Australian actress Jenni Baird first hit it big as a recurring cast member on the popular, award-winning Aussie TV drama, “All Saints.” Now she’s moving up to the big-screen with R.W. Goodwin’s Alien Trespass, a funny, affectionate homage to cheesy sci-fi movies of the 1950s. Baird stars as Tammy, a waitress who spots an alien spaceship. Unfortunately, the creatures aboard the ship are not the benevolent kind—their arrival on Earth could mean the end of civilization. So Tammy joins forces with an astronomer (“Will and Grace”‘s Eric McCormack) in order to save the human race from the destructive, deadly aliens.
Just before the movie’s April 3rd release, Baird spoke with MM about the experience of working on her first feature.
Kyle Rupprecht (MM): Overall, how would you characterize your first experience acting in a feature film? Any surprises?
Jenni Baird (JB): Funnily enough, Bob, the director, needed us to move as fast as television. So my first feature experience wasn’t the long, luxurious process I thought it was going to be. What was nice was the total creative authority the director had, which is different from TV, where you have to satisfy network requirements a lot of the time.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. Bob had full faith in his casting, which always allows for the actors to trust their choices and feel supported. There weren’t any surprises, really, except for how fun it was almost the whole time.
MM: What attracted you to the role of Tammy in Alien Trespass?
JB: She’s a kick-ass, go-get-’em girl! Plus, I got to try out a different acting style, and I loved that it was a period piece.
MM: As the film is an homage to the classic 1950s sci-fi movies, did you try to perform in the melodramatic acting style featured in cult classics such as The Blob and It Came From Outer Space?
JB: Yes, I tried to emulate the style of the day. Even though it was larger than life, I still had to commit to the truth of every scene. Once I worked out the style, it made all the dialogue make sense and flow.
MM: Your co-stars in Alien Trespass are Eric McCormack, Dan Lauria and Robert Patrick. What was it like working with these veteran actors in your feature film debut?
JB: It was a true pleasure. My stage training kept me in good stead alongside Eric, and Dan is also stage-trained. Once you share that discipline, you tend to flow into the process together.
MM: In addition to your burgeoning movie career, you’ve also been a regular on such TV shows as “The 4400” and “All Saints.” In terms of acting, is there much difference between the two media? Do you prefer one over the other?
JB: I love both. I love the singular nature of film and that it is a piece of finite art, but the ongoing nature of television is a different challenge and I love that the fun keeps going.
MM: What do you have coming up next?
JB: That’s what will be exciting to find out!
Roadside Attractions will release Alien Trespass on April 3, 2009.