An Interview with Actress Lianna Perry Fountain

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Actress Lianna Perry Fountain, known for her engaging portrayal of Jasmine Foster in the acclaimed series, reaches into her journey as an artist, drawing inspiration from a childhood rich in imagination and a determination to embrace diverse roles. In an exclusive interview, she shares insights into her influences, ongoing challenges in the industry, and the profound impact of her past experiences, including her time as a teacher, on her portrayal of complex characters. Fountain’s dedication to her craft and her unwavering commitment to authentic storytelling shine through, promising a career filled with versatility and depth.

What initially drew you to acting and made you want to pursue it professionally?

I’ve always had a huge imagination. When I was little, I would create a whole character that I would input into the whatever I was watching. I always wanted to be a part of the story. So, for a while, I wanted to be a doctor, a scientist, a reporter, a wizard basically anything I saw on the screen in my favorite shows. I realized that the only way I could be all of these and more was to be an actor. After joining theater as a kid, I knew I had to do it professionally. No matter how tired I was, no matter how bad my day was, I always wanted act more. That’s still true today.

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Who have been some of your key acting inspirations and influences over the years?

I’ve always admired Johnny Depp since I was obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean as a kid. He has played such a wide range of characters and always fully embodies them. He disappears into the character whether that is a whimsically weird character or a depiction of a real life mobster. Additionally, I love movies that break the mold and experiment with film. So, this has inspired me to go for any role and ignore type. I don’t want to play the same character over and over, I want to explore all the stories I can.

What challenges do you continue to face as an actress and how do you handle those challenges?

Speaking of type, a challenge I face is being put in a box. Especially if casting knows me, they tend to want me to audition for the sweet and shy characters. I don’t want my personality to dictate the roles I can play. So, I keep auditioning for characters that are outside my “type” and studying how others embody characters that contrast their usual selves. Another huge learning curve has been advocating for myself. I’m not great with confrontation of any kind. However, I’m learning that speaking up for yourself is not confrontation and collaboration is needed to succeed. Thanks to great friends and coaches in the industry, I know my voice matters and I have to use it to be heard.

As a former teacher yourself, did you draw on any real relationships with students or their parents to shape your rapport with Erika’s gifted kids?

Yes, the situation with Erika’s kids was incredibly familiar to me. I used to work in a behavioral classroom at a middle school which meant the students had a range of behavioral struggles. Some of the general education teachers saw these kids as “bad” but they were just struggling. Some were dealing with difficult home lives, grief, neurodiversity, and being outcast by other kids for being in this class. As someone who has dealt with all those things, I knew they were just trying to be okay and not just “bad.” Their talents were being ignored because the system valued test scores and or a perfect student. Many of these kids were really great, smart, and talented in other ways that couldn’t be defined by a math test. I definitely drew on that experience and I hope that my former students get the opportunity to shine like Erika’s kids.

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Teacher characters often straddle many roles from mentor to surrogate parent. In what ways do you see Jasmine filling emotional voids for the Daniels family?

Many times kids just want to be heard and valued. Intentional or unintentional, they are ignored for either not fitting the mold by the education system or because their family is overwhelmed with finances, work, or health. Then, some kids isolate because they feel they shouldn’t be heard or act out because that’s the only way to be heard. Jasmine is filling in that gap and making sure the kids know their value in such a formative period of their lives. By showing her kids that, she shows Erika that too. As adults, I think it is easy to forget we still have these emotional needs and our perception of these needs is often formed by our childhoods. Jasmine does a great job of supporting the family, meeting those needs, and teaching them how to address them in the future.

Which of the roles you’ve played thus far most stretched you or helped you grow as an actress?

One of my favorite roles was playing Gollum in The Hobbit and it really helped me understand how difficult character acting can be. It was one of my first roles and I thought it would be easy to just be weird. However, he is just as complex as the other characters but expressed it in unusual ways. If I didn’t try to understand his motives, his expressions, he would just be flat. I learned to always look for more in a character. Another role that stretched me was actually a commercial, I was hired because I can cry on command. However, crying for 5 minutes is way different than sobbing for two hours! I had to practice my crying and understand how to manipulate tears more to sustain the cry they wanted for that long.

Are there dream roles or projects that you still have your sights set on for the future?

I have too many dream roles, I still dream of being in my favorite movies or tv shows (One Piece? School Spirits? White Lotus? Call me up!). In general, I love a challenge because it gives me the opportunity to expand my craft. More specifically, I wrote a true story psychological thriller about PTSD. nightmares, and abuse. The story is personal and extremely personal to me so I’m going to get it made somehow, some way. I plan to act and direct it.

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Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to go behind the scenes of “Self-Rising Flower and hear directly from the talented cast and crew who bring this captivating story to life. From the challenges of voice acting to the joy of creating memorable characters, this interview offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of audio drama production. As a special treat, we’ve included a sneak peek of an upcoming episode, where Erika faces a new obstacle in her journey to build her baking empire. Tune in to the full interview and catch up on all the episodes of “Self-Rising Flower” to experience the heartwarming tale of a single mother’s rise to success.

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