Debut film for Samoan Actress
Audiences in NZ can check out the hilarious new comedy, Gary of the Pacific when it premieres tomorrow night.
The Kiwi feature film, from the makers of 7 days, tells the story of a struggling real estate agent ,Gary, who becomes the chief of a sinking Pacific Island. The comedy stars Josh Thomson (as Gary), Megan Stevenson, Dave Fane, Matt Whelan and Dominic Ona-Ariki,
The film also stars newcomer actress SUGA Taofi Faleala Mose-Tuiloma, 32, (Tuana’i, Ulutogia Aleipata, Sa’anapu, Vaovai Falealili) in her first film role. The Wellington based actress tells SUGA about the experience.
Congrats on your first film!
Thank you! I consider myself very lucky. The cast and crew were amazing. Our directors, The Downlow Concept (3 directors) were awesome. They believed in me from the beginning. They all knew it was my first experience and so they looked after me and were very generous in helping me throughout the process of the film.
How did you land the role?
I auditioned through my agent (Red Rocket). Directors were really happy with it and so about a couple of weeks after the initial audition, I flew up to Auckland about three times for the next audition stages. It was actually really quite hard and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it or not. It was like auditioning a million times for the same role!
What has inspired your love for acting?
If you ask any Pacific Islander where it all started, they would tell you White Sunday at church! (laughs). I don’t know or can’t remember if I enjoyed performing in front of people back then but I really enjoyed acting when I graduated from Whitireia Performing Arts and had a few theatre gigs. It was then that I realised this is what I want to do.
What have been your challenges as a Pacific Island actress so far especially in NZ?
The film industry is very hard to get into especially here in NZ. Sometimes it’s who you know and we have a lot of Pacific sisters who are very talented but are fighting for the same role. So it just comes down to limited opportunities and I guess that’s why the ones who are seriously thinking about an acting career are the ones who are trying to pursue that not only in NZ but overseas as well.
I haven’t been in it long enough to say that it has been tough. I’ve had a few auditions that were unsuccessful but I look at each one as an opportunity and if it is successful, then it’s a bonus!
Who are your favourite actresses/actors?
Oh gosh, there are so many that I love but I would have to say Viola Davis is my fave! Amazing woman she is! #Goals
One challenge that many PI actresses have is the lack of Pacific storytelling and therefore limited roles to audition for. How do you feel this has improved over last few years?
What I do know is that the majority of our PI stories are told through live theatre. More recently we’ve had some world class Pacific films come through such as The Orator, Three Wise Cousins, One Thousand Ropes and now Gary of the Pacific. This will inspire and encourage up and coming PI talent to create own works which creates more opportunities.
The great thing about mainstream programmes particularly NZ programmes, is that the casting is usually based on what NZ looks like which is a multicultural country. It’s a small window but I can only imagine it getting bigger and better!
Gary of the Pacific will be released in cinemas around New Zealand tomorrow March 16th.