By Bobby Leigh
Q: Hi Anna, thank you for talking to us. I know you are quite busy. Can you tell us what it was like growing up?
A: Hello, well, I am so thankful to have a very close family! My parents decided that my mom would take time off from her career as an educator to stay home with my older brother and me until we both started school. We stayed very active visiting libraries, museums, and taking trips to the coast. My parents have always been supportive with both my brother and me and encouraged us to go after our dreams. My brother is 4 years older and a bit overprotective (although I don’t mind it). Even while he was away at college, he still managed to somehow come home to meet my potential dates at the door when they came to pick me up as a teenager.
Q: Tell us about your first play or your first acting role?
A: I was in dance as a toddler, but my first memorable time on stage was in Mrs. Corley’s class in first grade where I played Templeton (the rat) in CHARLOTTE’S WEB. I still remember the rush I felt when everyone laughed at my comedic lines. I truly believe it was then that I was bitten by the acting bug. I have a clip on my Facebook page of that play, and it really was quite adorable for a class play. I went on to play Annie’s dog, “Sandy,” in our school musical the following year and again the crowd’s laughter was like food for my soul. We took acting classes in the private school that I attended. My then acting teacher didn’t cast me in any major roles, but I knew deep down that I was an actor and that it was my calling. Honestly, I think in retrospect not being chosen pushed me even harder to go after my dream.
Q: What were some of your favorite actors or movies growing up?
A: Well, this is kind of embarrassing, but I really liked STUART LITTLE, BEETHOVEN, THE CAT IN THE HAT and THE AIR BUD sequels. Apparently, my love of animals influenced my choices when I was very young. I haven’t done voice over acting for animation yet, but I would love to at some point in my career, because I know how much I enjoyed animated movies as a child (and still do, as an adult). I feel like it’s even more of a challenge to be able to use only your voice to get the emotion across. As a teen, I liked the typical teen dramas, but my number one favorite was GLEE. I’ve seen every episode more times than I can count and still enjoy re-watching episodes from time to time. Although I prefer acting for film and television over theatre these days, there is nothing I enjoy more than watching a good musical, especially a live performance in a theatre. It’s the energy and the anticipation that’s exciting.
Q: Do you remember the first movie you watched?
A: I don’t remember the first movie I watched, but I remember the first one I couldn’t watch. My older brother was watching CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and I was terrified! There were people being sucked up into pipes, one growing so big they blew up, and Willie Wonka’s makeup and actions were so over the top that I was left in tears halfway through the movie and couldn’t watch the rest. I think I had to sleep in my parent’s room that night. For the record, I do enjoy that movie now and love the feeling of being scared.
Q: Can you tell us about the first movie you were cast in?
A: My first feature film was JUSTICE THROUGH REDEMPTION. I played the adult daughter of the main character and had some very powerful and emotional scenes. We filmed in 100 degree heat and my makeup had to be top-coated in hairspray to keep it from literally melting off my face. Our one shared trailer (which was actually a converted bus) had A/C but we had to turn it off when the cameras where rolling because of the sound. It sounds torturous, but it was the most wonderful time I’d ever had. We formed such a tight film family and to this day all still keep in touch and support each other. Many have gone on to produce, act and model internationally. Most of them have become quite successful.
Q: What are some of your major influences?
A: James McAvoy’s ability to completely convince me he is multiple different characters in the movie SPLIT still leaves me in awe to this day. I think he is one of the most talented actors in the industry and I aspire to play multiple characters in the same project simply because of his performance. I also genuinely love the singer and model, Lizzo. Her message of body positivity touches me deeply. I was a competition gymnast in middle school and was made to feel self-conscious about my muscular physique, so seeing someone truly embrace her own shape and encourage others to love themselves and believe in their own brand of beauty, is such a strong message for me to receive. I think we all need to see representation out there, especially young women who are constantly bombarded with unobtainable and airbrushed images of what perceived perfection looks like in social media. Her energy and excitement for all people just makes my heart smile. I hope to one day just have coffee with her and share how amazing I think she is in person.
Q: Did you take a lot of classes when you started?
A: I was quite lucky that the schools I attended had drama and musical theater classes, so I trained in school from first grade throughout high school. In middle school, I began working with acting, singing coach Kevin Jones, of Kevin Jones Performing Arts School, weekly with private lessons, and I also attended the school’s workshops and acting camps. I adore him both professionally and personally. He was the first coach, who truly pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and one of the first to truly believe in me. He recently invited me to come back and help teach a workshop on Acting for Film and television. It’s one of the biggest honors I’ve had.
Q2: Do you still take classes or train?
A2: I still train when time permits around my filming schedule. The pandemic created a lot of opportunities to take classes and workshops that I may not have had access to because of location, as many started online options. I’ve done both group and one-on-one instruction and both have their advantages. Not every learning experience and coach is the right fit for every actor. I get very emotionally invested in a character and role, for me personally, staying in that place before and after the cameras have rolled isn’t the best option. Filming an especially mentally or physically demanding scene, for me, needs to be done when it’s over. I am an empathetic person, and I can feel in the moment, but need to let it go once it’s done. Some people need to stay in that place longer to get in character and I respect all approaches, but it isn’t the one best suited for me.
Q: I heard that you also write, what do you like to write about?
A: In first grade my best friend and I both had mom’s that worked at our school, so we had lots of time after the school day to play together before going home.We used to make up little stories and then perform one act plays for the other teachers, neighbors or literally anyone that would watch. I recently found an old iPod Touch from when I was about 8 years old and was able to charge it and watch old videos I had recorded. Apparently, I not only used to write and direct, but I also portrayed multiple characters in the same performance by changing costumes, accents, and personalities. I have notebooks full of old screenplays and stories that I’ve written.I am currently working on a screenplay that I hope to help direct and produce into a television series. I’m excited to continue working on it. It’s a drama and psychological thriller that takes some seriously unexpected turns, but also looks at trauma and its effects. I already have a list of desired cast for the major roles and the director in mind.
Q: Tell our readers what is your latest project, and what it’s about?
A: Yes, I have an upcoming role that I’m super excited about in the Vice Squad Franchise, which will likely begin as a movie that introduces many characters from various vice squad departments that will spin-off into several different television series locations. Ryan is a supporting character and I adore her quirks and spunk! She’s a prodigy in her field, but people frequently underestimate her because of her age and physical stature until she uses her superior intellect and razor-sharp wit to quickly bring them down to size without much effort. I truly see her being a fan favorite because she is so completely polar to the physicality of the law enforcement team that she works with in the Vice Squad series. She has one repeated phrase she uses to end a conversation that I am confident will end up being on t-shirts.
Q: What kind of people are Anna Stadler fans?
A: I think Anna Stadler fans are people that appreciate that I’m just a normal person. I think they recognize that I work super hard at my profession and can dress up to “look the part” for a red-carpet event, but in my normal, everyday life I am just the average person not trying to hide my flaws and insecurities. I can be funny to get a laugh, enjoy thrift shopping, spending time with friends, and have a strong voice for animals (especially rescue organizations), and fight for the rights and equality for all people, but I don’t try and be something else than who I genuinely am when not on camera. I am just unapologetically “me” and embrace it, imperfections and all.
Join The Club
Q: If you could cast with anyone who would that be and why?
A: There are so many talented people in the industry that it would be difficult to choose. I guess it would mostly depend on the genre. My main goal is to just work with people who inspire me. This past year I worked with Gillian Anderson and she was so kind, humble, and genuine. I wouldn’t have thought to have her on a predetermined list of people I’d most like to work with, but it was one of the most awesome experiences to be on set with her. Also, I was on set with Joey King this last year and it was a tremendous learning experience. I’d seen some of her work, but to see her in action and working with her was a whole other story. She is non-stop and is both in front of and behind the camera constantly. I don’t think she even sleeps while working on a project. It was very motivating for me personally to move forward on my own project, as she acts and assists with directing and producing.
Q: I had heard that you have quite a crack and intense security team. Can you tell us how you were able to have a security team at such a young age?
A: I have a trained security K9 at my residence that I will take with me occasionally, but other than that I don’t have full time security at this point. I do have someone when I need though. He’s currently a federal agent that has done secret service detail. He jokes that when it’s time to leave an event or location he just puts me in his pocket and were outta there. He’s literally a giant compared to me.
Q: What advice would you give other actors that want to follow your footsteps?
A: Never give up! In the beginning, take every opportunity you can to train, get practice in front of a camera, and make sure you have good representation as soon as you can. Learn to brush off a no, as there will be too many to count. Try to submit the best audition you can and then let it go and move on. When they call you back with a YES it’s a pleasant surprise. Take feedback- both positive and negative- into consideration, and grow from it, but don’t let anyone convince you that you’re not good enough or aren’t capable. Make as many friends in the industry as you can, because they are a great learning tool, resource for reference, and are a great support system, especially for someone new to the industry.
Q: What’s next for Anna Stadler?
A: I have a couple projects in place for 2022, but 2023 is going to be wonderfully busy including international travel for filming. I have a couple television series booked, several movie roles, and will continue working on my personal screenplay project. I am signed with Avalon Artist Group in LA, repped by Ted Maier and also managed by Ascendent Talent’s Kevin Cornell Kellum, who I am beyond thankful to have always looking after my best interest, but I’d also like representation in the Atlanta market, as I spent a lot of time there in 2019 and 2020 and they are starting to cast locally for large projects now alongside using the LA agencies.