Marsha Stephanie Blake Takes Us From Faculty With David Harbor To Netflix ” Social Distance ‘
Marsha Stephanie Blake has achieved quite a lot over the years. She has a significant number of stage productions on her behalf, she has worked with an incredible number of directors including Ava DuVernay and Steven Soderbergh, and she also received an Emmy nomination for her appearance on Now They See Us. Despite all these achievements and all these experiences, was she ready to shoot an episode of television alone? Something!
Social Distance is a new Netflix anthology series that was shot completely in lockdown. Each episode features a different set of characters and shows how the COVID-19 pandemic rocked their daily lives. In Blake’s episode “And We Could All Go To Sea”, Danielle Brooks plays Imani, a caregiver who continues to take care of her client during the pandemic while trying to look after her little daughter at home. Meanwhile, her client’s daughter, Marion (Blake), is busy juggling calls from Imani and preparing to teach her college courses on Zoom.
How exactly did they manage to film all of this while in lockdown with no official crew members? Blake broke it down in her episode of Collider Ladies Night::
“Do you know who my crew was? Okay I’ll tell you who my crew was – my husband Gregory and my two kids who are 10 and 6 years old and one of them was an actor in it so she could barely be a crew because she had to act! My 10 year old who wants to become a director was very excited. My husband a little less, but we’re all under quarantine, we’re in the house all day and when this project came up and I told him about it, he said, “Well, we’re inside all day long. We might as well have some fun together. ‘I’ll say in hindsight that it was fun, but as I went through it I said,’ This is crazy! ‘ “
Something that really worked in Blake’s favor during this process? Your husband is a professional photographer!
“They had to drop everything at the bottom of the stairs. So they supplied computers, camera equipment, and phones. We made iPhones and real cameras. The wonderful thing is that my husband is a professional photographer. I don’t know how others did it! My set was easier for me because I had a husband who knew all the jargon. “
But even with her husband’s know-how, this only covers a limited amount of the work required. Blake continued:
“Everyone was at Zoom and consulted with us, like the DP, the director, the hair and the make-up and everyone, but we were the only ones physically on the set, right? We were there. So I did my hair and makeup, my daughter’s hair and makeup – she wasn’t really wearing makeup – I had to do wardrobe, I had to keep track of things … so I had to do continuity. And then, at the end of the day, we’d be done and I’d be indescribably exhausted because if I wasn’t on camera it meant my kid probably was and I had to be their assistant director, mom, catering, kid Wrangler, Person who got them out of the tantrum they just threw, all of these things! And then the day would end and I would take a deep breath like, “Oh, I’m so glad I’m done.” And then I would realize, ‘You’re not done yet! First of all, you have another child that you need to give some attention to, but you also need to prepare your lines, your acting, whatever for tomorrow, and you need to prepare the child. ‘You’re tired of me just talking about it! “
Blake wasn’t wrong! After just a few hours, I am exhausted and am entertaining my young niece. But in the end, all of the hard work for Blake and her family paid off, and now they have the full episode on television to show. Check out Blake’s full Collider Ladies Night interview at the top of this article to learn more about her experience at Social Distance, going to college with David Harbor, doing Othello with Daniel Craig, why Blake impressed Ava DuVernay, and so much More!
Marsha Stephanie Blake:
- 1:12 AM – Blake made the decision to become an actor in college. the specific game that turned out to be the game changer.
- 3:50 AM – Blake was on a bachelor’s program with David Harbor.
- 04:24 – Blake’s journey from medical school to MFA.
- 6:00 AM – Why Blake Cared About Getting an MFA; Become a Broadway understudy right after graduation.
- 10:32 – The teacher who made an indelible impression on Blake; how Blake can apply some of the lessons she learned from this teacher to her work.
- 17:38 – Blake explains why she is “uncredited” in Django Unchained; the whirlwind foreplay process she experienced for this film.
- 22:03 – What is it like to prepare for an audition and then not book a role?
- 24:30 – Working with Daniel Craig on Othello.
- 29:04 – Rachel Brosnahan played a role for Blake in I’m Your Woman.
- 31:40 – Did an Emmy nomination change things for Blake? why Luce is a movie to watch in.
- 34:24 – Blake asks a question from Ladies Night guest Geraldine Viswanathan – what’s the first thing Blake does when she gets a new script?
- 37:50 – Where does Blake find the motivation to stay so busy and have such a positive impact during the pandemic?
- 39:42 – Reassessing how we tell stories about the legal system in film and television.
- 43:25 – Why Blake admires Ava DuVernay
- 45:30 – How Blake was committed to social distancing.
- 46:30 – The process of filming an episode of Social Distance during lockdown.
- 50:10 – Despite all of her previous experiences, what did Social Distance teach Blake about the filmmaking process that she hadn’t previously realized?
- 53:05 – Does Blake’s daughter still want to become a director after Social Distance?
- 54:11 – Make a show that everyone can relate to; the great value of telling stories and entertaining them right now.