EXCLUSIVE Interview with Rising Star Emily Shah

 In cannesfilmfestival2019, Film Events, Interviews

– from miss USA to miss Cannes –

Rising Star, Indian-American actress Emily Shah attended the Cannes Film Festival this year to promote her upcoming feature film Jungle CryEmily has been a part of huge Hollywood blockbusters including; Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Jersey Boys and Fast and Furious 7.

As well as rubbing shoulders with the stars, Emily was crowned ‘Miss New Jersey USA’ back in 2014 and has pursued a career in modelling as well as acting, working with brands such as; Motorola, Proactive and Sephora. Emily is also an ambassador for global charity UNICEF. As a women of many talents she also speaks fluent English, Hindi & Gujarati making her Hollywood-Bollywood crossover even more enchanting.

Jungle Cry is Emily’s second feature film as lead actress and the main reason for her presence in Cannes this year. I had the opportunity to work with Emily during Cannes, attending various industry events and Jungle Cry promotional events such as; the Screen Daily & Jungle Cry VIP Reception, Cinémoi Annual Gala and the Jungle Cry Trailer/Poster Launch Party. So, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to chat with her about her career, past experiences and future plans.

Read the full interview below.

Emily, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to Screen Bunny. First off, tell us more about yourself and what inspired you to become an actor? 

I grew up in the industry and grew up on sets so knowing the business was secondary to me. IT is all I know however, acting became my passion. I always felt like I was on cloud 9 when I would perform on stage as a child. Something about entertaining others was exhilarating to me. As I grew older, I fell in love with being able to make an audience feel their emotions intensely. Knowing I have the power as an actor to touch one’s heart, put them at the edge of their seat, make them laugh or cry, etc. is the reason I am in love with this profession.

I know you’ve worked on the set of Jersey Boys. I have to ask about your experience with the legend that is Mr Clint Eastwood. What was it like working with him and did he give you any tips?
It was a great honor to be on Mr Eastwood’s set. I was just 18 years old, fresh out of high school and I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up learning so much from him. He would take time out of his day to come and chat with me. He would tell me some of his most legendary experiences and stories in the industry. One of the tip’s he (ironically) gave me was to retire early.
That is some pretty solid advice right there.
Emily, I’ve loved working with you and the Jungle Cry team here in Cannes, tell us more about the movie…
Jungle Cry is a true inspiring story about tribal and orphan boys from the most poverty driven state in India called Orissa. They play soccer at their school, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, when rugby coach and MBE, Paul Walsh, discovers them. After watching them play, he insists that they learn the game of rugby in order to compete for a Junior World Cup in England. After much debate and doubt, he joins forces with their soccer coach to train the boys. The students have never been outside of their tribal towns, let alone the country. They have never experienced cold temperatures and on top of it all, they are malnourished. The opponents from European and African countries are experienced and strong. The boys are up against all odds. Not to mention that their trip to England has cost their institute a hefty collateral.
What made you select this particular script as your second feature film as opposed to a blockbuster feature? 
I believe Jungle Cry will be a blockbuster and that is why I chose it. In fact, it is appropriate and can relate to any age group, it is based on a true story and it brings the element of sport, family and education. It is indeed a commercial type of film that has a very powerful and inspiring message.
Having seen the trailer and been among the promo here, I understand that this film really means a lot to everyone involved, what lessons or inspirations did you learn in making this film? 
I learned a lot from the boys who acted in the film alongside Abhay and I. Unintentionally, the boys showed me true happiness and respect despite all and any adversity. They are the real heroes in and outside this film.
How have you found the first audience reactions here in Cannes?
I expected Jungle Cry to receive a positive reaction. After watching the trailer, I was excited that it was able to show an audience what this story is about and how important it is for these boys to be recognized. I felt as though everyone was truly looking forward to seeing this film.
I agree, I think this is an inspiring film that a lot of people will resonate with. Now, I know I have a large female audience so I have to ask, what was it like running for Miss USA in 2014?
At that time, Miss USA was owned and ran by Trump Organization. It was a true beauty pageant and the competition was intense. Since then, all my girl friends who live in LA are from the Miss USA pageant and are dear friends of mine. In fact, in the last few months I was a bridesmaid in Miss Pennsylvania USA and Miss Alabama USA’s weddings. We are like a tight sorority group of our own.
That is an amazing outcome from a competition that can be rather fierce. Back to Cannes,  did you have a favourite event/moment during the festival? 
Two of my favorite events included our own Jungle Cry VIP reception which revealed the posters as well as the trailer. It was humbling to see everyone’s excited reaction to the trailer and important for the director, producer and I to share our own experience of the film and why it is important for an audience to see it. The other one was the Cinemoi event. What an amazing cause that foundation represents. I was honored that Jungle Cry was a sponsor and I got to be a part of the event and learn about such an important subject that I wasn’t really away of prior to. It’s a very important and significant event at Cannes and I hope to be a part of it in some way in the future.
And finally, where can we expect to see you next? (Future projects)
I am in development of a few different scripts between India and Hollywood. One of my next ones’ is about a female driven thriller/action feature.


Click for Jungle Cry trailer

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Click for Jungle Cry trailer

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I would like to say a huge thank you to Emily for her kindness and for taking time out for this interview and a massive good luck to the entire team for the rest of the Jungle Cry promotional tour I am sure you guys will smash it!

Emily’s IMDb.            Emily’s Instagram.         #TEAMJUNGLECRY

As always, thanks for reading!


[images: credit to the owners, some are my own]

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