setting for the film and what can you tell us about your character?
“Within” has a very suspenseful beginning where you find out that my character, Rachel Weiss, has a supernatural gift of seeing dead people and the evil that lurks inside of them. Also in the beginning of the film Rachel’s mom dies and from there she and her dad move to a new town, where they try to have a fresh start. When Rachel first arrives, she befriends a sweet looking girl named Michelle, who turns out not to be innocent as she originally appeared. While trying to cope after her mother’s death, Rachel tries to understand life with her unique gift. In addition, there is also a mystery to be solved! With the help of Rachel’s supernatural gift, she can unlock the key to solving this mystery. My character in this film has a very compelling story and depth to her, which I love!
What type of prep did you do for the role and did it differ from your usual prep for a part?
Hanelle Culpepper, the director of the film, set up a rehearsal time for my co-star, Sammi Hanratty, and I to meet before filming and to get to know each other better. She also wanted us to work on various scenes in the film so the chemistry would be better between us. This also allowed us to know our characters better. We quickly became friends. Other prep included stunt rehearsal. Hanelle hired a stunt coordinator, Lou Simon, to train us for the many stunts that would happen in the film. He was really patient with Sammi and I, and we had a lot of laughs working with him too! Learning the different stunts was a very exciting experience for me, and I hope to work on more films with stunts in my future.
Where was the film shot and what were some of the more memorable moments from filming?
The film was shot in various parts of Los Angeles. We filmed in Agoura Hills, Woodland Hills, and Glendale. I’d never really been to those towns before, so it was a great new experience for me. There’s an abundant amount of memorable moments from filming “Within” and the cast and crew were amazing people to work with. One such moment is when the director would call “cut.” At this time they would have to check this thing on the camera called the gate, so when they would begin doing this, Sammi and I would start singing the song we made up called “Checking the Gate”. It was really funny because sometimes the crew would sing along with us. Another memorable moment was when we were filming a very intense and emotional scene in the woods and, even though I didn’t have as many lines in that scene, I had to show all my emotions in my face, while also doing the different stunts, with tons of things happening around me in the scene. That scene really pushed me as an actor, and it turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
What was working with your cast like?
The cast was amazing and I was really fortunate because almost every day I would be filming with other kids, as well as wonderful adult actors. Everyone became really close friends, including the adults that I was filming with in “Within”. Whenever we had a break on set we would be playing cards or other games with each other, talking, or just hanging out together. It was a gift and an incredible experience to work on a set with many talented actors, who were also all extremely kind people. Filming “Within” was one of the best experiences of my life.
When you’re not filming, what sort of shows do you enjoy?
My absolute FAVORITE show would have to be “Friends“! I watch it every day in the summer with my older sister, Madison. We are “Friends” fanatics! Everyone on the show has impeccable comedic timing and their chemistry is just perfect. I think I’ve seen every episode a million times, but they never get old. My favorite characters are Rachel and Joey because my whole family thinks I’m just like Rachel and Joey is just hilarious! Another show I enjoy is “Modern Family“. I love how you can totally relate to the family, and Phil, a dad on the show, is goofy and silly like my dad, which I love. My other favorites include “Glee“, “The Office“, and “Psych“.
What can you tell the readers about your training in acting and about your first break?
I started taking film acting classes when I was five with a well-known acting coach, Cathryn Sullivan, and I have been taking classes with her ever since. I have a manager, an agent in Dallas, as well as a team of agents in Los Angeles that send me out on auditions, in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and sometimes other cities in the US. I’m on planes a lot! I like to think that each audition is another chance where I can train to be a better actress.
My first job I ever booked was when I think I was six years old in Dallas. It was a really funny AAA commercial where everyone except my character, including a dog, was wrapped in bubble wrap! My first job I booked in Los Angeles was another funny commercial, but this time it was for Ford Motor Company, and it had actor Jake Cherry and me. We acted fun and crazy at a Ford car lot.
I have worked on other TV, film, commercial, and voice-over projects before “Within”, but it’s probably my first big break. I had previously worked with the director of “Within”, Hanelle Culpepper, on a short film that she produced. Hanelle thought I would fit the part of Rachel for her upcoming film. She had me come in and read for the roles of both Rachel and Michelle, but in the end she thought I was a better fit playing Rachel. I had an amazing time filming “Within” with all of the kind and talented cast and crew, and I was ecstatic when I found out that it was going to premiere on Lifetime!
What movies have you seen recently and what do you have on your to-see list?
I recently fell in love with was the remake of “Karate Kid”. It had a great mix of comedy, drama, and action. The movie kept me on the edge of my seat, which made it so memorable. I’m looking forward to seeing “Life as We Know It” starring Katherine Heigl. The movie looks like it could really touch someone’s heart. Plus, I love Katherine Heigl as an actress! Another movie I am looking forward to seeing is “Due Date” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. When I saw the trailer for it I couldn’t stop laughing! “Flipped” is another wonderful upcoming film I have on my “to see” list. It has a wonderful storyline and some really talented actors attached to this project.
What future projects do you have coming up that the readers can look forward to?
The feature film “Within,” in which I play the lead role of Rachel Weiss, will be having its premiere on LIFETIME TV on July 31st at 9 PM, with additional airdates on August 15th and August 20th. I recently have worked on a film called “Wonderful World”, starring Matthew Broderick, which was in theaters and has now been released on DVD. In “Wonderful World” I play the role of Maxine, the daughter of actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, from “Modern Family”. Another project I recently completed is a short film, “Your Wedding,” from the USC Graduate Film School program, directed by Matt Mercer, a talented up and coming director. I play the role of Connie, a young girl who is dealing with the pain and adjustment of losing her big brother. It’s all filmed through the eyes of Connie and I was able to work with the cinematographer, which was a great experience.
Just for fun, what music are you listening to these days?
I really enjoy listening to Sara Bareilles and Beyonce because of the soul they have in their voices. Their music can get you out of your seat, dancing, and singing, which I think is great! Male singers who I like to listen to are Kris Allen and Justin Bieber. They are both really talented musicians, as well as singers. My mother is a professional jazz musician so I see what dedication and talent it takes to be a musician. Justin Bieber’s songs just always bring a smile to my face, and my mom and I love listening Kris Allen’s album in the car together!!!