Before working on 'Malevolence', were you a fan of the horror genre
at all? What are you're earliest recollections?
Yes, I grew up loving horror. My earliest recollections were more psychological
horror classics such as 'Psycho', 'The Omen', 'Poltegeist', 'The Shining'.
I also love the Freddy movies.
Tell us a bit about how you initially got involved in acting? Is
it true you've been acting since age 13?
|Yes, I was involved
with the local community theatre in Devon, England, where I grew
up. We performed two shows per year, a summer show and a favorite
childrens pantomine at Christmas. I was first cast as a bean in
Jack & the Beanstalk at age 13 and ended up playing the lead
role of Red in Red Riding Hood at age 16. I then moved to London
and pursued acting there.
||We did a bit of
research and discovered you had played J.K Rowling in a short
film called 'Life & Times: Harry Otter'. How'd you get involved
in that project?
I auditioned through BackStage. I think I was cast because I look
and sound strangely similar to J.K.Rowling.
After that, you worked on a comedy called 'Ultrachrist!', which to
say the least has an interesting and wacky concept! Tell us a bit about
that movie and what it was like working from a comedy straight to a
|It was a completeley
different experience. It was a very low budget and it was shot
within 2 weeks. Being a comedy, it was obviously a lot more lighter
and less demanding emotionally and we had some wacky moments on
the set. I had never kissed a girl before and I had to practice
the kiss scene a few times.
Can you tell us a bit about the audition process for 'Malevolence' and
how you got cast for the lead of Samantha?
||I auditioned through
BackStage during my lunch hour. I was working for a PR firm in
Manhattan at the time and sneaked out to audition. I read the
script to Director Steve Mena and then dashed back to the office.
I was overjoyed when he called me back a few days later. Steve
said my audition was not over-acted and that he like my natural
approach. I think he just like the fact that I shared the same
name as the role!!
What were your initial responses to the script?
My initial response to the script was can I play a mother of an
American child with a New Jersey accent who looked nothing like
me. With Steve wanting me to keep my British accent, I wondered
weather our relationship would come off as realistc. After some
improv work with Courtney I realized that accents don't matter.
It's the connection that matters and we certainly had that. After
that initial reservation, I was very excited about performing
a character that goes through such a rollercoaster of horrific
is meant to be the middle part of a trilogy. Did Stevan give you
any backstory for your character to help with how you approached
Yes, he gave me some background information on my character and
the relationship with my daughter. This helped with our connection.
Apart from that, Steve let the relationship develop naturally,
which worked for us.
How did you approach working on this film? Did you look at any of the
other horror classics before beginning work on 'Malevolence'?
Yes. Steve gave
me some homework of watching classic horror films before shooting
'Malevolence'. I remember watching the 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
a few times and taking note of the female lead. I studied the
pitch level of screams and even practiced them at home. My neighboors
at the time thought I was being attacked and knocked on the
door at one point!
Stevan shot the film on 35mm, and with the budget, it required most
scenes to be filmed in one or two takes. How much rehearsal and pre-production
went into this project before actually filming?
We did some improv work in Manhattan with all our scenes. This really
helped to get us acquainted with each other. I did my homework as mentioned
above and we also ran through our scenes before each take. I find my
best scenes come out of the first takes anyway, so 35mm was not a problem.
You played Courtney Bertolone's mom in the film. How close of a relationship
did you form with your on-screen daughter?
Courtney is also Steve's neice, so it felt like a big family on the
set. During downtime, I helped Courtney with her homework and kept her
amused and entertained. She was only 11 at the time and often found
the whole procedure tiresome. It was during these long hours that we
bonded and as the movie progressed we became close buddies, which I
hope is reflected in the movie.
The shoot stretched out to almost 2 years of filming. How difficult
as an actor was it working on such a long production?
The bulk of the movie was shot all at once in LI and PA and only then
did we have a few more weeks of shooting and in-studio work. The production
was not a problem for me. I loved being part of it and made time in
my acting schedule.
There's a good chunk of the film where you're a hostage. Were there
any particular sequences that were difficult to shoot?
|Being tied up on
the floor with tape over my mouth in a lot of the scenes was not
comfortable to do. In one scene, Brandon was pulling me out of
the closet after Marilyn had been killed and he grabbed me so
hard the scream is actually real. I had bruises on my arms. But
when tied up, the focus of my acting was centered around my eyes
- no dialogue - and so the right amount of subtelty had to be
This was Stevan
Mena first gig as writer/director. What can you tell us about
your working experience with him on 'Malevolence'?
I loved working with Steve. He gave us great direction, ideas
and allowed us the freedom to experiment with our own choices.
He may not have used them - but his open style was refreshing
|You filmed in
an actual abandoned slaughterhouse and that darned creepy house.
Any odd occurrences happen or weird vibes while being around those
I stayed away from them as much as possible. They were just as
scary and smelly as they looked in the movie.
Cohon was behind the mask of the killer for the movie. Actor
or not, was it intimidating to be chased by this freaky guy
in a mask for most of the film?
No. Jay was great and I didn't think about him behind the mask.
I just focused on being chased by a killer. This imagery got
my blood going!
What was it like to finally see the film with an audience in theaters?
Was seeing the final product with an audience what you thought it would
I was so nervous
watching the film in a theater for the first time. There were
many kids screaming and shouting out to the movie during certain
scenes. Watching yourself up close in a movie is strange. You
analyze many things you would never even notice. I finally learned
to let it go and just enjoy the moment without thinking it's
me up there.
The film has gone on to be praised by a lot of horror publications and
websites. How does it feel to be part of a film a lot of people within
the horror community are talking about?
It feels wonderful as an actor to be recognised in anything that get's
talked about. It's recognition for this that keeps us going.
again with Brandon Johnson in the upcoming 'Rave On' also starring
David Naughton. What can you tell us about that?
It got cancelled unfortunately due to many budget contraints
and other problems. But it was a pleasure to work with Brandon
again in such a different genre. We reconnected and had fun
getting to act again although we weren't in the same scenes
Would you be excited to take part in the prequel & sequel to 'Malevolence'?
'MALEVOLENCE' DVD Clips: