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If all actors had the impeccable comic timing of actress Emma Caufield, the world would be a more hilarious place. In Jac Schaeffer's smart and sharp sci-fi romantic comedy TiMER, she's simply delightful as love-starved orthodonist Oona, who's looking for her true love before she hits that dreaded age of female obsolescence: thirty.
The fact that Caufield is witty should be no surprise to fans of her long-running guest-star-turned-major-role as Anya, the avenging demon-turned-human on Joss Whedon's TV classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What is surprising is that she's incredibly funny in person; while interviewing her via her Skype connection in California, she told a story of the "craziest thing" that happened during the filming of TiMER that, no joke, drove me to tears of laughter, the only time that's happened in ten years of journalism.
What makes your film a Tribeca Must-See?
I think it’s completely, utterly original. I think [director] Jac Schaeffer has created a really unique hybrid of romance, sci-fi, and comedy. It has a lot of heart, it's very real, it's really funny, and it does sort of beg that question: what would you do if you could know [who your true love is and when you'd meet them]—would you want to know—and the craziness that ensues even when you do know.
What's the craziest thing that happened while making the film?
[Note: As said before, Caulfield's answer is HILARIOUS. It is also a little raunchy, as it involves nurses and antibiotics and bladder infections. As not to offend people who are weirded out by anatomy and graphic body talk, we've decided to move the full answer to the end of the piece, so you have the freedom to skip it.]
What are your hopes/fears/wishes regarding Tribeca?
I, like everybody who has a film here, hope that it does well and is well received. I hope that people love it as much as we all do. I think the genuine affection we have for the film shows. Sometimes I think you can read whether or not people have had a good time while making a film, whether it's lack of chemistry or people were miserable. We all had such a good time—it was dear to our hearts, and I'm hoping people appreciate it as much as we do. I have the wish that it finds an audience broader than the Festival.
If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead) - who would it be?
Quentin Tarantino! I've pretty much deified him at this point, he just—Pulp Fiction is my favorite film, I think he's an absolute maverick genius when it comes to weaving a story together: his sense of authenticity with dialogue, his visuals, [it's all] pretty much extraordinary. But alive or dead, it'd have to be [Alfred] Hitchcock.
Funny enough, Jac said that too when I interviewed her [in an upcoming Faces of the Festival]! Great minds think alike.
She’s absolutely amazing. She reminds me so much of Tina Fey or Ellen DeGeneres. She's hilarious and lightning quick, very quick.
What piece of art (film/book/music/what-have-you) do you recommend to your friends?
For music, I'm really enjoying the new Doves album, and also, a little band out of New York called Here We Go Magic, so I recommend those two. Movies, I haven’t seen anything in a while, but if I was going to dive into an old school movie, it would be Inherit the Wind [which is coincidentally screening at the Festival]. I'm a big fan of an artist named Kenny Harris. I have several of his pieces. The last great book I read was Life of Pi.
What are you up to next?
I have been wearing another hat for a while now—and one that I enjoy much more consistently than when I act—which is writing. My writing partner Camilla Ransten, who is a genius, and I have been working together. This project that we wrote several years ago was shelved. We decided to revisit it and it's taken on quite a great life. It's currently over at Monsterfoot [Productions]. I don’t know what I'm legally allowed to say. It’s subversive and wrong, which is completely something that’s right up my alley. It's pretty funny. Being in that world, that’s what I've been up to and it's going extremely well, so we’re very happy. I'll be really happy when we can actually fully discuss everything openly.
What's the craziest thing that happened while making the film?
You know, it involved me, but it’s so embarrassing and so long. Jac said, I have to steal this, I have to put this in my next script and I'm like yeah, yeah, go ahead. I don’t know if I should out myself like this, it's so bad. It’s the worst!
The Reader's Digest version of this is, as a lady, I'm sure you had a bladder infection at some point in your life.
One of my best friends’ mother is a nurse and she wanted me to take antibiotics, but I'm against them. I called up my friend's mom and she’s like OK, yeah, this is what you're going to do, get whole garlic cloves and—how to I put this delicately—and put them up there, ok? It’s a natural anti-bacterial, it will kill anything, and I'm like, that’s gross, but I'll do that, and I did.
Sometimes I'm not bright and I'll state that right now. Over the course of three days I kept doing what she told me to do. After three days, I'm in my trailer with [fellow TiMER actors] Michelle [Borth], John [Patrick Amedori], and Desmond [Harrington] and we're all hanging out in my trailer over dinner. Suddenly, I'm like, I don’t feel well and I feel sick. Something's not right.
And I called my friend's mom quickly, and she was like, "Emma, hold up, you have to take the garlic cloves out, that’s what you did, right?" and I was like, "I don’t know, I thought they were going to dissolve! I've never done that before!"
And she asked, "How many do you have up there?" and I said, "Eight or nine!"
Jac came in and I told her about this and she was peeing herself. So we had to send transpo [the guys who work for the transportation department] out to get a turkey baster and they said, "We don’t really want to know what this is for, do we?" So they brought back a turkey baster and brought it back into the bathroom. The sheer force of the turkey baster brought it back out. It’s the most unpleasant aroma. I reeked of garlic horribly and had to go back to work and Michelle, John, and Desmond all decided to chew whole cloves of garlic. It was pretty bad, and now I'll never live it down!
It wasn’t of my more stellar moments.
And the irony is, I had to take an antibiotic after all!