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“What Would You Do For A Friend?”

by Anna Mroczkowski

One of my nearest and dearest, local actress and AFA co-founder Lisa Coronado has a really heart felt movie opening at AMC this weekend and it’s emotional. I’m a brain dead zombie right now but I love you Lisa Coronado and I am so very proud that you have always found beautiful ways to keep family first without letting your artist self dwindle.

If you’re ever blessed enough to sit down with someone who is extensively famous, rich or accomplished, 99.9999999% of all of them will tell you that at the end of the day what matters most is how we care for our family and loved ones. Lisa has always been a radiant branch on a family that lives this belief everyday and I’ve been blessed to know them since before I could wear lip gloss.

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Coronado costars in the family film Different Drummers, a true story set in 1960’s Spokane, that centers around the unlikely friendship of two 11 year old boys: one with ADHD and the other with Muscular Dystrophy.  Coronado plays the mom to the boy with ADHD.  Anna recently chatted with Lisa about her experience filming Different Drummers and just how hard it is to get a film to this level.

AM: Can you tell me about how you got his role?

LC: Sure! I received an email from my agent to audition for a feature film that was going to be filming in Spokane.  I got the sides and instantly kinda connected with this lady.  She was feisty and funny and had this great relationship with her hyperactive son.  Let’s just say I could relate. I auditioned in Seattle, then about a week later was asked to go to a callback in Spokane and audition for the directors.  I knew that the script was based on a book so I went out and bought the book and read it in 2 days.  It gave me a lot of insight to the character.  The callback went great- and I was offered the part the next morning.  To say I was freaking out is an understatement.

AM: How was shooting in Spokane? Were you there for a long period of time?

LC: Spokane was great.  I was flown back and forth I think 5 times.  Each time I stayed anywhere from 2-4 days.  Filming took place in October/November and it was freezing!  And snowing.  It was all kind of a whirlwind at first.  But being somewhere foreign helped focus me on developing  the character.  I didn’t have a lot of distractions.  And the film is based on one of the directors, Lyle Hatcher.  So I had a wealth of information from him, playing his mother.

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AM:  Was it hard playing an actual person? Especially playing the director’s mom?

LC: Yes and no. Yes in that it was very specific.  It can be difficult not to get into your head about making it just right, instead of naturally discovering the character and letting them emerge.  It was different than any other character I’d ever played.  But also, that means I get more information and backstory about her than any others I’d played.

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AM:  What was your favorite part or memory on set?

LC: Hmmm- there’s so many!  I loved the whole hair/makeup/wardrobe team!  I had so many different wardrobe changes.  And I loved working with Brayden Tucker, who played my son.  He was so spontaneous and fun and unpredictable.  He kept me on my toes!  And I really loved getting to know and work with everyone.  We became a family.  I’m still close with the writers/directors Lyle Hatcher and Don Caron and Lyle’s wife Maria.  It can be really hard to walk away from a project you’ve spent so much time on and never see the people again.  I feel very fortunate to still have those relationships in my life.

AM: I bet. So what happens now?  Is it opening nationwide at AMC? Or just locally?

LC: They got foreign distribution right away.  I think somewhere around 20 countries or so.  But domestic distribution has been tough.  They decided to try it out and release it at an AMC in Spokane first. The film exceeded everyone’s expectations.  I think it was the number 1 film for 4 weeks in a row.  AMC basically said that they could open at any theater they wanted to.  But because they are self distributing it right now, it’s a slow process.  So bringing it to Seattle is kind of a tester screening.  See how well it can do here and hopefully get a distributor’s attention.  As long as it is selling tickets- it will stay in the theaters.

AM: What’s next on your plate?  Any plans to move to Los Angeles?

LC: Ha!  No, no plans.  I kinda like it here, in Seattle.  LA would be great, if I was 22 and didn’t have a family here.  I would definitely go there if I had work, but to move without anything, I just couldn’t’ imagine putting my kids through that.  Plus, I really feel that WA state is sitting on the verge of something big.  There’s been such a movement to bring work here.  And we are getting attention thanks to some great filmmakers that are having huge successes, and that take that success and funnel it back into WA.

And really, if I get to keep making films like Different Drummers and all the others I’ve shot over the past two years, well then I consider myself very successful.  I get to do what I love with the people I love.  It doesn’t get much better than that! 

Different Drummers opens at AMC Southcenter 3/14 and AMC Alderlake Mall 3/21.  Tickets can be found on fandango.  See you at the movies!!

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