Lee Ann Maloney is a simply delightful woman both on and off camera. She has this ability to notice what is needed and do what it takes to fill the gaps. As an actress, she’s professional and prepared and makes everyone on set feel comfortable. And behind the scenes she’s running around helping wherever she can be of service.
When did you first take an interest in acting?
I’ve been interested in acting since I can remember. As a little girl, my sister and my brothers and I would make up skits to perform in front of our family. I was always involved with the school plays and then into my high school years I began to think about it seriously. When I was a senior in high school, I went to Dallas to audition for an acting school in NY, American Musical & Dramatic Academy (AMDA). They were very selective and I wasn’t sure I would be accepted (they only enrolled 90 students for that next year out of the whole U.S.). I was one of those 90 – however, after much thought and discussion with my family, we decided it wasn’t the right time for me to pursue that. Being only 18 and never really traveled much at all, NY was just not in my future at that time. So, I took some local acting classes at TPAC with Ruth Sweet after I graduated high school. But then my life took a completely different course and I didn’t pick up acting again until about 25 years later.
What was your first role?
My first role was playing a teacher in Country Strong. I have to back up by saying, this was the first thing I auditioned for after taking many classes at The Actor’s School in Franklin, TN. My mentor and coach, Alan Dysert, told me I should just “go out there and audition for something”. So, I auditioned for Country Strong – well, it was more like a “cattle call” – just show up with your picture and info and stand in a long line. A month went by and I never heard anything so I figured they didn’t think I fit a role. But then I received a call that they were wanting me to play a teacher in a scene. And that I would be in a scene with Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw. That was my very first experience on the set of a movie. I didn’t have any lines, but I enjoyed just being there observing everything going on. There were about 20 children in the scene as well so that was a fun atmosphere and definitely helped me feel at ease. (I used to teach preschool choir at my church). I didn’t get to meet Gwyneth or Tim, but they were very nice and helped keep the kids involved and made us feel like we were an important part of the scene. And that’s when I really caught the acting bug.
What led to your interest in film acting?
I’ve always loved movies. With my theater background, I knew movies would be a new challenge. They are both very different types of acting. I’ve been told more than once to “tone down the facial expressions”! In one of Alan’s classes, he taught acting for commercials. He worked on a commercial demo with me and then he sent it to local talent agents to promote my acting ability. That’s when I was asked to sign with DS Entertainment in Brentwood, TN. I’ve been with them for 6 years now.
What film/tv/commercial projects have you been involved in?
Movies: Country Strong, The Identical, The Good Book, Providence
TV: Nashville, Outlaw Country, Still the King
Commercials: Wellpet, St. Francis Medical Center, Dollar General, American Pickers, Mrs. Grissom’s, Nashville Title Insurance Corp.
I’ve also done voice over work for Home Center Network and other radio spots.
Tell us about your role in The Good Book.
I played Daniel’s Mom. Daniel begins the story when he accidentally starts a fire in our home and runs away. I really enjoyed working on The Good Book. Without any dialogue, our expressions and movement were what told the story. And so, my tendencies to have to “tone down the facial expressions” didn’t really apply here. Although, I wanted to seem real and authentic. I had to show different emotions, such as worry, relief to have found our son, etc. Donnie Hall played Daniel’s Dad. When we were shooting the scenes running downstairs from the fire, we didn’t have to worry about sound (with it being a silent film) so Donnie was playing Johnny Cash’s song “Ring of Fire” as we ran. I had to keep myself from laughing at that point. We had a lot of fun on set!
With Providence you got involved behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. Which do you prefer – cast or crew?
I really can’t rank one over the other. I truly enjoy learning about all aspects of film making. For Providence, I was Production Assistant, helped with props, costumes, and scene takes. At one point I even helped as a stand in for Juli! I was also in front of the camera briefly when I played the role of Edith’s nurse. It takes so many people doing various things, I just wanted to learn what goes on in front of and behind the camera. Who knows, I may try my hand at writing as well. I think that’s my next challenge I want to set for myself.
Do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?
I just recently worked on Billy Ray Cyrus’s Show, Still the King, which will air sometime in 2016. I can’t say much about it except it was a blast. And this show is going to be hilarious. Look for it on CMT. I really do enjoy comedy. One thing I told Billy Ray as I got on set is, “I’m playing this character up like Carol Burnett would”. He said, “ah, that’s great!” The crew cracked up after each take. And the director said to me, “young lady, you are hilarious!”
What do you do when you’re not working on a film/tv set?
I wear many hats. My husband, Andy, and I have one son, Parker. He’s in 8th Grade. I’m in between a stay-at-home-mom and helping Andy at our company, Nashville Title Insurance. I’m also “Den Mom” to many future and current NFL players since Andy is also a sports agent. (He wears many hats as well)! Our agency is E610 Athletes, which stands for Ephesians 6:10…..”Putting on the armor of God”. We strive to help these young men with their lives on and off the football field.
I just want to thank you and Fred for giving me the opportunities to work with them. You are amazing people and great to learn from. I knew I was going to be very comfortable on set the first time I met you when you said “let’s open this day of filming with prayer”. I knew right then that I was where God wanted me to be. My passion is to help tell stories on screen that bring thought provoking, heart healing and God centered messages that people need to hear. I also believe that there is healing through laughter and I plan to find more work where I can help people find their smiles!