CFDb Interviews Jenn Gotzon ~ Actress
= > How/Why did you get involved in acting?
My passion is to impact and inspire audiences through the protagonist roles I play on screen. I absolutely love, love, love screening the movies and then having a heart-to-heart chat with those in the audience about what lessons we can learn from the journey the character went through in the movie. It’s such a gift to spend time with the new friends at the high schools, film festivals and churches and encourage them to live their dreams. Since I was 15 years old, when I left a really good movie I felt electrified with passion and realized that I wanna do the same for others which got me started down the path. When I auditioned for my high school play, my theater teacher told me I was not good enough to be a successful actor. After crying my eyes out, I prayed and God put on my heart auditioning for the local murder mystery dinner theater. I did that same night and was given my first paid acting job (and performed every weekend throughout my senior year of high school). My passion for acting was so strong and I knew I needed to learn how to act — I craved education, so I went to The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts (summer program and two year conservatory).
After 2 years of intensive on-camera training and prayer, I knew this was a career I wanted to pursue. Then a good handful of years later, graduating from another 2 year conservatory, now in Los Angeles, God blessed me with a role that opened so many doors for my acting career. I had the opportunity to reenact history in “Frost/Nixon” as the president’s daughter Trica and work with Ron Howard, Frank Langella and Kevin Bacon. Yes, Kevin Bacon — so now you who read this are one degree away from Kevin Bacon. hee hee. Working on “Frost/Nixon” was a tremendous blessing. The film went onto being nominated for five Oscars. Even though my role was teeny-tiny (I was in six scenes and all of them got cut down to being a glimpse in the final movie), God used this to launch my career and a few years later living the dream of filming and working on movies that truly are inspirational, redemptive, entertaining and fabulous… especially because each film has the ability to either impact audiences (like “Doonby“) or inspire (like “God’s Country“).
= > What is the most favorite role you’ve ever played?
Oooh this is a very tough question. My favorite role would be… hmmmm. Tricia Nixon because she was a girl in history where I got to read, research and re-create the mannerisms, emotional mind-set and live through a traumatic time in history for Nixon’s resignation through the imaginative point of view of Tricia. My heart was to bring honor to the Nixon family.
Next favorite role would be Laura Reaper in “Doonby” because she had such an emotional range she journeys through in the story. She’s complex with many layers and a kaleidoscope of color. She’s an alcoholic and I love playing deep, complex characters who struggle through life’s hard knocks that through the story can find redemption or if no redemption, we see what pain and trauma causes the soul and hopefully that will inspire/impact the viewer to find healing.
The other wonderful role was Lydia in “Alone Yet Not Alone” which the story takes place during the French and Indian War. She was another woman in history and from England. She sacrificed herself to save the children captives and it was joyous to play a character during this epic time in history. “Doonby” will come out soon and “Alone Yet Not Alone” will be in theaters during the Easter season next year.
= > How has acting in Christian movies made a difference in your life?
Acting in any movie that has good values, redemption and can uplift those who are watching is a true blessing. We watch movies to be entertained and what better to feel really good inside afterwards and even better if a film helps us become a better person..wow! That’s another gift that lives within our soul forever. Movies really can make a difference our lives.
One thing that is special when working on a movie with Christians is people enjoy praying. It is so powerful seeing how God answers prayers and unites the cast and crew together with a long-lasting friendship. This has been a consistent memory I see from all the films that I’ve worked on that share that common value.. praying together = fellowship that lasts forever.
I love my friends so much and miss them from “I Am Gabriel” “Doonby” “Alone Yet Not Alone” “The Screenwriters” and “September Skies.”
= > Can you tell us a little bit about your most recent role in “I Am Gabriel”?
Fun!!! It’s so exciting (I still can’t believe it) that the first film to release is “I Am Gabriel” (I still am pinching myself that there are nine films I’ve filmed since 2010 that will be coming out.). It’s funny because all the other movies I play characters very different than myself. I love character transformations. Well, in “I Am Gabriel,” my character is so similar to me.. she’s high energy, ambitious, social butterfly and loves everyone around her.. Her name is Monroe and is the towns’ news reporter. She dreams big and wants to be a big time journalist but works at her small newspaper and is always looking for a good human interest story.
It’s fun because we would be shooting and Mike Norris, the director, would say really loud in a high pitched voice “MonROE!” Every time I came onto set because she was so high energy which helped bring a comedic undertone to the heavy emotional drama that surrounds the story. Good, good times and great, great people.. Especially the ladies of Promise, TX from the movie. We all became BFF’s. Another special gift is that the character Monroe is in journalism and so was my dear friend Scotty Dugan who the Lord took home before Christmas last year. Scotty was my manager and publicist and taught me so much about newspapers, journalism, publicity and press kits. He was so high energy and I’d like to dedicate my role to Scotty who was the inspirational backbone to my career that God used to help navigate my career journeys.
= > Can you tell us about any future Christian films you’ll be playing in?
There are a nice slate of films that have a Christian World View which means there are storylines of redemption, hope, forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love. Some of these films I play one of the main characters (if not three main character in) are “Doonby,” “God’s Country,” “Alone Yet Not Alone,” “Dragon Day,” “The Screenwriters,” “Untouched,” “September Skies,” and The Divine Comedy series starting with “Dante’s Inferno Documented.” Each of them are fabulous and wonderful and made by brilliant people. I would be writing for two days to include all the fantastic’ness of these films and the filmmakers.
= > How can people learn more about you and your work?
What a kind question to ask. My heart is to serve. I love mentoring and giving back however I can if that is through sharing acting techniques with aspiring actors or speaking to high schools and churches sharing my journey overcoming several of life’s obstacles (like rejection, not having money, discouragement) and sharing testimonies how when we pray, persevere, keep God first and have faith.. the plan and purpose God has for us will always be hopeful… it’s just its never in our own time.. It’s always in God’s timing and His timing is always best. Even though it’s sometimes hard for my human brain to accept. LOL.. through living through this season of fruit and looking back over my life.. If God provided this years ago, I wouldn’t be mature enough to know how to balance everything and use these blessings as a platform to give, encourage and cheer on the next generation.
People can get in touch with my through my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jenngotzon.fanpage or on Twitter @JennGotzon or on my website www.JennGotzon.com.. but mostly Facebook. I like to use Facebook as a way to serve and provide mentorship to anyone seeking direction.. and if anything I’ve experienced could help someone.. I pray I’m used for good to love and serve unconditionally to make everyone feel inclusive and special
Many blessings and big smiles to you all!
This picture is taken at Mom’s Cafe is with “I Am Gabriel” exec producer Jan Thompson who was a major influence on Jenn being cast. During pre-production, Jan Thompson asked God to show her who to cast for the role of Monroe. She picked up her phone and on her mind came the name ‘Jenn.’ She typed it into her phone and the first search result to appear was Jenn Gotzon’s website. She clicked on the website and the Holy Spirit affirmed in her heart “This is your Monroe.” Meanwhile, Jenn’s manager Scotty was pitching her to the casting director Katrina Cook. A few weeks later, Jenn received a direct offer for the role, arrived on set to learn how this was a God casting.
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