And that you have!
Cassandra Freeman has been in your face for the past 8 years; as the dramatic actress who has worked alongside A-list’s Denzel Washington in the Spike Lee crime drama, “Inside Man,” Chris Rock in “I Think I Love My Wife,” and as a guest star on TV series’ including the legal and crime dramas “Shark” with James Woods and “Numb3rs” with Judd Hirsch. But it is her latest project and role as “Angela,” a past lover of Isaiah Washington’s character John Allen Muhammed in the Alexandre Moors psychological thriller, “Blue Caprice,” that she talks to EURweb publisher Lee Bailey about.
Seen from the perspective of the killers, “Blue Caprice” – named for the model of the duo’s Chevrolet car, recalls the Beltway sniper attacks that terrorized Washington D.C. in 2002 when John Allen Muhammed lured 17-year-old Jamaican-American Lee Boyd Malvo into a trusted father-figure relationship as he trained him to become an accomplice in murder. The two shook the country to its core as they went on a killing spree for three weeks; and after murdering what is said to be 10 innocent people, yet suspected to be even more, Muhammed was captured and executed on November 10, 2009; while Malvo remains imprisoned in a maximum security facility in Virginia.
LB: How do you prepare for a role like that?
“To be a woman in the world you negotiate life very differently than a man anyway…The truth is, you never know what man you bring into your home because it could turn the other way,” says 34-year-old actress Cassandra Freemen. “You hear stories about men who flip out on the smallest things right? I think when you’ve been a single woman for as long as this woman has been…there are certain things you put in place to keep yourself protected, so you have a different type of backbone… So how do you prepare? How do you prepare [for] bringing a grown man and his child into your home? Your guard is up anyway.”The film stars Isaiah Washinton as John Allen Muhammed and ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ actor Tequan Richmond as Lee Boyd Malvo.
Freeman commends both actors, calling Washington “a force” and says of Richmond, who once told Good Day L.A. that he booked the role off of a Skype audition, “…to see that he has that much depth is so beautiful and an honor to actually watch.”
LB: What do you think people will take away from this film about John Allen Muhammed and the DC Beltway sniper case in general?
While Cassandra says she doesn’t believe there will be “one clear thing that people will take away from this film,” she does admit that for her, it brings home the point that everyone has the potential for good and evil.
“This young man being left by his mother and really sort of being lost in the world,” she says, “when you’re lost in the world you’re looking for someone to love you. And the person who loves you and feeds you is the most powerful person in the world to brainwash you one way or the other.”
She thinks back to an interview Malvo did, where he states how Muhammed fed and clothed him, and did more for him than his own mother; leading him to ask, “Why would I not trust him?”
Freeman states that, “Even in this movie, in the man’s real life, he did not know he was being trained to kill…And I would assume that must be how it is for many young men in this world…a psychologist would say,” she continues, ‘anytime a child is first confronted with wrongdoing they abhor it, until it becomes normal, and then they embrace it.’ And that’s all this movie is about.”
When approached about the film, the actress didn’t hesitate for a moment.
“…Alexandre Moors is like our new generation of great filmmakers. When I was approached to take on the role, I agreed before I even read the script because I was a fan of his work,” she said, tipping her hat to cinematographer Brian O’Carrol as well; revealing how the duo very successfully negotiated the camera causing the actors to forget the cameras were even there.
Although audiences are accustomed to seeing Cassandra Freeman in dramatic roles, she says she has actually performed standup quite successfully (she says Isaiah W. even referred to her as ‘The Black Lucille Ball’), and to this day even yearns to do a sitcom. She shares with Lee Bailey a funny story about being in the green room preparing to go onstage and do standup. This male-dominated industry had her colleagues, who didn’t know she was a colleague yet, and assumed she was the performer’s girlfriend, trying to give her “tips” on how to be funny. Once she corrected them, and let them know she was indeed the performer, they didn’t even take her seriously.
“No one thinks I’m gonna be the chick to go onstage and be funny and then after I go onstage and I ‘kill’ – I come back to the green room and I kid you not, almost every time, the men won’t even talk to me! Its like they’re almost upset about it,” she says incredulously.
Equally as frustrating is a dramatic actress trying to get work as a funny lady. Cassandra reveals that there are casting agents who won’t even see her because they don’t think she can be funny. And although her agent tells them differently, their response is she just ‘looks serious’.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” she admits.
In other news, Freeman is proud to be connected with The Green Space Project, a performance space in NYC with a mission to galvanize conversations around the life, arts and politics of the city and our world, and to be a platform for innovation and experimentation. They host live radio broadcasts and tapings; and on Friday (today), September 13, Cassandra will participate in a reading of playwright August Wilson‘s ‘Seven Guitars.’ The reading will be streamed LIVE at 7p.m. (EST) on The Green Space website. This busy lady is also set to speak at an upcoming Women’s Leadership Summit.
“Blue Caprice,” a Sundance Film Festival selection distributed by Sundance Selects (US) and Mongrel Media (Canada), opens in select theaters on Friday, September 13 and nationwide on Friday, September 20.
Watch the official trailer for Blue Caprice below. To learn more about Cassandra Freeman, visit her website by clicking here.