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Interview: Shannon Kane

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Actress Shannon Kane is well on her way to becoming one of the brightest young stars in Hollywood today. She honed her skills while working on the long running soap opera All My Children playing Natalia Fowler. That led to her work on the Nick @ Nite series Hollywood Heights.

Most recently, she had a recurring role on the hit series The Originals. She also starred in hit films such as Brooklyn’s Finest, Madea’s Big Happy Family and The Collection.

Shannon is one of the stars in the upcoming Lifetime holiday movie Seasons of Love. The movie will premiere Sunday, November 23, at 9pm ET/PT. The Michigan born actress sat down to talk with Pop Culture Principle about her new movie, working on The Originals and how she hopes to direct in the near future.

Pop Culture Principle – You have a project coming up called Seasons of Love. What was it about the script that made you decide to be part of that project?

Shannon Kane – What attracted me to the project was the opportunity to play a role where I could show a little bit more vulnerability. A lot of the times I get roles of authority or I get roles as the angry woman. This was a great opportunity for me to be vulnerable and I felt like I had a lot in common with the character Imani.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us what Seasons of Love is about and your character?

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Shannon Kane – Letoya Luckett plays this girl Kyla and it’s pretty much just about the trials and tribulations of love in her life. She’s been out of a relationship for a while. We grew up together and are best friends, so I am kind of her cheerleader when it comes to her finding love. She puts it off so often, but she’s faking the funk. I play Imani and I have spent years and years hanging out at the clubs, hitting all the hotspots and hanging with the in crowd. Eventually I decided to settle down and marry this man Jarvis played by Elan Even who happens to be a personal trainer and a white guy. So, I am ridiculed by my friends for the decision to walk away from the life, but I am ready to turn the page into something real and attainable regardless of what others think. I stick by my man.

Pop Culture Principle – Not only is Taraji P. Henson one of the stars, she is also a producer on the film. What was it like working with her?

Shannon Kane – That was a dream come true for me. Taraji is one of my favorite actresses of all time. Not only is she a phenomenal artist, but she is a phenomenal person and I got to know that working on set with her. Every day she would show up full of so much love and I felt so welcome on set. It was a privilege working with her. She is so witty and so quick and it’s amazing to be around that creativity. It brings everyone else’s creativity up to that level as well.

Pop Culture Principle – The project also stars Letoya Luckett, Cliff “Method Man” Smith and Gladys Knight among others. What did you learn working with a veteran cast like that?

Shannon Kane – I think it was a learning experience for all of us. We were also working with Princess Monique and it was her first feature film. So, I think it was a growing experience for all of us together.

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Pop Culture Principle – What message would you like the audience to take away after watching this movie?

Shannon Kane – I think the message is family values. A lot of us get so caught up in life and other things and we forget what is important. I think that this film is a great reminder of family values and the things that are important in life.

Pop Culture Principle – You were part of the hit CW series The Originals. How was your experience been on that show?

Shannon Kane – Honestly, it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had because I got to play in the supernatural world of witches and werewolves and I was really able stretch my imagination to that place. To be able to play in that whole world was phenomenal and I had so much fun. I mean, how often do you get to levitate and do spells in Haitian Creole. It was a lot of fun.

Pop Culture Principle – Why do you think there is such a fascination with vampires, werewolves and the occult?

Shannon Kane – I asked the same question recently because there are so many vampire movies. I think it all started with the Twilight movies. I think that what is really appealing about this is that it does appeal to all audiences. For instance, I just got back from South Africa where I was working on a project. People recognized me from The Originals and they love it there too. I think it’s a theme that crosses boundaries in terms of race, gender and age. Everyone can relate to these stories and they find them adventurous. It’s really interesting that it’s received so well across the world.

Pop Culture Principle – With The Originals being a spinoff of the very successful Vampire Diaries, did you or any of the cast feel any pressure to live up to that success?

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Shannon Kane – When I take a role and with anything I play, I concern myself with the story. I think a lot of times actors get to concerned in the business and we get in our own head and that isn’t beneficial to our performance. For me, once I got that story, I just enveloped myself and took it from there.

Pop Culture Principle – You reached out to Marie Laveau‘s great granddaughter to prepare for the role. What was that experience like?

Shannon Kane – Yes I did. It was crazy. I did a video conference with her and another witch on the show. She was telling us about voodoo rituals, how to wrap the voodoo dolls and the rules of three. What is really interesting is that after we spoke, she told me to be careful and don’t wake any spirits. She said that it was about intent. If you put that intent out there, the spirits are not choosey. She told us to get some White Mountain sage, so every day after that I came to set with sage and had sage with me everywhere I went!

Pop Culture Principle – You had a long run on the soap opera All My Children. How did that prepare you for work in film and television?

Shannon Kane – I always say that soap operas are like boot camp. They give actors a real good heads up on preparation because we are given so much material in such a short amount of time and we have to make it real for ourselves. I think it was a great experience for me. It made me a stronger actress and made me show up more prepared in the world that I’ve created.

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Pop Culture Principle –Do you think you will branch out into producing and directing later on in your career?

Shannon Kane – That is definitely something that I would love to look into. Actually now, I am writing a book. I just started writing the memoirs about six months ago. I have a very non-traditional and had a very non-traditional upbringing and when I speak to people about my life, they tell me that I should write a book. So, I am writing this book in hopes that one day I can turn it into a screenplay and it would be something that would be a dream for me to direct.

Pop Culture Principle – Do you think it’s important that actors expose themselves to as many aspects of the business as they can?

Shannon Kane – Yes, definitely. I think it’s important that not only do we study as actors and stay in class and feed our instrument, but it’s also important to experience life and have real life experiences. As storytellers, those are things that definitely inform our work.

Pop Culture Principle – Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

Shannon Kane – I do have a couple of buns in the oven, but nothing I can really talk about yet. On my Africa trip, I got to be a guest judge on an episode of a show called Top Actor South Africa. It’s kind of like the American Idol of Africa, but for actors. I had no idea what to expect and knew nothing about their market. I knew these actors where green and new, so I didn’t know what to expect. I tell you what; they are so talented, so passionate and so influenced by the American market. I was so impressed by the level of talent that they are working with over there; it was incredible.

A big thank you to Shannon Kane for taking the time to talk with us. If you would like to keep up with all of Shannon's latest news and projects, you can follow her on Twitter @MsShannonKane.

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