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A Conversation with Actress Inge Uys

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South African actress Inge Uys (pronounced Inga Ice) studied acting at the University of Central Florida, focusing on the stage, before a class on camera-based auditioning propelled her into the world of film. Her first major audition rewarded her with the title role in the action packed, feature film, Haima. Far from being just a pretty face, Inge displays a remarkable acting skill set, taking on roles from kick-butt Army officer to the ultimate girly-girl with equal aplomb. In addition to Haima, audiences will get to see this talented rising star in a number of projects in the coming months, including The Laughing Mask, Inhabited and The Trouble With Rain.

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Mike Parker – What compelled you to pursue a career in acting and modeling?

Inge Uys – I think what initially drew me was the glamour. When I was a little girl I always found actors to be admired and loved. They seemed so glamorous. But when I got a bit older and started studying the craft of acting I was just fascinated. You can never peak. You always keep growing. I think of acting as kind of like dating. You might initially be attracted by a person’s physical appearance, but then you stay in the relationship because of the depth of feeling and emotion and intellectual stimulation. I kind of fell into modeling as a result of the acting. It’s a good complementary creative outlet for me, but acting is definitely my first love.

Parker – We've all seen actors who are very good at playing a particular kind of character, but you always know it's them. Then there are those actors who disappear into their roles, and you find yourself seeing them in the credits and being surprised that they were in the film. Which do you prefer, and what do you do to kick yourself out of your comfort zone, to help you broaden the experiences you can bring to your characters?

Inge – I find that I gravitate toward the Daniel Day Lewis/Meryl Streep character actors who disappear into their roles. Ultimately, it’s all about the script. For me it’s all about the basics, studying the character in the script. You have to ask yourself, if someone was going to play you, how would you like them to play you? Wouldn’t you want them to be authentic? When I develop a character I try to bring myself and my experiences into it, but chances are that character is going to have a background and experiences that you don’t have. That’s where acting comes into play.

Parker – You play the title role in the upcoming feature film, Haima. Tell me a bit about that project and your role in it.

Inge – My degree program in college focused primarily on theatre, and I had been doing a lot of stage acting. I took a class in camera-based auditioning, so when an opportunity came up to audition for a film that was going to shoot locally I thought it would be a good place to get my feet wet. I went in to audition for a role as a waitress, and as it turned out they actually offered me the title role of Haima. It was pretty exciting, and jump-started my film acting career.

I learned a lot on the fly. As filming progressed I was forced to pick up the camera skills I needed, which was quite different from the stage acting I had been trained for. I really connected with the character of Haima, because while she is kind of a tom boy, she’s got an interesting past. It was a great first film for me. It’s a fast-paced action thriller with a lot going on. It’s still in post-production, so I haven’t seen it yet. Fingers crossed. It comes out in September.

Parker – In both Haima and in the short film, Inhabited, you play tough, gun-totin’ no-nonsense characters. In your next film, The Trouble With Rain, you play more of a girly-girl. Which one is more like the real you?

Inge – Interesting question. I think one reason I get cast for the tom boy roles is because of my physical frame. It’s a bit of type casting. But in real life I am girly, very feminine. I love dressing up and being a girl, but growing up I was a tom boy. I’m really looking forward to bringing out my feminine side in The Trouble With Rain. I love both sides of my character. I can definitely relate to both types of roles.

Parker – I understand you just graduated from college with your bachelor of fine arts. Congratulations! You’ve also got some solid experience in front of the camera in feature films. How does actual experience compare to the educational realm?

Inge – My basic study was in theatre, so when I branched out into film it was a stretch. But good acting is good acting. The skills I learned as an undergrad; script analysis, character development, still apply to whatever arena I act in. And that applies to other realms like modeling, and even in life. I took things away from every professor I studied under, and every project that I do has helped me become a better actress.

The Seven Questions
1. What’s your favorite sound?
Inge – Rain.

2. What makes you happy?
Inge – The simple things. A well cooked meal. Taking a bubble bath. Fresh cut flowers in my apartment. The sound of my nieces laughing.

3. What makes you angry?
Inge – Feeling ignored. When people are treated unfairly.

4. What is the secret of success?
Inge – A burning passion.

5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?
Inge – Meryl Streep.

6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?
Inge – “She lived life to the fullest and touched the lives of those she met.”

7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?
Inge – “You made me proud.”

visit Inge online at www.ingeuys.com

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