By: Dorie Triplett
Our female lead character Ruby, Cupid’s protégé who struggles to make matches in the human world, is played by Hollywood actress Melanie Stone. Stone kindly allocated time on her day off for an exclusive interview with The Buzz.
Melanie has an apartment in California and a home in Utah. She travels back and forth between the two states, sometimes an hour flight from Burbank to Salt Lake City or “an eight-hour drive if you’re a speedy driver like me”. Her life in LA is not the normal ‘glitz and glamor’ we might associate with an actress of her stature as she prefers to focus on the real relationships in her life. A typical day for Melanie is going hiking with her friends, having restorative time to herself, and even just watching Netflix at home.
According to Melanie, making a movie with Shenandoah students is very fun and a shift from what she’s usually used to working on larger film productions. She says the typical Indie films that she works on are fast paced and involve longer hours “Sometimes it can be pretty rigid, when you’re working with a certain level in Hollywood, you’re not going to get a say in it.”
Stone finds Blayne Weaver’s directing style to be collaborative and much more receptive to actors’ input on their characters dialogue and action. In fact, she indicated she was both surprised and flattered that Weaver would ask her what she thought Ruby might thinking when delivering particular lines.
According to Stone, there is a refreshing feel to this production: “Everybody is ready to jump up and be a problem solver versus just stand around and let the problems overwhelm them”. She expressed amazement at how eager so many students have been to learn everything on a movie set they possibly can as opposed to staying within their assigned niches.
She mentioned Taylor Burke, Cupid’s key costume designer, and her willingness to be Melanie’s right-hand woman, grabbing her anything she needed, or giving rides to anyone that needed them, which she didn’t have to do as a part of her job title.
Among Stone’s favorite projects prior to “Cupid” was a recent modern adaptation of ‘Little Women’ because she made some of her closest friends while working on it.
She has also recently been a part of two other Christmas films Christmas Wonderland and My Christmas Inn, as well as the leading role in the Mythica fantasy series.
Melanie is not only an actress, but she’s been dabbling in producing and writing. She has several ideas in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre in the works but just needs “to get up the courage to sit down and write them”.
“I do well under restrictions- like ‘it needs to be a cast of four, we are going to be shooting at this location, we need this to happen’ and then it’s kind of fun writing under these constraints, it’s like, how do I make this story work with what we have?”
I think I speak on behalf of all Shenandoah University staff, faculty and students working on the movie that we are excited to have Stone cast as our lead Cupid in this romantic comedy-meets-fantasy production on campus.
As Stone admits, the part could not have been a better fit for her. When asked what advice she would give to students at SU, she said: “When you make mistakes, ask yourself what can I learn from this experience? Sometimes when you fail you just feel like ‘well I’m not going to do this anymore and just give up’. Truthfully, my biggest growing experiences have been from my biggest failures and mistakes. Those have been the pivotal moments when I’ve essentially been able to level up, and really learn from that and become better.”