Created by Jarrett Sleeper and Tony E. Valenzuela, comes the web series, The Fourth Door, from Verizon's new go90 mobile entertainment app. In an exclusive interview with MStars News, Monqiue Coleman discuses her role of Lain and becoming an action star following the successful High School Musical franchise.
According to the official website, The Fourth Door follows a mysterious woman named Lain (Coleman). The amnesiac Lain wakes up suddenly and struggles to recall how she got there. Without any memory of who she is, Lain finds help from of a young astronaut named Colin (Reid Miller). Sinking deeper into the bizarre world, she must rescue the man she loves from the King of Limbo (Joey Graceffa), before he can devour them all.
Coleman discusses her latest project, working alongside with The Fourth Door ensemble cast, and her thoughts on becoming an action star.
MStars News: Tell me how the project came about.
Monique Coleman: Honestly, I'm really lucky! It came through a traditional casting process. Thankfully, the casting director was a little different than most. His process was different. Instead of having actors just come in and read for the role, the first thing that he did was set up an interview with the director and the producer. We just had a conversation, kind of like a "getting to know you." After that, based on how everyone related to one another, he brought people back to read. So essentially, I just made it through the process and here I am!
MS: Tell me what interests you about your character, Lain.
MC: I love Lain's strength as well as the vulnerability that she has. That isn't seen at first but it evolves over the course of the show. I just think she represents like a really strong, empowered young woman. I think she is kind of on a hero's journey of self-discovery and figuring out that maybe you have a greater purpose than you even knew.
MS: What I've noticed from the footage is that you do a lot of the stunts, such as the sword fighting and wirework.
MC: Yeah, that was amazing! Going into it, everything about this project has happened quickly. So when I booked the role, I didn't think about what that part was going to be like. It was incredibly fun, all the kickboxing classes and things I've taken over the years have really paid off!
MS: Because you've done choreography in High School Musical, did you feel like doing these scenes were much easier and faster?
MC: Yeah I do. Having had previous experience with fight choreography is definitely different, but we also had an incredible fight coordinator. He just really walked me through everything and just made sure I was comfortable. And with the other stunt artist, I got the opportunity to work with was very experienced. Honestly, I think they just made me look good! This was something that I had always wanted to do and would like to do more of honestly!
MS: In one of the extended previews, Jarrett Sleeper has such a unique voice when he sings. How would you compare his to Zac Efron (We Are Your Friends)?
MC: Oh, it's a totally different genre. High School Musical was 10 years ago, believe it or not! The first one was. And the last one was like 7 or 8 years ago. So I've been fortunate enough to watch each of the actors grow and develop over the years. So the artist, that they are today, versus the artist, that they were then, is different. I'm a different artist than I was then.
And so, I can't even compare our own journeys to the past. I can say that working with Jared has been incredible! He not only plays Gabriel in the project but he's also one of the co-creators. He's such an impassioned and empathetic, beautiful human being. I think that the characteristics that he brings to Gabriel and that very unique voice and style is a wink to older times, like the '50s. I thought that was really neat!
MS: Because this project is such a mix of sci-fi and martial arts, the look is so distinctive. Tell me about director Tony E. Venezuela.
MC: Tony is a genius and I hope to work with him for the rest of my life! He is a creative visionary. The thing about it is the story is very simple. It's a simple hero's journey as well as a love story.
Tony has such an active imagination and he's set this backdrop, this larger than life world, so that that the simplicity of the story can shine through it. I just think Tony is far and wide one of the most creative people of the next tier that we will be seeing a lot of work from. I feel fortunate to be a part of the beginning of his career!
MS: What is it about The Fourth Door that stands out to you?
MC: This idea of fear grips us and takes a hold of us. One of the things I think interesting is that Joey Graceffa is the actor that plays the villain. Typically you look at fear and you think of it as being black and grey and lurking in the dark. For someone as beautiful and talented as Joey, to play this character dressed in all white is a real testament to Tony's vision. To understanding that fear is something usually very alluring and beautiful, makes us think that it wants to keep us safe, which is why we have it. It treats us like we are friends, but it's really trying to hold us back in a way.
MS: Because this is a web series, did this feel any different than being on a film or television set?
MC: Definitely not, if anything, this was the most challenging role that I've had in my career as far as getting to really delve into the arc of a character. The only difference with it being web versus it being a feature on a network is simply the distribution aspect of it. Everything else, there's so much energy and love and creativity that was poured into every shot and the music. The director of photography did an amazing job!
I think that maybe because it's on the web, there's a feeling of more freedom in a sense. You feel like you have more opportunity to take risks. Other than that no, for sure nothing was compromised by it being on the web.
MS: Your co-star, Reid Miller, plays a younger version Colin. Because he looks 12 years old and still learning his craft at such a young age, did you have to be more patient with him?
MC: He was wonderful. Miller's such a wonderful actor. We actually got to do our screen test together for the roles. He's a wonderful actor that I think is going to have a very bright future and career. He also wants to direct! I think he'd be good at that as well. It was not difficult at all working with him! It was a joy everyday getting to bring these two characters to life.
MS: After playing this action star, do you feel like you're gearing more for another action movie?
MC: Oh yeah! I would like nothing more than to be type casted. Ha-ha! I would love it! I want to keep going! It was so much fun, this is a dream really. It encompasses so many things that I care about. I think the other aspect too is that she wasn't running around touting a gun shooting people.
What Lain is fighting is fears. Fears of someone's childhood in order to free them. If I was ever going to fight for anything that is what I would fight for. So no, I don't really see myself in shoot 'em up type of films where its violence just for the sake of it, but to fight for something that I actually believe in.
So yeah! I would love to continue to tell these kind of stories and play these kind of strong female characters. If I got to do more fighting that would be fun too!
MS: What projects are you working on now?
MC: I'm not privileged to say as of yet, but I probably will be by the end of the day. [Laughs]