Actor Chat: Dreya Weber on 'The Aerialist'

“Ageism, Showbiz and Women.”


They're three words that, according to Dreya Weber, sum up her new movie The Aerialist being released on June 5.


The Aerialist is the sequel to the award-winning movie The Gymnast released in 2006.


In both movies, Weber plays the character Jane “The Hawk” Hawkins, a woman trying to survive in the world of aerial performance (think Cirque du Soleil).


In The Gymnast, her character is approaching her mid-40s only then discovering the world of artistic trapeze work as an escape from a loveless marriage and a boringly repetitious job as a massage therapist.


Her journey takes her to new heights and the freedom of new experiences with her new dance partner, a beautiful Korean woman named Serena.


The Aerialist picks up the story over a decade later when the issues of age further impact her career in a cutthroat world of show business.


Weber says although her fictional alter ego is much different than her in real life, they do share a passion for physical performance and a debilitating injury early in their lives that nudged them into aerial acrobatics, a performance art that demands incredible upper body strength and nerves of steel.


As an actress and independent filmmaker (she was a producer on both projects), Weber points out that “nobody cares what you’re circumstances were” when you were struggling to make your movie.


“The only thing that matters is what you’re able to put on the screen,” Weber told me in a phone interview.


People who aren’t in the moviemaking business are oblivious to the problems that plague filmmakers on a day to day basis, such as cameras breaking, vans full of equipment being stolen or 35mm film “ends” being fogged as a result of airport X-Ray machines, ruining shots that can’t be duplicated.


Indie filmmaking is a tough business.


But Dreya Weber has managed to make it into a successful business.


The Gymnast was warmly received by fans and critics back in 2006, winning numerous awards.


The long-awaited follow up film is finally here.


It’s an impressive piece of filmmaking from Weber and her collaborator Ned Farr who wrote, directed and edited both The Gymnast and The Aerialist.


At the center of both movies is a remarkable woman who is both an aerialist and an actor, creating a character who is in a class of her own.


There aren’t really many like her in the history of the movies.


Esther Williams comes to mind, as a world-class swimmer who brought her athletic ability and ethereal beauty to the big screen so many years ago.


It’s the stuff of Hollywood legends.


When Weber's character Jane Hawkins takes to the air in The Aerialist, it’s a real moment of triumph for a woman in her late 50s with flowing blonde hair and a perfectly toned body moving with a gracefulness and elegance that make her seem ageless.