Featuring Jake’s Insights on American Woman and lessons about trust and connecting with the actors.
Each year SHOOT Magazine releases a Fall Director’s Showcase to spotlight the noteworthy projects and people of the season. This year, they’ve spotlighted RSA’s own Director Jake Scott and his latest feature film American Woman, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
When recalling the original attraction to the script, Jake shares with SHOOT, “The quality of the writing for American Woman caught me–it was about a woman’s struggles and resilience. The character was very compelling. I was drawn to the drama, the character, the stories involved.” He continues, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and A Woman Under the Influence were in the back of my mind when I read Brad’s work. It was a great character study that I really wanted to get my teeth into.”
He also shares the obstacles that he and the crew had to overcome in order to make things work seamlessly: “The film takes place over more than a decade which means there are certain things you had to pay attention to in order to properly depict the passage of time–particularly since we shot for just 27 days,” related Jake. “We got lucky with the weather in terms of seasonal changes.”
Another challenge was “to tell the story of a woman with a perspective detached from the male gaze,” continued Jake. To do that meant “being true to the characters and to honor them, to be as truthful as you can possibly be about this woman’s mistakes and struggles. With Sienna, Christina Hendricks (as Deb’s sister) and Amy Madigan (Deb’s mother), we had great actresses to make sure things didn’t go the wrong way.”
But overall, Jake calls the entire experience “a breath of fresh air.“ He continues, “I can still learn and this movie taught me about trusting my actors more than maybe I had before,” he assessed. “With this cast and Sienna’s performance, I realized fully that good actors can be like magical beings. If you encourage and support them, they can do amazing things. Directing is about connecting with your actors, letting them know they will be supported when they take risks and extend themselves.”