We all remember her story — Casey Anthony, the woman accused and later acquitted for the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony. We watched the 6-week long trial, listened to all the news stories that left us with a shocking, yet unexplainable outcome. Now, we get to see how the real story unfolds through the prosecutor’s eyes in tonight’s Lifetime Movie Premier, “Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony“.
Born and bred in Texas, Virginia Welch hung up her cowboy hat, journeying to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of living the glamorous life of the starving artist — and eventually landing the title role, portraying Casey Anthony in this Lifetime premier. Here’s what she had to say about her role, preparations, and gave me an idea of what we could expect from the film.
Charli > Hi Virginia! I just wanted to ask you a few questions about your new movie, “Prosecuting Casey Anthony” and your process on character development.
Virginia > Yeah! Sure!
Charli > I always like to ask first, how did you get into acting? What inspired you?
Virginia > The funny thing is, kind of in a round about way, I started off doing talent shows – and choreographing dances for talent shows. I was totally a part of the MTV generation when people had awesome music videos and all those kinds of things. So I would choreograph these dances for them and I loved the feeling of being on stage. Then one of my friends said, “Well if you like it so much, why don’t you tryout for musicals or plays?” So I got into it from there and I just loved the feeling of appealing to audiences’ imagination.
Charli > Awesome. I didn’t know if you wanted to add anymore to that, but to jump into your new movie… Of course many of us watched the Casey Anthony trial and kept up with the story as it was unfolding. What kind of research or studying did you do to prepare for this role?
Virginia > I did not watch any of the trial as it happened, in real-time. I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV unfortunately, so I miss out on a lot of world events. But when I got the audition, I just started doing research from there. Watching all the videos, court-house videos, and news footage – all of that. She was a fascinating person to crack into. She was basically that. And then once I started having warm conversations with Peter, the director, we really had in-depth conversations about where she came from, mentally & emotionally. Aside from watching all the video footage, she is most known as the most cheated woman in America. But the biggest pitfall and actor can have when playing a character that is not likable and to play them as a villain. It can be boring, sort of one-dimensional. So you have to find some part of that character that you can understand. Because if you just play them as an evil villain, you might as well put on a mustache and have a creepy laugh [laughter]. So the part that I discovered was someone who would do anything for self-preservation.
Charli > So for people who followed the 6 week-long trial, what will we discover in the movie?
Virginia > Well the film is told from the prosecution’s perspective. So it really focuses on their process, their journey as they are getting all of the information, all of the facts about what happened. And how they put together their plan of attack to go against her in court.
Charli > Right, because we didn’t see that at all. We didn’t see what the prosecution went through in terms of presenting their case to the jury.
Virginia > Yeah definitely and how it all went wrong for them. Which is such a huge thing with most of America I think. The evidence that was presented — people were like, “What do you mean she wasn’t convicted?” [laughter] So yeah, just their process and emotional reactions through all of it and how it flipped through their fingers.
Charli > And you did not communicate with Casey at all during this project?
Virginia > No, no, no, no. I wouldn’t have wanted to.
Charli > Right. Just making that clear. [laughter] Outside of this film, are there any other projects that you’re working on?
Virginia > Well my focus is to do a lot of more film. I really love that process. For me, it’s not so much about big, huge projects — it’s about working with really talented people. I was really lucky on the shoot to work with incredible actors. It was so nice to work with people who had been in the business for a while; and just with people who were fantastic to work with. And that’s what I really get excited for?
Charli > Exactly. It’s always good to work with individuals who have mastered their craft. When it comes to genre and character, is there a specific character that you try to portray?
Virginia > I usually play, and I like playing villains. I think they are so much more complex than your average hero. I just love to get in their heads and find out what makes them tick. I’m also a big fan of action stuff. I’m a physical person – I like dancing and martial arts.
Charli > Okay! Which I think is why I asked if you’d made any contact with Casey. I wanted to know how far you’d gone in getting into her head when it came to character development.
Virginia > Yeah it was a very intense process. I did a lot of writing just to sort of get my head in the character. Writing as the character.
Charli > Right! I learned sometime ago that when Denzel Washington is given a role, he writes in a journal as that character for months before filming. Character development is my thing. [laughter] I really enjoy learning an actor’s process when getting into character.
Virginia > Yeah, it’s really amazing to know that he does that too. I love it. I think it’s a really great practice.
Charli > Exactly. So how can fans communicate with you on social networks like twitter & Facebook?
Virginia > Well you can find me on both Facebook & Twitter. My Twitter handle is: @PureGrapeJuice. It’s just a little funny name I made up, I don’t know why [laughter]. And you can find me on Facebook. I think it’s Virginia Welch or Virginia Welch LA or something like that. Yeah those would be great places to find me.
Charli > Thank you so much Virginia! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Maybe I missed something.
Virginia > Um! No I don’t think so! I thank you so much for this interview.
Charli > Thank you!