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What you need to know for 01/23/2017

Guilderland native to star in AMC series

Guilderland native to star in AMC series

Landing a starring role in an AMC series is a pretty impressive addition to any actor’s resume.
Guilderland native to star in AMC series
Anna Strong, played by Heather Lind, is pressed for information by British officer John Graves Simcoe, played by Samuel Roukin, in "Turn." (AMC photo)

Landing a starring role in an AMC series is a pretty impressive addition to any actor’s resume.

“It seems like everything they do is so well thought out,” said 2001 Guilderland High grad Heather Lind, who plays Anna Strong in a new AMC series set during the American Revolution, “Turn,” premiering Sunday night at 9. “This role is an honor for me. I’m very excited by it. It appealed to me because it was an AMC project. I just knew it couldn’t be bad.”

Lind, who played Eliza Doolittle in “Pygmalion” on stage last summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, hopes “Turn” will duplicate the huge success of some of AMC’s other series, such as “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”

“We’ve filmed 10 episodes for this season and now we have to see how it goes,” she said. “Everyone is very hopeful.”

“Turn” is based on Alexander Rose’s 2006 non-fiction book, “Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring.” Based on fact with actual historical characters, “Turn” tells the story of an unlikely team of secret agents that aided Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution. It focuses on Abe Woodhull, a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island. Woodhull is played by Jamie Bell, who was the title character in “Billy Elliot” back in 2000.

While Woodhull tries to remain neutral in the conflict, he is eventually convinced by a friend, Continental Army officer Ben Tallmadge, played by Seth Numrich, to work as a spy for Washington. Anna, the female lead in the series, is also enlisted to join what becomes known as the Culper Spy Ring.

“I had a great education at Guilderland, but it’s hard to teach in school what the personal experience of being in a war feels like,” said Lind, who went on to Fordham University and then New York University where she got her master’s degree. “I had never heard of the Culper Spy Ring, and they were so successful nobody heard of them back then. It’s cool to think that Anna was a real person who served as a spy for Washington. But all the upheaval people went through was hard. It’s not the kind of thing you learn about in school.”

Lind filmed the pilot for “Turn” in the spring of 2013 and then headed to Williamstown in the Berkshires where she played Eliza in “Pygmalion.” It was in July of last year while at Williamstown that Lind learned that AMC had decided to produce the series.

“That was a dream come true,” Lind said of her Williamstown experience,” and then I headed back to New York and then to Richmond [Va.] in November where it took us about four months to film 10 episodes. We only just got done, and now I’ve been busy promoting the show.”

Lind did have enough time to make a small independent movie with her sister, Christina Bennett Lind, due out in 2015.

“It was a personal project we did together,” said Lind, who was also in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” in 2012. “Christina wrote the script and we got some of our friends together and made a movie. It was kind of an experiment, and we don’t know what we’ve got yet, but it might be something really beautiful.”

Lind is now back in Brooklyn, waiting to see how the series is received as well as looking at other projects.

“In an ideal world, I hope it continues, and if it does that will take up four or five months of my year,” said Lind. “So I’ll still have a couple of months to work on other things.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

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