It was also incredible to speak with Lisa Ray, an enchanting actress. In 2007, her film “Water” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. From Toronto, Canada and of Indian and Polish descent, she is true to her background and talks about the ups and downs as a recognized international star. She is a very spiritual and understanding person; her work, intriguing and charismatic. An onscreen beauty not to be missed, she says she is very different from the characters she plays, which shows her incredible strength in acting.
ASIANCE: Shamim Sarif said she immediately felt you were great for the parts in The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight – you had a great working connection. Did you feel this way too?
Lisa: Yeah, absolutely, that’s a big factor for me, when I take on a project and ultimately, even though Shamim doesn’t have a lot of hands-on experience, she’s an incredible personality. She’s very clear in her vision and I definitely, immediately felt a connection with her because she’s very accomplished and I think she’s going to ultimately be a really great director.
ASIANCE: Your acting in past films like “Water” has been amazing. Shamim said some of your best work onscreen now is in “The World Unseen”. How did you get into character?
Lisa: I wish there was a formula, which there isn’t, it varies from project to project. But Miriam was a great character and a great challenge as well. Because she’s pretty much everything that I’m not (laughter) and that’s why I jumped at the opportunity; but the preparation was really a lot of rehearsal time and then thinking about it from another side. And then Shamim and I talked a lot about Miriam and her interior life because I guess, she has so much going on beneath the surface but it’s very subtle stuff. She’s not a very extroverted character. So for me there was the challenge and Shamim was very clear about this aspect. We worked a lot on that.
Watch the I Can’t Think Straight trailer
ASIANCE: You are from Canada but are an international star. Where have you been spending time?
Lisa: I’ve been bouncing around between the States and Canada, and sometimes Europe for a little while. Specifically now I’m back in Toronto. I shot a project in India the beginning of this year and I kind of stayed on a few months. But in the future I will probably head down to L.A. when it gets too cold here.
When I’m not shooting I’m regenerating. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Toronto. It’s been mostly as I’ve been getting reacquainted with my roots. I’ve been doing that and I spend a lot of time in New York and I love that city as well, but I would like to be able to spend a longer period of time in one place.
ASIANCE: How do you balance your personal life with your acting career?
Lisa: I don’t know, I guess I’ve gotten used to a pretty unstructured life. On one hand I love it but it’s a responsibility. I try to do my best every day. Being an actor is a bit challenging because it’s not like a musician where you practice skills every day. So any opportunity to stretch your craft is inspiring. Many things inspire me. Like art and music, images. I’ve always been a collector of these things because I never know when they’ll come in handy when I’m building a character. It’s pretty free-flow actually.
ASIANCE: When you were in India recently how did you spend your time or get in touch with that side of your heritage?
Lisa: For example, I took a couple months off here and I traveled up to The Himalayas and a place called Dharamshala where the Tibetan government in exile is, and the Dalai Lama makes his official residence. I was doing a lot of introspection and meditation and I actually haven’t had a lot of space to do that in my life. I think it was such a necessity and something I would recommend to everybody in the world and it’s really a way to awaken ourselves inside. Besides that there are charities I’d like to support, Paraplegic Association in Canada. My mother was a paraplegic and she passed away recently.
ASIANCE: I’m so sorry.
Lisa: Thank you… these are things I would like to do also more and more in the future and I hope my work can feed into the hopes and dreams I would like to accomplish.
ASIANCE: You have done groundbreaking and inspiring work, you really are an admirable actress. It’s great just to get a glimpse of you as a person.
Lisa: Thank you, and like I said, since my mother passed away recently, that’s why I’m back in Toronto and I think the introspection I have done over the past few months has helped to give me strength and I’ve just sort of been recalibrating. And I think a lot of people are doing that right now. It’s good to take a little space and understand what one wants to accomplish here in this life and without trying to feel too heavy. It feels like even America itself is doing that. I think I’m just feeling that kind of hope and the desire to take responsibility personally and collectively in the world. I guess that’s really what I’m doing, taking stock and I will be heading down to L.A. later in the year. And I have a few more films coming out but I’d really like to concentrate on the ones on hand, The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight…
ASIANCE: Thank you so much Lisa, for your inspiration in the world and it was so great to talk!