Interview with Alex Roe

Star of “Forever My Girl”

January 11, 2018, Dallas, Texas

 

Ron Salfen:  (Being from London, England) How did you manage the accent?

Alex Roe:  Well, for this one I listened to country music every day, for about three months, and watched interviews with country artists.  So I'd catch up on their mannerisms.  Obviously there are so many different accents in the South, and because of that, and because I had creative license because Liam (his character) had left his hometown for eight years.  It didn't have to be incredibly specific.  A lot of these country singers seem to have very general kind of American accents when they speak, but when they sing, they have more of a country twang.

RS:  Because they're playing to the country audience.

AR:  Yeah.  I didn't necessarily want Liam to be like that, but that was an interesting finding....also, I thought you'd be able to learn to talk in that accent and then sing in the same accent, but it's two different things.

RS:  It looked to me like you can play barre chords.

AR:  Yes, thank you, I can play barre chords.  I got a guitar when I was eight years old, and never had any lessons, but loved learning to play it.  I recommend it to everyone.  I did have to learn the chords to the songs, and the strumming patterns.  We went to Nashville to record the songs, and so we had some of the best country musicians playing on it.  They take the chords and change the picking and strumming pattern, then I tried to copy what they were doing.  That was most challenging....these studio musicians are the unsung heroes.  They do this all day every day, and they might write the riff that makes a song a hit, and get no credit for it.  Just an hourly wage.

RS:  I want to change direction here.  I happen to be a Pastor, and I don't have to have everyone be religious all the time.  Cussing doesn't bother me, unless it invokes the name of the Deity.  Anyway, as a minister, one of the things that always grates on me is that when they depict a pastor in a movie, they're terrible models: hypocrites or child molesters or something horrific.  It's hard to find a positive clergy model in the film.  You have to go all the way back to “Boys Town” in the 40's or something.  But what I appreciated about this film was that the figure of your father was a positive model.  He wasn't perfect,  he had a temper, he kept grudges.  But he was a caring man who obviously cared for his congregation, and when he spoke he spoke sincerely, and he was a man of sincere faith.  And I appreciate that so much.

AR:  Ah, that's brilliant.  I'm so glad that you noticed that, and felt that, especially as a Pastor, too.  He isn't perfect.  And he admits that toward the end.  He realizes that part of the reason Liam went down the spiral and was sucked into fame in this way had partly to do with the fact that he didn't have the words for Liam in his time of need.  He had the words for his congregation, but not for his son.

RS:  There's a dynamic I can really identify with.  I can be a Pastor to everyone except my family.  To my son, I can only be his Dad, and an imperfect one, at that (not to mention an imperfect Pastor).

AR:  But it's the imperfections that make us human, and therefore perfect in our own ways.  Yeah, that speech of my father's character at the end is great, and also his sermon about forgiveness. 

RS:  The other thing I noticed is how you sat outside your Dad's church.  You were there but you weren't there; you were listening but you weren't with the rest of the group. 

AR:  Yeah, I think stepping into the church was really, really, difficult for Liam.  And I worked with Bethany (Ashton Wolf, Director and Writer) on this, too.  But I think stepping through those doors was

a really big step for him---probably done some things he's not proud of, and he kind of repents, and makes amends.  Like the elements of the Prodigal Son, you know?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association