In part one of my interview with actress and dancer, Dawn Noel, we talked about our hometown South Philly and left off with a short film she produced and starred in with Chad Coleman… yes, my little walkers, that Chad Coleman better known to all us fans as Tyreese on “The Walking Dead.” Dawn is now working on another short film called Twenty Two Years. Does South Philly produce more than its share of talented stars? Find out after the jump.
Marie Gilbert: “Well, you know they say that Philadelphia produces a lot of stars. That’s the truth and we’re very talented in South Philly. Was it hard moving out to L.A.? Are you away from your family, or did they move out with you?”
Dawn Noel: “No, I still have some family in South Philly and I have another brother that moved to Phoenix, so my mother lives in Phoenix now with my brother for the last couple of years, but she comes out and visits. She’ll come out next month and she’ll come out and stay with me for a month a couple of times a year and she’ll stay with my brother in Philly for a bit of time so she hops around and spends time with all her kids. Now my family is kind of scattered and I’m the only one here, but I’ve always been pretty independent.”
Marie Gilbert: “So there’s no chance of you moving back East?”
Dawn Noel: “Yeah and I couldn’t deal with the weather anymore. I can’t do those winters, no way.”
Marie Gilbert: “I don’t blame you.”
Dawn Noel: “It’s seventy degrees right now and sunny every day. I could go to the beach if I want and it’s a little more relaxed.”
Marie Gilbert: “Yeah, it’s getting cold back here. I do have a question to ask you about “Project Abaddon,” a sci-fi pilot. I watched the pilot trailer and it was very interesting and you play Lt. Roslyn Chavez, the pilot in this film. Is it coming out soon?”
Dawn Noel: “Yes and, this would be a huge game changer for me. I just got off the phone with the writer right before you called me and he’s basically trying to find funding to shoot this first pilot. Sony is interested and the SyFy channel is interested in it and when this does happen, it will be a huge deal because I would be a series regular and I would love to play this character, a lead character in a T.V. show. She’s a very tough, strong woman and I love strong women characters.”
Marie Gilbert: “I watched the clip that was on your website and I’m saying this is an amazing sci-fi show and I can see this taking off. I’m always looking for good shows to write about. Talking about interesting shows, how did you meet Chad (Tyreese of “The Walking Dead”) Coleman? He was in Shattered Pitch with you, but did you work with him in other films?”
Dawn Noel: “He was in a film in New York that my friend produced and that’s how we met and we remained friends ever since, and have a lot of mutual acting friends from New York. We met about five years ago and we always just worked together.”
Marie Gilbert: “If you could get a part in “The Walking Dead,” would you do it?”
Dawn Noel: “Oh my God, yeah. I don’t watch the show, really, but absolutely I mean we actors just want to work and we want to work on good projects: good writing, good directing and good actors.”
Marie Gilbert: “Like I said early, I’m really enjoying the web series “Sistah Did What?” And even though I’ve only seen the four episodes, it’s hilarious. I love your character, Carmen. There was this scene in episode four about this strange girl who was so obnoxious and crazy. Your reaction to her had me thinking, this is how someone in South Philly would handle a crazy person. This was before I knew you were from South Philly. How did you get involved with the show?”
Dawn Noel: “I just auditioned.”
Marie Gilbert: “Well, I’m enjoying the series, but how does it work? Do you have a large audience for this show?”
Dawn Noel: “Yes and no. I think they’ve become more popular and a lot of people in L.A. do web series. It’s cheaper to do and they are about five to eight minutes long each episode because people’s attention span is less and less these days and they kind of do it almost as a trial. If people like a show then hey it’s cheaper to shoot a web series.
We did all four episodes in two day, and if a Network is interested then… it’s almost like “Project Abbadon” we just shot the trailer and it gives an idea because people can’t afford to shoot a whole series, so web series have become popular and if they’re really good on YouTube and get big numbers then. I think “Sistah Did What?” is very specific. You know its comedy and it’s mostly an urban cast.
Marie Gilbert: “I guess I’m enjoying it because I grew up in a city. Do you enjoy the acting or dancing more?”
Dawn Noel: “Well, physically, I think my body was in a very different place when I was dancing all the time, but you know, you do a show like Lion King and you wear and tear your body. There was a point when dance was my “end all, be all” and that’s what I did from morning until night. I taught dance, I taught kids, but your body changes and then I noticed my passion changed, so now, I enjoy acting more than dancing.
I’m not really dancing that much anymore, but I’m sure if a job comes up or a film of course I’ll be fine, but my focus is now acting. Sometimes it’s hard to spread your focus out, but I’m sure at some point, I’ll have another passion. Maybe in anther ten years I might want to move out of the country to continue writing or be a casting director or producer.”
Marie Gilbert: “Well, you produced Shattered Pitch and you’re working on producing another short, so maybe you will be a producer or director. If you could star on any television series or film, what would you have loved to be in?”
Dawn Noel: “I like “Orange is the New Black” and “NCIS” I like those cop, tough girl roles, and series with strong women like lawyers, cops, detectives and major crimes, that kind of stuff for T.V. and maybe when I’m older a part like Julianna Margulies in “The Good Wife”
For film, I enjoy more Indie Films, very artistic films and I would like to do martial arts. I do Kung Fu style with wing chun and I would love to play a character where I’m kicking butt using martial arts and stunts because I’ve done some stunts in Men In Black 3. Yeah, I want to kick butt and chase people, but that’s not who I am in person.”
Marie Gilbert: “Hey, you might still get that part in “The Walking Dead.” Now if you could star in a film with any lead male in a series or film, who would it be?”
Dawn Noel: “Hmm, I don’t know, but for females, I know who I look up to, Meryl Streep. I love Merle Streep and I’m very much like a Michelle Rodriguez character, or a Leah Remini, or Jennifer Lopez; I always end up playing that type of character. As for a male actor, it would be Javier Bardem; he’ brilliant.”
Marie Gilbert: “I know you did back-up dancing with the big stars, but who did you have the most fun with?”
Dawn Noel: “Madonna.”
Marie Gilbert: “Really, I know she acted wild, but I’ve often wondered if she was that way in real life.”
Dawn Noel: “Well, by the time I worked with her when I did the Reinvention Tour, she had her kids and she was into Kabbalah, so she was a different woman. She was a mother. She was very strict with her kids and they were very well behaved. Madonna didn’t party at all and in fact until we had a break after the first three months of the tour, between rehearsals and performing she didn’t have one drink. We were going to have two weeks off and she had a party and was like, “I can cheat and have a drink.” But, she was so disciplined and hardworking and one of the most professional women I have ever been around. She’s the boss! She’s Madonna!
Marie Gilbert: “I’m happy to hear that because I’ve always loved her. Before we end are there any projects that you’re working on now?”
Dawn Noel: “I’m doing a table reading for a web series this Saturday and waiting on the Project Abaddon to see if that’s coming up. My life isn’t as glamorous as people may think. I’m a physical trainer and that’s how I pay my bills while waiting for the next job. You don’t become rich just because you’re an actor. In that case you should have been a doctor or a lawyer. There’s a lot of rejection and auditions and you just have to have faith.”
My short film is just about done being written with co-writer, Bashir Gavriel. I’m just cleaning it up before we get it registered and that’s a go, then I’ll start being a producer and cast it, get my location and raise the money to actually do it. It’s a beautiful story and it’s about a woman who hasn’t seen her father in twenty-two years and now he wants to come back into her life after leaving the family when she was young. It’s about forgiveness and I’ve been working on this for over a year. Some of it is personal, some is fictional and some I’ve pulled from other people’s stories, but it’s something that I want to express and share with the world because people can relate to that.”
Marie Gilbert: “Well you are a strong woman character and I saw that while watching the trailer for “Project Abbadon” and I absolutely love “Sistah Did What?.” I’m so happy that Anna introduced us and that you’re from South Philly and a neighbor, so you know that I’ll be promoting you and your film.”
Dawn Noel: “Thank you. You’re so sweet.”
Marie Gilbert: “Well, we South Philly girls have to look out for each other.
So there you have it my little walkers. Keep your eye on Dawn Noel because she is a rising star and she’s going places and that’s how we South Philly girls roll! And, thanks to Dawn Noel, little ole Steampunk Granny will be getting a chance to interview Chad Coleman. Thank you, Dawn.