In the new film DIARY OF A SPY, now available on VOD and digital, Tamara Taylor stars as Anna. Anna has been an operative for twenty years. The sole survivor of the failure of her last mission, Anna is also alcoholic and broke.
To stay in the good graces of her agency, Anna accepts a new assignment. She is to get close to Camden (Reece Noi), a younger man who is tutor to one of the Saudi royal family living in Los Angeles. This doesn’t go as expected.
DIARY OF A SPY, written and directed by Adam Christian Clark, was shot in Los Angeles, where Taylor – originally from Toronto, Canada – has often worked. Taylor spent eleven seasons on BONES as Dr. Camille Saroyan, which was shot at Twentieth Century Studios. She has more recently had roles in the films AUGUST FALLS and A COLD HARD TRUTH. Taylor has also had season-long series regular roles on OCTOBER FACTION, ALTERED CARBON, and LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME.
Taylor gets on a Zoom call – on which, coincidentally, she, the publicist, and the interviewer are all worried about our respective cats complaining audibly in the background – to discuss playing undercover romance in DIARY OF A SPY.
ASSIGNMENT X: How did you become involved with DIARY OF A SPY?
TAMARA TAYLOR: My manager Matt came upon the script. I don’t know whether Adam submitted it to him, but I took a look, I read it, and thought it was incredibly interesting, and then met with Adam Christian Clark, the director, and he just wandered me through his vision. I actually watched two of his early films, and the rest is history. It was a lot darker than anything I’ve done.
AX: Even your role on LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME, where you played a woman who learned that her gangster husband killed her son from an earlier marriage, and then killed the son they had together?
TAYLOR: Oh, yeah. That was pretty damn dark. The subject matter was extremely dark. I think it’s one of the only TV shows I’ve been on where it got to get gritty and emotionally dark. Usually, television doesn’t allow you to go that far, or as far, certainly, as indie film does. I would say that definitely this character, Anna, was the farthest down the rabbit hole I’ve gone so far. And I want more, for sure.
AX: Do you like the meta aspect of playing a spy? That is, you are in reality an actor, playing somebody who is essentially acting?
TAYLOR: Yes. It was really cool, and a little bit of a tightrope to walk, because I didn’t want it to be on the nose entirely. She literally lives her life acting. If she’s as good a spy as we think she is, no one really knows [that she’s doing it]. At this point, in this film, I think we also discover that even she doesn’t necessarily know who she is.
AX: Or who she’s working for, an issue mentioned at the start of the film …
TAYLOR: Yeah, mainly that part.
AX: How would you describe Anna as a character?
TAYLOR: I think we discover that Anna’s got a heart, but that the volume’s been turned down on that heart for a long, long time. I think the word is “isolated.” She’s been a lone wolf for a very, very long time, isolated, out of chances, out of dignity, if she ever did have any, and desperate.
AX: Did you have input into Anna’s look?
TAYLOR: Absolutely. Me and the costumer, Rocky [Raquel Deriane], dove into my closet, and picked out what we felt Anna would wear. She came over and we made it happen. Most of the clothes are mine. I think that funky purse that Anna carries everywhere was Rocky’s aunt’s purse.
AX: Did you have to learn anything in order to play Anna, about spy craft, or addiction, or bowling, or anything else?
TAYLOR: I sure wish that I had had time to do any of that. I definitely poked around addiction films, because she was written as a bottomed-out drunk. But yeah, I just watched film after film, addiction films, spy films that were female-led, or not even necessarily spy films, ZERO DARK THIRTY with Jessica Chastain. I found that really interesting, because there’s an element of an addiction to danger and to being in the heart of it all, in the center of turmoil, that I think these people have, that is super-fascinating, because then, when you take them out of the field, who are they? Who are you when you’re not a mission? And I don’t know if Anna knows.
AX: How was doing the scenes with the video chat with Susan Sullivan, who plays Anna’s boss? How did you do that?
TAYLOR: Somehow we figured out how to have her in one room and me in another room. So, they set up a camera with her in her room, and set up a camera with me in my room, and in the same building, but at opposite ends of the hall or something, so the sound wouldn’t bleed, and I think we actually did it in real time together.
AX: One of DIARY OF A SPY’s executive producers is Molly C. Quinn. She and Susan Sullivan were both series regulars on CASTLE, which starred Nathan Fillion, who you were in SERENITY with, although you didn’t actually have scenes together. Did you know Molly Quinn already from the Nathan Fillion six degrees of separation?
TAYLOR: No, I actually didn’t, but it was wild. Molly and I kind of connected the dots, and I was like, “How did we not ever meet? This is crazy.”
AX: How would you describe DIARY OF A SPY as a film?
TAYLOR: I know that I should probably have a more clever approach, but it feels like if HAROLD AND MAUDE had a spy/espionage courtship. It felt very HAROLD AND MAUDE to both Reece and myself.
AX: I believe the age gap between you and Reece Noi is slightly less dramatic than the one between Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort …
TAYLOR: [laughs] Yes, it’s a little less dramatic, but it was still there, and it’s just two oddballs realizing that they can be oddballs together, coming together and realizing that they’ve got something in common, which I think neither one of them had ever really felt.
AX: How was working with Reece Noi?
TAYLOR: Oh, amazing. He’s one of my good friends. He’s so incredibly talented, and he was down for the journey, because it was definitely guerilla filmmaking. It was super-indie, and everybody had to be a “yes” to the process. We did a lot of shooting downtown, a lot of East Side shooting. It was real, it was perfect, it was exciting, and he was just as down for the adventure as everyone else. He’s lovely.
AX: How was working with DIARY OF A SPY director/writer Adam Christian Clark?
TAYLOR: I think he’s a great director. He has such a clear vision, his voice is so very clear, and I think that, in years to come, when you look at an Adam Christian Clark film, you will be able to identify it, because he is extremely well-defined, which is one of my favorite things in human beings. He knows who he is, and he knows what he likes, and he also knows who he isn’t.
AX: You were on BONES for eleven seasons. Do you miss it at all?
TAYLOR: I do. And I especially miss my BONES family. I was actually just texting with Emily [Deschanel] and Michaela [Conlin] the other day. Yeah. You become a family over the course of twelve years, and then everybody goes their separate ways, as we do – we’re kind of carnies – but we made some genuine friendships, and I miss my friends, for sure.
AX: How was the overall experience of making DIARY OF A SPY?
TAYLOR: I had such a good time. I’d do it again. It was very fun.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with Tamara Taylor on her new film DIARY OF A SPY