Since making her debut in the 1976 feature Sweet Revenge, Jan D'Arcy maintained a venerable TV presence from appearances in some of the biggest '90s shows, Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street, and Twin Peaks. After taking an 11-year hiatus from the screen, D'Arcy made her triumphant return on TV in the 2017 Showtime revival of Twin Peaks and also appeared in The CW's Arrow. The actress is also returning to films with her latest in The Sound of Violet, which follows Shawn (Tyler Roy Roberts), desperate trying to find a wife. When he thinks he has found a perfect soulmate in Violet (Cora Clearly), his autism keeps him from realizing she's a prostitute. D'Arcy spoke to Bleeding Cool about the film, working with writer & director Allen Wolf, and more.
How 'The Sound of Violet' Was Perfect for D'Arcy
Bleeding Cool: What intrigued you about 'The Sound of Violet?'
D'Arcy: I liked the fact that [the film] talked about autism and sex trafficking in two contemporary subjects. It wasn't some horror film because there have been many roles coming by that can't compete with 'Batman' and with some of the ones I saw. One was just before I got this role, and they wanted me to play a woman mafia leader who went out and killed people. Right there, this choice of something interesting needed to be talked about. Allen had a good script.
How do you break down the set he ran?
We shot long hours to get it all in. To do a major film like that and get it done here is costly. We used a lot of nice backgrounds, and everything was done well. We put a lot into each day. It was great because I could get up, drive 30 minutes to be on the set, and know we were about ready to start. There was no sort of sitting around. Allen did a nice job of directing. The young people, I was concerned about not having done a movie before, but I found out they were easy to relate to and work with. It was a very pleasant set to be on. One funny thing is we were shooting the last scenes at the Gas Works Park, and just as they were ready, Allen was trying to time it with the sunset going down behind the couple. This pirate ship came along, they were drinking, waving, and yelling, and we waved at them, "Go! Go! Go!" They waved back, jumped up, singing, and it was terrible. They would not move, and the sun was going down. Allen picked up and pretended to call the police. They heard him do that and finally left, but that was the only major stopping everything.
Since this is Allen's second film, did it feel loose, or was it more structured?
It was pretty structured. He tried to get several scenes of any actor that was there on that day. That's where he was set up and went. It wasn't Disney, one of my Disney films where they served a full meal, etc., and gave you a half hour for a nap after lunch. It was pleasant to go to, and he's easygoing, etc. He wasn't showing any acting lessons or something, but somehow he pulled out of people what he was looking for, and he had some very definite ideas too. On the first day of shooting, I realized, "This relationship with the doorman was going to be subtler than what I had seen."
Do you feel the storytelling is underrepresented with subjects like autism and human trafficking?
We're always going to be sorry storytellers. We were sitting around the fire as cavemen. They were the filmographies doing it presets there on the cave walls. It's not going away, and we always want that right now. When we had the premiere here in the Lynwood area of Seattle, there were some other superhero and horror films. There were like five films that were being shown. Kids were coming in and wanting to go. They didn't want to go into 'The Sound of Violent' asking, "What's that?"
Interestingly enough, I'm here, and about 14; my friends went to that first night, and they're waiting to see it again. I was surprised [laughs], and they got other people, too. They want to have a party when it comes out in December to see it again and bring people. That's the kind of reaction I've had about it. People want stories, and they want to be informed. Some people said they didn't realize with Cora, all she had to go to. She talked about coming from Spokane, not having any money, and ending up on the streets. This is the other thing, too, are these stories about people who are homeless and what happens to them. That's such a current and front page. I hope it doesn't get overrun with all of these other gory tales from the future.
Have you heard anyone from the autism community about the film's reception?
I called four times over there and invited them to the premiere. One guy did show up, and I talked to him. I said, "This could be an event for your group. There's nothing like it, and there's this annual autism conference, and they have a movie night." I wrote Allen and said, "For next year, you should get in on this." I'm a promoter in my way. I'll do it when I see something good which could be valuable. There are several incidences where you could get people to see this gentle film. It had the raw materials of what was happening but treated them differently.
Atlas & Morning Star Pictures' The Sound of Violet is available on digital.