Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

EXCLUSIVE Interview: Julia Parker, Actress In ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson,’ Speaks With Steven Brittingham For Highlight Hollywood News

A white Ford Bronco veered onto the San Diego (405) Freeway in Torrance, California, sirens could now be heard faintly off in the distance. As the vehicle moved at a rather slow pace heading north, a helicopter loomed high above capturing every movement the Bronco was making. Aiming his camera ever so steadily towards the vehicle below, flashing lights could now be seen creeping behind the slow moving Bronco. Sirens now filled the air. Suddenly, what looked like an entire fleet of Los Angeles Police cars was methodically pacing behind this white Bronco, with onlookers now waving and holding signs along overpasses. The man holding this camera was not just capturing another chase on the Los Angeles freeways for the evening news. No, not this time around. This cameraman was filming history, for the entire country. He wondered how all of this was going to end…IMG_0234
A lovely and appealing looking woman is sitting in a chair as makeup was being applied to the other side of her face. The artist applying the makeup is concentrating on the task at hand. Stopping, the makeup artist asked the attractive woman in the chair what she thought about the work being done to the other side of her face. Her answer was with a smiling approval, as the makeup expert continued on with her handy work. It was clear a transformation was taking place with the actress. She was going to be soon looking a lot different, and very different when all was said and done. That smile remained on the face though of the actress. For Julia Parker would soon be filming her scenes as Johnnie Cochran’s long time mistress, Patricia Cochran. The production is ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ for FX. With a cast including the big talents of John Travolta and Cuba Gooding, JR – one thing remained clear. The talent that is Julia Parker, will only be adding that much more quality to this production. Decades after that slow speed chase in the California summer heat, Julia was now about to be a part of a monumental television event. Just like that monumental chase involving a white Ford Bronco.
Steven: “Julia, it is a true pleasure to speak with you today. Thank you for joining me. On Tuesday, February 2, the cable network FX will be premiering ‘The People V. O.J. Simpson’. This will be a part of the new ‘American Crime Story’ franchise, a miniseries formatted program that will display a different crime story each season. Considering the overall impact the O.J. Simpson trial had on the country, from all of the extensive news coverage and a trial often full of numerous twists and turns, it really makes complete sense for ‘American Crime Story’ to begin with this particular case. Would you agree with that sentiment?”
Julia: “I totally agree with your sentiment about having this case be the next American Crime Story. It was a riveting, media-frenzy case and the whole country tuned in to watch it play out. I’m looking forward to watching it and seeing how the actors portray each real life character.”
Steven: “Who will you be portraying in the series?”
Julia: “I’m playing “Patricia Cochran”, Johnny Cochran’s mistress and mother to his son for over 18 years.”
Steven: “This cast is full of tremendous big time talent. John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr. and David Schwimmer, as well as Nathan Lane and Selma Blair, just to name a few. The list goes on. When you first learned you would be a part of such a dynamic cast, what was your first reaction?”
Julia: “I was shocked at first since it had been a while since I had gone to the audition, I thought HOLY COW and then I did the “happy dance” all over my house with a big grin on my face.”OJ-Courtney
Steven: “Did you do any research for your role? In general, are there certain methods you like to take in preparation for a new role?”
Julia: “When I first got the audition, I did try to research her on the internet but there was so little to go on. It’s a pretty small scene so I just worked on carrying the scene along in support of the bigger actors in the episode.”
Steven: “On June 17, 1994, O.J. Simpson was pursued for over two hours by the Los Angeles Police Department. Eventually, helicopters would be a part of the pursuit and media coverage from all across the country showed the events as they unfolded on television. As A.C. Cowlings drove the vehicle Simpson was in, numerous onlookers arrived to view the spectacle and some even had signs displayed. Did you happen to see all of this unfolding live on television? Or, did you learn of the situation at a later time?”
Julia: “I watched it unfolding but not from the very beginning. It seemed kind of surreal because everyone respected and knew O.J. from his sports and commercial years.”
Steven: “You recently attended the Idyllwild International Film Festival located in the village of Idyllwild, California. How many of the films being shown at the festival did you actually appear in?”
Julia: “I was so fortunate to have 3 shorts (Don’t Let Them In; The Moment I Was Alone; Love Me To Death) and 1 featurette (The Wild, The Child & The Miracle) screening there. I also was nominated for Best Actress in a short film and Best Supporting Actress in a featurette.”
Steven: “This festival looks really interesting and a lot of fun to attend! You must have enjoyed being around so many creative individuals, as well as those you may have worked with on certain projects. What kind of adventures did you have at the Idyllwild Festival? Will you be returning next year?”
Julia: “I had a wonderful time catching up with the writers, producers and actors that I had worked with on some of these projects along with meeting new creative people. I watched a lot of the films, shorts and documentaries and really enjoyed the change of scenery. The day before I got there they had a storm that dumped two feet of snow which blanketed this cute little artsy town.  There were wonderful meals, Director’s Breakfasts to hear the finalists revealed along with interviews for the festival.”
Steven: “There must have been some beautiful views surrounding Idyllwild. I heard you made a snow angel too. Sounds like you really enjoyed the snowy conditions while attending the festival.”

Julia: “I drove up during the end of the El Nino snow storm they had. The most beautiful winter scenery I’ve experienced in years…and yes, I couldn’t resist creating my own little piece of “art” in the snow.”12540875_950140761740225_5342711331517767085_n
Steven: “What do you find most appealing about independent films? Is there a certain sense of freedom and wonderment that you connect to as an actress in these types of films?”
Julia: “I enjoy the process of having input and the excitement of mostly new filmmakers. You never know how these projects will turn out and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by most of these projects. There is so much creativity and it seems like less politics involved with independent film…or at least the ones I’ve done.”
Steven: “How did you celebrate New Year’s Eve? What would you like to experience or achieve during 2016 both as a person and actress?”
Julia: “This is one of the first years in a while that I spent my New Year’s Eve quietly at home watching the Star Wars Blu-Ray DVD’s and Ryan Seacrest in Times Square.  As far as my goals for this year, I’d like to achieve more balance in my work as an actress…definitely more TV work and meatier roles in film. This is the year of knowledge for me personally and I intend to broaden it by taking classes on subjects I’ve always wanted to learn, like singing, sign language, guitar, writing, blogging and maybe final cut pro.”
Steven: “Are there any upcoming projects that you will be working on soon?”
Julia: “I just finished shooting a really wonderful Christmas Film called “Merry Exes” and I have quite a few more features set to shoot in the coming months like the features “Maria de Luna” and “Bonds”.”  12604769_950156841738617_1217910852474324368_o
Steven: “When did you first start to realize that acting was something you wanted to be a part of? Did the acting bug catch you at an early age?”
Julia: “The acting bug started after I got a part in my senior class play. My mother wanted me to major in something more “practical” if I wasn’t going to follow in her footsteps as a nurse. After majoring in psychology, I moved to NYC and started taking acting classes with Bill Hickey at HB Studios. I modeled and was a flight attendant for a while before moving out to Los Angeles. Once here, acting is all I really wanted to pursue. After being a “jack of all trades” in between acting jobs, I finally made the choice to put 100% into acting 11 years ago and haven’t looked back.”
Steven: “Artistic projects are often most rewarding from the experiences one has with fellow actors and crew. In many cases, lasting friendships are developed and maintained over the years, long after a production has been completed. Do you find this to be true over the years?”
Julia: “Most definitely! Every project I work on I develop and maintain friendships along the way. That’s what I love so much about this industry, there is always a chance of finding your next great friend on set. I also try to help out whenever I can when it comes to suggesting friends for roles that are perfect for them. Maybe I could have gone into casting if I hadn’t picked acting first.”1604382_950140895073545_5843416493325359494_n (1)
Steven: “Last month, actress Angela McEwan passed away at age 81. Known for her role in ‘Nebraska’, she was a personal friend and someone you cherished. This wonderful lady pursued her childhood dream to be an actress at an age when many are considering retirement. When you think of this inspirational achievement on her part, what comes to mind?”
Julia: “Talent, perseverance, childlike abandonment, love for this occupation, enlightenment…she was a very special person with the most infectious personality.”
Steven: “The two of you planned to work together. Although this did not come to fruition, what kind of project do you feel the two of you would eventually have worked on together?”
Julia: “I would have loved to have worked on anything with Angela. What a bright light of talent she was…maybe a family drama or comedy where we got to play mother and daughter.”
Steven: “The two of you enjoyed having cupcakes together. These type of memories must warm your heart.”
Julia: “So much so, whenever we were at an event we would always look for the sweets…and it was even better if they were cupcakes. The laughing would ensue as we tried to figure out what flavor and how many.”1382138_950140945073540_8089193819503301494_n
Steven: “When you are not in front of the camera or taking on a new challenging role, what do you enjoy doing when you are not acting and have some spare time?”
Julia: “I really have developed a passion for photography. I find that I notice more in life and appreciate the little things that I used to miss.  Guitar is also something I’ve picked up over the last couple of years and I’ve been trying to teach myself how to play…now if I could only learn to sing along.”12553019_950140841740217_8516516841826102081_n
Steven: “Once again, thank you so much for sharing all of this with me and the loyal readers of Highlight Hollywood. One final question. Is there any type of role or character that you would like to portray someday that you have yet to experience as an actress?”
Julia: “There are so many roles I’d love to play…Super Hero, Detective, some type of royalty – a queen in a period piece, Space Captain – Sci-Fi, CSI, Psychic, a “Sheep in Wolves clothing” type of character, Time Traveler, Southern Belle …the list could go on and on. For the moment I’m looking forward to my next role playing, “Sherry”, an INS detective in “Maria de Luna”.”
It was a beautiful day. Birds were chirping. The sun was out with pleasant rays shining down towards the ground below. A soft California breeze could be felt by a woman who is carefully holding a brand new Canon T6s. She was not moments away from capturing history, but she was moments away from capturing a bird drinking some much needed water. For Julia Parker, being involved with her passion for photography was just about the best feeling in the world. She took her picture, bringing a warm smile to her face.
Written By: Steven Brittingham, Contributing Editor; Steven Brittingham is an actor, writer residing in Cincinnati, Ohio. Steven has one son Jacob. He was raised and adopted by his grandparents. He is currently writing ‘Memories Left Behind’, which is based on his own true life experiences of being adopted, life as an actor in Hollywood and the journey of saying goodbye to his grandmother during her final days.
Photographs are Courtesy:   FX Network and photos of Ms. Parker from Julia Parker’s Private Collection
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