Maiara Walsh is an actress who has been on shows like “Cory in the House,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Switched at Birth” and she is starring in the feature film “The Starving Games.” This film is from famed parody writers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer and comes out on November 8th.
I was able to ask Maiara about her lead role in the film, how she got into acting, and what advice she would give to aspiring actors.
Art Eddy: You are starring in the film “The Starving Games” that comes out on November 8th. Tell me a bit about your role and the film.
Maiara Walsh: The film is a parody of movies including “The Hunger Games,” “Avatar,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “The Hobbit,” etc. I play Kantmiss Evershot, the protagonist of the story who ends up in extremely absurd situations as she tries to make it out of “The Starving Games” alive.
AE: The film is a parody of “The Hunger Games.” Are you a fan of that film?
MW: I love “The Hunger Games.” I’ve read all the books. I wanted to be Katniss Everdeen. At the end of the day I got to step in her shoes, although in this case I got to step into the ridiculous world of spoof making, which was totally surreal. We’re not making “Winter’s Bone” here, we made a film that can entertain people and show us that our addiction to these genre films is comical, myself included.
AE: Taking a look at the trailer, the film looks funny. What was it like to work with the cast?
MW: “The Starving Games” was the most fun I have ever had on a set. We all knew what we were getting ourselves into, and that made the general attitude on set super playful. The cast was an absolute blast. One of my favorite memories was finding an abandoned train outside our hotel and spending hours hanging out on top of it.
There was this creepy mist that overtook the field and we were half terrified half thrilled. We ended up in the hotel fountain like something out of Friends. We shot right outside of New Orleans so every weekend we would go into the city and explore. Also, nothing beats walking down Bourbon Street on Halloween in New Orleans.
AE: Were there any scenes that got a cast member to keep on cracking up that caused a lot of retakes?
MW: The infamous Cave Scene with Cody Christian. It was Cody’s first ‘sex scene’ if you can even call it that. And we were quite literally rolling around in dirt stripped down to almost nothing. There was absolutely nothing sexy about it and neither of us could stop laughing.
There was a point where I had to hide my head from camera and you could see my entire body shaking from laughing so hard. The directors got pissed, the only time I heard them angry. He said, ‘You don’t laugh when you take a man’s pants off!’ Cody and I came up with as many ridiculous positions as we could. They rolled the camera for 9 minutes straight. We were a mess after, physically and emotionally. (Laughs.)
AE: You have a few other projects such as “A Chance of Rain” and “Friend Zone.” Can you tell me about those projects?
MW: “Friend Zone” is a film about an indie app developer, Lucas Neff who falls for a girl, me, in a very serious relationship, and how much they are both willing to risk for their connection.
“A Chance of Rain” is about a young photographer, Matt Lanter, who tries to raise money for the water crisis in Africa, but through personal crisis has to make serious life changes.
The most recent project I worked on is called “VANish,” where I play a young kidnapped victim forced on a road trip to meet my father, played by Danny Trejo, to acquire ransom money. The entire film takes place inside my captor’s van.
AE: What got you into acting? Were you inspired by an actor?
MW: I’ve loved performing for as long as I can remember. I knew what I wanted to do from an early age. I’m more inspired now by actors than I was when I was little. I love Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman, Sam Rockwell, Javier Bardem, just to name a few.
AE: Do you remember what it was like to land your first role? Did anyone give you advice on that set?
MW: I booked my first audition. It was for a doll commercial. I remember thinking, wow, this is easy! Then I didn’t book another job for 8 months and I was like, okay, this is going to take more dedication than I had anticipated. The best advice I have ever gotten is if you want something to happen, you have to do it yourself.
AE: What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
MW: Take your career into your own hands! Don’t wait around for an agent or manager or ‘perfect’ opportunity. If you’re not working? Write something! Shoot something! Take an acting class! Don’t have the money to do so? Start an acting class with your friends where you can coach one another. Whatever you do, be proactive and develop an unshakable work ethic.
Make sure you have fun though, remind yourself you do this because you love it. And at the end of the day, persistence, persistence, persistence. Never ever give up and know that your vision will shift with time and that’s okay, because usually it grows into something even better than you expected.
AE: When you are not working, what are some things you like to do in your spare time?
MW: I write. I’m on my second feature film. I sing and write my own lyrics. I have two music videos that will come out in the next month. I make art. I read, I travel. I love adventure. I just got back from a solo trip to Europe for 7 weeks. I live and breathe creative projects. There’s nothing creatively I don’t want to do. I work my ass off. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.