April 4, 2014
“Sublime and Beautiful,” the new independent film by actor and first time director, Blake Robbins, is a dark and honest tale of tragedy and loss. Centered on a couple in the midst of a traumatic and life-changing event, the film premiered earlier this year at the Slamdance film festival in Park City, Utah, and has been met with very positive reviews since its initial screenings, including a nomination for the festival’s “Best Narrative Feature” award. Starring alongside Robbins, who plays the film’s protagonist, David Conrad, is Laura Kirk, who apart from playing the role of Kelly Konrad, David’s wife, also executive produced the film.
Aside from acting and production, Laura Kirk works as a lecturer at the University of Kansas. Despite her schedule, Kirk was able to sit down and answer a few questions about her role in the “Sublime and Beautiful” as well as past roles and production jobs in film.
Shot on a shoestring budget, and filmed in 12 days, Kirk described the process of filming as hectic and amazing. She developed the budget, and the production company was able to raise $30,000. Screen and union actors were paid the minimum requirement of $100 a day, and even then, Kirk joked about how they had to “beg, borrow and steal to make the film happen.” This included food, equipment and locations for filming. Despite earning praise for her performance as the distraught Kelly Konrad in the movie, Kirk initially turned down the role for the film.
Five years prior to the filming of “Sublime and Beautiful” Robbins, a friend who has worked with Kirk in the past on several films, contacted her about her interest in role. At the time, Kirk was not interested in the part because she felt it was too serious, and she would not have been a great fit for the character. After suffering a personal tragedy, in which her first husband passed away, Kirk moved back to Kansas with her children. When she was approached for the role again, she decided that, though the tragedy she went through, and the way she handled it was different to Kelly’s character, the experience convinced her that she was capable of handling the role.
“It did lend a lot of itself to me,” Kirk said. “I would say that there’s nothing about me in the film that would in any way reflect what happened to me in real life. Yet, if what happened to me in real life hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would’ve had some of the skills I have.” When she lost her husband, Kirk made the decision to put on a happy face and stay strong for her children.
After graduating college and moving to New York City, Kirk began her career in acting doing stage work and starring in various commercials. Her first big break was in the title role of “Lisa Picard is Famous,” which she starred in as the character Lisa Picard, and co-wrote with Nat DeWolf. In the last 14 years, Kirk has acted in and produced a variety of films, ranging from big-budget films like the “Time Machine” to smaller independent films like “Jayhawkers.” Though she says she enjoyed the times she spent on bigger productions, and the luxuries that came with them, she loves the control and freedom afforded to smaller projects.
Despite her enthusiasm about the film, and her enjoyment taking part in it, Kirk does not believe the film is for everyone. She says that despite being an honest and realistic portrayal of people during times of grief, the film is often very hard to watch, lacks Hollywood flair. She believes people looking for a drama with lots of personal touches will enjoy the film, and that fans of director John Cassavetes (who was well known in the Independent film scene) should go see this film.
Laura Kirk- Actor/Producer
My Video Interview with Kirk
Transcript for the video-
00:00 – 00:45 Trailer audio
00:45 – 02:22 Laura Kirk
I play Kelly, I’m the wife of David, the lead character
We have three children. We’re just kind-of going along. Probably at that middle part of our marriage, where we’re just kind-of co-workers and we’ve lost a lot of what made us happy, and then tragedy strikes our family.
I am hit by a drunk driver, and all three of our children are killed, and I end up at the hospital in the same, uh, next to the drunk driver. And that’s when the story starts spiraling even further downward to how David and Kelly handle this crisis.
My favorite scene? It’s difficult to watch, but it is the scene where I flip out on everybody. My character is so thin-skinned because of what’s happened to her, and her husband is being, completely has disappeared and abandoned her at this party.
Everyone is pitying her, and that is very true that when you go through a tragedy, people know about it. Everyone looks at you, and you feel that pity, and it’s a weird horrible feeling that all of a sudden you are the star in this tragedy you didn’t cast yourself in, it just happened, and she just lets everybody know.
Some people call it hysterical, I actually don’t like that word. I think it’s just a rage that comes from a very deep place, and it’s very cathartic.
If you like really honest, and really strong dramatic work, then you will not be disappointed if you see this film.
02:22 – 02:47 Trailer Audio