Exclusive: Sharon Leal On Her New Indie Film ‘Shot’

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Exclusive: Sharon Leal On Her New Indie Film ‘Shot’
Posted by Wilson Morales

September 27, 2017

Currently playing in theaters is the indie film ‘Shot,’ directed by veteran filmmaker Jeremy Paul Kagan (The Chosen, Roswell, Conspiracy) and starring Noah Wyle, Sharon Leal and newcomer Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.

Based on an original story by Kagan and a screenplay by Anneke Campbell and Will Lamborn, Shot is about Mark Newman (Wyle), a movie sound mixer who is pumping up the volume on a bloody shootout in a Western film. Hours later, after an argument with his wife Phoebe (Leal), Mark is suddenly felled by a real random bullet, and lies bleeding on the pavement with a chest wound. With Phoebe desperately trying to stop the bleeding, they both agonizingly wait for an ambulance to arrive as Mark fights for his life. Meanwhile, hidden behind a fence across the street, a teenager, Miguel (Lendeborg), watches in horror with the still smoking gun in his hand. A gun that was just handed to him by his cousin and meant to protect him against gang bullies.

For Leal, whose other film and TV credits include Dreamgirls, This Christmas, Why Did I Get Married, Why Did I Get Married Too?, Boston Public, Hellcats and more recently Supergirl, this film gave her the opportunity to work near her home in LA and have folks discussed this touch subject matter.

What attracted you to this project?

Sharon Leal: Usually when a project comes my way, it’s either the director who’s involved and Noah Wyle was a big star for me, and the premise seemed interesting. It’s also very rare that I get to work from home in LA, so it was a job that fit timing wise with everything happening around me. I think the strongest pull was working with Jeremy Kagan and with Noah.

How would you describe your role as Phoebe?

Sharon Leal: From my side of the story, Phoebe Newman is married to Mark Newman, played by Noah Wyle, and they have been struggling in their marriage like a lot of marriages and they are close to getting a divorce. Actually, when they meet in the diner at the beginning of the film, she has the divorce papers and she’s been trying to get him to sign them to finally call it quits. It’s about a couple who’s has tried to make a marriage work and for whatever reason lost communication and a host of things. They are not doing so well and the shooting that place thrusts them back together. And for her in a way, she has to decide if she wants to stay in or out, and she’s with him throughout this ordeal.

The scene in which Mark gets shot and then to the ordeal to the operating room looked like it was done in one take. Can you describe shooting that scene?

Sharon Leal: Yes. We shot in real time, which helps a lot in terms of being in the moment. The opening sequences that you see filmed is what we shot first. They were a long couple of days shooting from the moment he gets shot, into the ambulance, and to the hospital. That was a lot of POV shooting and I hadn’t shot a lot of scenes in that way before, so it was pretty intense. You felt like you were really going through it as it was happening. It was a roller coaster of a ride in terms of working in that style.

From the marriage breaking up, Mark getting shot and the shooter’s perspective, there are different points of views in this film. What is the audience supposed to draw from this random act of shooting? Would you say this film is an advocate for gun control?

Sharon Leal: Yes. I think it’s supposed to take the audience on that ride. This accident happens on a ordinary day when this couple are walking through Echo Park in LA and you’re really supposed to take this ride with them. I’m not sure if the film is supposed to be the end all be all catalyst to why we should have guns or not. I think it’s a day in the life of this random shooting and the film was made to spark up a conversation on some of the hazards of guns and just having them around and how accidents happen and what can happen. Jorge Lendeborg, Jr., who is a wonderful actor and has a great quality and innocence to him, was wonderful to work with and was a great find for Jeremy. I think the movie hopefully takes the audience on the ride as real as possible.

You and Noah have each done your share of television. Can you talk about working with him on this film?

Sharon Leal: It was fantastic. He’s very good at his job. It was really interesting in that once we got into the emergency room, and some of the stuff is hard to watch with what happened to Mark physically, but even with all of his years on ER, we had an expert on the set helping us with some of the medical stuff. Mark also was credited as one of the consulatants because of his work on ER. He spent 11 years on that show and to see him on the table being attended to as patient was interesting to see. He’s regimented and incredibly versed on a lot of things and he takes his job really seriously. I know that the role was a challenge for him and that’s why he wanted to step in it and do it. I learned a lot from him in terms of his work ethic. It was really great working alongside him.

From the TV projects you take along with film roles, what’s the draw that makes you say to doing them?

Sharon Leal: It depends on the projects and who’s involved. Like anyone, we just try to keep it moving. I like indies because I like the out of the box thinking and this was definitely one of those pieces. Also, it’s interesting that when you go in for a role, the audition process is like a workshop style and I like working with directors who take that approach. Everything is well thought out and anything that makes me better and where I feel I’m in the trenches and focusing on the work; everything just falls into place. I have been busy but it’s a great experience.

What’s next?

Sharon Leal: I’m in New York City right now and we’re shooting the first season of a brand new show starring Alan Cumming on CBS called ‘Instinct.’ We’re shooting in Greenpoint on ‘The Good Wife’ stages. I’ve been here since early July and we’re just cranking out this first season. It will air in early 2018 and it’s good to come back to New York. I’ve been away for a while.

What’s a good reason for folks to see Shot?

Sharon Leal: Shot is not your big blockbuster film but it’s a movie that hopefully will start a conversation about the state of gun control. I know that since 2012 when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened, there was a grass roots movement from moms and the things that have happened in this country, it was a responsible thing to do on an artistic level. The movie is not the poster child to what’s happening in the country but it is part of the conversation.

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