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An Interview with Arielle Hope, Star of Theresa & Allison

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2018

Films starring Arielle Hope on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Theresa & Allison - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

Theresa & Allison has gotten compared to Alice in Wonderland, and I think that's very apt; the movie is about Theresa, a newly-made and unwilling vampire, trying to traverse this new, twisted existence she's been thrown into. All the while, she's trailing behind streetwise vampire Allison (played by Sarah Schoofs [Sarah Schoofs interview - click here]), her love interest and someone who may or may not be on Theresa's side. Maybe Allison is her Cheshire Cat. Our "Wonderland" is the underground world of vampires, and it is hard, it is dark, it is unwelcome. (Have I pushed that comparison enough?) Theresa is not, at the start of the film, some facsimile of chaste femininity or some brooding misunderstood genius; she's just human, someone you would see walking down the street, a person with flaws. And I think something that Theresa & Allison does so well is to make it clear that those flaws don't just go away after she (or a good number of the other characters, for that matter) gets turned. The humanity that still remains in Theresa is what drives her through this new world and dictates her actions throughout the film.

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Arielle Hope can we actually find in Theresa? And how does one prepare for playing a vampire even?

 

There's a good amount of me in Theresa! I relate to the idea of Theresa as an outsider - through much of my teenage and into my adult years, I felt that I didn't have a "place". I was a weird kid (hell, still am!) and it took me a long time to find a niche that fit me. Theresa doesn't quite fit in among the living either, and still sticks out like a sore thumb among the dead. When she finds the people who seem to accept her for who she is - Allison, for example - she'll grab on and have a hard time letting go. She's stubborn, which I most definitely can be too.

As far as preparing to play a vampire, a lot of that was already built into the script. We see a lot of Theresa struggling to adjust, trying new things and failing, asking questions about her new "life" and getting answers that I, myself, would have been asking right there in the text. So if there was any confusion or trouble relating on my part, I could just utilize that uncertainty in the scenes and build from there. Writer Charles Lincoln [Charles D. Lincoln interview - click here] was also a font of information - he created this universe, so if I ever wondered about something not mentioned in the text, he always had clarification for me.

 

How did you get involved with the project in the first place?

 

I sort of stumbled into it! I met Charles Lincoln (writer, producer, fellow actor, madman) through a friend of a friend in Central Park. I mentioned I was an actress during a conversation about our creative pursuits, and we exchanged numbers. Eventually he called me in to audition for the character of Aurora, and oh God, I bombed. I let my nerves get the best of me and didn't perform to the best of my ability at all. I was certain I was not getting cast, and totally agreed with that decision at the time. They coincidentally needed a reader for other auditions that day, and asked me if I could stay past my audition time. All I had to do was cry, scream for help and work physically with the actresses auditioning for the role of Mysterious Woman (which went to the captivating Pooya Mohseni), and I finally relaxed and was able to do some work. I figured I was just helping out with casting, and I felt so horrible about screwing up the audition that I wanted to make it up to the people behind the table. One thing led to another, I was asked to come back and audition again, this time for Theresa. I got to read with Sarah (she had already been cast as Allison by this point) for the first time,  in a coffee shop. After we read a few scenes together, I answered a couple of questions they (Charles and director Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here]) had for me about the character, and inevitably they told me I got it. And here we are!

 

Theresa & Allison contains quite a bit of nudity - was this at all an issue for you, and how do you handle such scenes?

 

The nudity was very much a new experience for me! I had done some semi-nude modeling before, but it definitely didn't prepare me for this. I was more than a little self-conscious at first, but the great thing about developing a close relationship with the cast and crew: if you've done it once, you've done it a thousand times. Once I ripped off that first day band-aid, from then on the attitude on set was very much "yep, seen it, no big deal." Everyone was very professional about it! As far as the scenes themselves, it's easy to forget about wanting to cover up when you're getting the blood sucked out of you, or doing said blood sucking to someone else. The film doesn't show nudity for no reason, there's always context, and as an actor the action in the scenes won over what modesty I had.

 

What can you tell us about Theresa & Allison's director Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?

 

Jeremiah is the best. He made fun of me constantly, but I'd like to think I got him back every once in a while! In all seriousness, I could not have had a better director, teacher, or collaborator for a role like this. Takes went by in rapid-fire, and he got the best out of everyone on set with efficiency. As a director he's a great mix of hard-ass and prankster. If you're doing your job, things are fun and everything flows, but if there's a cog missing he's the first to point it out and fix it. Jeremiah gets shit done.

 

What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Cold. So, so cold. We did a lot of exterior night shoots, during the winter, in the heart of Brooklyn. Foot and hand warmer pads were my saving graces. Other than that! We were very lucky to, for the majority of the scenes, have time to meet off-set before shoot days to rehearse. This meant everyone got to meet out there, in the real world, before jumping into scenes together in front of the camera; we all became very close due to this extra time together. The on-set atmosphere was extremely supportive, flexible and collaborative, and being comfortable with each other led to even more playing around, trying new things, knowing the other person/people would pick it up and run with it. It was a very unique set.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Yes! I'll be involved in the upcoming series Mr. Jack, directed by Mick Lexington. The tagline he loves to quote is "A New York story - a Greek tragedy." It's a modern spin on a work of literature you all probably know, but I don't think I'm supposed to mention by name at this time! Production on that begins in a couple of months and I'm very excited to begin working on it in earnest! You can check out the website for that at jack32.com, which will be updated to reflect changes in the production within the next month or so.

 

What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I started acting when I was 11. I fell in love, first, with musical theatre - but when I tried doing the school musicals, the itch wasn't scratched, though I kept trying. It wasn't until age 15, I got the role of Peg in a play called Blue Collar Blues that something just clicked. I had never felt anything "true" during my time performing in musicals, but in Blue Collar Blues, I broke down and cried for the first time, fully immersed after rehearsing a scene. I had never felt anything like that before - it was world-changing. Haven't looked back since. And yes, I went to Muhlenberg College for Theatre (Acting concentration). I had the opportunity to work and learn under a number of very talented professors and directors there, and many of the tools I use as an actor today got their foundation during my time at Muhlenberg.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Theresa & Allison?

 

Honestly, I had only really done a few student films here and there. My roots (as I said) are on the stage, but Theresa & Allison was my first real experience on a professional set, I adored it and it led to me focusing my attention on roles for the camera instead of the stage, at least for the time being. I would love to get back to theatre, but film is a completely different monster that I want to get better acquainted with.

 

How would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?

 

I suppose, as an actress, I need to understand the big picture, the where/why/when/how of it all, before I can even begin to work. Why does she respond that way? Is she scared? And if so, what scared her, and does she scare often? When has she been this scared in the past? Etc. I also like to use techniques that help to build up the world (past and present) around my character, how it relates to her and let that motivate me and find my way through scenes. And lastly, one of the key things I learned and ran with in college was to start with physicality, let more traits develop from there, then let the two inform each other. Theresa has closed-off posture, and a quick walk; she has a lot of walls up, and she's not quick to trust; be it trusting others, or even herself. She has a lot of doubt. And all of that manifests in the way she presents herself.

 

Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?

 

I can only dream of being anything close to whatever Tilda Swinton is. I absolutely love her. Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Sissy Spacek, and is it too cliche to say Meryl Streep? Because, Meryl Streep.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

I'm always really bad at answering this one. In no particular order and picked out of a metaphorical hat of movies I love: In Bruges, Pan's Labyrinth, A Clockwork Orange, Pontypool, The Shining.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

Shallow Hal. What a truly terrible movie.

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
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Find Arielle Hope
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find Arielle Hope here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

A website is in the works! But for now I'm under my name, Arielle Hope, on Facebook.

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I have to mention our extras/background actors! I mentioned the freezing conditions on set - our extras were champs. They came out to some questionable locations and were asked to do some insane, sometimes difficult things as actors and not once did any of them complain - and there I was on the same set, whining about the cold! Every single one of them was awesome and their dedication really helped build and populate this dark world we were trying to create. You guys are stars!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

You too, thanks so much!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

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