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Frances Fisher of ‘Titanic’ talks about her new movie ‘On Sacred Ground’

Acclaimed actress Frances Fisher (“Titanic” fame) chatted about her new movie “On Sacred Ground.”

Frances Fisher
Frances Fisher. Photo Courtesy of Diana Ragland
Frances Fisher. Photo Courtesy of Diana Ragland

Acclaimed actress Frances Fisher (“Titanic” fame) chatted about her new movie “On Sacred Ground.”

‘On Sacred Ground’

Her new film “On Sacred Ground” was directed by real-life couple Josh and Rebecca Tickell (“Kiss the Ground”). It’s the first scripted movie to explore the conflict at Standing Rock. “Josh and Rebecca are great. I’ve known them for years. I was actually at Standing Rock when Josh was there, and I’ve known him since his early days of doing films,” she said. “This is the first narrative on Standing Rock, and hopefully, it will inspire other people to do more especially from the indigenous point of view.”

It is based on the true events during the 2016 construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The film follows Daniel (William Mapother), a journalist and military veteran, and Elliot (David Arquette), an oil company executive, who find themselves on opposite sides of the fight during the construction of the contentious pipeline.

As the story unfolds, the two characters go down separate paths during one of the most heated protests and confrontations with Native American tribes in modern US history. “The message is don’t believe everything you read in the press on either side, and having the ability to think critically about situations that are very important so you are not led by the loudest voices in the room,” she said.

Aside from Fisher, the cast includes David Arquette, William Mapother, Irene Bedard, Kerry Knuppe, David Midthunder, and Che Jim. “This movie was short and sweet,” she said. “Basically, I was in an office the entire time. I think we filmed it in a day, and it involved me doing some office phone calls.”

The digital age

On being an actress in the digital age, Fisher said, “It hurts all actors in terms of residuals and that’s not good. There needs to be a better formula for streaming for actors. Residuals are our life blood between jobs. There are very few actors that have a steady job, usually on a television show, that have a steady income. The rest of us go from job to job, and sometimes a year or two can go by.”

“When things stream, the residuals are nonexistent and it’s really not fair because the studios are profiting from our performances, and we, as actors, get nothing. We have a TV and theatrical contract negotiation coming up next year at SAG-AFTRA, and hopefully, they will be able to fix some things,” she added.

‘Run the Race’

She also starred in the movie “Run the Race,” which deals with two brothers (played by Tanner Stine and Evan Hofer) that had one unbreakable bond. “That takes me back,” she admitted. “It was quite the adventure. I love Tanner and Evan, they are both sweethearts.”

On the title of the current chapter of her life, Fisher said, “My Third Act as an Elder.” “My life is a Chekhov play of a four-act play and I feel I am beginning my third act,” she said with a sweet laugh. “The more you work, the better you get.”

‘Titanic’

Fisher is known for playing Ruth Dewitt Bukater, Kate Winslet’s on-screen mom in the blockbuster film “Titanic,” which was directed by James Cameron. “It was a wonderful experience to be in such a big movie with so many moving parts. We had a great cast, a brilliant director, and it was just wonderful,” she said.

“Working with Kate Winslet was lovely, she is just lovely. Whatever she does is amazing, she makes great choices, and she is always authentic. Kate is one of our best,” she added.

As part of the movie’s 25th anniversary, she shared that it will re-released on February 10th in remastered 4K 3D. “I guess it is going to be another experience and people will be going to the theaters to see it again, and now, I will have a whole new generation of young girls screaming how much they hate my character,” she said with a sweet laugh.

Advice for hopefuls

For young and aspiring actors, Fisher said, “Start in the theater. You will learn and work on classic plays because you will understand the importance of writing, and the importance of a story told with a beginning, middle, and an end. That’s how I started and that’s how numerous actors started, in theater. If you understand doing theater, then doing film is a much easier transition.”

“Theater allows you to immerse yourself in your character day after day, and it allows you to try things and make choices. Playing eight shows a week is another fantastic experience because it allows you to discover things and you learn how to live on stage just because you are so comfortable with your fellow actors. You learn from the audience what works and what doesn’t work, and your grow,” she elaborated.

On the key to longevity in the entertainment business, Fisher said, “Stay in the game. Don’t quit.”

“I don’t like doing the same roles twice. I am always looking for new things,” she said. “I don’t think anyone can pigeonhole me.”

‘To Leslie’

Fisher also praised the movie “To Leslie,” directed by Michael Morris, and the powerhouse lead acting performance by Andrea Riseborough, and Fisher revealed that Riseborough “blew her away.”

If Fisher were to write, direct, and produce her own short film, she noted that it would be about “growing up.” “Kids today need so much guidance, they have influences on social media that really take them down some precarious paths,” she said.

Success

On her definition of success, she said, “Accomplishing one’s goals, acknowledging my gratitude for achievement whether it’s being able to pay the rent every month or having a great movie in theaters, or having somebody write you a note that your work touches them so deeply. Success isn’t just monetary, it is about having successful relationships, having food in the fridge, and feeling healthy.”

To learn more about actress Frances Fisher, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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