We Locked Down With Good Kisser, Rachel Paulson and Got Sassy!
RACHEL PAULSON, writer and actress, talks to us about life on lockdown, watching her Good Kisser steamy sex scenes with her mom and how her sisters, Sarah and Liz, are her biggest inspiration in life!
What’s lockdown life been like for you?
Well my sister’s and I have rented a place in Cali wine country so it’s not too bad! Basically, I wake up each day, work out, then I’m watching my nieces and nephews and teaching them 2nd grade and 5th grade math. Some of this stuff I’m having to teach myself before I can teach them, it’s a long time since I was doing math and it can be a bit challenging! Then, when 5 o’clock rolls around, out comes the tequila!
When the lockdown’s over what are you most looking forward to doing?
Oh my God, first of all I cannot wait to go and get my hair done and I would give anyone anything right now for some sushi, I cannot wait for that. I really just want to see my friends; we’ve done some drive-bys, but I cannot wait to sit in a room with all of my friends and hear all about their days. I’m so lucky, I have my girlfriend and a lot of my family with me during the lockdown. But I miss my friends and the interaction of people. We’re on lockdown until July and the impact on the film industry here in LA is crazy, we’re trying to do all this stuff virtually but we’re not filming anything, it’s been a big adjustment.
You started acting as a child, what was the first thing you performed in?
I was the Artful Dodger, I played a boy in Oliver, it was community theater in Florida, even though I was a little bit of a tomboy, I just remember thinking “why am I playing a boy?” But it was a main role, so it was okay!
Did you know from a young age that you were gay?
Yes, I did. I didn’t come out until I was around 20 but I really knew, if I look back at all the times in my life when I felt weird with boyfriends and had a thing with my girlfriends, I think I always knew. Where I grew up (Tampa, Florida) it wasn’t okay, it was the 90’s, it wasn’t so open as it is now, and I think I was always hiding it a little bit. I fully believe that you are born gay and I like to think that in this day and age everyone is going to be okay with it. If you are interested in who I love and who I want to start a life with and if you have an issue with that, then I don’t want you in my life.
What was it like growing up with two sisters in the business and did they help teach you anything?
They did, we grew up doing plays, Sarah would always make us put on shows and she would force me to be in them, I’d say, “I don’t want to do a show” and she would say, “well we’re doing one!” So that started it, doing these weird children’s plays. What really helped was just watching Sarah and Liz, learning from them. I still, to this day, call them both for different things. Liz is my contract person, if I have a contract I need looking over before I go to a lawyer and Sarah is the first person I go to about a role I have coming up. They still both help me in that regard, and they are both so talent. Watching them growing up was the best schooling I could have. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for both of them.
Do you have a favorite film genre and is it different if you are watching or acting?
It’s a toss up between comedy and horror. I prefer to watch horror and act in comedy. By horror I mean I really love watching crime dramas, like Ozark and in acting I love comedy.
Do you prefer to play lesbian characters?
I just want to play good characters, characters that have something to say and mean something to the story and in the world. I’m a strong believer in let’s make all queer characters and all lesbian characters the same as everyone else, I just want to play a character that’s good, whether it’s a straight or gay character. At the same time, I argue with the fact that lesbian actors should play lesbian roles and trans people should play trans roles. But it is art, to me it’s equally okay for a straight actor to play a queer role, if they are comfortable with that and an ally, then you respect and understand it. Hopefully in the future of the world we will all be equal and there will be that same amount of representation for gay and straight actors.
Tell us about what drew you to play the part of Kate in Good Kisser?
Five years before the script was written, I met Wendy Jo Carlton through a mutual friend and she said, “I’m going to write a role for you”. Then five years go by and she says, “Hey, I wrote that lead role for you”, so she sent me the script and I loved the nuances of the characters and the secrets behind all of them are really interesting and subtle. I’m immensely proud of this film.
How was it playing those intense and sexy scenes with Kari and Julia?
Initially, I think we were all pretty nervous. I’d never done a sex scene on camera before, so this was my first time and it was a steamy one. I think it was helpful that we filmed the sex scenes later in production, so the three of us had built up a rapport together, we’d become friends, so that made us feel more relaxed. The funny thing is, shooting sex scenes is the least sexy thing you can do. Wendy Jo was incredibly good, she made it a closed set, so it was just the three of us, her and our DP (Director of photography), she made us feel very comfortable.
Have you ever had any propositions for a love triangle in real life?
Wow, that’s a sassy question! I’m going to tell you, I’ve had a threesome before. One time, when I was much younger, probably about 21, I was like I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to go, there was one here and one there, what do I do? It was not for me. I’ve been propositioned twice after that. I’m all for it and I understand why people like it, but it’s not for me, I can only focus on one person at one time.
What was it like last year coming back to your hometown of Tampa to premiere Good Kisser?
That was so special! I had all my friends from college there, by best friend and my mom was there. Sitting next to my mother watching the film, that was something. I had warned her it was a very sexual movie, during the sex scenes she was taping her foot and my best friend from college was grabbing my knee saying, “wow you’re watching this with your mom?!”
In the future do you see yourself doing more acting or writing?
I just don’t know; I feel very connected to both. I’ve got a script in development, tonight we’re finishing the final pilot copy, it’s been an extremely fulfilling process and something I’d like to continue being a part of my life. Sometimes I think I don’t need to act, then the moment I get on set I think this is what I need to do, and I love it so much. They both have different feelings for me, and I’m connected to both.
You also host a web-series and Podcast, what do you prefer, getting deep into a character or having the freedom to talk about any subject?
I think it depends on my mood, sometimes its so fun to be myself and say and do what I want, then a lot of times I don’t want people to know who I am exactly. I’m really private about who I’m dating and my family and so I just create a persona of myself. Then getting into a character is great too!
Who would be on the top of the list of people you’d most like to work with?
Meryl Streep, every time I watch her work, she’s so brilliant, so beautiful, so well spoken and so intelligent. In a comedy it would be Frankie Shaw, I absolutely loved her show SMILF. I’d love to work more with Julia Eringer, she played Mia in Good Kisser, she's so funny and so talented and such a good writer. Julia is one of my best friends and we have two projects we’re working on now.
What would be your perfect date night?
Sushi, as we all know that is what I am waiting for, at one of the best sushi restaurants in LA, after that I would say a mixology bar for a nightcap, then I would love some sort of creative thing that she came up with, that no one else has done, somewhere she wants to go that’s special to her.
Which women have inspired you the most in life?
My sisters, both of them for sure! Again, Meryl Streep and also Carrie Fisher but my sisters the most, they basically parented me my entire life.
Do you think you’d want to work with your sisters on a film project?
Eventually I would love to put Sarah in something I have written and I’m saving that for the right time, I’m sure that she would do it. As far as Liz is concerned, she is branching out a little bit and she’s going to start doing some producing, so we are in talks about working together on a couple of projects. That’s how the family is going to morph into this new Paulson clan.
Do you think we can look forward to seeing a front room Paulson Production during lockdown?
I only wish! But no, Liz and Sarah are still really busy every day keeping connected and working from home.