Actor-DJ Samantha Michelle sits on a shady patio outside the Windsor Arms, recounting her experience, sans pants, with director Atom Egoyan.
Though she’s in only one scene with actor Ryan Reynolds in the film The Captive, she has plenty of questions for the Canadian director, Egoyan.
“I was just in one scene in the film, and when I read the scene, the dialogue was a bit enigmatic, I suppose,” she recalls. “I had a lot of questions, but there wasn’t an opportunity to talk to him prior to shooting.
“So, we’re shooting in Sudbury and I’m in this trailer by myself, and every 15 minutes someone offers me a hot dog, and I’m a vegan, so I’m not really interested. There’s a knock at the door … I’m half-changed — I’m not even wearing pants — and I figure it’s the same chick, offering me another kind of sandwich, so I open the trailer and it’s Atom. I’m not really dressed, and I’m meeting my hero.”
Egoyan was “supercool” with the seemingly awkward scenario, and Michelle adds it’s one of the highlights of living her life from a suitcase.
The 24-year-old, who grew up in the Bathurst and Eglinton area, has returned home again to film her new feature, Operation Avalanche, a tale about the CIA’s involvement with NASA during the Cold War.
Michelle is candid about her globe-trotting, as both an actor and DJ, in conversation on the patio outside the Windsor Arms, where she’ll be performing a special performance for industry officials.
“I decided a couple months ago I didn’t want to live anywhere,” she says, with a laugh. Living in London, England’s Soho district is “super fun,” she says, but adds: “Toronto is also a home for me. I’m super-tight with my family, and it’s a real pleasure to come here and visit with them.”
It’s a few hours before her performance, which is raising money for the Remix Project, a local charity that offers 16–24-year-olds from under-privileged communities education in the arts.
It’s a cause that’s dear to Michelle, as she didn’t realize her musical and acting future until she left high school.
“I grew up in a parochial system, and no disrespect to anyone, but the options that are presented to 16-, 17-year-old girls in Jewish school are quite limited,” she says, adding she moved to the Big Apple seven years ago to take religion and foreign affairs at New York University. “I thought the only way I was going to deal with that was throwing in my cards and dealing out a new hand, which is what I did when I moved to New York.”
Somewhere during the talk of music and movies, Michelle’s latest addition to the family, a yellow lab puppy named Gatsby, stumbles into the interview, gnawing inquisitively at anything loose, including fingers.
“I’m obsessed with all things F. Scott Fitzgerald, hence my Twitter name [DaisyBuchanan21],” she remarks, her spaghetti strapped dress exemplary of the Roaring ’20s. “I love The Great Gatsby, I love Tender is the Night, and The Beautiful and Damned is my favourite novel ever.”
Back to acting, Michelle admits she has no idea what’s next, but she’s excited.
“I’m in a very embryonic stage in my career, in terms of music and movies, but at the same time I feel like things are beginning to kick off and move forward,” she says, a broad smile forming. “I have absolutely no idea what happens next — lots of things, maybe nothing — but I’m really excited.”