— by ROBERT DeFEIS —
Arianne Martin is a woman who does everything in the film industry from acting to writing to directing to much more.
Arianne, who grew up in Austin, Texas, was into film at the early age of 14 — writing and directing her first short film, “Pumpkin Pie.” She is now married to Justin D. Hilliard, who co-wrote and co-produced her most recent film, “The Other Side of Paradise,” with her.
On the TV side, Arianne has been in Starz’s original series “Crash,” Fox’s “Prison Break” and Lifetime’s “Inspector Mom.”
When it comes to film, she has starred in the cult hit “Red Victoria” and “The Other Side of Paradise,” for which she recently garnered an acting award.
What was the filming process for “The Other Side of Paradise” like for you?
It was a very wonderful and unique experience. I’ve worked with my husband before as an actress, but not as a producer and writer. I had to switch hats multiple times a day, which was stressful, but exhilarating as well. It’s an experience I will cherish my whole life.
With “The Other Side of Paradise,” you wrote, acted, produced and were even the casting director. What was it like to manage all the different jobs you had to do during the film?”
It was a lot of fun and I loved the creative part each role had to offer. There is something really special about saying “We made that.” It makes me feel like a proud parent.
How well did you relate to “Rose,” the character you played in “The Other Side of Paradise”?
Rose is a very complicated and beautiful character. When I first started studying her, I saw a lot of resemblances in my own life, but as I slowly started to pull away her layers, I realized how different she was from me. She was a difficult character to play because I saw a lot of my own faults and insecurities in her, but the way she handled them was very different and unique in her own way. My goal was to find her voice and show that to the audience.
For your role in “The Other Side of Paradise,” you won an Award of Merit from the Accolade Competition. How surprised were you when you won and what were your emotions afterwards?
Oh, wow. Yes. When Justin told me, I was shocked. I didn’t even know I was up for an award. It is a rewarding feeling when your work touches people’s lives. It’s the whole reason we do it. So, I was honored.
You have written two films: “The Other Side of Paradise” and “Coda.” How long is the process and do you enjoy it?
They were two very different experiences. “TOSOP” was a feature film I co-wrote with Justin and Ryan (Hartsell). It took a span of about a month to develop the story and get a script ready to shoot. I had a much smaller role in “Coda.” My good friend Frank Mosley introduced me to the director Yen Tan. He was a shooting a beautiful little short film and asked me to be a part of it. The role was mostly improv, so Yen gave me a credit as an additional writer.
Are you writing anything now or do you plan to in the future?
I’ve been working on a few ideas. I see possibilities in the near future.
I saw you were in Fox’s hit TV series “Prison Break” (which I love). How was that?
When I got the call from my agent that I had booked the role, I think I just about peed my pants! It was awesome.
As an actress which do you prefer to do, movies or TV? How is the film process different?
Film and television have a slightly different pace. Television is different in that you are working a lot faster and the director changes with each episode. Film tends to be a little more patient in that you can experience the moments. Both are great in a different way.
What are your dream roles? And which is your favorite genre in which to act?
I love roles that are challenging and fun. I’ve always wanted to play a role in something like “Lord of the Rings” or “True Blood.” It just seems like so much fun! As an actress, I tend to lean towards drama, but I really don’t have a preference to genre, just as long as it’s a good story with great characters!
What actor/actress were you most excited to work with and, if you had the opportunity, who would you want to work with?
Getting to work with Danica McKellar in “Inspector Mom” was pretty cool. I grew up watching “The Wonder Years,” so it was really neat getting to meet and work with someone from my childhood. My wish list? Just to name a few: Nicole Kidman, Tina Fey and, of course, Johnny Depp.
You have two interesting hobbies, one being playing guitar and the other photography. Tell me a little about what you’ve done and, if you weren’t acting, what would you be doing instead?
I’ve always loved music. When I was younger, I had always wanted to learn to play an instrument, but never got the opportunity. After I graduated high school, I did some relief work in Kosovo. I made some friends that were very talented musicians and they taught me how to play the guitar. I can play decent enough, but definitely not going to quit my day job any time soon. Photography became a passion as I started to get more into film. It’s amazing what you can say with a single image.
If for some reason I was unable to be an actress, I would definitely be a part of film making in another capacity. I love film. I love the process. I will be doing it for the rest of my life.
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