Interview with Julie Bruns
(photos by Kristi Calderon)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”Well hello there, world! I’m Julie Bruns, and I am an actor, director and writer. I was born in Whitehorse, way up north, and moved all over the place as a kid, the Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia, Arizona, California, and even seven years in Baja California, Mexico!”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
”I pretty much followed my passion for acting into the industry, but I think the first actual industry job I had was doing background on a commercial that was an overnight shoot... I remember finding it so surreal to be running around a closed-down street in the heart of downtown Vancouver at 3 in the morning, pretending to be amazed at an elephant that wasn’t actually there, and that that was my actual job!”
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
”I’d had a few little tastes of community theatre and performance here and there, but because we moved so much, it took me a while to really find the access to training and community that I needed. But I did read a lot and subjected my friends to a lot of probably pretty awkward monologues. I remember my first acting mentor giving me her copy of Michael Shurtleff ’s Audition... that got pretty dog-eared by the time I actually made it into my first acting class.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want, who would that person be and why?
”Right now, I’m in love with Emerald Fennell’s work... Promising Young Woman was
incredible. She has such an amazing voice and edge to her art and I think the characters she crafts would be so exciting to bring to life. Plus her whole attitude towards directing is just something that really resonates with me. Fostering a more collaborative cast-crew relationship, minimizing the anxiety around the art, I think that just makes the art that much better.”
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
”These days, what with COVID times, I’m deep in writer/producer mode on a few projects. I’m a bit of a bad morning person unless I’m getting up to go to set - probably because I tend to get sucked into writing ideas late at night! But usually I’m up by 8 and get straight into some writing work while I’m fresh, with a bit of breakfast as I work (avocado and eggs with or without toast is my go-to these days!). Then it’s a workout (at home these days - plus it saves time!) and shower. I usually use the afternoon to do some more writing or outlining, plan out festival run/release plans we have coming up for our current projects, and do some educational reading/watching - there’s always more to learn, especially in this industry, it’s always moving. Usually there will also be a zoom acting class, or a virtual reading or an audition to tape. Once the bulk of the day’s work is out of the way, I always try to get a walk in and call a friend to just chat. Then it’s time to cook up some dinner, and queue up something from my never-ending to-watch list!”
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”I have so, so many places I love. That one’s a little impossible to answer. I’ll cheat... wherever my partner, Steve, is. We seem to find all the best places and adventures together.”
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
”Be bold... it’s okay to be you. And find amazing mentors who inspire and encourage you to do the things that scare you. Okay, those are two different things, but they dovetail together nicely.”
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
”<At the end of the day, you just have to do what you love.> My dad told me this once when I was feeling down, and I definitely still pull inspiration from this on harder days. There’s really no other job I’d love better in this world. Gandalf definitely meant for me to come this way.”
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”I think just having reached this point, and knowing I’ll keep going and that the best is still out there, lurking just beyond on the horizon. All of the learning. All of the work. Learning patience. Respecting film as an art form with so much richness and all of the steps I’ve taken to get better at my art. A career in the film industry is really built on a million tiny little steps and accomplishments, and even the things you think are going to be big or life-changing, they’re all just one more step in the right direction.”
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
”I’d love to play a spy, or any character that’s dangerous, unpredictable and roguish. There’s still not enough female protagonists out there who are granted the full range of roguish charm, quick wit, complicated flaws, and deep humanity by writers and directors.”
11. Is there anything you can disclose about your project called Ada?
”Definitely! Ada is a dark and moody period biopic about Ada Lovelace, the woman who
wrote the world’s first computer program back in 1842. That was 100 years before computers even existed, and the film follows her last few months of life as she battles ovarian cancer while trying to raise the funds to build the first computer. It’s a truly tragic story, but at its core it’s really about resilience and heart and knowing your value, even in the face of almost certain defeat. It was just amazing to get to play Ada and get to immerse in being this brilliantly intelligent woman. I mean, the original computer coder was a Victorian woman and so few people know that! It was an honor to be able to bring that to the screen.”
12. What about The Purgamentum, is there anything you can tell us about it?
”The Purgamentum is quite different - though also pretty dark and moody. It’s an eco-horror short film that delves into a dark tale of <retali-ocean>. I play Amy, a marine biologist who is stationed on the remote Pacific Northwest coast, and starts to hear eerie whisperings echoing through her underwater microphones. She calls in a diver, Stan (Shawn Major), to investigate what could be happening beneath the surface, and things get dark pretty quickly. I also co-directed, co-wrote and co-produced this film along with Steven Kammerer and Shawn Major, which was a really wonderful collaborative experience. The entire film was made, from concept to delivery, in 48 hours as part of a film competition, and it’s been having an amazing run on the film festival circuit - it’s playing at the Frostbiter Festival in Iceland on March 12th and the After Dark International Film Festival in Austin, Texas on April 12th.”
13. What is the best part about life on set?
”The energy and the camaraderie! There’s nothing quite like it. Set is really my favorite place on earth (oh! I suppose that also answers my favorite place question!), and there’s just something that gets me so hooked when everyone is so focused on working in harmony to create a little bit of magic on the screen. It’s such a cool feeling, like sitting in the front row before a performing orchestra... you can feel the current.”
14. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
”A huge thank you... at the end of the day, it is such a privilege to create something that
resonates with other people, and if my work means something to you, that’s such an
inspiration and an honor.”
Julie Bruns is an actress, director & writer, best known for her work on projects like: Happy Ever After, Bucketheads, Old News Is So Exciting, Dama Branca, Tsunami Falls, Contact Club, The Purgamentum, EveryBody Matters, Ada, Influenced, Sense Memory, Ghost Buskers, Lost Man, Rushback, Untold Stories of the ER, Trump Card, Tomorrow Lasts a Long Time, Default.
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