When her son Jason is falsely accused of murder, Jackie Carpenter fights with a mother’s passion to battle the courts and free her boy; but when the prosecution seeks the death penalty, Jackie’s life spins into turmoil sending her on a difficult journey of wavering faith, tentative hope, and ultimate victory. Jackie’s story, including her family’s ultimate triumph, resulted in two books and an upcoming major motion picture, A Cry for Justice (working title Georgia Justice). Veteran actress Francine Locke has been tapped to portray Jackie Carpenter in the film.
Mike Parker – You’ve been in this industry – modeling, acting, producing – for more than a quarter of a century, and you’ve achieved a modicum of success. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that success didn’t come quickly or easily.
Francine Locke – Not if you gage success by how popular you are. In the Chicago market success can be rated by whether or not you can pay your mortgage. I managed to pay my bills, so I suppose you could say I was a success.
Parker – The entertainment industry is a continuous work in progress that rarely allows actors to rest on their laurels. Dealing with this ‘what have you done for me lately’ environment can be wearying. What compels you to continue to pursue a career as a professional actress?
Francine – I loved the industry when I first started acting because it provided a lot of down time so I could be with my young son. Of course, when you got the call you had to go, too. The success I have right now I don’t attribute to simply working hard, keeping my nose to the grindstone. When the economy took a downturn and SAG went on strike things got tough. I actually left the industry for around 10 years and took a regular job. I came back to doing film because, one: I really enjoy acting on film, and two: I think it is a place where I can actually impact other people by my performance. When I decided to get back into acting professionally I started making connections with people in the industry that had, if I can say this, a higher calling. I like being involved with people on a different level than simply drawing a paycheck.
Parker – You are getting ready to start shooting the movie, A Cry fro Justice, where you have been cast to play Jackie Carpenter, the real life woman who wrote the book. Playing someone who is not only still alive, but who is very much involved in the film, has to present a whole ‘nuther set of challenges. How are you preparing for the role?
Francine – A lot of the script hits close to home, not that I have gone through the tragedy that she has gone through, but I can certainly identify with her struggles and emotions. In that sense the role I’m playing is as much about me as it is about her. I am playing me and Jackie. And its not like I’m playing Queen Elizabeth. I don’t have to completely nail every nuance of her character. Jackie has this vivacious, outgoing personality and part if it will be portraying that, but the more I learn about acting the more I’ve found that a big part of the craft is just being yourself. And we have a really great director, so that helps.
Parker – Which of Ms. Carpenter’s character traits do you really want to get right during your performance?
Francine – Jackie has gone through an incredible faith journey, and she still has her faith intact. That is what is important. I think the fact that she is so grounded in her faith is what has to come through. I want to make sure I get that right.
Parker – Jackie Carpenter is quite up front about her Christian faith, which will play a significant, if not central part in the film. Do you expect that aspect of the story to limit the appeal of Georgia Justice to just the religious community?
Francine – I don’t think so. It is not an in your face ‘Christian’ movie. It is the story of the real life experiences that this family went through. There is enough raw humanity there that it will draw in anyone who loves a good story.
Parker – Last words?
Francine – Live life so you can leave a legacy.
The Seven Questions
1. What’s your favorite sound?
Francine – very quiet birds chirping in the morning.
2. What makes you happy?
Francine – there are different types of happy. One type is when everything is going well. Another time is when I see change, personal growth in me.
3. What makes you angry?
Francine – when something that is evil is set forth as good.
4. What is the secret of success?
Francine – not working for yourself. Leaving behind something significant. Influencing others in a positive way.
5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?
Francine – Mary, the mother of Jesus.
6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?
Francine – “She made the world a better place.”
7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?
Francine – “I love you.”