Layla Cushman Interview - Outsiders - We had such a great time on set
Layla Cushman is an American Actress born in Canton, OH. She grew up on a farm most of her life. Layla graduated from Malone University with a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in media entertainment. She started her career as a TV host.She is also known as one of the Kinnah in "Outsiders"
- Layla when did you first discover your passion for the world of Entertainment?
When I started college. I started as an art major and I became frustrated with the idea of giving art a grade when it was just my interpretation of the assignment. It seemed like such an oxymoronic thing to do. After speaking to my admissions counselor, who happened to be the head of communications at the university I attended. He thought I should give broadcast media a shot
Since I had a lot of experience modeling at that point. I switched and fell in love with just the study of communications. Translating that to film/television was such a thrill to me. Learning how to study the way people communicate is essentially acting.
- The first time i looked Outsiders is just some weeks ago. How did you get cast for the role as one of the Kinnah?
This was one of the wildest casting/auditions experienced in my life to date. It still remains to me be one of my favorite auditions. We weren’t told much about the characters. Other than, we lived off the mountain. We hated men, we only saw them as a means to procreate and they were disposable for sacrifice or whatever else we pleased. We were loyal to one another all had different roles in the group. The day of the audition as we were waiting in the waiting room, the director came out and announced to all of us he wanted to interview us as our character first, then talk to us as ourselves. We had about 10 min to give ourselves a name, role in the group, ability to answer specific questions all in character. I was called in second and hadn’t had as much time to prepare.
When I was called in, I immediately took on the persona of my character even as I walked into the little office with him. I sat opposite him on the other side of his dark office. I sat elbows on my knees and stared at him with a look of pure hatred. He started asking me questions: my name, what my role was, how I feel about men, lots of other questions. I remained in character, as if trying to have self control enough to not want to come across the desk and kill him. At one point he said, “okay…I’m actually getting scared,” can I please meet Layla? I burst into laughter and turned into my bubbly self. He looked a little sweaty. I found out that same day that I booked the role.
We had to also go through a stunt course as light stunts would be performed thoughtful filming. They literally had a stunt obstacle course that they had a stunt man show us how to navigate. We had to all go through and get cleared for the role.
I LOVED IT!
- How would you describe the role of the Kinnah´s on the Mountain?
A mythical, mysterious, seemingly supernatural and connected to mountain. They had a strange connected with the animals. The kinnah were sisters and their survival and protection of one another came before anything else. They were nomadic. They showed up at Shay mountain and caused a lot of stress and confusion to the clan. They also murdered a few men as a means to procreating and sacrifice.
- Could you share some funny, remarkable, weird stories regarding the filming of your scenes?
Oh man! We had such a great time on set. It was really cold at night and really hot during the day. Seemed like we were rarely comfortable. Shooting in the fall in Pennsylvania is a mixed bag. There was one night we were all so cold we were huddled around this little fire pit in between scenes. We rotated out so we could each get a little fire time. I stuck my frozen feet basically only covered in a thin leather moccasins, so close to the fire to warm them. I didn’t realize they had actually caught on fire. The whole bottoms of my feet were melted and the girls help me put them out.
We also had to learn a really crazy dance and chant combination as a group and rehearsed for days. We were in charge of making the dance up on our own. The chant was scripted. Because this was considered A special performance in a TV series. It bumped us all to SAG. Given that I was a must join at this point, I had to join the union right then and there until I could step foot on set the next day. The rest of the girls just got a Taft Hartley.
I got to “fight” David Morse. Who is like one of the most humongous men I’ve met/ worked with (2nd to Shaq). There was a scene where I had to shoot a guy in the back of the head and then turn my gun on David and grab him and force him outside. During rehearsals we did the move and I grabbed him and he grabbed my gun. He said you can’t have your gun that close to me because I would naturally grab it. So We laughed, I made the adjustment, and Rehearsed again and pushed him with all my might into this pole that had nails sticking out of it. He hardly moved but I noticed one of the nails touched him. I worriedly asked him if I had hurt him and apologized. He just gave me a blank stare and said no you did not hurt me. Almost as if he was saying there was no possible way a little thing like myself could possibly hurt him. Haha.
We weren’t allowed to Wear makeup obviously. They dreadlocked my hair and added some extensions. They asked if I would be willingly shave the side of my head, my agents gave a hard no on that. So, they cornrowed a few rows on the side of my head to give the appearance of the 3 shaved lines. We had prosthetic burn scars applied each day.
The director gave me the nickname of “the copper girl” I was the darkest of all the Kinnah. I get very dark in the sun, so I had to be careful during the day as my skin color couldn’t magically be different during the same scene.
- The series was surprisingly canceled after the second season. how was the ending received by the actors?
We were all a bit disappointed to see our characters go, but we knew from the start that we would be killed off or just vanish mysteriously. We were hoping fans would like us enough to order a rewrite.
- Please finish the following sentence: “Looking back at working on Outsiders …”
it’s the kind of role you could only dream for.
Playing something so far removed from both reality and your own nature and getting to spend hours in hair and makeup just to look so dirty was amazing. The tough girl character was so fun to play.
- Do you still have a dream of a movie or series you would love to play?
I would love to play a superhero or even a villain.
- You worked also in Avengers, Transformers and many more. Whats your personal highlight so far?
I got close when I played a Sovereign Pilot in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Which was another amazing filming experience.
- What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
I do have a few films set to release later this year and early next year. I play the lead in a film called Chasing Hope that is set to release late Summer. The other film i co- lead in is called A Bachelors Valentine and will be released February of 2023. I do have a few other projects in the works, but it’s too early to talk about them.
- Is there anything else you would like to let your fans know?
Thanks so much for your time! :)
- Thank you Layla Cushman and all the best for your future and i hope to see you one day in Germany.