|What are your earliest recollections
of the horror genre? What were the first films to scare &
have an impact on you?
One of my earliest memories was walking to the local video
store. My mom worked a lot and I was in a single parent household
and so I walked home from school and until she came home,
I was always wandering the neighborhood, and I walked to my
local movie store and I somehow was able to check out THE
EXORCIST. I don’t know how! I was a young kid and maybe
they just didn’t care about renting it to me? But I
got it and all my friends were like “Oh yeah!”
I remember most I loved all the HALLOWEEN movies. That was
my favorite recollection. I don’t think I ever watched
HALLOWEEN 3 until recently? When I tried to watch it when
I was younger, I wasn’t into it because I wanted Michael
||I think that’s how it was for
a lot of us as kids. It’s not a bad horror movie on
its own though!
I know I tried to watch it, but didn’t see the whole
thing until recently. I remember specifically loving HALLOWEEN
4 & 5, the Danielle Harris character, because about that
time I was about her age. And so, I loved those movies because
she was in it and I was right there with her!
wanted to be Jamie Lloyd!
|Exactly! Those are my earliest recollections.
I think when I was a kid, HELLRAISER freaked me out the most.
I thought all the rest of the horror series were way more
fun, but I used to have really bad dreams as a kid, so HELLRAISER
really freaked me out. It was really, really heavy for me
at the time and I was really young when I watched it!
So, it’s safe to say you’ve pretty
much been a horror fan since you were a kid.
||So where did acting start for you? Do
you remember when your interest in making films began?
I think it was more of a natural progression for me. If you
ask anyone in my family, I’ve always been a performer
because the whole lineage on one side of my family was all
performers. My great, great grandmother being the most famous
of all them, so I guess it’s kind of in my lineage.
As a kid you don’t know that stuff! I was always in
the pageantry and performing and singing. I started out pretty
young doing pageants, and then from pageants, I ended up doing
some modeling and from modeling I ended up doing some hosting.
And after hosting it was acting, but I always wanted the acting
angle. But I think until I started studying it was when I
truly fell in love with the craft. And so, I would say all
my life – it’s really funny, I’ve been telling
this story recently. When I was really, really young, I realized
that there were ratings on movies, and I thought to myself,
I want to be that person!
|I had this idea that there was someone who sits
around all day and watches movies and says, “PG-13!”
Wow, what a cool job to watch movies all day and rate them!
(Laughs) I was really young, and I used to call them “raters”.
And I remember people asking “What do you want to be
when you grow up?” And I’d say “I want to
be a rater!” and no one understood what I meant. (Laughs)
I figured somewhere there was this big boardroom that you
just sit at the end of it and watch movies all the time.
So little did you know it at the time, but you
wanted to be part of the MPAA!
Exactly. Little did I know at the time that you can
sit around and watch movies all day long in other
Anywhere in film essentially!
So, let’s talk about LAID TO REST. This is Rob Hall’s
2nd film. I loved LIGHTENING BUG, I thought that was a terrific
movie. And Rob is of course your husband, so what were your
initial reactions when he pitched this idea to you for LAID
||Well, we had mutually decided to enter into
a project together. So we thought “OK, let’s just
do a movie.” And he had been writing another movie (that
he’s still working on) at the time, but we thought “we’re
going to self finance this thing and get it done. Let’s
make a movie where the geography is tight and the budget can
be low and go out somewhere & just make it.” So,
we decided we were going to write it together, but very early
on it became, “Ya know what? You’re just better
at doing this then I am” so the collaboration kinda
stopped there. (Laughs) But he would write a few pages, and
then we’d talk about it. Then he’d write another
few pages. We were away on vacation at the time, so we were
working on it together while we were on the vacation, going
back and forth & deciding things like whether or not there
should be a history for the killer. We ultimately decided
we didn’t need to reference that at all. We played around
with all these ideas. I was always going to produce it and
star in it and he was always going to write and direct it.
We were both mutually financing it. So, it was just like “Hey,
let’s do it.” And so we toyed with different ideas
and developed them over a couple of months time, and immediately
started looking for locations. The second he was done with
the script, moments later I was off looking for locations.
|You guys shot this in Maryland, which
is where you’re from originally. They don’t shoot
too many movies over there, so why’d that end up being
the ideal location for the LAID TO REST shoot?
That was actually kind of a fluke. Originally we were going
to do it in Kentucky where Rob has some family members who
own all kinds of stuff, like land and a convenience store.
Ultimately, that’s why there’s a convenience store
in the movie! Because we had this idea based on the production
value we could get based on where his uncle lived. But the
more I started researching it, yeah we could’ve shot
at a lot of places (in Kentucky) for free, but where do we
put our crews up? Where do we get our equipment from? It didn’t
add up in our favor as much as we would’ve liked it
to. So we started looking at other places. We went to Oregon.
We looked in Los Angeles, but ultimately we just could not
do it here for the budget we had.
On a whim, I thought all this
stuff Rob’s asking for, we can really get it all in
Maryland. I thought it’d be funny to go back to Maryland.
So I looked and we actually found the greatest location
in the world. The more we started doing research and the
math associated with it, it just seemed right. They shoot
really big stuff in Maryland. It’s not a hotbed of
activity, but the city had just come off of doing JOHN ADAMS
& they also shoot THE WIRE in Baltimore. So, there’s
a small nest egg of crews there, as well as equipment. We
brought our cameras from LA, but all the grips, electrical
equipment, the crew was home based, it was all from there.
And just the fact that I was the local girl from there,
it was a great opportunity for me to use the “local
girl card” because people respond to that kind of
stuff & it makes people want to help & get involved
with the whole Hollywood movie making experience. Once we
found the location, away we went.
|One of the cool things about the movie
is definitely the cast. You’ve got a ton of familiar
faces in LAID TO REST. Let’s start with Lena Headey.
Now, you did an episode of THE TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNER
CHRONICLES, and then you acted in a short film she directed?
You’ve known her for a bit?
Well, yeah. Rob and her and Thomas (Dekker) and everybody
else associated with this thing all met on the pilot of THE
SARAH CONNER CHRONICLES and quickly became friends. They had
watched LIGHTENING BUG when they were in New Mexico doing
the pilot. Thomas and Lena both said, “We love this
movie! Any movie you do, let us know, we’d love to be
in it.” So right about that time, Rob was thinking about
doing LAID TO REST and said, “Oh yeah? Because I’m
going to call you!” (Laughs)
So when the time came, they
both said “Sure, of course.” In addition to
them being friends, it was also partially because of the
writer’s strike. That opened a giant window of opportunity
for us. A lot of crews and cast were out of work. They were
in a forced hiatus and we took advantage of that. We escalated
how fast we put this film into production because of the
writer’s strike. We’re very good friends with
Lena. I’m doing another project with her shortly where
she’s going to be directing and I’m producing
it. And Thomas is similar. We’ve become very close
with those 2, as well as Anthony (Fitzgerald) who plays
|And Thomas, according to the DVD special
features went beyond the call of acting and at one point was
doing music with Rob for the movie!
Yes! He’s a really good musician. He does that on the
side. He recently just shot a music video, which we went down
and helped on.
How about Kevin Gage?
He was one of the highlights of the movie for me and I think
he’s such a great actor. Plus, he was in Rob’s
first movie LIGHTENING BUG, so was he on board based on
Rob’s previous relationship with him?
|Yeah. And for that matter, I asked Rob, “What
if Kevin can’t do it?” He was like, “Well,
then we have to wait for him.” (Laughs) It was written
for Kevin. Because… Kevin always plays these giants
assholes! Like the meanest son of a bitches on the planet.
But if you know Kevin, he’s sugar sweet soft. He’s
the nicest, sweetest individual you will ever meet. He’s
always smiling & always giggling. There’s not a
mean bone in his body, and it’s so funny to see him
play these fucking assholes! So, Rob said, “Ya know,
I want to make him play a nice guy sometime, because that’s
who he is!” So, he wrote him to be a nice guy.
I think you captured
his character finally then! As a horror fan, what’s
your favorite kill or gag in LAID TO REST?
Oh, I love Cindy’s brother’s death, which is
the Johnathon Schaech death. I just love that, it’s
just so cool and so well executed. Jana (Kramer) screams
so well during it. The whole thing, I love that.
|Good appearance by Johnathon, introduced
just to get killed right away! (Laughs) Rob coming from a
background in special FX make-up, did he spend a lot of time
focusing on the “kills”? Because you’d expect
that with his name attached...
What’s kind of funny is no! He didn’t. It came
to him naturally, but soon thereafter, he realized he probably
should’ve focused on it more. He really wanted to take
a step away as a make-up artist and focus on directing. That
caught up to him eventually, where he was working on a great
story, but then would say “Oh, let’s make this
a little bloodier and scarier.” He was really focusing
on the story as a director would. The one thing he did make
sure from the on-set, none of the kills are realistic in the
sense that it’s a movie, everybody knows that, but with
like the neck-sawing stuff? He always hates it in movies where
the head lops right off. He’s like, “that doesn’t
happen in real life! If you see a real beheading, it’s
really grisly and hard to do.” So that kind of stuff
he wanted to make realistic. And he also wanted to try to
create unique deaths and a lot of things you hadn’t
a lot of beheadings in this movie! Chromeskull really went
for the head with the majority of these people!
He likes heads! There’s a lot of beheadings!
Judging from the DVD special features, it looked
like it was a lot of fun. Were there any hi-jinks on the
| Not really hi-jinks, but a lot of talking and
laughter and stuff like that. It kind of pisses people off
when you’re working a 16 hour day? (Laughs) Especially
when me and Thomas get together. Everyone was like, “OK,
you guys need to tone it down a little bit.” I was the
producer that was setting the bad standard for everyone.
as the producer, you have the right to do that!
Yeah, exactly! What you said! (Laughs)
Speaking of, this
is the first full length feature you’ve produced,
but you have a background in producing music videos. So,
what were the differences you discovered going from music
videos to a feature film? I’d imagine making a music
video is probably a lot like making a short film?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Our music videos that we’ve shot
have been over a day or two. Obviously, the process is condensed
greatly into a much smaller window! And the focus is obviously
a much different thing. There’s a lot of differences
with unions and pay roll and just paperwork. The legalities
of it all is much different. The process is completely different,
but the concept is the same. The reality of it is…
what you want to do in a nutshell is show up some place,
make something that looks cool so you can put it somewhere
where people can watch it. (Laughs) So the concept is there!
The stuff in between is much different. Movies are a much
longer process. I’m still working on LAID TO REST
today, even though we’ve delivered. The job has still
not ended. Every single day, I’m doing interviews,
or pulling photos or answering emails, or collaborating
on a poster for some kind of promotion. Literally, it’s
a 24/7 job and it has been since last January.
LAID TO REST is currently enjoying a limited theatrical
run prior to this month’s DVD release, so what’s the
general reaction been like?
|So far people have been really responding to
it. Either they’re not telling us that they don’t
like it, or everyone seems to be happy! What little reviews
there have been on line have been really positive, which is
encouraging. Look, I know that there’s going to be people
that trash it, or me. And there will be people that love it.
I just have to learn how to flow with it all. I’m sure
there will be people that attack my performance and there
will be some that think it’s great. As a producer, as
a filmmaker, as an actor, I need to take it all with a grain
of salt, and walk away from my experience knowing that we
did a killer job & we all had a blast while doing it.
I really, truly made a new family on this movie, and I just
hope that every one of my filmmaking experiences is like this,
because it was really wonderful. There were no major issues.
We all just put in a ton of heart and with a unified approach
& this is the result.
You recently shot NIGHT OF THE DEMONS in New Orleans with
director Adam Gierasch…
Who’s wonderful, by the way.
So, what was your
experience on that film like? As a genre fan, were you familiar
with the original and its sequels?
Absolutely. I totally knew the original and sequels. “Angela’s
throwing another party. Trick or treat, sucker!” Isn’t
that the tagline for the 2nd one? (Laughs) I love the original,
I love all the 80’s campy stuff. Working on the remake
with Adam – I’ve seen a lot of the film now
in the editing stages and it just looks fantastic. It’s
really well done and a ton of fun. I was really honored
to be chosen to be part of the cast. It was a giant ensemble
cast. The process was so much fun! I got to live in New
Orleans for a month and a half. I loved every minute of
it and I’m really, really excited about that movie.
Adam and I are collaborating on some other projects that
hopefully we’ll be able to discuss soon!
Be honest with me – Most of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS
takes place during a party. Is filming a party scene even remotely
as fun as being at an actual party? (Laughs)
|No! It’s really hard, because you have
to film so much coverage! So the more people there, the more
coverage you have to do. And it’s time consuming. But
I have a couple of funny things that I do at the party. In
particular, I was on a dancing box – my character is
the wilder one of the group. I’m obnoxious, loud, and
kind of crass and funny. I’m that girl. So,
I’m up on this go-go box dancing in the crowd and basically
Adam was giving me direction to spin and shake my hair, and
basically he wanted to get a series of shots of me getting
progressively drunk. So you’d cut back to me and I’d
be a little drunker and a little drunker. And so, I kept doing
this and started letting my knees get kind of loose, where
eventually, I spun out and literally fell off the box! They
kept the camera rolling and I jumped back up with demon fingers
and they kept it in the movie & it turned out really funny!
That got a big cheer from the crew & everyone, and that
was a little fun moment.
You also were in KILLER
PAD directed by Robert Englund, whom we all know and love
as Freddy Krueger. This was the first feature he directed
since 976-EVIL. So what was the working relationship like
Robert was very visual and never runs out of energy. Those
are all really great qualities to have as a director. He’s
a really nice guy, and he loves the genre. And because he’s
so nice, and kind and respectful, people are very respectful
to him as well. That’s a nice thing to have on a set,
and I really enjoyed working with him. It was really cool.
I loved my character, Amber Waves and KILLER PAD was fun.
Anytime you can play a porn star and you can be really bubbly
and over-laugh everything is a great time. (Laughs)
You did an episode of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM too, right?
Yep. I play Bobbi Sue! Imagine that!
|I know it’s a heavily improvised
show, so what was that experience like compared to some of
the films you’ve done?
In the sense that there wasn’t a script, but there was
an outline? Yes. It’s funny how organization and structure
beget success. I mean, there was a tremendous amount of structure
and direction on set. In some ways, it was a little looser,
but in other ways, it really wasn’t at all, if that
makes any sense? Yeah, it was a really fun experience. Larry
is awesome! He’s actually really quiet and more private
in person. He’s not as loud as the Larry on TV. He was
really nice to me because he found out I was an alumni of
the University of Maryland, because that’s where he
went. He talked a bit about that. My scenes were mostly with
Richard Kind, and he was awesome. Such a nice guy, and so
is Jeff (Garlin).
I’m pretty sure I spotted Larry David on the train
into New York City last year, and I so wanted to say
something, but I was petrified that it would end up on a future
episode of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. (Laughs) Can you talk a bit about
the working relationship with Rob, because obviously he’s
your husband and you know him personally. So how’d that
compare to the other gigs you’ve done in the past?
I’ll be honest. It’s
very difficult! The nature of a relationship generally speaking,
the men & the women don’t trust what the other
says – perfect example “Do I look fat in this?”
And the guy always says, “No.” And the girl
always says, “You’re lying!” (Laughs)
That’s a traditional fabrication. So, the validation
that you need and/or get from your significant other, sometimes
you want somebody else’s opinion. Often times, the
short hand that we had eliminated some of the validation
that we’d give each other. It’s difficult to
work and live and know somebody so deeply. I wouldn’t
say it was easier and/or harder then working with somebody
else. The structure is inherently different. You show up
on a set with somebody you don’t know and often times
try to impress them more, whereas this I was a part of the
process for so many months ahead of time, that you skip
that stuff. It’s difficult to work with your husband,
but certainly I trusted him greatly and he trusted me and
that allowed us a lot of flexibility, so that was really
|You both are into the horror genre,
and this movie you made with your production company. Are
you looking to continue doing genre films, or maybe branching
out to other genres?
Oh absolutely. I love the genre! But I would like to do everything.
Everything from family to indie-dramas to whatever comes my
way. I love filmmaking and so does Rob. I love every kind
of film. I’m not much of a romantic comedy person myself,
so I don’t foresee myself going into that anytime soon!
(Laughs) But we love horror and we’ll never stop making
horror, but we’re not going to keep our production company
restricted to horror only.
Special Thanks to Ed Peters!