The Traverse City Film Festival is thrilled to be hosting the World Premiere of “Sister Cities,” a tale of four disparate siblings reunited by the surprising death of their eccentric mother, Mary. A gripping film with an all-star cast, the audience follows the sisters as they work together to discover Mary’s the meaning behind Mary’s final moments.
We were able to chat with the prolific “Sister Cities” star Amy Smart. You might recognize her from roles in films like “Varsity Blues,” “Outside Providence,” and “Just Friends;” and guest appearanceson the television shows “Felicity,” “Scrubs,” “Robot Chicken,” “Justified,” and “Shameless.”
Amy divides her time working in Los Angeles and living here in Traverse City, where she spends time at the gorgeous Bonobo Winery on the Old Mission Peninsula.
You can catch “Sister Cities” on Friday July 29, at 6 pm at Lars Hockstad Auditorium.
Playing the young version of Mary in flashback sequences, you have quite a unique part in the film in that you’re the only one who shares no screen time with any of the sisters in the present. Was this role challenging, knowing that you were responsible for weaving together the emotional pieces that resonate with the present-day Mary and her daughters?
Flashbacks can be tricky because you immediately are taken out of the reality of the situation and made to extend your belief that I was Jacki Weaver but younger. The Mary character in her younger years was very vicious, flirtatious and moved on a whim to follow each new lover in her life. I felt like there was enough time between our versions that you could believe she was this way younger, but I did talk with Jacki and watched some scenes she had already shot to get the most accurate accent and inflections.
You and Academy Award-nominee Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “Animal Kingdom”) play Mary at very different times in her life. How closely did the two of you work together to develop the character?
Jacki was so down to earth and personable and I was incredibly excited to work on this character with her. She started filming before I did, so I let her take the lead as far as who Mary was and then I also added more to her for her younger years. She was a professional dancer and really knew how to use her body to express herself.
What was it that initially drew you to this project, and how did you become involved?
I read the script and really loved the story of these sisters coming together over the tragedy of their mother. I also liked the controversial issue they are dealing with and getting a firsthand insight into the debilitating disease of ALS.
“Sister Cities” is a film that oscillates tonally – at times warm, funny, heartbreaking, and even eerie. How much of that came across to you when you first read the script, versus what the audience sees in the finished movie? Did knowing at which points in the film your flashback scenes are placed impact your performance?
Reading the script, I felt the shift back and forth between the heavy subject matter and the humor of each sister playing off their personalities. I was so impressed with all the actors who played the sisters because it definitely felt stronger and deeper than I remember reading. The flashback scenes were meant to really uplift and bring more levity to this film when there was drama and heavy-heartedness. I really loved working with Sean [Hanish, director] because he directed me in bringing Mary to life with much viciousness and a feeling of being carefree. Read more