Jordan Wilson plays Denise in Dumps. An unseen character for the major part of the film’s duration, Wilson’s performance is so arresting that her rationed screentime hardly affects her presence. In fact, if any, it makes it even more impactful.
Candid, fun, and reflective, she walks us through her interpretations and aspirations when it comes to performing, both on stage and on screen. Catching up Jordan Wilson for a quick tête-à-tête is our editor who wonders about the effort that goes into breathing believability into creating characters.
- The built-up to your character is simply brilliant, Jordan! What were your thoughts when you first heard the script?
Initially, I remember being really thrilled because there was so much room for play within the quick and witty dialogue. It’s relatable with a generous peppering of surrealism that sparkles throughout. Boris did such a great job of letting me know on paper who these people are which set me up to take the plunge(r) into character development. I felt very lucky to work with this script, I still do.
- You remained an unseen character for the first half of the film’s duration. How did you take that into working your way into becoming Denise?
Oftentimes, we give people in our life too much power. I know that’s something I’ve always struggled with. We idealize and fixate and equate our worth to how much these people like and respect us. I never wanted Denise to be exactly who Andy thinks she is. It was important to me for Denise to have an identity that was separate from Andy’s romanticized version of her, while still being true to the traits in her that Andy really does see.
- Again, an important conversation between you and Andy is when you are away from the frame. And, yet the audience feels your presence. It’s a testament to your performance up to that point. Did it matter to you to be present on the set despite your scenes being off-the-camera?
Thank you, and yes! Our scene was filmed in one day and every time we ran it all the way through to the end, I was always there. Right behind the door. There was a very real energy passing through us in that scene even though we were separated by a piece of wood. We stretched the rubber band. It allowed me to really focus on and be impacted by what he was saying. That’s how it happens in life all the time, we gather the courage to say what we really need to say just by knowing someone is there listening even if it’s not face-to-face.
- There’s the heavy exchange in dialogues in Dumps. What do you personally prefer? To have a lot of dialogues or silence to do the talking?
I’m a glutton for dialogue. I’ve noticed that silence is often the product of dialogue. It can be the impact of something that was said or the hesitation for something that needs to be said.
- You re-enter the scene. A single tear falling down your cheek. The expression and composure were terrific. To what do you credit your act in the Dumps?
Ah, thank you! When you have an excellent script and an all-star cast it makes the job easy. Boris, Noah and Sean gave me so much to work with.
- Of all the genres, which would you say is the hardest and easiest to fit into?
It’s hard to say. So much of what makes something more natural or more challenging is the story, no matter the world it’s set in.
- What inspired Jordan to get into films?
I’m a narcissist. (Laughs) No, no, I’m joking. Mostly. For my entire life, I have been performing and forcing my loved ones to watch me dance interpretively to Britney Spears CD’s, make futile attempts at Chris Farley impressions, and participate in every talent show. Film and television acting were always the plan and a part of the evolution of my love for storytelling and performance.
- What would you say is the toughest challenge in terms of getting the act right? Is it the accent or demeanour or the believability of it all?
Obviously every actor has a different creative process or lack thereof. For me, I think it’s a balance of knowing just enough about who this person is to step into their brain and body while also leaving some information out. That lends itself to naturally inform things like accents and mannerisms. We don’t ever fully know who we are as individuals, we constantly change and reinvent ourselves. There’s no way I could ever presume to know everything about who I’m playing. Find out as much as you can but also let there be question marks.
- What kind of role would you next like to emulate?
Some sort of rebel with a God complex.
- If you could name a character that you would have loved to play, who would it be?
I would love to play Antigone from the play Antigone by Sophocles or Villanelle from Killing Eve. Jodie Comer. (Swoons)
- What was it like working with Noah Copfer?
NOAH! Noah is a selfless acting partner, he always gave me everything he had. He’s encouraging, vulnerable, talented, and also was constantly making me laugh. He is my friend for life.
Just like her nuanced and moving performance in Dumps, Jordan is warm, candid, and accommodating. Wishing her the very best!