The former Buffy The Vampire actress discusses her latest role in the new independent romantic comedy about finding your soul mate
Actress Emma Caulfield is familiar to television audiences for her role as Brandon Walsh's girlfriend on the final season of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 but it was her turn as ex-demon Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer that made her a household name to fans of the popular Joss Whedon show. Now the actress is starring in a new independent movie that asks the question, if there were a device that could tell you when you will meet your soul mate, would you want it? In the new film, TiMER opening in New York on May 14th, Caulfield plays a Oona, a woman who's "timer" is blank because her soul mate has yet to purchase one of his own, which places her on a romantic journey to find her one true love. We recently had a chance to speak with Emma Caulfield about the new film; it's intriguing concept, her character's journey and the movie's commentary on dating in today's society. Here is what she had to say:
To begin with, when you first read the script for the film what did you think of it's unique concept?
Emma Caulfield: I loved the concept and thought it was totally original. The script read so fluid, fun and real and I'm glad I got to do it. I'm glad she (director Jac Shaeffer) hired me. She had somebody else, which I actually know who it was but can't say, but I'm glad I kind of swooped in to it and got it.
What is your opinion on the film's premise that it is easier to be told who to love rather than falling in love yourself and risking potential heartbreak?
Emma Caulfield: Well if that was a real situation and I was faced with the option of knowing, I wouldn't want to know. I thought maybe I would in the past but now I think I wouldn't want to know and maybe it's because I'm married that my perspective on it has changed. It's probably not a great world for control freaks to live in. The film kind of depicts it as this utopian world and takes the guesswork out of love, but I think it shows that it really doesn't ultimately. Because then there would be no conflict and there was plenty of conflict to go around in the film. Particularly with my Dad and my Mom and later with meeting his girlfriend, I don't want to say too much.
In the movie the timer is depicted as almost a modern day Matchmaker and that certainly seems to be the situation that your character's younger brother is dealing with, can you talk about that aspect of the film?
Emma Caulfield: Well I would be upset too if I was told that I just met the love of my life or that I was going to in four hours and I was only sixteen. I mean where is the fun in that? You know you're sixteen and it's like, well okay, do you bother going through dating and through dating other people? You would think that you would just to have life experience under your belt. Are you cheating on your soul mate if you do, even if you're not together yet? They kind of explore that a little (in the film) with him when he had a conversation with her and says that he wants to get to know her first. But what if he decided not to? Or if they decided not to and said, "Well I know it's you so lets get back to each other in like ten years and lets go off and date other people." Which I don't know? Maybe in that fictional world people do, do that.
Do you think that in a sense the film is making a commentary on dating in today's society with the advent of websites like eHarmony and Match.com?
Emma Caulfield: I haven't even thought about that but it's actually a really good observation. I've heard Jac answer a lot of questions about the film and I don't think she's ever touched upon that and I don't think anyone else has either. That does seem like kind of a logical next step and a natural progression from, "We'll find your mate for you!" But that's not really a new concept. Matchmakers in some form or another have been around forever. Arranged from either setting people up on blind dates or arranged marriages but the idea of someone else coming in and making it "easier for you" to find who you are going to end up with, you know that's not new but I think it just seems more glossy these days because its packaged better and everything is I think about packaging these days. Which is why I think the set design for the film was very clever because it seemed very current and just very clean. Everything was just very fresh and it was like, why wouldn't you want a timer? It's just marketed so well.
While your character is waiting for her timer to go off and meet her soul mate, she begins a relationship with a younger man named Mikey, can you talk about their relationship and what she sees in him?
Emma Caulfield: Well she is just tightly wound and I think her underlining motivation for everything I think is control. You can kind of see that in the way she dresses, her hair, even her job, which is as a orthodontist where you really have to be meticulous. She just tries to manage everything, that's not getting her anywhere and she's definitely not living in the moment. She meets this kid who is eight or nine years younger than her, he's just kind of a baby and acts like it but there is something very refreshing about him. He's her antithesis. He lives in the moment and he sees her potential. At first she doesn't see a point in dealing with him at all but she sees the potential in him as well. He opens her up and their relationship is very endearing and I think pretty believable. While we were shooting it we really generally adored one another. I mean, John Patrick Amedori was very easy to play with because I had such a good time with him and I guess by default so did my character Oona.
Could you discuss the relationship between Oona and her step-sister Steph and the betrayal that happens between them later in the film?
Emma Caulfield: Well you know Michelle Borth who plays my step-sister Steph, I just love her beyond words and she has been saddled with this burden of knowledge that she is not going to meet her soul mate until she is forty or something so she is just alone. She's just having meaningless sex with one guy after another because, why not? She just wants to feel something. She meets Dan the Man at work and I think that he is visiting his Grandfather; she works in an old person's home. They strike up this friendship and it's kind of the first time she's actually allowing herself to maybe feel anything at all. She's been taken out of her ... well I don't want to say that she is depressed but she's definitely on kind of a bender. Of course the way that things work in the film, that's got to get screwed with somehow and enter my character. Should I say what happens? I don't want to blow it for people who haven't seen it yet, but it just shows you that love with a guarantee don't necessarily mean that. Everything begins to go kind of haywire. She starts to have these feelings of wanting to break free from the confines of the timer and so do I and it just goes to a whole other level.
Finally, can you talk about the films commentary on love, dating in this day and age and what you personally took away from playing the role?
Emma Caulfield: I just don't think that ultimately there is a device that can already tell you what you know, even if it is something that you don't want to know. I think that somewhere deep down we all know the truth of a situation. I think that the success rate of marriages, or I should say the lack of since over 50% of them don't work out, demonstrates that. I mean the movie would have you believe that if you have the timer you wouldn't be divorced because you are really meeting your soul mate and everything will work out just fine. But I think a lot of people who enter into marriages on some level know that they are not the one and they get into them for the wrong reasons. Ultimately I think that the knowledge for success and love must exist somewhere in our souls. If we are unaware then I think there is some sort of cosmic purpose for the heartbreak and to take that heartache away, I think you'd be missing out on a key piece of what makes us human. What makes it interesting, exciting and all of it to be interacting with members of the opposite sex or members of the same sex depending on your sexual preference, you know?