From the interview archives.
Danielle Savre is known for roles in films like Boogeyman 2 and Wild About Harry. Upcoming, you can see her in the latest Grey’s Anatomy spinoff series, Station 19. VULKAN caught up with Danielle to talk about how she prepared herself for the challenging role and what we can expect from highly anticipated Shonda Rhimes produced series.
You play Maya Bishop in the new Grey’s Anatomy spinoff series that is based in a Seattle firehouse. What was it about the character of Maya that made you want to play her when you read the script?
She stood out to me as someone I would want to be friends with, someone who would push me to be a better person. She is this opinionated, ambitious, badass chick, but is also supportive and loyal to her female colleagues. Unfortunately, that is not the norm for female characters in scripts. I guess that’s Shondaland for you!
Shonda Rhimes is such a powerhouse. How does it feel to be cast in one of her productions and how closely did you work with her on this series?
She runs the most diverse and inclusive set I have ever been a part of. She is the vanguard of what a producer should be. As far as her closeness to the production, she is at every table read and works behind the scenes on many aspects of the show we actors never even witness. That being said, Shonda is a leader of leaders! Stacy Mckee who is one of the original writers of Grey’s Anatomy is our brilliant point leader. Together they created this world down the street from Grey Sloane hospital that exists in the same universe but consists of vastly different characters and situations.
What kind of training or preparation did you undergo for the role of Maya?
As a cast we have an amazing technical advisor, Matty Mullen, who put us through the intense physical training before filming began and continues to keep us in line on set. Personally, It feels like I have been preparing for this role for years. My sister is actually a firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Her struggle to get in, orientation, boot camp, probation, the numerous phone calls about triumphs and upsets she faced. Through her journey I feel as if I had a connection to that world that allowed me to comprehend the everyday stress and anxiety, the emotional adrenaline roller coaster that these real life superheroes endure.
In what way is this role completely unlike your previous efforts?
So many roles written for woman and roles I have played revolve around women struggling with some sort of victimization. Maya is different, as are all the females on the show. I am honored to have played the roles I have, but it is empowering to know I can be part of this world that revolves around strong females supporting fellow strong females. It’s about time television had more of these types of female characters.
Were there any particular challenges you had while filming?
I put a lot of pressure on myself to do my very best at representing, not just real life firefighters, but a female firefighter in what is still a very male dominated field. I want young girls to watch our show and look up to the women we are portraying. To be a role model for others like my sister has been for me.
If you were an Olympic athlete, what sport would you be going for Gold in?
I do love running just as much as Maya, it’s a way of escaping from the stressors of life. However, soccer would have to be my olympic game of choice. I love the team environment that soccer promotes.
Has working on the show made you appreciate the efforts of firefighters and others in law enforcement more? Why or why not?
I grew up in a blue collar town where firefighters and law enforcement from surrounding cities resided. So, I grew up always respecting and admiring the risks they take every day on the job. Although, actually immersing myself into this occupation has added a new found respect for their daily routine. I physically feel how heavy and awkward their gear is, I have begun to mentally comprehend how emotionally and physically drained they become, and I now understand the true family bonds they form and how imperative those bonds are to be successful.
Do you think such a career is one you might be interested in if you weren’t acting?
Interested, absolutely. I think anything you put your mind to can be possible. It would be extremely scary to take on the role of a real life superhero, not just the responsibility associated with playing one on TV. That being said, if I wasn’t acting on television getting to fight fires along side my sister would be a dream.
What is one genre you’d like to explore further as your career advances?
I would love to explore comedies. I’ve been lucky enough to delve into some dark storylines and characters throughout my career but right now I would love to be a part of something that makes people laugh.
Do you have any interest in the production side of things like directing or writing?
Absolutely, I am constantly writing down ideas for stories to write or develop. I have produced and starred in a short film that won a dozen awards and went to SXSW. And I am currently putting together a pitch for a feature film I am producing. Directing is on the horizon and I will venture down that road when the time is right.
What is one role you’d love to revisit given the chance?
The role of Kaya on the first MTV scripted show by the same name. It was my first time leading a show and there are a lot of things I would have done different if given a second chance.
If you can sum up what viewers can expect from the series in just two or three words, which words would you use?
Suspenseful, moving and fun.
Did you make any resolutions for 2018? If so, what are they?
I have officially given up dairy. I know, CRAZINESS! However it is amazing how many yummy substitutes there are for cheese these days and my stomach issues have completely disappeared. Also I am trying to meditate more and just live in the moment, not getting so anxious about what the future holds. My friends are really excited for me to stick to that one.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?
Filming season 10 of our show would be a nice accomplishment! Ideally in my dreams I would be premiering my film directing debut, be producing a tv show from one of my crazy ideas I wrote on a napkin, be in better shape than I am today, have a health food restaurant or store dedicated to changing people’s lives through food. Ultimately, in the course of those 10 years, I hope that through my actions, successes and even my acceptance of failures that I inspired young girls to follow their dreams and love themselves. To maintain integrity through it all, no matter what, as my grandmother taught me.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a long day of filming?
Watching Idiotest or Impractical Jokers on the couch in some comfy clothes, wrapped in a really really really soft blanket with a glass of wine.