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Interview

Erin Cummings: A Back Stage Exclusive

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Erin Cummings: A Back Stage Exclusive
"I am a Cajun Baby in a Texas girl, an all-American woman and a global goddess," says Erin Cummings, and who are we to disagree?

A trained Shakespearean actress, Erin embodies the most elusive and desirable of thespian traits: unpredictability. You really have absolutely no idea what she's going to do, or say, next. An army brat from Texas, Erin spent some of her formative years in Korea, and thinks nothing of taking off for Thailand or Scandinavia at a moment's notice.

Her career is about explode this month with a lead role in "Bitch Slap" onscreen, and on TV as the wife of Spartacus' wife in the new series "Spartacus: Blood of Sand" on Starz.

Chosen as this week's Girl2Watch, Erin will be featured in a series or articles, fun facts and social media tweets through this week for subscribers of www.Girl2Watch.com.

ACTOR2WATCH: What was your first real break as an actor?

ERIN CUMMINGS: My first job as an actor was actually two lines on "Star Trek: Enterprise" as 'Prostitute Number One.'  People can still see that if you go to my website, ErinCummings.com.  My reel is on the video page and it's actually the very last clip. I refuse to take it off because I think it's hysterical.

A2W: What was your reaction when you first got the script for "Bitch Slap"?

EC: When I read the title of "Bitch Slap," I was like, "This is bullsh*t." I was offended. I was like, "Really? Is this what my career has come to?" It was kind of... disappointing. But I hadn't been working at all, so I read a scene, and I just went, "Oh, I get it. These people are actually really funny." I understand the joke and the tongue-in-cheek humor of it.

A2W: Tell us about your role in "Spartacus: Blood of Sand."

EC: I play Spartacus' wife, Sura. We are assuming that Spartacus had a life before he was a slave, and that is where he meets Sura and she is the motivation behind Spartacus' every move. In Episode One, Sura is kidnapped and taken from him and he spends the whole of the season basically trying to get her back.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for me because it gave me the chance to play the leading lady, the love interest in a period piece, with an accent, doing fight scenes. Having done "Spartacus," it kind of balances things out because people go, "Oh, she's a really serious dramatic actress, but she's got a cool sense of humor enough to go do a movie like 'Bitch Slap.' "

A2W: What role do your agents play in your life?

EC: First of all, my agents over at Paradigm are really excited. I think that's the most important thing. Because you can be with the CAA's and the William Morris's of the world, and that all sounds good on paper when you're bragging to your out-of-work actor friends. But truth be told, if you're not auditioning for roles that you are right for, it doesn't matter if you're with the top tier agency or you're with someone who is C level. 

For me, getting with Paradigm, they were so incredible, because I walked into the meeting, they pitched themselves to me and told me exactly what they wanted to do for me. And at the end of the meeting they said, "All right, we're ready to sign you."  And I went, "What do you mean? I don't have to wait around for two weeks for you guys to talk about it and make me sit on my hands?"

A2W: How do you work together?

E.C.: It's a partnership. They don't tell me what to do. They consult with me and then I consult with them. It's a symbiotic, back-and-forth relationship. We make decisions together, because at the end of the day, your representation makes money when you make money.

I know that people say that until they're blue in the face, but it's like I used to have this feeling and I think a lot of actors do where like, "Oh God, I don't want to piss them off because they might drop me." Piss them off.  See if they drop you, and if they drop you that easily then obviously it wasn't a relationship that was solid to begin with.

A2W:Do you have any tips for novices or is there anything you wish someone told you when you first started out in acting?

EC: First of all, figure out as soon as possible if your gut is the right direction because everyone will have an opinion about what you need to do. I think that it's important to get as much feedback as possible from people that you respect and trust that don't have an agenda. But at the end of the day, you need to figure out whether or not your radar or your actor barometer is on target.

I know at this point in my career that when my gut tells me something, it is 100 percent always correct and I must go with it. Not everybody has that and so they need to go, "Okay, my barometer is not that strong. I must surround myself with people that I trust that are going to be able to make decisions for me."

I have an actress friend who is a little bit of a train wreck and makes decisions and like 75 percent of them are wrong.  And that's the one that you just really want to go, "You know what?  You should really get new representation and find people who care about you because you can't make decisions."

Like I'm terrible with money. My cell phone bill and my cable gets cut off all the time.  Not because I don't have the money but because I just forget to pay my bills.  So I'm hiring a business manager. I know I can't do that so I'm going to hire someone who can.


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