Review Fix chats with actress Paris Hepburn, who discusses her creative process, influences and life as a Hepburn, as well as her work in Stories in the Night – Bedtime Story and more.
About Paris Hepburn:
Any meaningful discussion of 15-year-old Paris Hepburn begins with her iconic last name, its impactful, well-documented history dating back centuries to England and its enduring influence representing the Golden Age of Hollywood, class, humanitarianism and power to defy societal norms.
Because that will likely be the first thing to pique people’s curiosity, yes, the fast- emerging young talent is indeed distantly related to Audrey via her mother’s side of the family. Her grandfather and great grandfather’s middle name was Hepburn, and her great-great grandmother was a Hepburn. With humble gratitude, Paris has always felt that her natural acting ability streams powerfully through that cherished lineage. “It’s in my genes,” she says. “Audrey is a role model for me, but I was raised on and obsessed throughout my childhood by James Bond films, so acting legends like Sean Connery, as well as contemporary actresses like Scarlet Johansson were influential as well.”
While proudly bearing her family name, Paris wants to be known as her own individual, judged less as a Hepburn and more by her spirited, charismatic personality, deep well of talent and strength of her diverse performances. Over the past few years, as she’s racked up an impressive list of independent film credits, Paris is clearly beginning to carve out her own unique path even as she honors the family legacy.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in film? Was it organic or destiny?
Paris Hepburn: Getting involved in film was inevitable for me. Since I was two years old, I loved being on stage entertaining. When walking off the stage during my first dance recital, I yelled out so the whole audience could hear me, ‘That was so much fun!’ Everyone in the audience started laughing. That was my first experience being in front of an audience. They loved the vivacious two year old that was so full of fun, energy and fearlessness. There were ten other two year olds on stage that were really scared to be up there and stood frozen to the ground, I was in heaven.
Funny as it was, my first dance recital would be the driving force that would push me towards film. After years in theater, I auditioned for a role in a film ‘Beyond SPACE’ by director Ibrahim Mpiana and got it. The film was to be featured at the Houston NASA Space Center in one of their introductory films. I feel in love with film from the very beginning. I could create characters and imagine I was right there in the moment. Like acting out a dream that had come to realization.
Getting involved in films was more a destiny. I had been involved in theater since I was four years old and played leading roles in all the plays. I was always chosen over all the other actors even though I was the youngest. I could remember my lines and never needed any assistance on the side lines. I was eager to perform on stage and everyone in the audience could tell I was a natural being there. Since then I moved to film and after many years decided that film was my calling in life.
Review Fix: What is it like growing up a Hepburn?
Hepburn: Growing up as a Hepburn was rather interesting. As with Audrey Hepburn our lives seem to be on the same track. Many of the aspects that happened in her life happened to me. When I reached the age of twelve is when I started to realize what being a Hepburn meant.
My heritage goes back a long way to the first king of England, James Hepburn, first Earl of Boswell. My grandfather always told me stories of the Hepburn’s. His middle name was Hepburn and his father’s name was Hepburn. Then my great great grandmother’s name was Hepburn. To me they were fascinating stories of people I didn’t know except in history books. And I loved history.
I never really thought of being a Hepburn in a way that others might think. For most of my life I really didn’t relate to being a Hepburn. I was just me, Paris Hepburn. I grew up with my grandparents and lived with them all my life. My grandparents were my whole life and they loved me dearly. I was raised the old school way. I was taught manners, respect, curtesy, mindfulness and how to be a lady. I still have and love all those aspects they taught me growing up.
Review Fix: Do you feel like you have to hold yourself up to an even higher standard?
Hepburn: Yes I most certainly do feel like I have to hold myself up to an even higher standard. First of all, I was raised that way. My grandparents taught me to be myself and to always do my best no matter what I was doing. I felt, in many ways, that it was my responsibility, as a Hepburn, to uphold the name. My grandparents had certain expectations of me growing up and I fulfilled them. I am rather down to earth, loving and kind. Always wanting to help others out.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Hepburn: My creative process is to think. I know that’s funny to just sit and look at the ceiling but that is what I do. I am a very deep thinker. Some people think I am shy when I am not shy at all…I’m thinking. I’m rather energetic, bubbly and funny including silly sometimes. Those moments let out my inner creative self after I have been thinking.
Sometimes I draw to get my creative processes going also. I never really took drawing lessons or wanted to draw, it just came to me as an outlet to thinking. I would draw characters about what I was thinking and day dreaming about. It is therapeutic for me.
I have always been a daydreamer and would get into trouble because of it. So I would imagine myself in certain roles acting out scenes in my head. I could get into my character easily by thinking about what my character might think, do or act. So I would have a whole sort of file cabinet of characters in my head. I would call upon them when I needed them. Really helps me when I am acting and I have to call on a character to be in a scene. Like magic, it is there.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Hepburn: There is a lot of things that inspire me. But I think the most important thing that inspires me is history. I love history. History inspires me because it tells me about people and what they did and how they came about from the very beginning. It tells me a lot about ourselves and myself in general. From there, history paints a picture of change and reflection that harkens to my desire of daydreaming.
I can listen to inspirational people in movies, internet, and books for hours on end. They all help me to develop who I am and where I want to go and who I want to be. I recently came across some old tapes of my grandfather that were motivational tapes. I converted them all to CDs and listened to them. I want to always continue to learn.
Review Fix: What does film mean to you?
Hepburn: Film means my whole life. I have been asked what my plan ‘B’ is if I don’t succeed. And I always say that I have no plan ‘B’ there is only plan ‘A.’ If I have a plan ‘B’ it would be plan ‘A.’ I am determined to make my life the way I always wanted it to be. I realize that it is a difficult path to take and it takes a great deal of determination and drive to achieve what I want to achieve. But I know in my heart that is what I want to do.
Film also means to me to inspire others. To lift them up and perhaps show them an emotional attachment to themselves. A feeling of belonging even if it is for a moment in time. To be able to dream for themselves. I am very passionate about being in certain types of films that show to excite and inspire others because that is what I feel like inside. Brings out my character development file cabinet.
Review Fix: How would you describe your acting style to someone who has never seen you?
Hepburn: My acting style is organic. Original. Self-aware. I can feel the moments. It is something that you can’t teach…it is just in you. You become the character you want to be. I have not really studied different styles, so someone else would have to tell me what style I have.
I know it is my style. Comes from daydreaming and my character file cabinet. It is crazy what the imagination will do for you. I have never really had any director tell me that I have to do things over and over again because I didn’t get it. I can go as deep as my character wants because I have probably already played it out in my head.
Review Fix: Who are your favorite actors and films?
Hepburn: My favorite actors are Scarlet Johannsen and Angelina Jolie. I love the way they play all their characters. It is so classy. They can make any character they play come alive and be so believable. And I love the characters they both played. My favorite character that Scarlett Johannsen played was in ‘Avengers,’ Natasha Romanoff. She was so incredibly dynamic. I loved all the action scenes. My favorite character that Angelina Jolie played was in ‘Tomb Raider,’ Lara Croft. Kept me on the edge of my seat.
I am not sure who my favorite male actors are because there are so many of them. But most of them are in my favorite films. Films such as James Bond, Star Trek, Star Wars, Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean are just to name a few.
My favorite films are action, drama, fantasy, sci-fi and drama. I also love films that inspire greatness in people and send message of hope and make an impact on people’s lives. I think intense films that make characters come alive and keep people on the edge of their seats is truly amazing. And I love a challenge. The more challenging the role the better I like it.
Review Fix: What’s your standout performance?
Hepburn: My standout performance was in ‘Stories in the Night – Bedtime Story’ directed by Jim Devault. Jim cast me in the role of Zoe. The film is about a young girl who dreamed that there were monsters under her bed. She would draw monsters and believe that at night they came alive. To her parent’s disbelief of monsters, they put her off telling her that she was just imagining things until one night the monster came out and killed her mother, father, and brother.
Jim was so impressed with my acting abilities that he started to use me in all his films and wouldn’t use anyone else. He wouldn’t cast anyone else in his roles except for me which I was really appreciative of.
Review Fix: What was the last film you were in? What did you learn from it?
Hepburn: The last film I was in was in ‘Dust.’ This was another film by Jim Devaul. I played an apparition that haunted the Dreamer. Jim played the ‘Dreamer.’ The apparition would question the Dreamer to confuse him into believing that he was not dreaming but actually living in reality. The apparition appeared to him many times during his dream and drove him crazy.
The film is in three movements and has been Jim’s desire for years to produce. I was cast in all three movements. Each movement built on itself in dreams making the Dreamer crazier.
I learned that I needed to be more realistic. I had to not be afraid of the part I was playing. It is easy to get wrapped up in a role that is not real but fantasy so to speak. You have to keep yourself grounded and not get to weirded out.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2020?
Hepburn: As the year ends, I am being cast in numerous roles to begin next year. Next year hopefully will be a banner year for me. I am working diligently in getting everything I need for the upcoming year in the movies I am going to be in.
Much of 2020 was spent learning because of Covid. I didn’t let that stop me. I kept on going. Even though there wasn’t much filming going on, I was still out there practicing and honing my skills. I certainly wanted to take advantage of this time off. I did a lot of photo shoots for people, acting training, fighting for film, horseback riding, among other acting skills.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Hepburn: I will be in two films for next year so far. Both films are very exciting for me because they are projects that I really love playing in. I really like ‘Tree Secrets’ where I play Alexa. It is a fantasy movie. Going to be out next year. A great cast and crew. A movie that is just perfect for me. The other one is ‘Bold and Brutal’ which is an interesting character I play. Sort of ties in with my martial arts training.
Although, I have landed parts in films on my own by working diligently and tirelessly and have had plenty opportunity to be represented by various people, I am looking for an agent to represent me that I can work with easily. Someone who is on the same page as I am and takes an interest in what I do and who I am.
I am also looking for a manager that I can work with. I think we could be a great team and build an incredible relationship in the filming industry. I want to make it on my own as Paris Hepburn, but the Hepburn name already comes with an understanding in the entertainment industry as well as fashion and other outlets.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Hepburn: Well I can go on and on about my career and about me. But the most important aspect about me is my willingness to help others. I am in talks with Munni Irone on being on her board and ambassador to her organization in helping young people who are making bad choices in their lives and end up going down the wrong path. I can relate to them because, like them, I am also young.
I also have several shows that I am spokeswoman for Women of Darkness in inspiring youth to become more productive and helpful in their careers and life choices. I will be hosting interviews on social issues and interview people who are prominent citizens of the community. We are working on this project for next year with Steven Chang who is CEO of WoD Mag.
I participated in the yearly project of feeding the homeless. Sponsored by Cree Perrymen and Wakisha Parker. The festive is celebrated either at Thanksgiving or Christmas each year. PROJECTFEED1K is a feeding event to the needy, the homeless, the sick and shut in and the elderly who can’t provide a meal for Christmas. I love to be a volunteer for this event. Unfortunately this year the event will not be happening because of Covid. I look forward to it next year.