I was thrilled to discover that Rosemary Rodriguez, the incredibly talented director of dozens of TV series (including the latest Dickinson, The Walking Dead, Jessica, Jones, The Good Wife, Truth Be Told +++), and several powerful feature films, is also a fan and long time customer. (Turns out, she loves to wear her Haute Réflecture® Reflective Fashion pieces on set and often gifts them to her colleagues!) I was even more thrilled when she agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to chat with us for this Vesper Spotlight Interview.
I hope you'll check it out and get inspired to tackle your big dreams in this New Year!
Rosemary Rodriguez shines in a Vespertine NYC Reflective MOhair Scarf directing the Apple show “Truth Be Told,“ starring Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson. Photo by Jamie Rosengard
Name: Rosemary Rodriguez
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Film and Television Director
You've had such an incredible career. Could you give us a taste of what led you to become a director?
I've always loved movies! I loved old Hollywood movies -- Hitchcock, 70s movies -- I sat doing my homework every night in front of the tv watching movies. When I was at Brandeis, I took a film class where we watched classic movies -- like Citizen Kane, Battleship Potemkin -- twice in a row, once without sound and once with sound. It was a revelation watching a film with no sound. For the first time, I watched the lighting, the cutting, the blocking, and all the layers that go into making a frame of film. I fell deeper in love with movies to the point of obsession.
Tell us more about how you got started directing and your two films, "Acts of Worship" (that premiered at Sundance) and "Silver Skies."
Those are my "babies" that I wrote and directed.
Acts of Worship took me almost 7 years to get made. It's an autobiographical movie about drug addiction and homelessness -- a topic all too relevant today! The movie is my heart -- and I realized after going to Sundance and traveling around the world to festivals, concluding with Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best Actress for Ana Reader, that telling this story was my way of processing my past and moving forward into my future dream of being a director.
At the time, I was a rare breed as a female filmmaker. (I can't wait for the day when we are called just "directors" without "female" in front of it!) I worked so hard to get Acts of Worship made and it's success was hard earned -- no one handed me anything -- yet I was unemployed with no offers to direct another movie! I was honestly heartbroken. I ended up getting into a TV fellowship for women and minority directors that John Wells had set up to help people like me get a job. From that fellowship, I began directing Television.
I still wanted to direct another movie. So as my TV directing came slowly, oh so slowly, I kept writing. One of the the scripts I wrote was Silver Skies. I always loved older people, and valued their experience, so I wanted to make a movie that honored them while still showing the raw truth of what their lives are really like.
Much the way I wanted to show the inside world of drug addiction and homelessness in Acts of Worship, I wanted to show the reality of being a senior with very little money, told with lots of humor. Fred Roos (The Godfather movies, Lost in Translation) executive produced Silver Skies, and helped me get the best cast together, along with Casting Director Beth Holmes. It was my dream working with actors like George Hamilton, Barbara Bain and others with over 50 years experience in Hollywood! What a gift.
Today, I'm still striving to reach my goal of making movies for a living. I also want to create my own tv series. The hustle never ends!
I do love directing and love being on set -- any set! I just finished an episode of Apple's Truth Be Told starring Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson. It was a very special, challenging shoot because of COVID! But we did some great work together and it was still fun. Those two women are incredible.
Rosemary Rodriguez wears a Vespertine NYC Reflective MOhair Scarf on set directing the Apple show “Truth Be Told,“ starring Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson. Photos by Mitchell Haddad
I have to ask, because I also love their work so much, what was it like working with Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson on "Truth be Told"?
Wow, wow, wow. Octavia and Kate are no joke -- seriously fine, intuitive actors, really the best -- and stellar human beings. I had a blast collaborating with them. They make any director look good. I mean it. I love those women. I'd do anything with them!
You've worked on so many great TV series with incredible talent. Can you tell us about some other stand outs for you?
Another show I directed that I love that will start streaming in January is Apple's Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld. Another beautiful world and Hailee is amazing.
When I look at all the shows I've directed, I can't believe it! Probably two are the most precious to me: The Good Wife because I directed 18 episodes of fantastic scripts and love Julianna Margulies SO MUCH! And the other is Rescue Me. It was a real boys club but I was obsessed with the show and when Denis Leary hired me, it was a real breakthrough! He's hired me on all his shows, and he is a loyal, generous, hilarious guy. I really love him.
Wow, Rosemary, I'm just in awe! What projects are you working on now and what's in the pipeline?
In the Spring, I'll be directing Marvel's Peacemaker for James Gunn. That will be a guaranteed good time! Then I'm going to direct a feature Hail Mary written by Knate Lee, produced by Karina Miller and Sparkhouse. I'm also attached to The Cure, produced by Jon Avnet; and Intrusion, that I rewrote and is produced by Intrigue. I'm very excited to come out of this pandemic with a feature ready to go!
Hollywood Director Rosemary Rodriguez shines bright in a Vespertine NYC Reflective Scarf.
You are on fire!! Shifting from film to Reflective Fashion, you've been such a great customer over the years. How did you first discover Vespertine NYC?
I found the website and was immediately taken by the combination of functionality and style. As a director and artist, I use fashion to express who I am. I'm a female director who's definitely not looking to wear a baseball cap and jeans. I use clothes to reflect the mood or tone of the day. I also have to be sensible and safe. When I'm shooting on location -- on a street, or anywhere at night -- it's often a safety requirement to wear a reflective vest. That's where Vespertine comes in handy! I get to look good, express myself as an artist/director, and stay safe!
Which Haute Réflecture® styles keep you shining? (which are your favs?)
My very favorite piece I have is a sequin safety vest -- it's very disco! I've even worn it on New Years Eve! It dazzles the crew and is so much fun! I love to keep the energy on set upbeat, and Vespertine vibe is definitely that! I also love my hot pink safety vest. And my new mohair scarf. AND my flower pins! And my shoe laces! I've also given a lot of Vespertine for gifts. One writer (who's a marathon runner) told me that she felt "seen" in the headband I gave her, in a spiritual sense. She had been going through a hard time, and it had a deeper meaning for her than I could've imagined. I love that.
That's so great to hear! My customers, and feeling like my designs can make an impact own their lives, is truly what inspires and motivates me.
One last question, I'd love to get your take on, how much has (or hasn't) changed in Hollywood since the #MeToo movement?
Honestly, I do not think much has changed in Hollywood. There is more diversity -- but women still make up only 13% of directors. We have a long, long way to go. Until we have access to financing, we will continue to lag far behind. Even during Covid, I thought producers would get kinder and care less about the bottom line, but sadly it’s still about money/budget. More than ever!
Thank you so much, Rosemary, this has been a real honor.
I'm happy to chat anytime with you!
Just let me know....
I respect what you do so very very much!