Interview With Actress Rebecca Marshall

By Ruth on March 30, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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As many of my long-time followers know, I was one of the most avid champions of Cedar Cove when it aired on the Hallmark Channel, and it has the auspicious honor of being that network’s first original series. I made it a point to connect with as many of the actors from that show as I possibly could, and I have had the joyous opportunity of chatting with the vast majority of them since the show met its untimely cancellation. Rebecca Marshall, who played the character (Alex) that experienced a charming and prominent transformation in the final season of Cedar Cove recently agreed to chat with me about her delightful adventures with Hallmark in addition to her overall experiences within the industry and even life itself.

RH: It’s so great to talk with you Rebecca! I feel like we already know each other somewhat through twitter. I feel like I’ve interviewed almost everybody connected with Cedar Cove, but I still hadn’t gotten to interview you. 

RM: It’s very sweet of you to reach out. I know that Cedar Cove is over, but it’s a great time in my life to chat with you. I really appreciate it.

I’m glad it worked out. There are still the fans who remember you from Cedar Cove. Then you were recently on Good Witch

Yeah, I did two episodes that the network turned into a movie…a Halloween special actually.

Even though you haven’t been on a Hallmark for a little while, sometimes it’s nice to get your name out there during the slower times. And you still have plenty of devoted fans.

I have to say that Hallmark is such a wonderful network ’cause they have been so good to me. I can’t ever complain. The shows that I have been on….even with Cedar Cove…  just to be a guest star, and then they brought me back with this cool storyline. I said to Sue Tenney {showrunner}, “I can’t believe you did this.” And she was like, “No, we loved you. It was supposed to be temporary, but we just loved you. We had to continue your story.” And I was so appreciative of that. And with Good Witch as well. They just called and said, “Do you want to do this?” And I was like, “Sure, that’d be great!”

Speaking of Good Witch, it was such a treat to see you in that. We saw you, we saw Teryl {Rothery}. It was like a mini-reunion with you two. It was nice to see that Hallmark does bring back its actors like that.

Yeah, I was so happy we were on set together. And Teryl was so sweet. She said, “I was reading the script, and I loved this role for you.” It was so opposite Alex in Cedar Cove. You know, Alex was a sassy, headstrong, driven woman. And my character on Good Witch was also a very driven woman, but in a more romantic, pure and innocent way. So it was kinda nice to go from my Cedar Cove character to my Good Witch character.

So, Rebecca, what drew you to pursue an acting career?

I started when I was young. When I was little, my dad used to say, “You’re going to be an actress for sure.” He used to call me his little “Marilyn Monroe” ’cause I could cry on cue. To be honest with you, I fell in love with the movie The Wizard of Oz. I just found the idea so intriguing that you could escape into another world and become this character. I remember Dorothy. I didn’t know she was fictional at the time; I thought she was real.

When I was in the sixth grade, I rewrote the script. I thought it was original, but basically I was just pausing the movie and rewriting the words. {laughs} I brought it to my sixth grade teacher and asked, “Could I do this? Could I play Dorothy?” He was so blown away that I spent so much time writing this out. I really got bit by the bug when we did this performance and put it on for everybody. It ended up being two or three hundred people in the audience. And it was something about that–I don’t know. I just fell so in love with the idea that I could be anyone. I could create anyone.

I finished school, and then I went on to acting school. And it was just kinda a done deal for me. Once the bug gets you, that’s it.

The Wizard of Oz was the first musical I ever saw. I used to watch it every year before they had videos and DVD’s. 

Yeah, I remember there was The Wizard of Oz crew and The Sound of Music crew. I never have seen The Sound of Music actually. It was The Wizard of Oz for me.

I believe I read that you are from Toronto.

Yes, that’s correct. I finished school, and I had an acting coach out in Los Angeles. It was a combination of things that brought me to LA. My acting coach was saying, “You really should come to LA.” My agent in Toronto at the time was saying, “There’s a manager out there. And there’s a movie you’d be great for.” And I ended up flying out to audition for this film, and I got the role.  I signed with the manager my agent had mentioned, and I stayed in LA and went to LA Film School and studied with my acting coach.

I wasn’t going to stay in LA, but I ended up booking Threshold. And it was not very long after that I booked The West Wing. And then it just kinda unrolled for me. What was supposed to be just a couple-month trip ended up being…. now I think I’m at thirteen years. {laughs}

But I remember moving, and I had a pair of jeans and like maybe three t-shirts. And I was sleeping on people’s couches. It was a crazy time. I didn’t even have a car. I didn’t have a license. I would try to walk or take the bus, and anyone who knows LA knows it’s very hard to do that.

I look back now–I’ve been here so many years that I consider it my home. But I think, “Wow, I can’t believe I used to do that.”  I think people always forget how far they’ve come. It’s like you’re always climbing the ladder, and sometimes it’s nice to look back and see how far you’ve actually come and go, “Wow, that’s kind of awesome.”

I’ve heard similar stories of actors going out to LA and sleeping on people’s couches or living out of their cars. But I guess when you have that dream, you’re willing to make those sacrifices. 

You know, you hear overnight success. They do that to poor actors who have worked so hard. They’ll say, “Oh, they’re an overnight success.” And the actor is like, “No, no, no, I’ve been doing this for ten years strong.” You have to work hard, and you have to know that this is what you’re gonna do. You can’t give up. You can’t have a Plan B because it’s really hard. There were many times when I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” But I kept wading through. And after numerous doors slam in your face, one opens, and you’re like, “Thank you, God!”

I do understand to a degree. With all these interviews that I do, I experience rejection or sometimes I have three interviews in a day. It’s crazy sometimes.  So although I have always respected what actors do, over this last year, I have fostered an even greater respect for what you guys do. 

Yeah, it’s got to be a love affair. Otherwise it just doesn’t work for people ’cause if you’re getting into it for the wrong reasons, you’re setting yourself up for a big disappointment.

So you were in the movie That’s My Boy with Adam Sandler.

Yeah, we shot that in Boston for two weeks, and then we were in Cape Cod for almost a month. There was a lot of footage because it was an eighty-million-dollar comedy. They had so much footage, and there was an ongoing joke on set. They would just shoot and shoot and shoot as much as they could, and we never knew what was going to be in the movie and what was not gonna be in the movie. So it was interesting to see the final cut.

Was this your first big feature film?

Yeah, Saw {3D: The Final Chapter} was forty million, so it was a pretty big feature. But That’s My Boy was probably my biggest feature.

Now do you have a production company? Is that what I understand?

I did have a production company. A few years ago, I wanted to put together a…and it’s great now, ’cause a lot of women are doing it. But I wanted to put together this production company, and I wanted to have it female-driven. I wanted to bring in a bunch of female producers, and I wanted to work with female directors. And I wanted to only look at scripts with very strong female leads. At that time, this was a very nonexistent idea. There wasn’t a lot of lead roles for women.

Then I had the idea to expand it. It could be a production company that supported female comedians and female musicians. And female-driven projects and documentaries. That was my main goal. So we did this movie Life Tracker, and at the time,  it was just really bad timing. So unfortunately, the production company fell through. It’s funny you brought it up because I was just thinking about it a couple weeks back, and I thought, “Gosh, I really would love to get that back off the ground again.” And I feel like now is a really appropriate time to do it because there is such a strong support system especially with social media. I didn’t have that seven years ago, and now it’s much more accessible. I heard that someone–not sure who– they just started a production company that is all females. Only female scripts. And that was what I was trying to do seven years ago.

I think that’s great, Rebecca. You know, you’re still young. You still have time. You’re younger than I am. So maybe in a couple of years, you’ll get that going again. I think you’re right that it might be better timing now. It sounds like you were ahead of the game. You were just a forward thinker, and people didn’t realize it at the time. 

Yeah, thank you. I appreciate that. I think you’re right. It just wasn’t the right time back then. And social media–there was Facebook, but there was no Twitter or Instagram. So I might try to dive into that again.

In your spare time, right?

Yeah, exactly. In the meantime, I am working on a script that is very female-driven, and I’m actually writing a book that I’m very passionate about. It’s a story of a young girl and her struggles in Eastern Europe during WWII. So there’s a female thing going on there.

When I hear about actors who have their own projects they are writing and working on, I always think that’s awesome. And I think it’s become something that a lot of actors want to do. From what I’ve heard, in this day and age, you need to create your own content.

You have to.  I think it’s because it’s a different industry these days. It’s not like it was ten years ago. And I feel like as much as there’s more content out there, there’s fewer and fewer roles because they’re not making as many movies as they used to. And a lot of the movie actors are moving to television. And that sometimes pushes the television actors out. It makes it a very small pond for everyone. And now they have this thing with Kickstarter–social media again–finding ways to support your projects. I feel like it’s the next wave for artists.

And when you’re not working, you have to have some sort of creative outlet or you’re going to make yourself crazy. I think that’s kind of how it goes in a sense. I think it’s important for actors–even directors and anyone in the industry–to create their own content.

I agree with you completely. I’ve spoken with those actors who are not working as much, and they have all that free time. And most of them do start their own passion projects. And if they are not working, it can drive them crazy.

Understandably so. It’s tough when you’re not working. Right now, it’s kind of slow, and I’m writing and painting. I do whatever I can to keep myself afloat.

I notice you were also on Arctic Air. That was just a Canadian show, wasn’t it?

It was just Canadian, and it was such a great show. It was one of my favorite shows I’ve ever worked on because I’d never done a Canadian production before. When they offered it to me, it was with Adam Beach, who I really admire as an actor. It was a great character, again a very strong female. I loved the way they wrote my character Lindsay and the whole show, but I also loved going to set every day. It was like a family. I still keep in touch with the director and some of the actors. When I went to work every day, I almost felt guilty that I was being paid because I was having so much fun! I was very sad when the show came to an end ’cause it just felt like a second home. It was on Netflix for a while, but I don’t think it is any longer. I think it’s just on DVD now. I really think you and Hallmark audiences would love it. There are a lot of people that Hallmark viewers would know.

Now I know we touched on Cedar Cove earlier, but how did you get involved with that show? 

Well, when they first brought me in, I wasn’t sure how many episodes I’d be on, but I just assumed it was a couple episodes. Originally, I had gone out for a character I was too young for. But the producers came back and said, “We’d really love for you to play this character. It doesn’t seem like a big role now, but we’re going to figure out where it goes.” So I thought “cool” and I went in and played this cowgirl. I tried to find ways to…I didn’t want the audience to hate me. {laughs} I realized I was causing a love triangle, but I tried to figure out a way that the audience can sympathize with me which was really hard in those last three episodes of season two. I was like, “Oh, gosh.” I know you never can judge your character, but I wanted to say, “What are you doing?”

So I finally thought, “You know, they’re gonna hate me.” And they’re gonna be like, “Please don’t bring her back.” And they’re probably not gonna bring me back. Everyone loved Teryl’s character and Sebastian’s {Spence} character, and I was just like, “There’s no way.”

When the season ended, I was looking at doing another project. I just went on, but they called my agent and said, “Yeah, we’d love her back.” I had been on hold for something else. My manager thought maybe I should wait and see what happened with the other show. But I thought, “You know, I really love Cedar Cove. Let me just see what they have to say.” And they came back with, “We really want to write her into a great role that she can really sink her teeth into.” The script came out, and right away, the character chopped her hair off and had that “I came off of Wall Street” storyline. And it turned me towards a whole different storyline. Another love triangle, but I was really flattered at the way this character grew in such a different direction.

I loved the relationship my character and Warren had. And the show told me that they didn’t know we were going to mesh like that. We had so much fun, and I was so glad I got to get in that triangle too. It was such a great storyline, and I was bummed when the show got canceled because I really wanted to see where that one was gonna go.

When you came in second season, we were not fans of your character. A lot of people were worried about what was gonna happen between Cliff and Grace. And then when we heard your character was coming back for the third season, people got all upset. I wasn’t really worried. I thought, “They’re not gonna break up Cliff and Grace.” With season three, I loved what they did with your character. It was such a great role for you. In season three, there were some good points and some others that didn’t work as well, but that storyline with Warren and Alex was one of the best things about season three. 

Oh yeah, we saw how well it worked–it was a great dynamic. Andie’s {MacDowell} love triangle was a problem, and when they kind of put Alex in there, I was like, “Oh no.” I was like, “Please don’t do this. Give Alex a boyfriend. Don’t have her chasing someone else’s man.”

I know. I was glad when they didn’t continue that potential love triangle between Alex and Jack. But I loved what you did with the character. The writers wrote very smartly, but I think you embraced the character really well. 

Aww, thank you.

You’re welcome. And my mom would agree because we all watched the show together. I think it was tough when Alex came in, trying to be a country girl. It was almost like that isn’t what Alex should have been doing. But when they changed her character, it seemed to make more sense. 

Yeah, we were really bummed when the show got canceled ’cause the ratings were really good, and it was too bad.

I know. And people keep saying they should do a movie to bring it all back together, but I don’t think they realize that at this point, that would be a very difficult thing to do. Everyone has kind of moved on. But hey, maybe ten years from now! 

Exactly. Love, Actually is making a small movie, so you never know.

I also know that during that time you were in 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown. It’s one of those movies I haven’t seen yet, but it’s on my list. I do like an occasional action movie.

It’s a great action movie.

Were you working on that around the same time as Cedar Cove

What happened is Cedar Cove wrapped, and I went home to LA. They called me and said I needed to come back and do this movie. It was really interesting. I did Lockdown. I came back. I flew back for Rush, the TV series. I flew back again. Then I went back for Motive. And then I was like, “I’m just gonna stay here.” {laughs} It was so crazy. It was one of the busiest years I’d ever had.

Lockdown is a great action film. We had a small budget, and the director was from London. Great guy, and he just had this eye for action. He made this movie look so much bigger than what the budget was. And Dean {Ambrose} was amazing. He was great to work with. We had a lot of fun. It was always me and Roger Cross and Dean Ambrose hanging out together. I was part of the boy’s club. And Roger Cross was just an angel. I still keep in touch with him. He’s such a great guy. But I think you would enjoy it.

Oh, I’m sure. My problem is I keep interviewing actors and making more friends, and my list of things to watch keeps growing. {pause} Now I know we talked about Good Witch somewhat at the beginning, but is there any chance your character will come back?

I don’t know. It’s funny. I talked with the director about this. The joke on set was that Jessica was going to come back and her book is now going to be turned into a movie. And now they’re going to shoot it in Middleton. Of course, it’s up to the writers if Jessica comes back, but they did end her story on such a great note. But you never know. Shows like to keep the door open, and there’s always the chance I can come back. They keep saying they might bring me back on Supernatural even though my character died. {laughs} But they’re like, “You don’t truly die until we burn your bones.” I was always gonna come back on Rush, and then the show got canceled. So I tend to get on these shows that get canceled. So hopefully down the road, Good Witch will bring Jessica back. She was such a great character.

Yes, she was. We really enjoyed that storyline. It was a great character. 

She was super fun to play, and she came from such a good place.

I noticed in your credits there’s a movie called Cynthia.

Yeah, that’s a film I shot last year, and it’s a very dark horror comedy. I don’t know if Cedar Cove fans would love it. A friend of mine was doing it, and they asked me as a favor to do a role. It’s about a woman who is obsessed with having a baby, and she gets these herbal supplements from China. She ends up getting pregnant with twins, but one of the twins is a monster. We shot it in LA, and it was nice to shoot something in LA and be home. I never shoot stuff in LA. I’m curious to see it, but I don’t think they have finished the final cut for it. I know I did ADR for it. But it’s supposed to be out some time this year. It will probably be on Netflix or Amazon, but I’m not sure. So I did that and Good Witch and then I got married. And then I went on my honeymoon.

Yes, that’s right. And you know, that was so neat. You shared so much with us! It was nice of you to do that. 

I had to. I just had to share it because it was so amazing!

It was wonderful how you let us be a part of your journey. Some actors aren’t open about that kind of stuff, and I’m not putting them down for that. Everybody is different. But with you, you made us feel a part of your celebrations.

Oh, that makes me so happy! I think there’s a way to share things like that. I am not above sharing anything that brings joy to yourself and others. It is a journey. That’s a perfect way to explain it. You can share without being too personal. This is life, and these are the great things, and I love what I do. I love that I can act, but I also love that I found someone I could marry, and if anyone could be happy for me, that’s icing on the cake.

I think the general consensus was the you made us feel included, and it was nice to be a part of it, so thank you.

Oh, that’s so great. That just makes me feel so happy.

Well, we are hoping for great things for you in the near future, and we’ll be sure to keep up with you. Thanks for the wonderful chat. It was so nice to finally talk with you, Rebecca.

Same here, Ruth. It was truly a pleasure.

Although it has been some time since the finale of Cedar Cove, the character of Alex is one of those unforgettable characters that truly resonated with the fans. It was quite enjoyable for me to go beneath the surface of that role and discover that the woman who breathed life into that role is genuinely a sweet, kind, humble, and gracious person. Rebecca did not disappoint as she was very open to sharing so much of herself with me, and I am immeasurably pleased to share this shining light with my readers. In spite of any of the ups and downs she has faced in her career and life in general, she has never lost sight of her goals and passions. And through it all, her radiant spirit has been a beacon of hope that demonstrates that with determination, persistence, and a fighting spirit, dreams can come true. And in her case, they have.

While she still has a wide variety of things she wishes to accomplish both personally and professionally, she cannot and will not deny her proper destiny–acting. Her father envisioned her promise way back when, and his “prophecy” came to fruition. Moreover, every time Rebecca goes to another audition, books another role, or influences the lives of others through her screen performances, she is touching so many more lives than she may ever know. I think that is one of the awe-inspiring things that an artist is able to do–reach countless individuals with a soul-stirring message and potentially influence that person either for good or for ill. It is not something into which one enters lightly, but isn’t it fantastic that Rebecca chooses to spread love and joy rather than hate and anger? No matter her role–whether transcendently excellent or somewhat misunderstood, the light of Rebecca’s soul emits a positive and effervescent glow that cannot be diminished no matter what story she tells. So please consider checking out all of Rebecca’s links below, and maybe even follow her on social media (she does post the best pictures on Instagram). And while we await the next project from Rebecca, consider checking out some of her past works as there are some potentially undiscovered, precious gems amongst them!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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