From Mystic Pizza to The Cold Lands (a competition film in the Sarasota Film Festival this year), Lili Taylor has brought to life characters with unusual perspectives on the world onto the screen. When the actress sits down for the In Conversation series Friday, expect her to discuss the many different personas she has represented in movies as varied as Born on the Fourth of July and High Fidelity.
“I’ve done all sorts of things,” she told SRQ Backlot. “I have been in a spectrum of different roles, and I’m glad about that. It means i have experimenting.” When she takes the stage at Florida Studio Theater, she plans to discuss that wide acting range with an audience.
“I just want to have a talk that will get people thinking and to share some thoughts,” she said.
Of course, much of Taylor’s career has been tied to the sort of independent films projected on screens throughout the week during festival time, and festivals like the one happening in Sarasota draw her to the theater whenever she has a project to promote. On Thursday evening, she walked a Sarasota red carpet to the North American premiere of The Cold Lands, the Tom Gilroy-directed drama about a mother and child in the rural Hudson River Valley.
Taylor plays the unnamed mother, a character with a diabetic condition and an aversion to modern medicine. Unsurprisingly, that unfortunate combination of character traits claims Taylor’s character early in the film, though the actress continues on, seeming to appear to son Atticus (played by Silas Yelich) through much of the film. It is unclear whether Taylor acts as a supernatural force in the boys life, though the actress had her own thoughts. “In my mind, it wasn’t literal, but more him tapping into her until he had that strength in himself to move on,” she said.
Taylor has a long history with Gilroy based on their work together on the stage, so taking this project for her was a no-brainer.
So far, the choice is paying off. The Festival this year is honoring her with the Career Achievement in Acting Award. The film is also in the running for the Narrative Feature Competition. All of this could play well for the film in terms of distribution, earning a few etra laurels on the DVD case should the time come.
The Cold Lands screened Thursday, April 11, and screens again Saturday, April 13, at 17pm at the Regal Hollywood 20.
In Conversation with Lili Taylor is scheduled for Friday, April 12, at 2pm at Florida Studio Theater. Before then, Taylor will be honored at the Tribute Luncheon at the Sarasota Yacht Club.