Film

Close-up: An Interview with Marjorie Prime actress Stephanie Andujar

AHEAD of the UK release of Marjorie Prime (Nov 10), Prestridge² had the opportunity to speak to actress Stephanie Andujar about the film. We also discussed her role on Orange is the New Black, her background and her YouTube channel.

Q: What can audiences expect from Marjorie Prime and can you tell us about the character you play?

S.A: WELL, first I just want to say thank you for allowing me to share my experience! Means a lot to me!

I hope that audiences can resonate with the film, Marjorie Prime, and that they are open to what technology may do for their – our – future. I play Julie, Marjorie’s (Lois Smith) caretaker, who moves in with her daughter Tess (Geena Davis) and her son in law Jon (Tim Robbins) to help Marjorie.

I felt that Julie meeting Walter the Hologram (Jon Hamm) just added to the family dynamics and she herself was interested to see what this new found technology could do for Marjorie, and even Julie herself, as I later confide in the Hologram as well.

Q: The film is adapted from Jordan Harrison’s play. Were you familiar with the source material? How was it working alongside the likes of Jon Hamm and the legendary Lois Smith? 

S.A: IT’S interesting because Jordan Harrison also wrote for Orange is the New Black, which I also appeared in, making the world that much smaller! (laughs)

He wrote a fascinating and comedic play that I was able to see with the cast & crew after filming for two weeks in Amagansett Long Island. In the play, they only mention the character Julie but you never actually see her.

The director, Michael Almereyda, was kind enough to not only include the character Julie in the film, but wanted to give her a voice, a “heartbeat” so to speak, and I filled in the rest. Working with Jon Hamm and Lois Smith was truly a great experience because it’s something I never would have expected to happen. They were accepting of me and I think we played off each other very well.
 
Q: If you could choose anyone to talk to in Hologram form, like in Marjorie Prime, who would you choose and why?

S.A: I WOULD choose my father Hector Andujar Senior because he passed away in 2009 at the age of 48. Too soon you know – and I miss him so much. Technology makes me weary but if I did have the chance to see him again, even in hologram form, I would choose him to talk to – for me and my family. It’s like you would get the chance to say all the things you want to, no matter how trivial it may seem.

Q: Orange is the New Black fans will be familiar with your show stealing performances as a young Rosa on season 2. How much fun did you have playing that character and how do you look back on that experience? 

S.A: Oh yes! Orange is the New Black, playing a young Rosa, was so much fun! I went in there just feeling like it was a film, even though it is seen as a television platform. Something about it felt like a great action film for Miss Rosa’s (Barbara Rosenblat) character going through what she was. I just knew we had to go out with a bang for her!

I loved playing young Rosa because she was tough, sexy and smart, despite robbing banks, which is not recommended (laughs) and Latina! She was the underdog and came out on top so to speak.

Q: Speaking of Netflix, if you could inject yourself into any show on the platform what would it be and why?

S.A: Hmmm…there are so many great shows on Netflix, it’s hard to pin point one. Maybe GLOW. I’m naturally athletic and active so getting to be a wrestler and kick butt again would be fun! (laughs) And definitely OITNB again, if they decide to bring young Rosa back for some crazy fun reason (laughs).
 
Q: You have an extremely fun and diverse YouTube channel (AndujarProductions). Is the channel an important creative outlet for you? You are also an incredible singer. Do you have any other secret talents you can tell us about?

S.A: YES! Andujar Productions was created by me and my family, to express creative content that we, my family possess. I have my StephA: One Woman Show on there, now in its second season, and I’m so proud of it because it show cases my comedic side that I haven’t shown too much of since a lot of what I’ve done so far has been more on the dramatic side.

So, my sister (Melanie) said I should create a one woman show, showcasing my life in New York City, and I did just that. I get to play more than characters that are just so much fun, all mostly improvisation and I do all the editing too.

I also sing and write songs. I have more songs coming up that I wrote and worked on with my brother (Hector Jr.), who helped produce my music, along with my mother (Carmen) who is also my manager. It’s a family affair as you can see! (laughs)

My other secret talent is that I can sew! I actually made and sewed my premiere dress for the Marjorie Prime Premiere that I attended in August, thanks to my sister who helped create the patterns. I have a whole Instagram page “Stephascollection” showcasing my garments!

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Q: You are an alumni of The I Have a Dream Foundation. Can you talk about your background and how you got into acting? 

S.A: I WAS inducted into the I Have a Dream Foundation when I was in elementary school here in Chelsea, New York. They help and support kids in low-income communities with their college education, by providing them a chance to make their dreams come true as they get older. I was able to attend Pace University here in New York and I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business.

Even being involved with I Have a Dream, I was also in a performing arts program in middle school, at age 11. Derrick Tyes, my dancing & acting coach, believed in me so much, he pushed for me to audition for Talent Unlimited High School to continue performing.

I learnt two monologues from him and I went on a few auditions for other schools as well. But Talent Unlimited selected me and the rest is history!

Q: Is there anyone you aspire to (inside or outside of acting)? Do you have any goals for the future and what kind of projects are you interested in?

S.A.: WELL, I aspire to be like my mother (Carmen). She has so much strength and courage. When things may not go right, she’s always there saying: “C’mon.. get up and do it again! Let’s go! C’mon, be a leader! Not a follower!” She gives such encouragement to me, my sister and my brother to always go for our dreams no matter what. She’s the pillar of what a strong Latina woman is, and I love her for that.
 
Q: With everything that is going on in Hollywood – and America in general – how important is it to have female role models, like yourself? 

S.A.: I BELIEVE it’s really important. One of my role models is Selena Quintanilla. She was a singer, entertainer, fashion designer, entrepreneur, community philanthropist – everything I hope to fulfil in my life because it’s important to follow through with your goals, to set standards for the next generations.

They look to us, as we look to older generations, to lead the way. I believe we all have dreams that we want to experience and can open doors for one another. If we can learn to love ourselves, each other, we can share that love with the next generation, then we’ve done something right.
 
Q: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about? 

S.A.: I DO have projects I’m being considered for and I actually have two scripts I’m working on to hopefully become feature films that I’m excited about! I also love directing and hope to do more of that as well. So for sure, stay tuned! (laughs)

Thank you for reading. Please like, share and comment!

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