Pay attention, all fans of the late, great John Hughes, and listen up, those of you who loved the classics Election means girlsand even Freaky Friday. Toby has a new movie this week that puts a unique twist on the tropes of high school — and being someone’s high school dad. Blood, sweat and exhilaration (Title Exactly) follows Divorced from Suburbia (Tameen SursockAnd pretty little liars) who, through an unfortunate turn of events, decides to disguise herself as her teenage daughter (Monroe Cline, Tear) in a devious attempt to make the local high school dance troupe. You can only imagine the deception that ensues…s
We recently caught up with star Tammin Sursok, an Emmy-nominated actress and platinum-selling actress, rtist, to find out more about what it went like to tackle such a unique fatherly role in her new dark comedy — based on true events, mind you. Blood, sweat and exhilaration exit Tracy Hayes Join Sursock in our interview, and they both share some interesting thoughts on the creative process behind the film. Read our exclusive interview below.
Shades of John Hughes
MW: Tracy, how did it start for you in terms of joining the project as a director?
Traci Hays: You brought the script later on stage. They already had two drafts they’d written. And I had a chance to read it, and I was like, “Oh, this is a fun opportunity to do something that’s dark and light and gray in the middle, and has such a tonality.” Which is something I had never done before, it had those kinds of black comedy elements. I’ve done comedy before. And [Blood, Sweat and Cheer] Kind of a combination of the two things that I really enjoy.
Traci Hays: And it also centered around a very complex female, very driven character. And this is something that I always look for in the materials that I direct to your knowledge? I just really want to see these flawed women on this fun ride. And it reminded me of being in high school again and reminded me of all the John Hughes movies. At least, that was my interpretation as I read it, in terms of his perception and worldview.
MW: Underwriting, what motivated you to join Blood, sweat and exhilaration In the leading role?
Tammin Sursock: I’ve been very lucky since then pretty little liars. It’s changed a lot of these kinds of movies, and movies that have this kind of paradigm shown to me. And your first instinct is to be super excited, but then you’re like, “Let me read the script.”
And there are some things I’ve already turned down just because I feel like I’m for me, I give it my all. And every movie has cost me something, especially movies like this one, which are very emotional. You have to bring your personal experiences into it. And I said, “Am I willing to go there to see a movie?” Although it sometimes appears to be a comedy, much comedy is born out of pain, longing, or despair. And for me, I read the script, and I thought it was really cool. I think we were really lucky that Traci was the lead on this because it could have gone either way. I think she really cared about the movie. And he did every department, and I think because of that, it kind of turned into something special.
MW: Your character as a mother impersonating a high school cheerleader is unique. Did you do any special preparatory work that distinguished this film from previous projects?
Sursock Insurance: I’ve been acting for 22 years, and I’ve never been involved in a project where I feel like you don’t really shut it down. Like, obviously, you have layers of anxiety or depression or whatever if you’re playing an emotionally volatile character. Do you feel that, you know? You’re human, but I’m not trying to stay in character, like, while I love giving my kids a bath, you know?
Tammin Sursock: But it’s hard sometimes to go there because, again, it has to cost you something. And she worked with an acting coach, and she said, “If you don’t leave every day, or most days of this movie, and you’re not completely exhausted, then you haven’t done a good job.” And I was, like, “Great!” Because I know I have to give it my all […] But it was a really nice experience.
MW: Tracy, you mentioned John Hughes earlier. Have any of the filmmakers or previous films inspired you how you wanted your film to look and feel?
Tracy Hayes: I’m really drawn to mixing content. And it’s obviously happening in the present day, but there was a part of me that, you know, wanted to represent Tammin’s character as being kind of stuck in her past. And that’s kind of the source of the comedy, the kind of slang that was really popular in the ’90s […] So like, Heathers, The Breakfast Club, Clueless, Never Been Kissed […]There were definitely very conscious choices on my part to find sites that kind of gave off that nostalgic feeling.
Address those intimate scenes
MW: Insurance, your character gets into some tough situations. What was the most difficult scene to shoot?
Tameen Sursock: I actually found the most difficult scenes in the intimate scenes, which I have to talk about with my therapist, because I didn’t realize it would make me uncomfortable. Like, I’m so comfortable screaming and crying and making people laugh […] I have a podcast and we talk about relationships. Thus, it is not that I speak of it in weakness, but there is a scene where I am very intimate with the person of interest to me. It’s just someone’s touch […] I didn’t know him. I just met him like the day before. And then also, I tell my husband like, “What did you do today, honey?” And I was like, “Wow.” So actually, interestingly enough, I found those scenes to be the hardest. And I think he’s just talking about vulnerability.
MW: Are there other projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to be involved with?
Tracy Hayes: I’m developing a number of feature films. And I can’t go into too much detail, but I can say that they are all different types. One is coming of age, the other is an Italian rom-com. So there’s a very diverse staff with projects that I’m interested in working on next.
Tameen Sursock: We’re in season four of my podcast, which is doing really well, 150 episodes. It’s a female-run podcast, but we’ve got many males on the show. And it’s really just conversations with people talking in a very safe and open space, and we had experts. it’s called The woman on top […] I have a movie called Stolen memories Out. I don’t know exactly what network it will be. I’m shooting two movies in New Zealand. Then I create a lot of content on all of my social channels, which, again, I hope makes people laugh and reduces loneliness.
Blood, sweat and exhilaration It will be released on Tubi April 15th.