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Lola Kirke on her new neo-noir thriller, 'Gemini,' and how she found her musical voice

Lola Kirke stars as Jill in
Lola Kirke stars as Jill in "Gemini."

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Actress Lola Kirke isn’t a classically trained oboist, but she plays one on TV.

Anyone who’s seen the Amazon series, "Mozart In The Jungle," knows her as the headstrong young musician and aspiring conductor, Hailey Rutledge.

But those of you without an Amazon account will soon be able to see her on the big screen in the neo-noir thriller, "Gemini."

She plays Jill, a personal assistant to a famous Hollywood actress played by Zoe Kravitz. Jill does everything she can to shield her movie star boss from overeager fans and admirers. But a murder mystery causes her to question everything she knows about celebrity and the people around her.

When Lola Kirke stopped by our studio last week, she told host John Horn about the research she and "Gemini" writer-director Aaron Katz did to get into the vibe of a noir thriller set in Los Angeles: 

Interview Highlights 

On how she prepared for her role in the film:

There was a lot of Raymond Chandler involved, and I've always been a big Raymond Chandler fan so I was excited to explore that. The movies that I was ordered to watch were "American Gigolo,"  "Body Heat," and "Sliver." [The latter] was a Sharon Stone and Billy Baldwin movie, which is pretty good. Sharon Stone wears beautiful clothes in that film.

On the distinct look and feel of Los Angeles in "Gemini":

[Aaron Katz] was using Los Angeles in a similar way that he was talking about celebrity, which was that people who are not from here imagine that Los Angeles is just Hollywood. I think that people who aren't really familiar with the world of actors imagine that their lives are sheer glamour and that there is no obstacle to what is happening. This movie goes about trying to show the things that you do not see — Koreatown, Eagle Rock, all of these neighborhoods that you might not know even if you're from West L.A. 

On celebrity and the way that people outside of Hollywood see actors:

I think that celebrity, in a way, is a bigger comment on human insecurity. Celebrities need attention. And in order to be a celebrity you can't act in a vacuum. I grew up in a world with a lot of celebrities around me and I was able to see first-hand how these people [who] appeared like they had everything, really did not. And how being satisfied with the attention you were getting was kind of an illusion. It seemed really uninteresting to me. That being said, I was totally like, I want to be an actor and a musician. And I wanna get all kinds of attention. My friend David Adjmi, who is an amazing playwright, said this to me and I wish I could take credit for it: Never get famous in your mind. And those are pretty strong guiding words.

On her relationship with acting versus creating music:

I feel a lot more confident as an actor than I do as a musician. I started acting much younger than when I started playing music. For me, music was something that men and boys did. My dad is a musician and all of the guys that I knew played guitar on some level. Whether they were bad or mediocre, they were like gods to me. I just didn't think that I could really play music so I didn't really try. And then I got my heart broken really bad when I was 18 and I was like, Fine I'll play a ukulele. Because it was 2008 and all the white girls played the ukulele at that time. Music became this very personal outlet for me. 

When I would travel I would always bring a guitar with me. It was also a way to take back control because I think — being an actor — you're often out of control. As I said, you can't act in a vacuum, you need someone to hire you, you need other actors to work with you. And to play music you don't really need anything but an instrument.

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