When Hell Freezes Over
You're making your comeback to acting with Lake of Shadows: The
Legend of Avocado Lake - so what's that one about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "comeback" it's
just a one day part, I have yet to see my sides and/or a script, and as
far as I know I'll be portraying a doctor in a nuthouse
How did you get involved with the
project in the first place? And what can you tell us about
your director Michael S. Rodriguez [Michael
S. Rodriguez interview - click here], and what has your
collaboration been like so far?
The best part of the story
is Michael just contacted via Facebook, asked if I ever did any acting
anymore, my response was simply "I certainly would if anybody was
interested in offering me a part, what's on yer' mind, doll face?" I
have yet to meet Michael and I'm afraid I know little of him other than
our brief exchange on FB a few days ago.
your time away from the movies, you've made quite a name of yourself as a
painter - so what can you tell us about Dawn Wildsmith, the painter, and
your preferred styles and motives? And of course, artists who inspire you?
've been painting since I was 8 years old, sold my 1st painting when I was
12. In Chicago I was dubbed a "Magic Surrealist", as I utilize a
lot of symbolism from many different cultures - in layman's terms, one might
say that I am a Gothic artist, and as I tell everyone the inspiration is
really in my hands, I don't necessarily 'think' about what I'm doing, my
hands do the thinking for me. My favorite artists are Dali, Escher,
Geiger, Maxfield Parrish - it would take me another 55 years to even aspire
to being as masterful as they were/are. I only draw now and digitally
enhance the drawings - as I haven't actually had a place to paint since
Let's return to
your movies for a bit - how did you fall into acting back when, and what
can you tell us about your training as an actress?
had any formal training as an artist, or in acting, until after I started
acting. I hitchhiked back to LA when I was 17 and met a bunch of writers,
who started writing parts for me. I had some small roles, a car
commercial, a non-smoking commercial, which is utterly hysterical since
I've now been smoking for 43 years, hahah. I was in a ballet company for 7
years - which is comparable to being in boot camp for 7 years. I attribute all
my survival skills to this, as well as to progressing into modeling and
then acting, there is a tremendous amount of acting involved in ballet, I
began when I was 7.
Over the years, you've
made quite a few movies with cult director Fred Olen Ray, with whom I
believe you were also personally linked - so do talk about these movies
for a bit, and what was it like working with Fred? And how did you two
first meet even?
I met Fred thru' a writer, Michael Sonye, who had been commissioned to
write Prison Ship a.k.a. Star Slammer for Fred, he took me to a party to meet Fred and told
him that he had specifically written the part of the prison's head trustee
for me, and that he should give me a shot. Michael's then girlfriend, Jill
Conner, was the wardrobe mistress, we hit it off straight away and she did
wardrobe for almost all Fred's films at that time, she became my friend
and champion, even executing my designs for party dresses, etc as I was so
tiny, nothing ever fit me.
Fred & I made a great working team, we married briefly and went on
to form Savage Cinema
Productions together. We were divorced in 1990.
You're also starring in the genre fave Surf
Nazis Must Die - so do talk about this one for a bit, and your
experiences on set?
Nazis Must Die was fun, very low budget, shot fast, a little drama
on the set. I think Troma destroyed it in the editing room after they
purchased the finished product, and I actually take offense when people
think that Troma
'made' the film - they did not, the original was better and
I actually have some of that original footage on my now very antiquated acting
What made you quit acting for more than 20
My last film was in '89 since then I have
been a bricklayer, plasterer, soft demolition, etc. I had my own remodel
company in AZ for four years. I met my second husband, a Chicago ganster,
and had my daughter in '91 which was not even remotely fashionable at the
time - I was just 5 years too early, it pretty much finished my career.
How would you describe yourself as an
actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
an actor, everyone dips into their own life experience as a foundation and
then you build your character on that foundation - tho' it definitely helps to
have a decent script, haha, a rare commodity in the "B"
Your favourite movies?
My favorite film is Lawrence of Arabia, and I love all the new
Marvel Comics films.
300 & Ben-Hur are also favorite films of mine, and
nothing would've made me happier than to have seen Zack Snyder or Roland
Emmerich direct the latest rendition of Ben-Hur - what a
spectacular history that film has, I'm excited to see it as well as Suicide
Squad, looks like a sugar rush!
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to
I have over 300 pieces of artwork available, most of which can be
viewed on my Facebook page, also a few pieces on Fine Art America. I will be
posting about twenty new drawings, many of which are Angel
symbols and other magic configurations, encased in my traditional Gothic
Thanks for the interview!
All paintings courtesy of Dawn Wildsmith.