It was admittedly a challenge for Jody Thompson to play the character Lana in R.W. Goodwin’s “Alien Trespass,” a faithful retelling of a 1950s B movie.
Playing a 50s housewife in the film, Thompson, 32, has gained critical acclaim with praise from the New York Times as well as a Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a female in a Feature Length Drama. Not too shabby for a girl who, in high school, thought actors were “losers and not very smart.” She went on to later catch the “acting bug” after appearing in several TV commercials, and the rest is history.
Set to release on DVD August 8, “Alien Trespass” also stars Eric McCormack as Thompson’s husband. He is a witty scientist who has his body taken over by an alien from a crashed UFO in the Mojave Desert. “Urp” this alien, needs to stop the hideous, extra-terrestrial “Ghota” from destroying humankind with his voracious appetite. The story ensues as Dr. Lewis (McCormack) continues on his quest to be a hero and capture Ghota.
Speaking with Thompson, it’s obvious she’s smart. She is the kind of person you could sit and stare at all day, in sheer amazement at her energy level and motivation. Seemingly superhuman, like her blood runs a mix of Red Bull and espresso, she is a self-described Type A”¦but in a good way. She even managed to fit in a bit of woman-to-woman advice during the course of our interview. Without divulging all the details, let’s just say it’s now clear what kind of bra to wear when I’m headed out for a run with my baby in a jog-stroller.
“When I’m not busy I don’t feel fulfilled. It keeps my brain from turning to potatoes,” Thompson said. “Relaxing in the shade with a glass of wine would be nice, but it’s not my first choice.” Again — the motivation thing (as I sit typing away and drinking a glass of red)
With television credits including a recurring role on USA’s “The 4400″ and appearances in “Stargate SG-1” and “Stargate: Atlantis.” Her sci-fi trending is an accidental pattern. While Thompson is no stranger to the genre, playing Lana in Alien Trespass, however, was an entirely new and demanding experience. Describing it as “frightening” Thompson says she struggled with trying not to overact the part. Corsets and other wardrobe accouterments, including a new Julia Child-esque haircut, helped her get into character. “It took a lot of research and physical adjustments,” she said. “It changes your attitude just by putting the wardrobe on.”
Thompson said it was a pleasure working with McCormack, best known for his part as the hilariously gay Will, in the sitcom Will and Grace. “He was like so cool. He like didn’t have any Hollywood stuff,” she said. “He was just funny the whole time.”
Doubly fortunate to have also worked with R.W. Goodwin, producer of the X-Files series, in this film, Thompson says she just really trusted him from the beginning. “He was so great,” she said. “He knows the genre inside and out.”
The film has done very well and was a big hit at this summer’s Comic Con International in San Diego. Goodwin and McCormack hosted the Alien Trespass panel, introducing it to viewers with a featurette about its origination in the 1950s and recent uncovering by construction workers.
So, is there any truth to the story? “I don’t think I will be in trouble for saying that’s part of the drama. It puts the viewer in the right frame of mind for approaching the work,” Thompson grinned.
An actress, mother and dog-trainer (yes she does that too), Thompson wears many hats. She is also a filmmaker and president of the International Filmmakers Institute. Her debut film, “Montana de Luz,” documents the stories of children in an orphanage in Honduras living with HIV. “If they can get through each day with positive attitude, there really isn’t any excuse for us” she said.
Claiming to have had a difficult time playing the typical 195os housewife in “Alien Trespass,” its evident Thompson is deep down a caretaker. Whether it’s jogging with her 14-month-old son in the stroller, caring for her Alzheimer’s stricken mother, training her German Shepherds or making movies about disease-ridden children, Thompson is probably not an alien, but she probably has some superpowers.