Lois Robbins on ‘Blowtorch,’ Writing by Uinterview

Lois Robbins, star of the crime thriller film Blowtorch, found an unexpected kindred spirit working on the film with costar Billy Baldwin. “Billy and I have a very similar work ethic, and we both like to rehearse a lot. So it was a real pleasure to work with him,” Robbins told uInterview exclusively. “We ran the scene many, many times on our own off set before we shot, and he was great. Loved him.”

Lois Robbins On ‘Blowtorch’

Blowtorch tells the story of Brooklynite Ann Willis (Lois Robbins), a recently widowed and financially struggling mother of three. “It’s a murder-thriller, and my son is murdered and I am not happy with the way the police are handling the case, led by Billy Baldwin,” Robbins said. “So I decide to become a vigilante and solve the case myself.”

Filming the movie was not without its challenges, but it had little to do with crime scenes. “There’s a scene I did with Jack Falahee, who’s on How to Get Away with Murder and it was a very provocative scene,” Robbins revealed. “It’s sort of a seduction scene that was extremely uncomfortable for both of us… We were both like, ‘oh my god,’ we couldn’t believe we had to do this scene. I think they pared it down in the editing, but it was pretty uncomfortable.”

Lois Robbins On Soap Career

Robbins previously had a long career on soaps, notably on the classic Ryan’s Hope. “I think it’s the best job any young actor can have, and I think that it’s a shame that they’re almost non-existent now,” she said. “It’s a long process and you have to be really fast on your feet and make quick decisions. I think it’s great training, I’m so happy that I got to do it.”

One wild moment she might rather forget happened while filming Ryan’s Hope. “I was in a love affair with an actor who’s playing the role of John Reid Ryan… We were in a kissing scene and Jason put his tongue in my mouth. And [executive producer] John Hardy came running down to the set, and he said, ‘don’t you ever let me see you do that again, we don’t do that to our actors.’ He went crazy. And we were just laughing. He didn’t mean it, it just happened,” Robbins recalled, laughing.

‘Aspern Papers’

The actress also spoke about her upcoming film, Aspern Papers, a movie based on Henry James’ acclaimed novella. The story is set in Venice in 1885, about a young writer fascinated by poet Jeffrey Aspern, and who tries to get his hands on letters Aspern had written to his mistress, Juliana Bordereau (Vanessa Redgrave). “I’m so excited about this film,” Robbins said. “This is the antithesis of Blowtorch, where I played a very blue-collar character. Now I play an American ex-pat living in Venice in the early 1900s. It’s a period piece with Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson. I play Mrs. Press. I’m the benefactor to young Morton, who is a writer looking to find these love letters that he knows exists to publish. It’s very exciting.”

On Playwriting

The multi-talented actress has also written a play in addition to her acting roles. Titled L.O.V.E.R. – Tales of Love and Lust From A #GrownUpWomansPOV, it is a one-act comedy that she herself will be performing in the spring. “I started writing about two years ago, I wrote my first pilot, then I wrote another pilot. I haven’t done anything with them yet. But then I realized how much I really loved writing, so I started writing a book,” she recalled. “About fifty pages into the book, I realized it wasn’t a book, it was a play. It’s an adult woman’s coming-of-age story through recounting her sexual history. It’s sort of a comic and poignant romp, all at the same time.”

L.O.V.E.R will be performed at The Schoolhouse Theater in Croton Falls, N.Y., in spring of 2017. Blowtorch is currently available on VOD.


Q: What is your character's role in 'Blowtorch'? -

I play a woman named Ann Willis, who's a single mother of three. It's a murder-thriller, and my son is murdered and I am not happy with the way the police are handling the case, led by Billy Baldwin. So I decide to become a vigilante and solve the case myself.

Q: What was it like to work with Billy Baldwin? -

He was incredible. Billy and I have a very similar work ethic, and we both like to rehearse a lot. So it was a real pleasure to work with him. We ran the scene many many times on our own off set before we shot, and he was great. Loved him.

Q: What was the most challenging scene in the film? -

There's a scene I did with Jack Falahee, who's on "How to Get Away with Murder" and it was a very provocative scene. I am certain that he is, he plays my son's best friend, and I'm pretty sure he knows exactly what happened. It's sort of a seduction scene that was extremely uncomfortable for both of us. And that definitely will go down as a highlight for the film, because we were both like "oh my god," we couldn't believe we had to do this scene. I think they pared it down in the editing, but it was pretty uncomfortable.

Q: What was it like to work with Meg Ryan on 'Ithaca'? -

Well because she's such a seasoned actress, she knew exactly what she was doing as a director, and I loved working with her. She was very respectful, really gave you a lot of room to experiment and try it your way, and then ultimately she came and whispered in my ear, and she gave me a little direction and I thought, "Jesus why didn't I think of that?" and she was so right at the end of the day. I loved the way she shot that movie, I think she did a beautiful job.

Q: Do former actors make better directors? -

Well she's still an actor. But I think yes, because I think actors know how they want to be directed, and I think she had so much sensitivity toward that, so it was amazing.

Q: How does working on soap operas compare to film? -

First of all, I think it's the best job any young actor can have, and I think that it's a shame that they're almost non-existent now. It's a long day, you start out at work at 7. You go into the green room and block your scene, and then you go into hair and makeup and then you go up to set and then you run it, and then you shoot it, but it's a long process and you have to be really fast on your feet and make quick decisions. I think it's great training, I'm so happy that I got to do it. I loved every minute of every day I worked there.

Q: What was your craziest moment on a soap opera's set? -

Yeah there was a pretty crazy moment actually on "Ryan's Hope" when I was in a love affair with an actor who's playing the role of John Reid Ryan. And John Hardy, who was the producer, we were in a kissing scene and Jason put his tongue in my mouth. And John Hardy came running down to the set, and he said, "don't you ever let me see you do that again, we don't do that to our actors." He went crazy. And we were just laughing. He didn't mean it, it just happened. And back then, sounds like it was the dark ages, because now, nobody would think twice about it. But at the time, it was pretty alarming. It was very funny.

Q: What is your role in the upcoming film 'Aspern Papers'? -

I'm so excited about this film. This is the antithesis of 'Blowtorch,' where I played a very blue-collar character. Now I play an American ex-pat living in Venice in the early 1900s. It's a period piece with Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson and I'm not sure who the actor is yet who's going to be playing the lead role. I've heard a couple of names, and I'm very excited by any of them, so that'll be very fun. I play Mrs. Press, and I'm the benefactor to young Morton, who is a writer looking to find these love letters that he knows exists to publish. It's very exciting. I'm working with Julien Landais, he's directing. Got to know him as he's been meeting with me to talk about the character, and I can't be more excited. And it's shooting in Venice, Italy.

Q: How did you end up writing and producing a play? -

Yeah, so I started writing about two years ago, I wrote my first pilot, then I wrote another pilot. I haven't done anything with them yet. But then I realized how much I really loved writing, so I started writing a book. About fifty pages into the book, I realized it wasn't a book, it was a play. It's been a wonderful journey. I'm working with a director named Mary K. Burke. I'm very excited about it. It's an adult woman's coming-of-age story through recounting her sexual history. It's sort of a comic and poignant rump all at the same time.