Interview: Andrea EvansMarch 21, 2019
Recently we had the opportunity to talk with actress Andrea Evans, a veteran of the world of soap operas and a producer on the new documentary Rocking the Couch.
Did you always have an interest in acting or did that develop over time?
Andrea: I’m one of these lucky people, as my mother said, I came out of the womb knowing what I wanted to do. I always wanted to act and I started very young, I started doing professional things when I was ten years old so it’s really all I’ve ever done.
Acting can be a tough business, especially in terms of having a long career. Did you ever think about doing something else or was it acting all the time?
Andrea: It was really acting all the time. No, I never once thought about doing something else. It’s just kind of who I am, what I’ve always done. I never had a so-called plan B as it never occurred to me to do something else. It was always plan A and that was acting, acting, acting. I always say I’m a blessed person because I really am. My mother always told me on, if you want a happy life find something you love and find a way to make a living out of it, that is some of the best advice I could give anybody. I get paid to do something that I enjoy so much that I’d probably do for free, so I’m very blessed.
You have enjoyed a long career in television, specifically in soap operas. What have you enjoyed most about working on daytime television?
Andrea: I’ve done other things, movies, stage, but what I like about daytime television, or soap operas now, I’m doing one that’s streaming, is certainly for me on One Life to Live, I started very young and was able to take that character from a teenager to a middle-aged woman, you don’t often get that kind of experience. You get to show the growth in the person, how things change and when you go and do a film that doesn’t happen. Also, daytime television in many ways is a women’s medium as the stories quite often, especially when I did it, revolve around the women. You weren’t just somebody’s wife or girlfriend or mother, you are a whole unique person on your own, with really good writing and story to support that.
Has that made television your favorite medium to work in?
Andrea: For those reasons, yes, but hopefully that’s all changing. As we’re talking now, I’ve certainly done more films in the last five or six years than I’ve ever done before. I started out doing films and then went into daytime TV and that really got put aside but in the last decade I’ve done a lot of film work. I enjoy it as well, it’s just a different style, a different way in which you approach it.
Ok, so let’s talk about Rocking the Couch. How did you get involved with this film?
Andrea: Well, Minh Collins, the writer/director and also a fellow executive producer on this, I worked for him as an actress on a film called Hit List and we became fast friends. He knew I wanted to get into producing as well and we were sitting around having coffee when the whole Weinstein/Cosby thing was coming out last year and both of said yeah, somebody is going to make a great documentary about this, then we both looked at each other and said ok, let’s do this.
So what piques your interest in terms of producing?
Andrea: I think just being able to say, let’s do this about this subject. When you’re producing you’re much more in charge, you’re not a hired gun for the day, week, month, whatever, you are in charge. I enjoyed that and we’ve already started work on our next project and I hope to continue that.
Rocking the Couch tackles a tough subject for a movie, but an important one especially with how long this has been going on. What were the biggest challenges in terms of getting this film made?
Andrea: One challenge, of course, was financial, we were doing this on a shoestring budget just to get it done, so that is always an issue. Also, there had been so many interviews on television, so many things in the newspapers, it just seemed appropriate to us that a problem that as far as we know started in film should be expressed in film, that we should use that medium to express what was going on.
Maybe I’m naïve but I was shocked at how many things went unchallenged by the union. Did that surprise you or was that something that people in the business have known for a while now?
Andrea: I think it was sort of the dark underbelly of the business, something we all knew about. In fact, my friends in the business who have seen the documentary have thanked me actually for showing the whole story of it, it didn’t just happen. I think anyone who’s been in the business for any amount of time has known it was there and we all knew there was no place to go, we all just kind of turned a blind eye to it. However, I think there has been a societal shift, with the #MeToo movement and things like this and people are finally paying attention. The union is also now going along with this societal shift and has things in place to help with this situation. Do I think they need to do more? Yes, but I’m glad they are finally on board with doing something.
So do you think this means Hollywood is ready to take a stand or is this still a work in progress?
Andrea: I think they are ready to take a stand, we’re starting to see that. You know, victims of sexual abuse, harassment, in any industry and any walk of life, they deserve to be listened to. Some claims will be false, that is true, but I think as a society for quite some time we have not believed the victim, or the victim gets traumatized in the process from people not listening to their story. We started listening to the men in the last two decades who were coming out about the abuse in the Catholic Church and nobody asked them for proof, no one questioned their stories. Why is it these women’s stories have been ignored, and even in a prominent case like the Wallace Kaye case, which is a big part of our documentary, why was this ignored? Why was it swept under the rug? These people deserve to be heard.
As we’ve discussed, the movie, on the whole, is disturbing but the Wallace Kaye part of the film is particularly shocking. Did you know about this case before you started doing research or was it something you discovered along the way?
Andrea: I was totally surprised. My husband actually was the first person who told me about it, we had already started work on the documentary, and I was shocked. I have been in the industry all my life, I was certainly around in the ’90s when this happened, and I knew nothing about it. I don’t know why it was sort of shoved under the rug, I have no idea, because when you have twelve women in a case like this, and as you see in the documentary it involves police departments, undercover operations, I mean why was this not widespread public knowledge, I have no idea. Maybe if it had been who knows, maybe we’d have reached this societal difference a long time ago and some of these people who have suffered more recently would not have had to suffer.
What do you hope people come away with after seeing Rocking the Couch?
Andrea: I hope they come away with some gentleness and understanding about people who have been abused wherever they are, in my industry or other industries. I hope it is also a cautionary tale for people trying to break into the industry and also to see what happens when things like this are shoved under the rug, as it has been for so long.
You’ve been in the entertainment business for a while now and I’m sure you’ve seen your share of the good, bad and ugly. What would you say to a woman who was interested in becoming an actress?
Andrea: Well, first of all, I would say don’t go to a hotel room with a producer, or see him after hours. It sounds like common sense but I do know a lot of meetings are held in hotel rooms and they can be legitimate meetings. This is where the union needs to step in and someone suggested it this to me, and I think it’s a great idea, why isn’t it a union rule that someone else has to also be present during those kinds of meetings? If no one from the union is available, why not at least two producers from the production company, or something like that? I think this is something the union should pursue, if you have a producer meeting with an actress then another producer has to be present, in order for them to be SAG certified or whatever way they want to do it. Let’s just err on the side of caution and protect these people.
So what’s up next for you? Do you have any projects coming up?
Andrea: I’m currently on a series right now that is on Amazon Prime called The Bay, I turn up on season four. I’ve actually spent the last year doing this documentary and now we’re going to be starting work on our next one. I’m asking everyone when I interview, if you go to Amazon Prime and watch the documentary give us a review, we will listen to what you have to say. As I said, we are just starting work on our second one and we want to be as good as possible, and your thoughts will help us improve our work.
I want to thank Andrea for taking the time to talk with us