Update 1-4-13: Lilly Melgar appears on Spanish language show Milena Tu Amiga https://www.facebook.com/MilenaTuAmiga
Sultry and talented, the effervescent Lilly Melgar made a name for herself cast in the award winning daytime soap General Hospital. Lilly takes a turn behind the camera this year, producing and co-directing her first feature film entitled Black Cobra. The 2012 year of action continues, as Lilly takes time out of her busy schedule to chat about Black Cobra on Dan's Movie Report. Hard to believe this is already post number 300!
Describe a bit how you got into film and TV acting. How were you cast on General Hospital, if you can remember the audition process.. Is auditioning for daytime soap operas different from movies?
I remember being maybe 6 years old and telling people that when I grew up I wanted to be a Charlie's Angel (lol). I didn't realize that meant being an actress at the time :). I realized I wanted to act when I would watch GH and I felt this immense desire to be on that show. So much so that I went on to tell all my friends "when I grow up, I'm going to be on General Hospital!" they'd say, "how are you going to do that?" I'd answer "I don't know ... I just know I'm going to". I officially got into acting at the age of 16. I had won a beauty pageant and an aspiring director graduating from UCLA film school saw me and cast me as the lead in his short film. His film went on to win the the best short film at UCLA that year. After that experience, winning the award and seeing myself on the big screen, I 'knew' it was what I was meant to do. I not only tapped in to my passion for the craft but this experience gave me the confidence to pursue my dream. I went on to do a couple dozen commercials, booked a spanish pilot, a lead in an independent film and screen tested for a couple of soaps. I was seen on one of my commercials and called in to screen test as a host for the very successful Univision music video show "Tu Musica". I was cast and we took the show to number one. I consider this to be the true beginning of my career. A few years later, My friend Ricky Martin who I had met during my time as a vj on Tu Musica, had just been cast to be on General Hospital. I went to see his concert and went backstage to say hello. The producers saw us together and loved our look and chemistry so much that they decided to make us the first latin leading daytime couple in the history of soap operas. My dream had come true :)
Big changes to go from acting on day time soap like General hospital to wear a producers hat on Black Cobra. How did you decide to begin producing films? Did the demise of many of the daytime soaps lead to your decision.
I got into producing because I had done a few independent films as an actress and was feeling compelled to create my own. Shortly thereafter, my very good friend Stephanie Cheeva shared a script with me and asked me to produce it with her. That became "Black Cobra" :) ... At the time, we had no way of knowing soaps would be going off air so the demise of soaps had nothing to do with my decision.
Chat about some of the early obstacles you had to deal with prior to the principal photography on Black Cobra. Any unusual Pre-production stories?
A few days before we started shooting we lost one of our leads! Everything was set to start shooting and we were freaking out! Thankfully I work best under pressure and personally called Cary Tagawa in Hawaii and convinced him to do our film. It only took two hours! lol
How about the casting process, I asked the question of Steph, was it easier to work with friends, or more pressure? How about auditioning additional cast members and unusual auditions or stories from that process?
I can only speak for myself of course but I feel it is absolutely easier to work with friends. Good friends that is :). There's established trust, chemistry and respect. It was such a blessing for me to work with Stephanie in particular since we've always had similar taste, a deep bond, incredible trust in each other and a huge passion for the art of acting. It's a beautiful thing to work with people with such integrity. As far as the auditioning process, that went smoothly :)
What about difficulties of finding the proper locations and settings, did the budget constraints alter any of the locations used on Black Cobra?
We were so blessed to get the locations we got. It was truly a team effort and everyone came together and used all our connections to make it happen.
Maybe share a funny or unusual story from the filming process of Black Cobra.
There are sooo many! It's funny because we were sooo exhausted by the end of filming that when I read Steph's interview, I didn't even remember that story! lol ... I remember we filmed a few days at my house, and I was going INSANE! EVERYONE came to me for EVERYTHING. I did my best to keep it together but, I finally snapped at a PA when she came and asked me where an extension cord was at for crafts services. I went into a low voice and very slowly stated "I am a 'producer' NOT crafts services. If something is needed for 'crafts services' then go to 'crafts services' and figure it out" .... I'm not quite sure why I'm sharing 'this' story of ALL stories but if you could of felt my frustration and heard my tone .. you may be laughing as well ;)
Did you ever have the desire to be in front of the camera or was Black Cobra strictly a producer role in your thoughts from the start?
It was my first time producing, executive producing and co-directing a film. I felt I had enough on my plate :).
How about additional producing projects in mind, any ideas?
Absolutely. Working on one with my fiance' about the El Salvadoran war. I noticed you are starring in an independent film called Untold.Untold is based on a true story. It's about a successful entrepreneur waking up to the reality of being a victim of a hate crime, she then begins to have a startling recollection of her childhood stranger abduction, which her family denies. I play her older sister. I am also currently on the Emmy nominated web series "The Bay" which you can view on www.thebaytheseries.com
Thanks Lilly for the insight. Watch for more from Lilly, exclusively on Dan's Movie Report! Now wipe that smile off your face, and keep reading the #1 independent movie site on the web!