'Among Ravens' Amy Smart Talks the Familial Drama & Finding a Balance in Hollywood

Summer, for many people, is about traditions. It's the time of year we indulge in relaxation, getaways, family, friends, and fantasies. There is an unexplainable romance that comes with warm weather, an escapist ideal that blurs our rational, winter way of thinking. And while the season helps temper our everyday issues with its subdued glow, our everyday problems are ever-present. This theme is tackled in the upcoming familial drama, Among Ravens, about one family whose Fourth of July tradition forces each of them to face their individual and collective demons. Among Ravens' star, Amy Smart, spoke to Bustle about the film.

"I was drawn to how complicated this character is," she said of her character, Wendy. "She is the glue that holds everyone together, she brings people together and that's what I enjoy doing, too."

The film is set in McCall, Idaho, a stunning backdrop for the messy portraits of Wendy and her arduous family. The Fourth of July weekend unfolds through the eyes of Wendy's 10-year-old daughter, Joey, who watches as her mother and stepfather (Joshua Leonard) host the weekend's events. Wendy is a former college radical who is struggling to maintain a loving relationship with her trust fund baby husband. Other colorful characters take their places, like Wendy's former husband Saul (Russell Friedenberg) and nature photographer Chad (Will McCormack).

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Outside of family drama, the film tackles the difficulties of adhering to and maintaining societal labels. Wendy is both a mother, a wife, an ex-wife, and an individual. Smart, like her character, also struggles to maintain a balance. "One of the hardest things in life is finding balance," she said. "When I'm not working, I have more time to put into my relationship. I love my husband so much, and having a solid relationship is important to me," she said.

And like Wendy, Smart has her own summer traditions, mainly, vacationing with her husband Carter Oosterhouse in Michigan. "That's where he's from, we like spending as much time as we can there," she said.

While speaking with Smart, I was surprised by how kind, humble, and generous she was with her time. Having grown up with Smart on the big screen, celebrated as the popular girl, the girl next door, and every other "beautiful girl" trope early '00s movies could offer, my mind hadn't graduated from this image of the actress. But the once Hollywood "it" girl spoke with genuine interest and gratitude.

"He's very vocal, he likes to let me know when anything is going on," she said when her barking dog interrupted our chat.

Outside of acting, Smart has taken a heavy interest in environmental issues, having volunteered with a local organization, Heal the Bay, for "over 18 years." She is also on the board of directors for the Environmental Media Association.

"I'm very anti-fracking," she said with a laugh. "Which is obviously a very hot-button issue."

She's also passionate about eating healthily for the benefit of herself and the planet. "Organic vegetables, organic dairy, organic meat... it's important," she said. "I'm all about living sustainably."

After Among Ravens, Smart will star in the Lifetime film Run for Your Life, a story about a woman who contemplates murder and changing her identity to get away from her abusive husband. "It's very heavy," Smart said.

Among Ravens hits theaters this Friday, July 18. Watch the trailer below:

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