Beginning in 1995, with her first movie role in “The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love,” actor and ally Dale Dickey has been a presence in LGBTQ cinema. She appeared in three Del Shores movies, including “Sordid Lives,” “Southern Baptist Sissies,” and “A Very Sordid Wedding,” as well as the “Sordid Lives” TV series.
Dickey also received numerous accolades for her performance in 2010’s “Winter’s Bone,” alongside Jennifer Lawrence. In her new movie, “A Love Song” (Bleecker Street), she plays Faye, a woman waiting at a campsite to be reunited with Lito (Wes Studi), an old flame she hasn’t seen in years. Dickey gives another stellar performance, one that could potentially win her more awards. She’s enthusiastic about the movie and happy to share her thoughts about it before “A Love Song” opens in theaters.
Gregg Shapiro: Could you to say a few words about what made the character of Faye in “A Love Song” appealing to you as an actress?
Dale Dickey: The script was simple and quiet and pure and beautiful. I had not done a lead role and had not been able to play this sort of vulnerability and stillness and quiet. I love the outdoors. I related to her in many ways. It was a challenge that I could not refuse. I was terrified, but I had to do it.
GS: We’re glad you did. “A Love Song” is writer/director Max Walker-Silverman’s feature-length debut. What was it about Max that made you want to work with him?
DD: Everything. He wrote me a beautiful letter asking me to do this role, telling me why he thought I was right for it. He watched my work over the years. I watched two of his short films. I read his script. I talked with him on Zoom. I just felt the connection. I think that he’s a tremendous talent as an artist, at only 27, and he’s also quite a fine human being, which was extra icing on the cake.
GS: I see Faye has two Audubon books on her bookshelf – one a guide to North American birds and one a guide to the night sky. Are birds or constellations things in which you also take an interest?
DD: Oh, yeah! My husband and I have lived here for 24 years, and our saving grace is getting the hell out of L.A. and camping. California is a beautiful state. We have a bag of Audubon books that my dad sends us at Christmas for trees and plants and amphibians. So, we’re always looking stuff up. I have a whole night sky chart for when we go camping. So, I could relate to that part of her character. I love nature. I grew up in nature. So that was something, instinctually, that I could relate to.
GS: As secluded as her campsite is, Faye still has social interactions with Postman Sam and young Dice and the cowhands. These scenes are among the lighter ones in terms of humor and reminded me a little bit of early Coen brothers movies. Do you also see the similarities?
DD: Absolutely. I love that aspect. When I first read the script, I was like, “There’s no dialogue. Who are these weird people?” And then I reread it and I was like, “OK, I get it.” Max’s idea is once you put yourself out into the world, particularly out into the wilderness, you meet all kinds of strange, interesting, quirky characters that can change your life in different ways. To me, when I first read it, I thought, ‘Are these real people, or is Faye imagining them?’ But they’re integral to the story. They each play a part in her progression. I love that! Particularly, the postman. That was a late addition to the script, it was not in the original. This was right around the time that, and I don’t want to get into politics, but that former president put that idiot into the Postal Service.
GS: Yes. His name was Louis DeJoy, but I called him DeJoyless.
DD: Yeah! The Orange Idiot put DeJoy in and they were tearing apart the postal department. I was like, “Friggin’ A that there’s a guy delivering the mail to the desert because mail’s important!” People get mail! I love that tribute to how important U.S. mail is.
GS: For the first half of “A Love Song,” Faye is waiting for the arrival of Lito (Wes Studi), an old flame she hasn’t seen in years. Faye and Lito have wonderful scenes of reminiscing. Have you ever had the experience of reconnecting with an old friend, and if so, were you able to pick up your friendship where you left off?
DD: Yes. I’d say not necessarily romantically. I was very shy and a very weird theater child in high school, so I didn’t really date. I just had a lot of good guy friends. The same in college. There was one guy in college that was just a good friend, and we would joke about, “Well, if we’re not married at 30, we’ll get together.” But we were just good friends. It was never gonna work. But I have a lot of male friends that I think about fondly, but no one necessarily romantically.
GS: As one can glean from the title “A Love Song,” music plays a supporting role in the movie, whether Faye is listening to songs on the radio or singing with Lito. How does music figure into your life?
DD: It’s one of the big things my husband and I share together. We both love music. I’ve tried to learn that it’s not good to watch MSNBC all day long and scream at the TV. Sometimes you just put on music and it relaxes you [laughs]. Music is the universal language. When I was growing up, my mom took me to everything. Every plane, every movie, to the opera, to dance. I love all kinds of music, I really do. I want to listen to it all. I have my certain favorites, but it’s the universal language. Particularly country music, which speaks to the heart and the real basic bones of living. Music is a beautiful, magical thing.
GS: One of my favorite scenes involves Jan and Marie, a lesbian couple at the campsite who invite Faye over for dinner. Their conversation involves the possibility of a wedding. As Marie says, “It’s legal now, you know? Like pot.” Have you been to many same-sex weddings?
DD: That’s Benja and Michelle (playing Jan and Marie), two beautiful actresses from New York. I got to see Michelle at the Tribeca Film Festival. I’ve been to a couple (of same-sex weddings. I work a lot with the LGBTQ director Del Shores in Los Angeles. He’s written a lot of beautiful plays. I went to Del’s first wedding, and I’ve been to another friend’s wedding. I am completely supportive of th[e] community. I grew up with gay friends. My parents had gay friends.
GS: Lastly, are there any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
DD: Speaking of LGBTQ, the only thing I really have coming out is the new Amazon Prime series of “A League of Their Own.” It’s an expanded version of the true story, which included a lot of gay women at that time that had to hide their sexuality. They were forced to go through charm school and wear lipstick and wear makeup and wear short skirts, and they weren’t allowed to wear pants. It also opens up the African-American side of the story. The young black girl who was this tremendous player but she can’t play for the Peaches because she’s black! It touches on some social aspects. It’s an incredibly talented cast of young girls. I play their chaperone and I was really proud to be a part of it. I think it’s going to be a great story.
“A Love Song” is currently screening at The Independent Picture House in Charlotte, Carolina Theatre in Durham and Red Cinemas Midtown Stadium 15 in Greensboro. Visit the Bleecker Street website at bleeckerstreetmedia.com to stream or order tickets in advance.