Your movie Wolf House
- in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your
character in it?
is the classic camping trip gone awry. Some folks shoot
something in the woods and decide it’s a fabulous idea to take it home
to eventually take to the media.
The creature is still alive and through the course of the film we learn
that the beast is only one of its guises and it loves being the cat in
this cat and mouse game. My character tries to keep the group together
and eventually tries to reason with the monster.
How did you get involved with the project in the first place?
Ken Cosentino, the director, had this idea since he was a kid, a monster
movie with wolves. He invited me on the project.
Since you're also one of the writers of Wolf
House, have you written your character with yourself in mind, and
how much Elizabeth Houlihan can we find in Donna?
Ken is very kind to say that I helped write this with him. We have very
different styles. I like Victorian fiction and the occult and he likes
comic books and Carlos Castaneda. We both like the supernatural however
and we sat down to hash out the rough plot points. Dialogue however was
more challenging. I wanted more humor, but he thought it would start to
seem “scripted”. It was definitely his baby though.
How much of me is in Donna? I’m pretty tough but would I go down to
the basement and let a ghost creature who’s exhibited less than
friendly tendencies sniff my hand ...uhhhhh.
were your inspirations when writing Wolf
Native American legends and werewolf films.
Do talk about your collaboration with
your co-writer and director Ken Cosentino, both during writing and on set?
And how did you two first meet even?
We met in 2012 on set of a short film Matt Lord wrote and was directing.
Unfortunately the film will never see the light of day due to some audio
issues. But it served its purpose since we’re getting married in
October of this year.
It’s difficult sometimes having a romantic relationship while
conducting the business of filmmaking. We butt heads creatively, but we
both highly respect one another and each other’s work. But I cannot
wait for the day when I can direct him.
House is shot found footage-style - did that in any way influence
Found footage is a much more difficult
genre to perform in than I thought. It’s challenging to act as if
you’re not acting. To tell a story fluently and realistically. People in
movies don’t talk that way, that’s part of why we watch them and get
caught up in them. We had to write and act out a story in a way that was
natural and interesting.
What can you tell us about the shoot
as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Indie film sets can have incredible atmospheres when working with a team
of people who just want to make a movie. We all worked hard, long hours,
for free. Ken especially while building the animatronic head. We were
exhausted to the point of being goofy. We camped in a cabin without
heat, in the rain, in October but we loved it!
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
We have plans to continue expanding
our “Shrewniverse” created in Attack of the Killer Shrews!. Ken
and I are writing a book together titled something along the lines of 50 Stories to Scare Your Pants
Off. I have two scripts I’m working
on at the moment, an action-comedy and a mystery. My immediate goals
include finishing those and submitting them to festivals... but...
What got you into acting in the
first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
was always ‘dramatic’. That kid who’d always get in trouble for
rolling their eyes. Our school had put on plays but I was too shy to
actually audition for one. Several years later I was working in an office
being ridiculous and a co-worker asked point blank “What are you doing
here? You don’t belong here.” I left that job and a few years after I
graduated with my BA in Theater.
can you tell us about your filmwork besides Wolf
I’ve been lucky enough to have a great mix
of opportunities when it comes to film work. I’ve been in a faith-based
film (Through a Mother’s Eyes), a comedy (Attack of the Killer Shrews!), and
I’ve also been in a few of Ken’s music videos. I really hope I
continue to get the chance to create ‘characters’ from the dorky to
Besides movies, you've also done your
fair share of stagework - so what can you tell us about that aspect of
your career, and how does performing in front of a live audience compare
to acting for the camera?
I feel I was made for film!
Whatever that means. I was always told I was too quiet on stage, I
wasn’t big enough for the back row, so you can imagine I prefer being on
camera with a mic in my face. I like being able to do take after take and
let that energy build. On stage I’d have that moment and then it was
gone, I’d make a note maybe of what I could’ve done better but that
would have to wait until tomorrow night’s show to play out. I was way
too much in my own head on stage, no so on film. I also have the
luxury of, oh hell I forgot my line, let’s do it again.
How would you describe
yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
I would describe myself as someone
who’s humble, not a diva. I’ll kick ass, I’ll get dirty, and I’ll
perform the heck out of something. Only creature comfort I need is some
hot tea. During Through a Mother’s Eyes, it was such a sad film
and I was often overcome with that sadness in what I guess you’d call
“Method Acting”, that I was so tired. After that film, I was
approached with opportunities for more sad, weary characters and had to
turn them down. Thankfully Attack of the Killer Shrews!
came along and I had a blast (I think of
myself as more of a comedian). The best advice I was given was “If you
feel stupid doing it, you’re doing it right.” And I apply that to all
genres. Also listen to your scene partner. I can't be too excited about
my dialogue, or "I'm going to say this line like that, and it'll be
so cool." I have to listen so my reactions and subtext will all be
there. I do think actors have to be some of the smartest, well-read people
Actresses (and indeed actors) who
Kurt Russel, Meryl Streep and fine, Daniel Day Lewis. I say it like that
because I avoided his work for so long, because he scared me. I sat down
for Gangs of New York and felt like, you really can only act in
something every 5 years Daniel Day Lewis, because I can only watch one of your films
every five years, you’re so intense (hope you’re not reading this).
Your favourite movies?
I’d consider these
movies that, if they just happened to be on, I couldn’t walk away... I
love The Thing, Misery, Crimson Tide, but hell I also
couldn’t turn off Turner and Hooch if it was on. I have pretty
eclectic taste. I wish Hollywood would just leave these ‘older’ movies
alone, Big Trouble in Little China and Overboard do NOT need
to be remade. Knock it off.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Remakes and found
footage hahaha. There’s so much trash out there. But I truly deplore
films with way too much sex, nudity, drugs. To me that just indicates that
you’re a bad writer. Sure these things are a part of life these days but
if you need to fill the gaps in your crap script with this stuff, it’s
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Facebook, whatever else?
Actor Elizabeth Houlihan on
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
You killed it
with these questions! Whew, a marathon you had me running. But if I think
of anything ...
Thank you so much!