Actors Oscar Isaac and Eileen Galindo took a long, intense pause before diving into their first scene in Academy award-nominated short, The Letter Room.
Galindo recently shared with Showbiz Cheat Sheet she and Isaac tackled their first scene together with silence initially before launching into their performance.
Oscar Isaac and Eileen Galindo spent a few minutes drinking water and staring at each other
The Letter Room is a dark prison comedy about the secret life of a correctional officer who gets transferred to a job in the letter room, where a new world suddenly opens to him ways to find solace and spirituality afterward. Galindo plays Irene, the prison warden who gives Richard (Isaac) a new job in the prison mailroom. This leads Richard on a journey where he connects with both the letter writers and the recipients.
Galindo shared how she initially got into character and the first scene with Isaac. “The first scene in my office, Oscar and I just sat for a long time not saying a word,” she shared. “I was trying to find where my power was with him. I hadn’t worked with him in 20 years, and I needed to find where he was at. We just stared at each other, drank water, and sat until I felt where I could deliver the first line. The comedy was underneath who these people are.”
She also shared that writer/director Elvira Lind’s vision is derived from her tenure as a documentarian. “Elvira is a stealth director,” Galindo observed. “I think because she comes from doing documentaries, she’s attuned to the idiosyncratic behavior humans emanate. The words and actions she gives you force more of that out of you. You have no time to think because you are doing.”
‘The Letter Room’ showcases ‘Everyman’
She recounted how she came across the role of Irene. “It all happened very quickly,” Galindo recalled. “Oscar and I have been friends since we did a play together in 1999. I was supposed to be in NY to film another project that fell through. Oscar contacted me and said there was a great part in a short that Elvira was prepping.”
“She sent the script and I thought ‘Oh this is a prison drama! Great! Something I haven’t done before,’” she continued. “When I got there and started to work with the costume designer and Elvira, I realized it was something completely different.”
Adding, “The film really showcases the lonely life of an ‘Everyman.’ In 2020, we all experienced that isolation firsthand. Richard wants to connect. He wants to make a difference. But the system, which I represent, and the other characters are stuck in their isolation – literally or figuratively.”
In fact, she joked how doing The Letter Room now set her up for films directed by other signature filmmakers. “I joke and say- now I think I understand how to do a Coen brothers film,” she remarked. “The sideways comedy is part of who I am as a person. So, I would say it helped me to see more of myself.”
The Letter Room is currently streaming on Topic.
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