‘Dune’ actress Alicia Witt on making music, escaping the child star curse: ‘I was really blessed for it’

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The actress has released a new album titled ‘The Conduit’

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Alicia Witt didn’t think twice about packing her bags and leaving Hollywood.

The former child star, who made her way at age seven to take on David Lynch’s 1984 sci-fi cult classic “Dune,” has always been passionate about music. However, a blossoming acting career has kept her busy over the years. As a teenager, she moved to Los Angeles, where she starred in several films such as “Mr. Hollands Opus,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “Two Weeks Notice.” The 46-year-old was forced to make another move – this time to Nashville. And she isn’t looking back.

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Recently, Witt has released a new album titled “Drain,” Her fifth place where she also works as a producer. Witt is now gearing up to hit the road with the Fall Tour. But before that, she talked to Granthshala News about escaping the child star’s curse, befriending 75-year-old Lynch, and making music today.

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Granthshala News: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music?
Alicia Witt: I’ve been playing the piano since I was seven, the same year I made my first film. I just started with classical piano, competitions and singing. Then I played piano to make a living to support myself in taking up acting. But those were not my original songs. They were the jazz standard and featured tunes. I guess I always knew that making my music was an absolute priority… It felt like a long time coming. And it has become such an important part of my expression.

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Granthshala News: Many fans remember you from “Dune”. Looking back, how did you get the role?
Wit: Well, it was the first time I had ever acted like auditioning. I was still living with my family in Worcester, Massachusetts and the phone rang. He was the casting director for “Doon”. She was having a really tough time playing this role of Alia as Alia is believed to have been born with this crazy terminology.

He’s an adult in a child’s body for science fiction reasons. And the baby was due around four and five. So they were finding it very difficult to find anyone. My parents sent me a VHS tape and before you knew it, I was invited to come to New York and audition for it. Then I auditioned for David Lynch.

American actor Dean Stockwell (left), British actress Francesca Ennis and David Lynch on the set of 'Dune'.

Granthshala News: How was it like auditioning for David Lynch?
Wit: He gave me some wonderful, easy to follow instructions at the age of seven. I remember one time he wanted me to look scared. So he asked me to lean against a wall and tremble against him without saying anything. Just look outside and shake against the wall. That is the most vivid direction he has given me.

It inspired me to feel the emotion that the character must be feeling. I just remember loving him and feeling like he was family right now. And that was it. Then I got a call about a week later that I had got the part and that we would spend three and a half months in Mexico City. And I knew from the very first moment I stepped on the stage that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

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Granthshala News: How was your relationship with the rest of the cast?
Wit: Everyone was very nice to me. Very good. They all took me under their wings. Every experience I had on that set confirmed that I wanted to keep doing it. And also, the actors were great *laughs*. He took time out to talk to my parents, especially my dad. I think that’s one of the reasons why he supported me so much to move to L.A. when I was a teenager, which I know must have been scary for him.

As a teen, Alicia Witt moved to Los Angeles, where she led a blossoming acting career over the years.

He would sit next to me in a director’s chair and have some great conversations. My dad was left with the impression that actors were so much more than the stories you read in tabloids. These were the people who chose to live it and enjoy being around other people who were just as passionate, well-travelled, and thoughtful. He got to meet a lot of actors, so he knew what kind of business I was doing.

Granthshala News: How did you escape the so-called child artist curse we often hear about?
Wit: Well, I honestly didn’t get into the business until later. “Dune” was the only thing I did as a little kid. I didn’t have an agent, I wasn’t constantly auditioning, and I didn’t need to move to LA. I didn’t get any worldwide recognition until much later. And as I got older, I played the piano to support myself. So it humbled me to say the least.

So when it came to work I was grateful… There’s a weird thing that can happen when you’re super young and suddenly there’s a lot of money, especially as you grow up without it. But that was not my experience at all. It was a slow start for me, but I feel like I’m really blessed to have it.

Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant and Alicia Witt (L to R.) arrive at the Ziegfeld Theater for the New York premiere of the film Two Weeks Notice.  He stars in the film and Bullock doubles up as a producer.

But you know, it wasn’t a whole lot easier. It’s a weird thing to be a teenage girl and be in the business of auditioning and constantly checking my appearance… [But] Eventually I was able to find a real sense of balance. And I appreciate that that sense of balance now comes from looking at the other side of it, an unbalanced sense of what it means to be healthy and look good and all the things that I think about every woman. thinks. But you think about it more when you are in front of the camera all the time.

Granthshala News: What specifically were you doing after being screened as a teen?
Wit: It’s difficult. But along the way, I kept working with people who inspired me… We often hear a lot about the big breaks in this business and how a job can make you and then suddenly nothing is quite the same. . I find that more often than not, there are incredible opportunities that come your way that can catch good surprises or disappointments. It is a continuous learning curve. Acting for me is more than just my looks or gaining popularity. I want to play characters that inspire people with hope. I hope to make the world a better place in some way.

Granthshala News: How is your life in Nashville?
Wit: I love this I chose to move to Nashville permanently four years ago. It was the same feeling I felt when I decided to move to L.A. at the age of 16. But it’s the best thing ever for me. I realized that the more time I spent here, the more attention I could focus on my music.

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Singer/pianist Alicia Witt performs at the Evening Museum on December 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Before that, I found myself walking back to my beautiful home in L.A. and missed Nashville. LA didn’t feel like home anymore. Once I realized this, I thought, “What if I sell this house and buy a new one in Nashville?” Then it all clicked. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that after so many years, I can be where I feel happy and I can continue to do what I love.

I have been able to maintain my acting career all these years. But at the same time I realized that my music should be a priority. Now, I feel that my work as an actress has come alive again. It has become so much easier to pour my heart and soul into another creative outlet and not do so much more than wait for that proverbial phone to ring.

Actress Alicia Witt attends Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mystery Summer 2019 TCA Press Tour event at a private residence on July 26, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Granthshala News: It should be free to pursue both outlets and not feel like you have to sacrifice one in order to be successful in the other.
Wit: Definitely. The way it has all worked out has been miraculous. Over the years, I would book a tour and keep my fingers crossed that the role I’ve been yearning for doesn’t come together at the same time because it would be difficult to make that choice. But not without fail, those roles came before or immediately after those tours. And it looks like it just happened again. This is a beautiful confirmation.


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