Name: Cleopatra Coleman
SXSW project: Mo McRae’s satirical film “A Lot of Nothing”
Notable past credits: “Dopesick” and “The Last Man on Earth”
Making the most of her short time in Austin, Texas: “Last night, we went to the EW party and then we went and had some barbecue at the best place. I don’t remember the name of it though, but I had everything.”
Coleman stars in McRae’s directorial debut “A Lot of Nothing,” which premiered in Austin in competition this past weekend.
“This is very much a humanist film,” Coleman says of the film, a satire that tackles race, misogyny and social class. “It’s about this very affluent couple, who’ve done everything they can to be respected members of society. You know: they got the right job, they went to the right school. They married the right person. They got the right car, the house, everything, but they’re deeply unsatisfied for different reasons. What they’ve come up against in their society is a lot of roadblocks, disrespect, glass ceiling, glass walls, glass floor, glass all around. And the movie’s about who gets to feel that way, and how does it manifest when you really had your fill of it and you’re fit to burst. What happens and how does each individual express that?”
The actress stars as Vanessa, an unhappily married woman who looks perfect from the outside. After seeing footage of their neighbor, a white cop (played by Justin Hartley), the couple mull how best to react to the situation. Coleman describes the film as a “conversation piece.”
“We experience this one day in which, essentially, the pressure builds to the point where [Vanessa] dislodges from her obligations as a wife, as a citizen, as a neighbor. And we just watch the wildness unfold,” she says.
The film is one of four projects the actress filmed last year, and Coleman plans to spend some down time relaxing at home with her dog once home from the festival. As for her next project, she wants to be intentional about finding weighty roles in the vein of “A Lot of Nothing.”
“I want to make sure I’m satisfying this creative spirit that came up from this film. I really want to talk about issues and delve deeply into interesting characters. The more complex the female character, the better.”
While Coleman won’t have time to explore Austin’s music scene this trip, she’s looking forward to releasing more of her own music in the months ahead, following the release of her single “After Midnight” last year.
“[Music] is an outlet for me. We all went through a lot in quarantine,” she says. “I wrote a whole album of demos that I have yet to take to the studio, because I just had been so busy. I’m definitely looking forward to doing more music in the future.”