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Interview: Actress/screenwriter Deirdre Lorenz talks ‘Santorini Blue’

Deirdre Lorenz
Deirdre Lorenz
Courtesy of Clint Morris

On March 3, the Chico Movie Examiner conducted an over-the-phone interview with actress Deirdre Lorenz about her new film, “Santorini Blue,” which she also co-wrote with director and co-star Matthew Panepinto.

“Santorini Blue,” which is now available on DVD, tells the story of Alexandra Ronda (Lorenz), who is married to filmmaker Felix Ronda (Panepinto). Their marriage has been uneven as of late, and to make matters worse, she discovers that Felix has been having an affair. Alexandra flees New York to go spend some time in Santorini, Greece. However, Felix comes to realize that he made a mistake, and he travels to Santorini to try to win her back. At the same time, Felix has a producer (Richard Belzer) breathing down his neck about getting a script finished.

Lorenz talks about the film; some of her past projects; and how she would feel if she landed the lead role on a popular HBO show.

Check out the full interview below.

David Wangberg: The beginning of “Santorini Blue” focuses on the press junket, and the producers tell Felix that he should talk more about the actors because they’re the most important thing about his film. Now, we aren’t at a press junket, but we are doing a phone interview about this film. What do you think is the most important thing we should be discussing?

Deirdre Lorenz: I think the biggest thing is it takes you on a journey. It’s a fun, cinematic experience, and the most important thing is if you want to have a pleasurable vacation, watch this film. That’s the most important thing – not that we have an awesome cast of really talented, well-known actors. I think, most importantly about the film, is if you watch it, you will be totally impressed with the fantastic beauty of travelling and going to the city of New York and then going to Santorini, Greece. Meanwhile, [you are] listening to a great story and watching talented people share that story.

David Wangberg: If you were going through a situation like this, what would be the first location on your mind to which you would want to get away?

Deirdre Lorenz: [laughs] Well, since I live in New York, I want to get away to Greece. It’s freezing cold here in New York. We just got another snowfall last night, so, of course, I’m Santorini dreaming right now. I’ve seen some pictures that my friends have made over the years in Santorini. The coolest thing about it is that it’s sunny; there’s a volcano; and people are getting ready to go swimming and walking on the beaches. I am dreaming about Santorini right now.

David Wangberg: [laughs] Well, I’m out in California right now, and we’re finally starting to get some rain.

Deirdre Lorenz: I know. I guess we’re all dreaming of the Greek Islands right now, huh? [laughs]

David Wangberg: There’s a great scene where the hotel manager tells Felix it’s an honor to have him stay at his place, but then he confesses that he’s never seen a single one of his films. If someone came up to you and said to you, “It’s an honor to meet you, but I have yet to see something you’ve done,” which of your projects would you tell him or her to watch first – as an introductory piece to your work?

Deirdre Lorenz: Honestly, “Santorini Blue” is my most proud accomplishment. I really feel like it shares a range of my work, and it has most of my performing in it. In addition to that, I would have loved them to see me in a play last year that I was really proud of. Of course, my first commercial – a community service commercial I did when I was 10. [laughs]

So, the beginning up until now, I guess.

David Wangberg: “Santorini Blue” is the first lead performance you have done, correct?

Deirdre Lorenz: Yes.

David Wangberg: And I know that this is a reunion for you with Ice-T and Richard Belzer. But had you known them before doing “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit?”

Deirdre Lorenz: Yes. Actually, Matthew Panepinto, who is the director and my co-writer, he worked as a production assistant on the show. So, he was working with them. We met on the set and became friends, and we talked about making films together. So, we started making short films with his friends from “Law and Order,” and then I met them through doing short films and we all became friends. By the time we wanted to do the feature film, we pitched them, and they were like, “Yeah,” since they had already worked with us on several short films, which were a lot of fun.

David Wangberg: Now, I have to confess; I have never been to a press junket for a film, TV show, or anything. All of my interviews are done over the phone, through Skype, or even email. In your profession, what is something that everyone else has done, but you haven’t?

Deirdre Lorenz: Well, a lot of things – unfortunately, a lot. I have a huge list of things I want to do. In my profession, though, I’ve been really fortunate because I’ve been able to try a lot of different things. I’ve worked as a production assistant; I worked in catering and craft services; I served snacks to people; I’ve been the person carrying the equipment out to the trucks. Everything from that to the writing to directing – I directed and wrote my first TV pilot last year. As far as what I still haven’t done, I haven’t landed a recurring role on a series. I would really love to do that.

David Wangberg: Yeah, I know you’ve done a couple of singular episodes for both “The Sopranos” and “Law and Order.” Both of those are crime dramas. Is there any other kind of TV genre that you would like to explore?

Deirdre Lorenz: I honestly have to say, any kind of good script, whether it be crime drama to even… I mean, I just watched another episode of “True Detective,” and it’s just a phenomenal show. So, crime drama to comedy. I had little bit parts last year on one of the last episodes of “30 Rock” with Alec Baldwin, and it was so fun. I mean you had to hold back from laughing. It is so much fun to work in comedy. So, the next thing could be some fun, comedy role. There are so many great, smart comedies out there right now. I’d love to do one of those.

David Wangberg: And I agree with you about “True Detective.” I’ve watched every single episode, and I just love it.

Deirdre Lorenz: It’s phenomenal. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson – they’re so great, and the writing is so clever. Every episode, you are just on the edge of your seat. It’s very, very smart.

David Wangberg: I know we’re kind of diverting from “Santorini Blue,” but there was a thing I saw yesterday about “True Detective.” The creator leaked it, but then he got rid of the tweet saying there’s a potential that they may have female detectives for next season, instead of male detectives. So, how would you feel about going on there and being one of the detectives?

Deirdre Lorenz: All I can say is, “Are you kidding me?” I’m going to freaking submit myself tomorrow morning. I would… I can’t tell you what I would do for that. [laughs]

I would love to be on that show and play a character like that. I mean, I played a character called Detective Nina Gardner, an undercover detective on “Law and Order: SVU.” I’ve been hoping they’ll call me back on that, because I’m on the roster, and it was really fun to work with Chris Meloni on that. Now, you just kind of hope that once you play a really cool and smart character like that, you get called back. So, “True Detective,” bring it on.

David Wangberg: Unfortunately, I saw that Chris is no longer on “SVU.” I haven’t watched the show in a couple of years, but I know he’s doing some other show at the moment.

Deirdre Lorenz: I know. He left and went to “True Blood.” He’s been doing a bunch of different projects. He’s doing really well.

David Wangberg: Back to “Santorini Blue,” the hotel manager also says: “Santorini is a very special place for lovers. People come as strangers, but they leave together.” Could that last part also be true about the films and shows you’ve done, where people come in as strangers but leave as friends?

Deirdre Lorenz: Exactly. Whatever happens on the project, you all come there like it’s the first day of school. You’re kind of scared; you don’t know; you’re excited; you’re nervous; you connect with people creatively; and then personally as well. You really hope for that. There are some people you really bond with, and other people not as much. But no matter what, you’re family. That film family or that episode family – whatever it is. And “Santorini Blue,” I have to tell you, the crew, the cast, the pre-production, the post-production, the communities, we are such a film family. When I send my updates out to all the supporters of the project, whenever big news happens, I’m like: “To my film family…” I mean, it’s really a family.

David Wangberg: Felix tells your character, “A good writer writes every day.” Not only do you act, but you directed that one film and you also do your modeling. What is it that you do to make yourself be a good actor, a good model, or a good anything?

Deirdre Lorenz: Everything I do, I do with heart and with passion for. I really try to put my 100 percent out with whatever I’m doing. I don’t like to waste time. Every day, I wake up and make a list – whether it’s mentally or written down – what I want to accomplish that day with my life and how I can move myself forward in some way with whatever projects I’m working on. So, in order to develop myself, I keep setting goals, and I keep rehearsing; keep preparing for different areas; and keep preparing for auditions. Whatever I go into, you have to put your best foot forward in life. And if you don’t, why show up? I mean, we have to be there 1,000 percent. Otherwise, there’s no point.

David Wangberg: That’s all I have for you, unless you wanted to add something about “Santorini Blue” or any of the other things you’ve done.

Deirdre Lorenz: As far as “Santorini Blue,” it’s a really worthwhile film. It’s a really peaceful, tender film that does take you on a journey. Give it a chance. I hope everyone goes and sees it. It would really make me happy, and I think they’ll leave better than when they arrived.

This concludes the interview, but the Chico Movie Examiner would like to thank Deidre Lorenz for taking the time to talk about “Santorini Blue.”