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GAME CHANGER: Jamie Bernadette On Bringing Her Creative Vision To The Masses!

GAME CHANGER: Jamie Bernadette On Bringing Her Creative Vision To The Masses!

Jamie Bernadette is truly a star on the rise!

Veteran actress Jamie Bernadette is one of the most intriguing, versatile and dedicated actors working in the entertainment industry today. Over the past decade, she’s been quietly taking on a plethora of diverse projects, expanding her skillset and building a dedicated following. As an actress, her haunting performances left an undeniable mark on genre film. With each new endeavor, she continues to push herself to her creative limit both on screen and behind the scenes. Her latest project, “The 6th Friend,” is the next exciting chapter in her already captivating story. Co-written by Jamie Bernadette and director Letia Clouston, “The 6th Friend” is best described as a slasher film with a supernatural twist. It tells the tale of six college best friends that throw their own private graduation only to see it go terribly wrong when an uninvited guest arrives. Five years later, the girls gather once again and endure a night of more horror and bloodshed. The high-intensity film stars Bernadette, Chantelle Albers, Dominique Swain, Jessica Morris, Tania Nolan and Monique Rosario. The film debuts theatrically on January 11, 2019 via The Asylum.

Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Jamie Bernadette to get an inside look at her journey as an artist. In the interview, we discuss her early years in the entertainment industry, the lessons learned along the way, her process for bringing raw emotion to the screen and what lies in store for her in the years to come.

You’ve become a familiar face over the past several years. You’ve taken on great roles and continue to grow as an actress. Let’s start at the beginning. How did your journey as an artist begin?

I have always wanted to act, ever since I was a child. I would watch films and act them out. I was also involved in theater. I made the big decision to come out to Los Angeles with only $600 in my pocket. I drove across the country and the rest is history! [laughs] I did almost get off my path at one point with almost getting married back in Illinois, but I put a stop to that! [laughs] That’s when I came out to LA to do this instead!

That’s a big step! What was it about acting that made this the clear path?

It was always in my heart. When it’s in you, you can’t always explain it but if you try to go do something else, it’s always there and on your mind. I was talking to another actor friend of mine yesterday. There have been times when I’ve been like, “Man, I wish I wanted to do something different!” [laughs] There can be so many ups and downs, highs and lows and so much rejection. There are times I’ve been like, “Please, let me want to do something else!” [laughs] I think everyone has a purpose in life and it’s about knowing that. Sometimes, it’s unconscious and you have to bring it to light, be honest with yourself and not listen to other people. I think we all have a purpose, and this is my purpose and there’s no explaining why that is.

What went into finding your creative voice as an actor?

Wow! These are some question! [laughs] These are good! I feel like the roles and different types of characters found me, if that makes sense. For example, I play the tough girl a lot; the strong girl. That was not planned but I keep getting those strong girl or final girl roles in horror films and things like that. I play a martial artist and do fight choreography, if I would have known that I would have taken martial arts classes, but I didn’t know! [laughs] As far as my creative voice, I’m an actor who likes to do a variety of roles. I know some actors prefer the same types of roles over and over but I’m someone who likes to branch out and challenge myself. I really love very challenging, dark roles — that’s something I truly enjoy!

Was there anyone behind the scenes, perhaps a mentor, giving you a push or advice when you needed it?

Honestly, not really. Not during the tough times.

Wow! So, you really are that tough, strong girl we see on screen!

[laughs] Yeah, I guess so! I’ve never had any financial support. A lot of actors get support because how do you hold down a job when you have to audition all the time and then what if you don’t book? Who’s paying your rent? I’ve never had a boyfriend or anyone in my family supporting me. I’ve almost lived in my car three times. Somehow, I just always made it happen. There were some really rough times when I ate beans and hot dogs all the time! I’m from a family of nine and my mother raised us alone. My father passed away four months after I was born. She raised all of us and we were very, very poor. I’m not from a wealthy family and there was no one to turn to for me financially. I know actors who have their parents pay their $1,500 rent in Los Angeles or New York, paying for their head shots or acting classes. I’ve never ever had any of that!

Jamie Bernadette

Jamie Bernadette

What lessons did you learn early on that impacted you and the course of your career?

I learned not to listen to people! [laughs] There are a lot of negative people out there who will try to bring you down. Gosh, I’ve heard it all! People like to be right! For instance, I had an actor say to me, “If you haven’t made it by the time your 30, you’re not going to make it.” To me, that’s his justification for not making it himself. People love to be right and they do not want to be wrong, so if he is over 30 and he hasn’t made it, it’s not his fault. That’s just the way it is! So, he’s right in that way, in his mind. I’ve learned the psychology of all of this and I’m not going to listen to it! People pick up what other people say that is negative and they take it as true but really there are no rules to this game! Look at Lin Shaye, I love her! She was well into her 30a before she started working. Steve Carrell is another great example. There is also the diversity thing. If you’re not the race that’s hot right now, someone will say, “Oh, you’re not going to make it now. No one wants you!” All of that is garbage! Anything is possible in this world! I believe it’s how you think, what you put out there and how hard you work. You persist! I just don’t believe any of that negativity and I don’t listen to it. I learned that along the way, and it’s been really helpful!

Your body of work is impressive. When did you come into your own as an actor?

I had a movie come out in 2010 called “MILF.” It was an “American Pie” kind of film. It was kind of a dirty comedy but funny, very funny! I had a supporting role in the film. The Asylum, who picked up “The Sixth Friend” for distribution, made that film. That’s when I met them, and I’ve known them for over eight years now. That film helped a lot but there were other little pieces along the way and each little bit helped. It didn’t happen overnight. It was an accumulation. I think “All Girls Weekend” did really well. I did that in 2015 and I feel like I developed a lot of my fanbase from that. When I did “NCIS: New Orleans,” which I guest starred on, that really helped. It’s been an accumulation. Of course, when I booked “I Spit On Your Grave: Déjà vu,” the sequel to the 1978 original, I noticed a lot of people reaching out to me and offering me parts with the anticipation of that film coming out. That helped as well!

What does it take to have a career, like the one you are building, in this day and age?

I think it’s staying away from drugs and alcohol. That’s the demise of so many people who do this. I mean, I drink occasionally but some people get crazy with it. Cocaine is really big in the entertainment industry. Getting into drugs is something you definitely don’t want to do because I’ve seen so many people ruin their careers with that. It also comes down to, like I said before, persistence. I think it’s also important to have other activities to enjoy and not to become so obsessed with acting. I like to travel, do photography, photo editing and I write. If I feel like I’m getting too sucked in and drowning, I will jump in my car and go to the mountains to get away. It’s extremely therapeutic for me to remember that there are other parts to life!

What are the biggest challenge you faced and overcome over the course of your career?

Early on in my career, there was a huge financial challenge, which I’ve already touched on. Trying to audition and support myself was certainly a challenge. I think loneliness has also been a thing, which is something a lot of actors talk about. With acting, when you’re really going at it, we work all the time. If we aren’t putting an audition tape together, we’re going to an audition, meeting with an agent or doing something with marketing or social media. You can get to the point where you don’t have a social life, which is something I’m trying to do better at because I can be quite a hermit and workaholic! [laughs] I’m in a few different cities and I jump around, of course, because there is acting work everywhere. However, in Los Angeles for example, it’s not a small town where you get together for football on Sundays. People just don’t do that here in LA. In the entertainment industry, everyone’s in their own little world. I have the best of friends, but I might not see them for eight months and that’s totally normal here! The isolation is very extreme. My friend, Maria Olsen, is big in the horror scene and we are really close. We were talking about this at length. We were discussing the isolation and loneliness and how depression can result from that! That’s definitely a challenge!

Your latest project is called “The Sixth Friend.” It’s interesting because this film seems to be ushering in the next exciting chapter in your career. How did the ball get rolling on this one?

I watched “The Descent” many years ago and I wanted to write a film with strong female characters like that film. The characters were smart and making intelligent decisions. They weren’t stereotypes but real women! I wrote the original screenplay for “The Sixth Friend” and, when we hired the director, Letia Clouston came on. She had some great ideas on how to change things up and make it different and wrote the second draft. We bounced it back and forth from there. That’s how “The Sixth Friend” came about. I ended up producing it with Chantelle Albers. I met her on an independent film we were doing together. We both act in the film and produced it. I don’t know, somehow the thing got done! [laughs]

You sound surprised! [laughs]

Yeah, it was an endeavor, man! You can describe producing a film from the ground up with the analogy of planning 20 different, huge weddings at the same time! It’s at that level! There’s so much that goes into it and people just don’t realize how crazy it is!

What was the biggest challenge from an acting standpoint?

Well, it’s a very emotional role. That’s always a challenge and I have to get mentally prepared before I do scenes like that and take the time to mentally prepare. I think so much of the preparation comes before you step on camera. You have to be in the right mindset before you do a scene like that. You can’t just force the emotion and not be there mentally. Being able to block everyone out on set is something I’ve gotten pretty good at! I’ve been on some pretty noisy sets and the people who’ve worked with me know that I can go into a corner and I’m off in my own world! [laughs] I did a movie in South Africa with director Darrell Roodt. He was convinced that I’m deaf! [laughs] I’m like, “I’m not deaf! I can hear you!” It’s funny, he teases me because I’m a very intense actor. I’m not Daniel Day-Lewis intense but I’m intense! I believe you have to give yourself the proper time and you can’t be joking around with people on set. Well, at least I can’t be joking around and then have them call, “Action” and be emotional. I don’t do that and it’s something I’ve learned doesn’t work for me. I’ve been doing for this for 12 years now and I’ve learned that I need time to prepare because the camera doesn’t lie! You can fake tears or emotion, but you can’t fake what’s in your eyes! That camera is really close! It’s right there and it’s mindreading in a way.

What is your typical process to build out a character and has that process evolved?

Yeah, it has evolved. Whew, that gets very personal! [laughs] That’s OK though! That’s why interviews are fun. A lot of people who don’t do film don’t know this but 99% of films jump around the script when filming. They will do the scene on page 80, back to page 20 and forward to page 99. As an actor, you’ve had to have done your homework so that you know where your character is emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically. I had a role in “The Furnace” where my character was handicapped. I have to know where I’m at during each scene. My notes will cover the script with ink! I do so much homework before I step on set, so that I don’t have to worry about that. When it’s time to do the emotional scene, I can just get into my head. A lot of times, that is about me regressing back to my past. I pull a lot from my past. I’ve had directors or producers wanting to know what I’m working with! Especially on “The Furnace,” they were like, “What are you doing? What are you using? What has your life been like?” [laughs] I’m a very private person. Very, very few people in my life actually know my real life, so I pull a lot from the past before I start the scene. When I’m in the scene, I am that character. I have done my work before the scene and got what I need to get emotionally, which is whatever is triggering me that day and it can change. I will scan through different things and find what is triggering something. Occasionally, I will use music, which I did a couple times on “The Furnace.” Every day on the set of “The Furnace,” I was an emotional basket case! There was always something going on with that film. So, I use music sometimes, it just depends. It’s definitely about being in a very dark place and staying there. I’ve learned along the way that when you do an emotional scene, don’t come out of that place right away because they may ask you to do another take even after they said they were done with it. If they change their mind, then you’re no longer that emotional. I will stay in it in between takes and in between scenes. That’s when I get very dark on set and people learn very quickly not to talk to me. Not in a mean way but people learn how I work very quickly.

Jamie Berndette

I imagine it takes quite a while to decompress from digging so deep.

Yeah, I can get very depressed for a little while but it’s worth it to me because that’s my art. I’ve heard some people say, “I’d advise against that. You don’t want to be depressed.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? This is art! This is worth it!” So, if I’m depressed for a couple of days afterwards, please, it was worth it!

What do you look for in the material you are taking on these days?

When I get an offer, I first look at the director’s past work. That’s the first thing that I do. When I started my career, I was doing more quantity. However, for me personally as an actress, I wanted to move toward quality and make that the priority, as opposed to doing everything. So, I the first thing I do is look at the director’s work to see how it is. If I like it, I look at the script. If I like that and the character, then it’s a go!

You delved deeply into many dark roles. Was there ever a worry you might become typecast?

No, I always wanted to do horror, ever since I was a little girl. It’s a total dream of mine and I love it! Ya know, I think we are passed the time of, “Once you’re a scream queen, you’re always a scream queen.” I think we are done with those days, to be honest. I did a guest star on “NCIS: New Orleans” and one on “Midnight, Texas,” where I played a vampire. Then I did “The Furnace,” which is a faith-based drama. I have crossed so many genres, so I don’t think we are putting people in boxes like we used to.

That’s cool to hear. It’s equally cool we’re living in a time where we can go back and see your early work at the press of a button. What were the most challenging roles you took on and what should we check out?

I think “4:20 Massacre” turned out really well. It’s playing on Showtime still! I think it’s been on there for like four months. I enjoyed that one a lot. “All Girls Weekend” was an earlier one for me that I also enjoyed. That was a tough shoot. I think that was the coldest I have ever been in my life on any movie! One reviewer was like, “Oh, how dramatic! At the end of the movie, bring on the snow.” I’m like, “Uh, no. That was real snow, man! That was ice! That was real!” It was a fun film and a neat story. Those are just a few!

What are some of the things you are anxious to tackle as your career moves forward?

I would love to book a TV series regular, honestly. That’s been a lot of my focus lately. Then, I’m also writing “The Sixth Friend 2.” I’ve always intended on doing a sequel and I’m halfway done with that. I’m also talking with someone about producing something and it actually might happen! I thought I was done with producing for a while but when a good opportunity seems to present itself to me, yeah, I might consider it! We might film in South Africa, so there is talk of that. I also write poetry, which I’ve done since I was little. I really need to get my book together this year. That’s one of my 2019 goals. I always wanted to build up my name big enough to where I felt a publisher would take it on. I don’t want to self-publish.

Wow! That’s amazing. What can you tell us about your work as a poet?

I would relate my work closely to Sylvia Plath. It’s kind of dark, free verse.

One of the hardest working artists in the business, Jamie Bernadette has a ton of new projects on the way!

Is stepping behind the camera as a director something you might take on in the future as well?

I’m definitely interested in directing and it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The director of “The Furnace,” Darrell Roodt, has been directing since the ‘80s. He was nominated for an Oscar and he’s a phenomenal talent. I’ve been meaning to ask him if I can come along sometime. I’d love for him to teach me some things. I’d love to be his shadow on a movie! I’ve been interested in directing for quite a long time but it’s something that just hasn’t happened yet but it’s definitely in my list at some point!

What projects are on the way in 2019?

“I Spit On Your Grave: Déjà vu” is coming out in 2019. I don’t know exactly when. That’s all that they’ve told me. I also did a really fun horror movie, with Sean Cain directing, called “Cerberus.” I play one of the villains and it’s a really neat role, which has me really excited. I have another one called “Nicole, Her Ex & The Killer,” which is more of a horror-comedy. I loved my role in that. I play the stuck-up sister of the lead actress, which is a different kind of role for me. I’ve never really played anything like that before. Let’s see, what else am I forgetting? “State of Desolation,” which is the second film I produced, is a post-apocalyptic drama. I lead the film with Craig Stark, who’s currently on his third Quentin Tarantino movie right now! He’s doing really well! There are some really great scenes in that film. I’m really excited about that and we are wrapping up the post-production on it and I hope we get it out this year.

As you said earlier, you exploded onto the radar of many horror fans when you were cast in “I Spit On Your Grave: Déjà vu.” What was it about the franchise and film that made you want to take it on?

I had seen the original ’78 film before I ever saw the audition notice and I thought it was real and powerful with the way it makes the audience feel. It’s so hard to watch, which is very effective filmmaking! I love that original film and I saw the casting notice and thought, “Oh my goodness! Are you kidding me right now?!” I thought literally, “I won’t get this.” I had been thinking negatively even though I try not to do that! [laughs] I figured I wouldn’t get it, but I’d click submit anyway. Then they were like, “Send in a tape.” I sent in the tape and then they were like, “OK, we want you to come to an in-person callback.” I thought, “Well, if I meet director Meir Zarchi, who is the writer and director of the original, I’m good! I don’t care if I don’t get the role but if I meet him, my day is made!” I walked in, met him and had a long audition. It was like 40 minutes and I thought it really went well. I really cried in the audition, I was emotional, and I took my time with the scenes as Meir directed me. After that, it was a lot of back and forth with producer Terry Zarchi, who is Meir’s son. There was a lot of back and forth and lots of questions. I also had another movie that was maybe going to conflict, “Fight Valley,” which did very well but I ended up pulling out because of that potential conflict. There were a couple of months before I got called to a third callback that was five hours long! [laughs] I read with all of these different actors and I gave my input. I read with Maria Olsen, actually, who I knew from before. We weren’t good friends yet, but I knew her. I really pushed for her to get the part, not because I knew her but because she was simply the best. They wanted my input on everyone, but they hadn’t told me I had the role yet. It was really interesting. Next thing you know, a few more months passed and there were more phone calls with Terry! [laughs] He would ask me questions. I was on set, in Florida, filming “Smother By Mothers,” when I got the call from Terry saying I got the part. I literally hung up the phone and cried on my bed for 20 minutes because I had wanted it so badly and I couldn’t believe I got the role.

You immersed yourself in the role and have seen the completed film at this point. What did you bring to the role that might not have been in the original script?

I think I brought a sameness and depth that wasn’t on the original written page. She’s a model, she’s tired of her career and she doesn’t eat. I lost a lot of weight for that role and I looked pretty sickly. You know how models can be. I didn’t even want to eat a salad. I think there is a real sadness there. Modeling is a really lonely life. Then, there really was an eating disorder. That all wasn’t on the page, that was my character development. I could have gone an entirely different way with it and been happy and chipper, but I didn’t go that direction. I went serious.

I’m sure we will cross paths a little later in the year to discuss that film in depth, so I don’t want to dig too deep yet. I know we’re short on time, so I have one more question for you. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?

I guess it all comes down to persistence. I’m big about that. I believe that if you persist at something long enough, eventually, something’s got to break! Eventually something’s got to happen! [laughs]

True and things are definitely happening for you, thank you so much for the hard work you put in. It really shows on screen.

Thank you so much, Jason! I look forward to talking to you again soon. I appreciate your time!

‘The 6th Friend’ opens theatrically on January 11, 2019 via The Asylum. Check out the official trailer for the film below. Follow the continuing adventures of Jamie Bernadette on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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UNBREAKABLE: Sarah Butler Talks Life, Artistic Evolution & ‘I Spit On Your Grave 3′

UNBREAKABLE: Sarah Butler Talks Life, Artistic Evolution & ‘I Spit On Your Grave 3′


When we first met Sarah Butler, for an interview 5 short years ago, she was a relative newcomer to the entertainment business. It was her role in remake of one of horror’s most brutal and controversial films that established her as an artist to watch. As the days rolled by, we have continued to follow her career as she has continued to tackle bigger projects and even more ambitious material across a plethora of genres. She will be the first to tell you it hasn’t been the easiest of journeys. Thought it all, this natural beauty has continued to intrigue even the most hardened critics, amass legions of dedicated fans and maintain her down-to-earth attitude and razor sharp wit. What you will learn very quickly from talking to Sarah about her career is that her creative fire burns as more intensely as ever before as she continues to expand her horizons.

In 2015, Sarah has stepped back into the world from which she got her start. In ‘I Spit On Your Grave 3,” she reprises her role as Jennifer Hills, who is still tormented by the brutal sexual assault she endured years ago (in 2010’s ‘I Spit On Your Grave’). She’s changed identities and cities, reluctantly joining a support group where she begins to piece together a new life. But when her new friend’s murderer goes free and the tales of serial rapists haunt her, Jennifer will hunt down the men responsible and do what the system won’t – make them pay for their crimes in the most horrific ways imaginable. Only this time, no jury may be able to save her. Jennifer Landon, Doug McKeon, and Gabriel Hogan co-star in this unforgiving, unmerciful and uncut new chapter of one of the most notorious franchises in movie history.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Sarah Butler to discuss her blossoming career, her triumphant return to the ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ franchises, the challenges of bringing the film from script to screen and what the future may hold for this star on the rise.

Sarah Butler

Sarah Butler

Last time we spoke, you were still new to the business and audiences were just about to discover you through your role in “I Spit On Your Grave.” How has life changed for you in those five years?

Oh, man! [laughs] That could be a long answer! [laughs] Things have changed immensely. The first “I Spit On Your Grave” was a huge gift to me in my career. It gave me many opportunities. It has been a great experience to see what one movie can do for my whole career and how people can all of a sudden have faith in me after seeing me in one role. I have been really lucky since then and I have been able to build a resume with quite a number of independent films and TV appearances. I am hoping that this new film helps to bring even more awareness to my career.

The first “I Spit On Your Grave” film, that you were a part of, was a remake. It seemed to resonate with fans, spawned a sequel and now a third film. Were you surprised with the way fans responded to the film and you in the role?

Oh yeah! It was definitely a surprise. Before the film was released, when we last talked, there was a lot of skepticism from people who loved the original, wanted to see it respected and didn’t think anyone could do it justice. Then there were the people who hated the original and wondered why you would ever remake such an awful film. We had a lot of people who were adverse to us doing it on both sides and were eager to find any kind of weakness in me, my skills or my character. I faced a lot of people judging me prematurely and it was kind of difficult. I stepped away from paying attention to different reviews and people’s comments on the internet. People were just throwing up comments without trying to understand something enough to write an actual piece on it and just putting their opinions out there. They tended to be pretty harsh! People really don’t hold back! [laughs] When the film came out, I was definitely holding my breath thinking, “Please don’t be too cruel to me.” It was a huge surprise to see how warmly it was received. I think the most exciting part was winning over the people who had held the original so close to their heart. A lot of those people ended up being behind us. I certainly don’t want to offend anyone but I like doing this. I like playing Jennifer Hills and I hope they enjoy this new movie as much as they did the first one.

'I Spit On Your Grave 3'

‘I Spit On Your Grave 3’

The new film, “I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance,” has you reprising your role as Jennifer Hills. What drew you back into this franchise? Was it a no-brainer?

Yeah, it was pretty much a no-brainer. I wanted to make sure it was a good script but when I was approached and asked if I would be interested in being in the third film. I said “Absolutely! Give me a script! I want to make sure you don’t make me do something ridiculous but I would love to reprise that role.” Jennifer Hills is one of my favorite characters I have played. I was with her as she went through so many things and this project gave me the opportunity to have an new set of challenges and experiences as Jennifer. It was an amazing opportunity because you don’t often get the opportunity to expand a character when it is a feature film. Sequels are not the norm, so I feel very lucky to be able to do that!

Was it difficult to step back into the world of Jennifer Hills after all these years?

It wasn’t too bad actually. I watched the film again to remind myself what I had been through. That helped a lot and then I floated through it. It can be exhausting to be in a negative mental state for a long period of time and being beaten down by life. It can be exhausting operating from that sort of perspective. That is one of the best parts of doing a sequel. You don’t have to do as much prep work because it has already been done.

How does the experience of making the first film compare and contrast to your time on this new film?

Everything was different! For the first film, we shot in Louisiana in the middle of a swamp, out in the middle of nowhere. For “I Spit On Your Grave 3,” we shot in Los Angeles in the middle of the city. We had a different director and a completely different cast. I was the only returning cast member, as you could probably expect! [laughs] Obviously, after all these years, there were none of the same crew members involved. Every part of the project was different. The good part about shooting in LA was that you get to go home to your own bed at night. I almost prefer shooting on location because it helps keep you focused and your chores at home don’t tend to get in the way. After a long day or night on set, because we did a lot of night shoots, it was nice to go back to my own bed and try to get some rest. It was an exhausting process. I thought the first film was exhausting but this one was even more so! We were really down to the wire and had even fewer days to shoot from what we had on the first movie. I think that is kind of the trend now. Five or six years ago, films were shot in three weeks. All the veterans in the film industry were complaining about that and saying, “How do they make a film so quickly?” Now, I am finding more and more that some films want to shoot in two weeks. More time means more money, so that was a big difference on this project. We were shooting 14-hour days and it really took it out of all of us. Nonetheless, with all the differences, I will say the one thing that is always the same and has stayed consistent is that it is always fun. We always have a good time, so that is why I keep doing it!


You mentioned being curious about the script going into the project. What did you bring to the material this time around that may not have been on the written page?

Well, let me toot my own horn for a minute! [laughs] One thing that was obviously with me was the experience of Jennifer from the first film and the ordeal I went through. That obviously can’t be written on the page but it is there. That really informed everything that I did in this new film. People’s pasts are very powerful. If you have ever been to a psychologist or seen a psychologist portrayed on television or in film, you always see them point back to people’s childhoods as the source of people’s mental and emotional issues. Playing Jennifer Hills was no exception to that rule. The whole point of the film and the question that it begs is can someone recover from an ordeal like that? At this point, you kind of see Jennifer making the attempt, even if it is feeble, to reintegrate herself back into society. The question is can she leave behind what happened to her and to what degree will she be able to do so. That was the biggest part that I brought. If they had hired someone else to play this role, I wouldn’t say something would have been missing but it would have been up to that actress to generate that on her own and it would have been a big challenge. That is why I say it is a gift to do a sequel because you really don’t have to do all the work to put that in there. It is there because it is part of you already.

You had a new director for “I Spit On Your Grave 3” with R.D. Braunstein. What did he bring to the table for the project?

Richard was smart to want to maintain the parts of the first film that made it so successful. Of course, every director wants to put their own stamp on things. He wanted to make sure we felt free to do whatever we thought felt right for us even if it wasn’t quite in line with the first film. He wanted us to remember it was our own film and we could do what we wanted with it. The thing about doing the first film was that it was a remake. When we were doing the first film, we really did have to be careful. With this new project, it is totally outside of the realm of the first film. I think RIchard wanted to show what he was capable of without being held to any constraints and he wanted me to be free as well. He would always remind me by saying, “Go in there and do what you do!” He always made me feel that I should be confident in my choices. That was a really great space to operate from as an actor.

As I am sure you can attest, each project has its own unique challenges. What stands out to you as the biggest challenge on this film?

Sarah Butler

Sarah Butler

I really felt I had a responsibility to uphold the franchise. I was really the only common denominator from the first film to this film. I wanted this film to be worthy of being part of the franchise. Even though no one put these kinds of responsibilities on me, it is something I tend to do to myself with whatever I do! [laughs] I really did want to deliver for my fans, myself and the people at Anchor Bay who had put a lot of faith in me and helped me along in my career. I wanted to give them the best that I had and continue the storyline in a very real and believable way and deliver a really entertaining product. As you can tell, that is a lot! [laughs] I really did exhaust myself in the process. It was a difficult shoot and there were times where I definitely didn’t have enough sleep. Trying to still do a good job and have a good time to boot was a challenge. It is really important to keep both of those things in mind, otherwise, what the hell are you doing? Balancing your responsibilities with the act of having a good time and enjoying what we do is definitely a challenge on any project.

How have you most evolved as an actor since you started in the industry?

I think the biggest thing has been trying to expand into different genres. Starting out in the revenge horror genre, I tended to get a lot of opportunities within the genre and in ones close to it, which has been great. I couldn’t ask for better fans or a more fun genre to get started in. It has been really awesome but, of course, we always want to expand and show we are capable of more. At times it has been difficult but, a few years ago, I did an action film called “Free Fall” and it was a big opportunity to show what else I was capable of. This past year, I have done quite a bit in the world of indie dramas, straight dramas that are very dialogue driven, no action in them and center around very character based, intellectual based conversations to entertain the audience. That has presented a whole new challenge to me as an actress. It has definitely been fun to rise to that challenge but it has been a difficult process to get people to see me in that light. I am really excited to have had that growth recently and I hope people enjoy it. We will have to see because a lot of these projects are still coming out and aren’t finished post-production yet.


What is a dream role for you?

Oh, that is tough. It is hard to narrow it down but I do love fantasy films because it does really allow you to go deeply into your imagination. The role that Keira Knightley has in “Pirates of The Caribbean” would be amazing. You get to go to an exotic location with intriguing people and amazing actors working alongside of you, all under an epic director! [laughs] Who doesn’t want to pretend you’re a pirate all day?! [laughs] But like I said, there is so much out there. I just watched “The Martian” a couple of nights ago and it just shows you how our horizons and imaginations are expanding. There are so many awesome opportunities as an actor and the more the human mind expands, the more opportunities we have to tell different stories. I am such a lucky person to be in an industry where it is never-ending and a constant journey with new and exciting opportunities around every corner.

We have seen you grow as an actress on screen and talked about it today but I wanted to touch on the aspects we don’t necessarily see. What is the best lesson we can take away from your journey so far?

Wow. Listen, you have to love what you have. I was just thinking earlier today about the cliched phrase and what they mean by, “If don’t have what you want, then want what you have.” I think that is a great life lesson. As an actor, there are certainly times when you go through a drought where you don’t have a whole lot of love or validation coming in and there might not be many things that are fun. However, even an audition can be an amazing opportunity for fun, enjoyment and gratitude. You have to love what is going on in your life at any given moment. If you aren’t acting on set but you have an audition, make it count. Have fun. Make it the most fun thing you have done. If that isn’t happening, make a YouTube video. The point is — enjoy yourself. That is what our profession is really all about. It is the in-between times that really matter. You have to keep yourself happy and nurtured, so you will be able to shine when an opportunity comes along and you can blow them all away. Never get down and keep your head up!

Awesome advice, Sarah! Thanks for your time today! It has been a pleasure watching you over the years and we can’t wait to see where you take us next!

It was great talking to you again, Jason! Take care!

Just in time for the Halloween season, ‘I Spit On Your Grave 3’ hits DVD, Blu, Ray and VOD on October 20th. You can follow the continuing adventures of Sarah Butler on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Danielle Harris Talks ‘Halloween II’, ‘Fear Clinic’ and HorrorGal.com

Danielle Harris Talks ‘Halloween II’, ‘Fear Clinic’ and HorrorGal.com


Danielle Harris’ career in television and film has spanned an amazing twenty two years. Not too shabby for a thirty two year old actress who idolized Brooke Shields as a young girl. Danielle is most easily recognizable as Jamie Lloyd from ‘Halloween 4’ and ‘Halloween 5’ and more recently as Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of John Carpenter’s classic film, ‘Halloween’. While she may be an icon in the world of horror, she is also an accomplished voice over actress and aspiring director. Armed with a great personality and stunning looks, Danielle has recently set her sights on a new venture. What is that venture you ask? It’s HorrorGal.com and it will be making it’s way to the web just in time for Halloween. Steve Johnson of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Danielle to discuss her career as a child star, her love of the horror genre and it’s fans, her upcoming book and of course her experiences on the sets of ‘Fear Clinic’ and ‘Halloween II’. Stay tuned for the Barbara Walters of the horror genre. Confused? I guess you will have to read on then…

Where did you grow up?

I was born in New York. I lived there until I was two. I moved to Florida from two to seven. Back to New York from seven to just about thirteen. Then California from thirteen to thirty two. I’ve kind of been all over the place.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in film?

That’s a tricky question. As a kid, I just wanted to be on TV. I really liked it and it was really fun for me. I got to get out of school. I got to hang out with a bunch of adults. I got to stay up really late. That kind of stuff. When I was seven, it was kind of my break into TV and film. I was on a soap opera and all that jazz. I think when I really was like, “this is what I wanna do with my life,” I was probably thirteen or fourteen. I was like, “wow, this is what I want to be when I grow up. I really want to keep doing this.”

Did you have any influences, be it other actors or otherwise?

I used to have this saying when I was a little girl, when I used to do beauty pageants. I always used to say, “I want to be bigger and better than Brooke Shields.” I just loved her. I grew up watching ‘The Blue Lagoon’ and ‘The Honeymooners.’ Audrey Meadows and Brooke Shields were my idols. I loved Debra Winger and ‘Terms of Endearment.’ Those were my three influences.

You were a child star and we all have heard countless stories of child stars going bad. How did you turn out so “normal?”


Normal? It depends on what you consider normal. [laughs] I was this child star in this crazy adult horror genre, which not many kids really have that. It was kind of this weird little thing. It’s different because I would go out and I was drinking when I was much too young. I was doing things that you were not supposed to do, which everybody does. No one waits until they are twenty one to have a drink. I was partying and hanging out with my friends and doing all of the stuff college kids do, but we weren’t in college. We were working actors. All of my friends were other working actors. Our college days were spent with each other on other people’s sets, or going and visiting them on location when they were shooting movies, or hanging out at everyone’s home because they were eighteen. Most of my friends were just buying their first home. By the time I turned twenty one, I was so over partying and going out. When I was legally allowed to do it, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I think there was no chance for me to ever get in trouble because I was over it. Even now, going out last night. My boyfriend’s in a band. It’s this great band called Analog Smith. They were playing at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills. They were going on at ten and we were driving over there at nine and I was yawning. I was like, “god, this is so lame. I used to be so cool.” What happened to that girl when I was fifteen?” First of all, “A,” the paparazzi didn’t really exist. Whatever was going on, people really weren’t chasing you everywhere. So you really didn’t see it. The fans and the general public didn’t have privy into everyone’s life as they do now. Unfortunately, these poor kids can’t even grow up without having everything video taped. So it’s all that stuff. I had a good group of friends, and I was anti-drugs, and stayed away from anyone that really partied. I just sort of hung out with my little group.

You’ve had roles in motion pictures and on television series. Which format do you prefer?

What I love about movies is that there’s nothing like making a movie. There really isn’t. Going to the theater, and seeing it in a theater, and the whole process, and being on location. Weather it is a million dollar budget movie or a hundred million dollar budget movie. I have done both. I think that it’s an amazing experience. The family that you create in a short period of time and everyone’s there because they love what they do. So that’s really fun. I love making movies, but there’s something really nice about a TV show. The consistency. The steady work, which is something that most actors don’t have any idea of. Being able to know that I have eight months of a job. I get to play this character with the same people that I love and I’m going to have a job for eight months. If you’re not on a TV show, that’s unheard of. Even if I do big movies, sometimes there’s been a two year gap in between. Sometimes there’s been a month. Sometimes there’s eight months. You just never know when the next job is coming and right after one movie is done, you have to start all over again. That’s the only bad part. A girlfriend of mine was on a show called ‘Women’s Murder Club’ for ABC. The show ran for a season and then it got canceled. After that, they put her on a show called ‘Defying Gravity,’ another ABC show. You build those relationships with the networks and then it’s a little bit easier to go from one to the other. With movies, unless you become a movie star, it’s right back to the auditions, which is kind of frustrating.

You have done a lot of voice over work for numerous animated series and films. Is that something you enjoy?


That’s the best job in the world. Voice overs are the best job in the world. I actually just auditioned for one today. “A,” it great to be able to fit with kids. I love saying to kids, “do you ever watch ‘The Wild Thornberry’s?'” They’re like, “yeah!” I’ll say, “do you know Debbie Thornberry? What do you think of her?” They’re like, “she’s mean!” I’ll say, “close your eyes, I want you to hear something.” I’ll have them close their eyes and I’ll do my Debbie Thornberry voice. When they open up their eyes, the smile on their face is so awesome. Doing as many horror movies as I do, I don’t really have that. I’ve got the kids stuff and the horror stuff. Mostly it’s the horror stuff the kids can’t see, so it’s something that I really enjoy doing. It takes about an hour to do an episode. You can go in your pajamas. Once a week if you’re on a series. I did the series for like six years I think. You just get to go in, and play, and be a goofball. I did this series for NBC and Dreamworks called ‘Father of the Pride’ with Carl Reiner, John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, and myself. Not only was I the voice of a lion, what’s cool about Dreamworks is that when you’re recording in the studio, they setup all of these mini cameras so they record your mannerisms. I didn’t really realize they were doing it. They send it to the animators. So basically I am watching this TV show and I’m a white lion, but the thing looks like me. My eyes, the way my eyebrows move, the way my hands move, my mannerisms. This lion completely resembles the way I, Danielle, function. It’s so weird and so cool at the same time. That’s awesome. On my vision board I’ve got, “I want to be on another animated series.” That’s just the best.

Are there any challenges to that type of work?

The only challenge is if you don’t allow yourself have fun. Aside from the lion, I would do all of these other crazy animal characters. You just really have to let yourself go. You cannot be inhibited. You never know what it’s going to sound like when it comes out of your mouth, when you’re trying other voices. You don’t really practice it, so you go in the room and you never know what it’s going to sound like. It always sounds different. It’s really cool. It’s an awesome job.

danielleharris-1You have become closely associated with the horror genre. Do you feel like you want continue to stay in the realm of horror or would you like to look for more roles outside of the genre?

I am always looking for great roles regardless of the genre. It’s a little bit easier for me to work in the horror genre because I already have a name established, and I love it, and I have fans that love seeing it as well. It’s like the one thing that I know more than anything else. I know the horror genre. It’s fun for me, and it’s cool, and I get to work with the same people all of the time. It’s a whole little world within itself. The fans are incredibly loyal, which I love. The competition is slim. Yeah, I would loved to have done ‘Juno.’ I would have loved to do ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ which is a great movie. I would love to do independent movies, but they just don’t come my way because I am not a movie star in that world and I’m not on a TV show. There’s a whole list of girls they’ll go to before they go to me. In the horror genre, there’s not a lot of girls on the list and I’m usually in the top three, which is something that I love. I didn’t choose this, it chose me. I’m really happy with it. I’m tired of kind of fighting it. For years I kind of fought it and wanted to do other things. I was like, “I want to be seen as something else. I can do other things. It’s not only horror movies that I can do.” It kept coming back, so I just surrendered to it. There’s a quote that I live by, “if you want to make god laugh, tell him your plan.” I am not choosing my destiny, it is totally choosing me. I am happy with it.

Most people associate you with Jamie Lloyd from ‘Halloween 4’ and ‘Halloween 5.’ Did you have any input into the development of the character or was it laid out for you in the script?

No. I was ten. It was as basic as you can get. The script was written and there was an audition for it. A bunch of girls went in. I was in New York City. I went in and I read for the casting director Deedee Bradley. She brought me back to meet with the director and it was me and Melissa Joan Hart for the role. You know, ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch.’ It was down to the two of us. She could have been Jamie Lloyd. [laughs] At that age they just want to make sure that you’re a good kid, and you’re not going to be a brat, and that you can take direction. They wanted to hear me scream and wanted to see if I could cry. That is what got me the job. That was it. I had never been in a movie before, it was my first movie. I ended up being flown to Utah and I’m the star of this movie at ten years old. I never would have expected it to be what it is. Twenty two years later, I never would have thought that we would still be talking about it. It’s kind of nuts to me, but it’s pretty awesome.

You have worked with Rob Zombie on two ‘Halloween’ films now. What has it been like working with Rob and what have you learned from him?

Rob’s an asshole! No, I’m just kidding! Rob’s awesome! [laughs] Rob is great. Rob is the fan of all fans. Who better to direct a movie like this than the fan that is going to give you what you want. He’s someone that really is excited to be a part of it, and let’s you play, and let’s you do your own thing. He hardly ever yells cut. He lets you change stuff. If you were to read the script and then see the movies, they’re completely different. He gives his actors carte blanche and there’s that trust. He knows that we’re going to do the best that we can do with what the situation is. I trust that he’s going to guide me in the right direction and stop me from doing things that aren’t working. It’s a dance. It’s a really awesome dance. He’s just great. He knows his shit, he really does. He really knows what he wants and he’s incredibly creative and very smart. I trust him. It’s really nice to work with someone like him and I can’t wait to do it again. I would like to do it not in a horror movie. That would be really cool. A romantic comedy would be awesome.

A romantic comedy by Rob Zombie? That would be interesting.

Yeah, totally. If you look at all his stories, he really writes for women. All the people in his movies, they’re really strong female characters. He’s got a great relationship with his wife and he’s all about the relationships. The blood and the killing and all of that stuff kind of comes after. It’s really about the characters. He took Halloween… He took Michael Meyers who was what they used to call the Shape because he didn’t really have a personality… There was nothing to him. He created a person out of the Shape. He created a personality, a back story, and emotions. You’ll see it even more in Halloween II. This thing now has something to relate to. There’s pain, suffering, anger, and mental instability. There are all of these things that make up Michael Meyers that Rob Zombie has created. Thirty years, no one did it. Rob came in and gave him life.


What was the biggest challenge while working on Halloween II?

For me, I always want to work more. In the 2007 Halloween, I was like, “awww, I only get to work three weeks. I really want to work more.” It’s like I want to do so much more. I’m like, “I want to do this, I want to do that.” It’s Halloween. That’s like coming home almost for me. I’m so used to being on set with Michael Meyers, and being in every scene, and working every day, and now I have to sort of pass the torch onto Scout, which is awesome. She is like my sister, so I have no problem doing it. Obviously I could never have done the Laurie character because I am a lot older than her. I wanted to be a part of it every single day. My character didn’t allot for that, so I came and did my job and then it’s like, “ok, bye guys, have fun!” I think that was kind of it. Also worrying about whether or not fans would buy me as somebody else. I didn’t know if people would be ok with having me now become another person. Now after four, I’ve done just as many, if not more than any other character in the ‘Halloween’ series. I’m the only one that has been able to come back as another character. I don’t think that’s really been done very often. I could have made a cameo, but that would have been weird. Originally, nobody wanted me to do the movie. Rob didn’t want me to do the movie. He didn’t want anybody from any of the other ‘Halloween’ movies. I had to audition for it. It was really weird going in, reading, and getting sized for ‘Halloween’ and having to go in and go on tape, and audition for Halloween when that was sort of who I had identified myself with. It was kind of crazy how my career did a little bit of a one eighty there.

Do you have any interesting stories from the set of ‘Halloween II’?

Hummmm…, gosh. Let’s see. There’s so much. [laughs] What do I talk about? I can’t really say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. I can’t say I’m doing this thing. Let me think, let me think. I am going to have to come back to that one.

Some of the cast has been together for two movies now. How is the relationship between you guys?

It’s like family. It’s a real thrill to come back for sequels. The first night we were there, there was a hurricane watch. We were shooting in Georgia and staying in a hotel going, “oh my god, I have no idea what to do right now.” Brad had got there and Brad came and knocked on Scout’s door and said, “I don’t have a car, can I borrow your keys?” He was freaked out and wanted to get out of there because it was right in our path. So here we are, we’re all co-mingling going, “I don’t know what do to” and “oh my god it’s hailing outside, and there’s lightning, and the whole hotel is shaking, and it’s pitch black out, and we’re sitting in our room at the Holiday Inn Express.” Whoever said show business was glamorous has never worked in show business. In a tiny little town. You’ve got a bunch of Californians going, “oh my god! Hurricane what? Do I get in the bathtub? What do I do? I don’t know what to do?” I am sure you can tell me being on the east coast. It’s definitely something new. And getting calls two hours before you’re supposed to be up for your call time, asking you to come downstairs and come to set because Rob has decided that he wanted to write something else. You’re like, “ok, what is he writing?” You get to set and they tell you, “he’ll tell you when he gets here.” When you get there, he comes in the trailer and says, “ok, I have an idea.” I always feel like his scripts are blueprints and then after he sees what we do as actors and after he sees sort of what our relationships are, then he starts writing while we’re shooting. He comes up with stuff. That’s what makes the movie. I’ve been online before and fans are like, “oh, I’ve got a script. I’ve read this…” It’s like, you can read the entire script and then when you see the movie it’s going to be completely different.

You are starring in a web miniseries ‘Fear Clinic.’ What can you tell us about that project and your role in it?


It’s so cool. Robert Englund and Kane Hodder are both involved as well. It’s two people that I have always wanted to work with. They are buddies of mine from the convention circuit and the horror world. Again, it’s back to that question you asked me earlier. What do I like better, TV or film? This is sort of film-esque, but steady work. So I get to do these little mini-movies in my world that I know and love. I don’t really know any other TV shows like this that exist anymore. There used to be ‘Tales From the Crypt’ and ‘Twilight Zone’ and all of those, but those aren’t around anymore. I get to still do what I love to do for people that know me, in my world that I am very comfortable in, with friends. We’ve done five episodes now and this could very well be something that I get to do for the next five to ten years. Every single episode is basically a different phobia. The plot of the story is there’s Dr. Andover, who Robert Englund plays. I play Susan. I am the resident patient at the hospital. The hospital is a phobia clinic that is to cure people that have extreme phobias. Robert’s character, Dr. Andover, uses experimental drugs and he has a very unorthodox way of treating his patients that seems to work for everyone but me. My parents are gone, so there’s sort of this protagonist/antagonist relationship, this love/hate, father/daughter sort of thing between he and I. He’s become obsessed with curing me, which he can’t. I am scotophobic and scotophobia is a fear of the dark. It’s not the dark that I am afraid of, it’s what’s in the dark. Inside the dark are where my fears manifest and my fears keep changing as I am growing as a person. It’s never a fear of bugs or a fear of claustrophobia. My phobia is to Dr. Andover, completely incurable and it’s making him crazy. It takes place in Mexico. You have Kane Hodder’s character. They prep their whole back story. It’s very fun. FEARnet is a great, great outlet for it. Our director Robert Hall is badass. He’s got an amazing special effects company. It’s called Almost Human. He did ‘Buffy’ for a million years. He’s done huge, huge movies.

Just knowing that FEARnet was involved, it’s sort of something consistent. I get to work with these people every day, hopefully, which would be a dream for me. Watching Robert Hall’s other movies, ‘Laid to Rest’ and ‘Lightning Bug’ and seeing what he could do with the effects, it was like, “oh my god! This is so cool” It’s got great actors, great writing, and cool characters. There is the possibility of years of something consistent, which is great. This is my job? This is a gravy job. I think it’s changing. I’m not a big web series person. I don’t know if you’ve seen the trailer online or not, but it looks unbelievable. This is something that I think is going to just raise the bar for what people think about web series. This is sort of reinventing what everyone thought of. We’re raising the stakes a little bit. I’m really excited. It’s a labor of love. None of us are working for money, that’s for sure. It’s definitely something that we all just really wanted to be a part of.

What can you tell us about your upcoming website HorrorGal.com?

We have a October 31st launch date. Of course! I’m just working really, really hard. I just got tired of feeling like there was nothing for the fans. I spend a lot of time on myspace, a lot of time twittering, a lot of time putting videos on You Tube, a lot of time traveling to conventions, and talking and hanging out. It felt like all of the sites that I’ve seen didn’t… They are a bunch of great people, but a lot of it is text. A lot of it is just written articles and people stealing from other sites. Basically magazines online. It didn’t feel like there was anything interactive. It goes back to why I want to direct stuff. I have been working in the genre and this business for a really long time and I’ve got some great friends that people would really like to know some really cool stuff about. I think within the last two years, doing a ton of interviews online, over the phone, and on camera, I kept feeling like I was getting asked the same questions over and over again. I feel like the fans just want to relate to someone. I think that’s why TMZ is so popular. I read US Weekly and People. There’s a section of magazines where it’s like, “look, stars are just like us. They go get coffee. They fill up their tank with gas. They shop at the supermarket.” I read that stuff and I kind of want to know. I’m like, “oh, that’s cool. They’re buying Diet Coke. I buy Diet Coke.” I’m someone that’s fallen into that trap. I thought there’s nothing like this in the horror genre. There’s nothing like this for them. I want to know what they want to see. So I started doing my research and I thought I could do some really cool interactive stuff. Economies change, people can’t spend two thousand dollars and fly to wherever to go pay for a convention, and put themselves in a hotel, and pay twenty dollars for an autograph, and do all this stuff. They just can’t do it. So how do they gain access to their favorite celebrity? I was like, “you know what, I am going to give that to them. I am going to do all of these cool things that people can’t do.” It may be sixteen year old kids that I get emails from all of the time on my pages saying, “I love you. You’re my favorite and you inspire me. I’m your biggest fan. I can’t wait until I am old enough, and have a job, and can come out and meet you. That would be my dream.” I thought, “wow! What if I have a cool contest?” There are so many people out there that are incredibly creative that never get their work seen. What if I have a contest? Put together a short film, your horror film. The world will see it. The fans will rate it. Then whoever wins, maybe I’ll do a skype. Maybe I’ll sit down and they can meet me and we can skype for a half an hour. That will be their prize. Then I’ll send them something autographed. There’s a way to build those relationships and be a part of their life that’s not just reading about them. I just wanted to give that. I thought that was such a cool idea. I just didn’t see anyone really doing that. I love my fans. I think it’s super cool.

danielleharris-3I don’t know if you have seen, I started doing the random questions section that I’ve put up on my myspace. I’m just sort of grabbing it and starting to get a huge library of my friends basically. I did it with Rob Zombie the other day. I popped it up on myspace the night before last. I really want to know those questions. I don’t care about… No offense, but everybody wants to know what it was like to work with Rob Zombie. It’s like, “he’s great, he’s cool, blah, blah, blah.” I want to know more about Rob Zombie. I want to know what he eats for breakfast. I want to know how many animals he has. Rob has a pug. He has a black pug. I was like, “oh my god! You have a pug?” That something I would never think Rob would have. This little, black, fat, old dog. I was like, “oh my god! Your dog is awesome! What’s your dog’s name?” His name is Dracula. I was like, “that’s the coolest!” It’s those things that I think people want to know. They want to know the real shit. They don’t want to know the shit that they keep reading about. I just want to give them something more. It’s going to be forever changing. Like a day in the life. I want to video tape myself going to premieres, and bring the fans along, and stream it live. I want to have podcasts. I want to bring my cameras on the set where no one else has access to. I want to do interviews that no one else can get. I want to be the Barbara Walters of this genre. It doesn’t exist. People like us don’t get asked those questions. If we do end up on Entertainment Tonight or 20/20, it’s usually a two minute blurb about how ‘Halloween’ is coming out this weekend, blah, blah, blah. We don’t really see that. It’s like this little world outside of the rest of the world. I don’t know? I just wanted to do something different.

I just saw the Rob Zombie interview on your myspace page.

It’s cool isn’t it? It’s stuff that no one really asks. I think that if I didn’t have a relationship with these people, it would be hard for me to come in and ask them some personal questions. I may get deep with some people that I know really well. I may ask them really personal stuff that they’ll feel comfortable talking to me about, that they may not feel comfortable talking to someone that they’ve never met before that they’re having a phone conversation with. I’m going to explore a whole bunch of different things. I am also fascinated by what my friends think. Quentin Tarantino is a good friend of mine. Eli Roth is another good friend of mine. We sit around and shoot the shit about movies. Quentin has turned me on to so many movies. He can talk about movies for days, obviously. He’s a big movie buff. Fans want to know what they would recommend. I just went and saw ‘Funny People’ the other day. I thought it was good, but it was really long and I didn’t know that it wasn’t a comedy. I think fans want to know from their favorite celebrity what they thought of something. It’s like why actors are now the faces of Maybelline and why they are doing Louis Vuitton campaigns. People want what they have. They want to buy what they have. They want to listen to their favorite celebrity versus some person they don’t know, a person they don’t have a connection with, someone that’s writing a review about something. If I get online and say, “oh my god, this movie was dope. You guys have to check it out,” they’ll probably go see it a little bit quicker, especially if it is in our world. Myself , as well as all of my friends are very opinionated because this is what we do for a living. I want to do a review. I want to do it on camera. My site is really geared towards a lot of video content. I’m not a writer. I don’t have any writers working for my site. It is one hundred percent me, with my video camera, and all of my friends. Whatever I can do to make this the coolest thing… It’s completely run by me. I am a one woman show right now. When it gets up and running, then I can have people coming in. If they want to know who’s doing what movie, they can go read Fangoria, they can go read Shock Till You Drop, they can go read Dread Central. They’ve got that base covered. I want to give them something else.

I am going to call your bluff. You were talking about wanting to get personal. What is a question you haven’t been asked in an interview?


Oh my god. [laughs] I can give you the top ten things that I always get asked and everything else are things that I haven’t been asked. [laughs] No one ever gets personal with me. I am writing a book right now. My writer is a fan. Anytime anybody really sits down with me and has a conversation with me, they are like, “oh my god! I had no idea that this was like this, or that you thought like that, or that this was your childhood.” No one ever has any idea idea. I get asked all of the same stuff. I get asked was I scared growing up. How did I get started? Why do I like doing horror movies so much? What was Donald Pleasence like? What was Rob Zombie like? How tall am I? That’s usually one that’s in person. What did my mom think about me doing these movies? I get it. People do want to know. My stalker comes up every once in a while. Is that still an issue and what that was like? It’s kind of the norm, but what else do you talk about when you don’t know someone. That’s why by me knowing these people, I can ask them stuff that no one else really knows to ask.

What’s the biggest misconception about yourself?

Let’s see. I read my IMDB board, which I probably shouldn’t. I do so I know what people are talking about. For every not so nice fan I’ve got five hundred amazing fans that will go to battle for me any day. One of the things that always comes up that kind of upsets me is people are always like, “isn’t Danielle Harris tired of riding ‘Halloween’s’ coat tails? Can’t she do something else?” Of course I can. I’ve done more movies that are not horror. I’ve done more stuff that’s not in the horror genre than I have that’s in the horror genre. I can count on two hands how many horror projects I have done. I’ve been a working actor for twenty five years. It’s just so happens that this is the stuff that comes to me. I like to work. I keep living, so they keep coming back with ‘Halloween’ sequels. It’s not like I’m begging anyone for a role in ‘Halloween.’ They’re coming to me. They didn’t for Rob’s, but I wanted to work with Rob and I wanted to be a part of it. Not because I needed the money. Not because I needed to work. I work all the time. It’s genuinely what I like to do. I like this world. People are like, “oh, she’s just got to pay the bills or all of that.” There’s a movie I am probably going to get ready to do. It’s a five hundred thousand dollar budget movie. I was just actually talking about it. I’m getting paid nine hundred dollars a week. I don’t sell out in other words. I’m doing the movie because I think it’s a really great script and I would like to work with the actors that are attached. These guys made another movie two years ago that they did for five hundred thousand dollars that I just watched. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a vampire movie. It’s not a slasher film. That’s something that I have not done yet. I would be pregnant and I would be shooting guns. These are all things that I think about when I’m reading a script. I’m like, “that’s badass! I get to be badass!” I think a role like that would be really fun. I think I want to go do that. So what that it will probably cost me money to go and do it, but it’s not about that for me. I just really like what I do.

You mentioned your book. Can you give us any information about that?

We’re just in the beginning stages right now. We’ve got a title. We kind of started thinking about it over the last couple of days. I’m not going to say what it is yet because it’s not definitely it. I think our goal is to have it out available in paperback probably by Comic-Con 2010, maybe 2011. It’s a big process. We probably have another six to nine months of writing to do before it’s done, then the publishing company will probably take a good six months to get it out. So it’s going to be a minute. It’s to sort of let everybody in on who I am, and what I have been through in my life, and my views and opinions of being a child actor. Like you asked me the same thing about how did I not end up like all of these other kids and my opinions on why they ended up the way they did. I’ve grown up with everybody in the business, so my story is about them and what it’s like to work, as well as a lot of my family stuff, which nobody knows. Really personal stuff. The story is geared towards women. This is a journey. This is someone that’s been through a lot in her life. I’m thirty two, but I’ve been through enough for five thirty two year olds. These are things that nobody knows. I really feel it’s time to shed the Jamie Lloyd child star persona and really let people know who I am and what I am about. I think it’s just kind of about that time.

danielleharris_interviewWhat can you tell us about ‘Prank?’

‘Prank’ started off as a really great idea. The producers said we’re doing an anthology and we know you want to direct and here’s a great opportunity and we would love for you to do this. I made a whole whopping one hundred dollars. Ellie Cornell is going to be doing one and Heather Langenkamp. They’re both my friends. I thought, “oh my god, that’s awesome!” It was chance to work with the Red camera that Sony makes. I’ve wanted to do that for a little while and sort of delve into the directing world. I thought that was the next step for me. I still think that’s probably a big possibility. I am looking to option horror scripts right now because I want to hire all my friends. I want to make it a big party basically. There’s tons of actors that are friends of mine that I’ve never gotten a chance to work with that I’ve always wanted to work with. So I can’t wait to be able to do that. We shot it over five days. I was able to hire some of my friends in the cast that I think are really talented. After we finished ours and it was edited, mixed, color corrected, and scored, they were supposed to start the other two, but they had a bit of an issue with financing. Everything was put on hold. The budget for the other two movies. I don’t really know exactly where they stand now. I keep saying, “hey, let’s just release it. I think ‘Prank’ is pretty good.” ‘Prank’ is just the name of the anthology and then each story is different. My particular ‘Prank’ is called ‘Madison’ because that’s the main character’s name in the movie. I thought, “let’s just do it!” I’ll probably put it out. I’ve been trying to sort of leak it so everyone can see it. I think that they would really like it. I think it really works best as an anthology because there is a through story. Just kind of by itself you’re like, “oh, that was good!” It’s better when the three of them are together. So everything went on hold. They haven’t even shot the other two. I know that they were shopping it around for a TV series. They were shopping it to do three ‘Pranks,’ so there would be nine female genre actresses that are now directing for the first time. That’s sort of the catch, that it’s first time directors that are famous genre actresses. They’re all women based stories. There are really no female directors in this genre. I don’t know of any. What got me excited about doing it was I really kept feeling like I was working on these low budget indie horror films that I thought would be really fun. There were a couple that ended up not being fun. It was mostly one in particular. I won’t say which one it was. It was mostly because I felt like the director just didn’t know what he was doing. The producers didn’t know what they were doing. I kept feeling like I am getting all of these movies, I’m getting hired for all of these two, three, five, six million dollar budget movies, and they’re coming up and asking me what they should do. I am watching them block the stuff, and cut the stuff, and set the stuff, and do all the stuff on set. I am like, “what are you guys doing? Let me help you.” I was able to sort of make those changes with them, which they loved. They’re like, “oh cool! You’ve done a lot of these! Please tell me any suggestions. I am all ears!” I thought, “god, why am I doing this? Why am I waiting for someone else to hire me when I can just do this myself? Why aren’t I directing?” I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve worked with some pretty amazing people. So I started directing theater. That was sort of what got me into it. I’ve always been sort of an actor’s director and I love other actor’s directors. I was like, “this is something that I really, really like.” I actually like directing more than I like acting. Believe it or not! I’m kind of a control freak, so that’s probably why I like directing. I am also responsible for the finished product. As an actor there are some movies that I have done that are just crap, but they started off great. The script was great. The cast was cool. I thought everything was going to be great. Then you see it and you’re like, “Oh god! Yikes!” I can only do my job and then after I’m wrapped it is not up to me what that movie comes out like.

Do you have an advice for anyone who would like to get involved in the film industry?

danielleharris-7As an actor I would say if you’re over twenty one, don’t bother. You’ve got a lot of competition. In this genre a lot of people are really creative. I see a lot of kids thirteen to nineteen make their own little short movies. I see a lot of them on You Tube. Really great special effects makeup and all of that. In this world I think you can kind of start at any age. I always say keep doing it. Do it yourself. You never know. You never know who is going to see it. Here you go. Here’s a great example. I am looking to option a horror script to direct, to hire my famous friends to be the actors. I can get financed. I can make your movie. Even if you are eighteen years old, if you’ve got a great idea for a horror script, all you have to do is give me a treatment. You can hire writers to write it. I’m not a writer, so I can’t write it. No matter who you are. You could be living in the middle of nowhere. You could be living in a tiny podunk town. You may have this great idea because you’re a fan and I may make your movie. So you never know. That’s going to be something I am going to offer on my site. Make it short and shoot a trailer. Get your video camera. It doesn’t take much. People have access to do it on their own now. I see stuff on You Tube all of the time. Get your friends, get your camera, go out, take a day, take two days, take a week, take a month. Make this your project. Be creative. Be passionate about something and put it on the internet. There’s your outlet. The internet is such an amazing outlet for creativity for kids and even for adults. People are sitting in their small towns, in their job that they hate, and they feel like they’re never going to get out. All they really wanted to do was live this dream that is totally unfulfilled. Well get off your lazy ass and go make a movie. You can do it. It’s not that difficult. It’s just about motivation. Hopefully people that read this article will listen to me and be motivated to get their ass off the couch and go make a movie because anyone can.

Do you have any last words?

Thanks for being so loyal and stay tuned. There’s a lot more of me to come.

Thanks for your time and best of luck!

Thanks guys! Have a good weekend!

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