Acting Like A Hilton

By VFS Web Team, on January 29, 2008

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1651","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"220","height":"300","title":"Sara Canning","alt":"Sara Canning"}}]]You never know where you're going to land when you decide to become an actor. Sometimes you play the downtrodden, luckless victim, other times you're...well, acting like a celebrity. Recent VFS Acting grad Sara Canning's first gig is the latter -- she's Nicky Hilton in a TV movie called Hollywood Brats that just finished production up here in Vancouver.
We caught up with Sara to find out more.
"We finished up with filming Hollywood Brats in Canada about a week and a half ago," Sara told us, "I feel so blessed that my first experience on set since graduating from VFS was as a supporting lead."
What was your first thought when you found out you got the role of such a well-known pop culture figure and celebrity heiress?

At first I was like, hmm, great, a film about Paris Hilton, but as soon as I was cast and had the full script I put all of my media-instilled judgments about the Hiltons aside. I think that people will watch this film to see a side of the girls they don't see on ET and in the tabloids.
How did you prepare for the role?
Definitely a challenge to play the role of a girl who's very well-known right now, but I watched a lot of Nicky's interviews and read up on her business endeavours, as well as lots about her relationship with Paris. But underneath the work of learning how Nicky carries herself and presents herself to people, I really tried to focus on the fact that she and Paris are sisters, and they trust and rely on each other more than any other people in the whole world. That's a side of them we don't really get to see when they're getting bashed in magazines for partying too much or whatever.
Your first gig out of school, what was it like on set?
Being on set was so great, the crew was a fair size, but they all worked super hard because we shot the film in a very small amount of time. Everyone was very professional, but also really fun. And I loved hanging out with Amber Hay, who played Paris, and really getting to know her, joking around, talking about how crazy the Hilton life is.
Having gone through the program and now with professional experience under your belt, what advice do you have for the students who are just about to start the Acting program here, or are just graduating?
I just have to say that it's really important to continue studying, because it definitely keeps you in the game. I've been taking Andrew McIlroy's on-camera class, and I'm still learning new things all the time that make me a better storyteller. And I think that's important to keep in mind for actors who just start auditioning out in the big world of it all - with each audition I have I just ask myself, Why am I the best person for this? What unique part of me can I bring to the role? After getting this role, I can't wait to keep auditioning, and I'm hoping to be on set again soon! I just loved every second of it, so of course I want to be able to do it every day. I think it's important to just keep training, watching great films, studying what's going on with TV and film in Vancouver, reading lots of plays and fiction, just submerge yourself in good stories as an actor.