Your new movie Rabid Love - in a few words, what is it about?
And what can you tell us about your character in it?
Rabid Love is our love letter to the
horror films of the late seventies and early eighties. It is set in 1984 and
follows a group of college-aged friends who go on a hunting trip together
where they themselves become the hunted. I play Heather Ross, a young woman
who has just graduated college along with her high school sweetheart John, but
is considering leaving behind her small town life to pursue bigger and better
You're credited with writing the story for Rabid Love
as well - so what were your initial inspirations? And what can you tell us about
the writing process as such, and your collaboration with your screenwriter
(and husband) Paul J. Porter [Paul J.
Porter interview - click here]?
original inspiration was all Paulís. He had the idea for Rabid Love
in, I donít know for sure but maybe, 2009. Paul wrote the first draft on
his own and then I came in and helped hash out the story as we got closer
to shooting. It became easier to write when we knew exactly where we were
shooting and who our actors were. A lot of the dialogue and character
development was written specifically for the actors that we had.
Speaking of Paul
[Paul J. Porter interview - click
here] - what was your on-set collaboration like?
Paul was completely in
charge of directing on set. I headed up the special effects department and
help with getting a lot of the wardrobe together. I also acted as Paulís
personal acting coach for when he was on camera, because even though he
plays John he had had very little acting experience before we shot.
What convinced you to also picking up producing duties on Rabid Love?
Iíd say that came about mostly because of proximity. Unlike any other
employee or partner, Paul has me at his disposal 24 hours a day so heís
been putting me to work on his projects from the beginning. With Rabid Love
though, I really started to step up more as an equal producer. We
collaborated from the beginning and made a lot of the major creative
What did you draw upon
to bring your character to life? And have you written her with yourself in mind?
was always going to be me so we definitely had my own quirks and
personality in mind during the writing, but her experience within her
heroís journey are what really shaped who she was. I think the first
time that it clicked in my mind who she was, is when we came to the point
in writing where we established what Heather wanted versus what she
needed. Your hero may or may not get what he or she wants, but they will
always get what they need. Spoilers: Heather wanted to make the people she
loved happy, what she needed was to find her own happiness independently
from the ones she loved.
Do talk about the rest of your cast
for a bit, and as a producer, how much influence did you have on the
casting started back when we wrote and shot the short film version of Rabid Love. We started with myself and Brandon Stacy on the cast although
we originally had Brandon playing the role of John. Then we took
Brandonís advice to bring in Josh Hammond for the role of Adam, and for
the short we just needed the one other role of Summer. Initially we held
auditions but werenít happy with who we were finding. So we turned to
Brandon again for help (we were new to Los Angeles and didnít know as
many actors as we do now). Brandon suggested both Hannah Landburg and
Jessica Sonneborn to us. We ended up going with Hannah just because she
had brown hair and we didnít want her to look too much like
ďHeatherĒ. Then we ended up bringing Jessica on in the feature to play
the role of Julie, which was originally written for another actress who we
knew but wasnít available.
For the smaller roles, we wanted to cast in Kansas or the near by
Colorado. We got a couple interns from the Colorado film school one of
which was also an actress, Natalie Turner, so most days she PAíed for us
and then had a couple shoot days playing one of the sexy hippies. It was
the same case with Meagan Hensly who came in from Kansas City. Similarly Chris Bylsma was our day-to-day sound mixer except for when he played
the part of Ben. Brian Reese, our Sheriff and 1st
AD, hooked us up with all of the Kansas City talent.
What can you
tell us about the actual shoot, and the on-set atmosphere?
was like movie-making summer camp! We were all living together in a tiny
town of which we made up a tenth of the population. We would shoot all
day, wrap, drink, sleep, and get up the next day and do it all over again.
talk about critical and audience reception of your movie so far!
response has been incredible. Weíve gotten so many great reviews from
horror bloggers with really great things to say about the film. Itís
like they ďgetĒ what we were trying to do, and as a filmmaker you
couldnít ask for more. I also love the great comments that I get from
people on Twitter. Donít think that if you tweet something to me, it
will just disappear off into the internet world. No, I read them all and
they really brighten my day when someone posts how much they enjoyed our
movie. Iím @HaylzBellz by the way.
can you tell us about your previous collaborations with your husband Paul [Paul
J. Porter interview - click here], and how did you first hook up?
and I have been working together pretty much from the beginning of our
careers. We met at a wrap party for a History Channel project I worked on.
I was very green to acting professionally and Paul was getting his
undergraduate degree in film from UNM. I asked him out on a date and our
mutual collaboration in film and in life began. (Wow! That was cheesy!) We
did a lot of short films while Paul was still in school including some
48hour film competitions. And Rabid Love
was our first feature. We refer
to it as our first child. I hope we end up with a very big family!
Any future projects you'd like to share?
just been in Kansas doing some scouting and rounding up interest for our
next feature, which we hope to shoot out there. We have a few scripts on
hand as options, including my first screenplay that is still in re-writes.
Itís a horror as well. If we donít make it this time around, Iím
sure it will make its way to the big screen eventually.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any
formal training on the subject?
been acting since I was a little girl, and Iíve wanted to become
a professional actress since I realized that that would be the only way
that I could be a secret agent, archaeologist, rocket scientist, and Miss
America. Or at least the easiest way. I studied acting all through grade
school and college, and Iíve been taking some classes out here as well.
I like to branch out from the norm and learn things that arenít just
acting because I think as actors we need to be able to portray real people
and just need to learn as much as we possibly can. Iím taking swimming
classes right now. I never learned as a kid, so maybe Iíll play a role
in the future where Iíll be a swimmer. Who knows? Youíve just got to
be ready for anything.
What made you pick up
writing and producing eventually?
just a natural progression for a lot of actors. You can only sit around
waiting for other people to hire you for so long before you decide that
youíve got to start making your own projects so that you can hire
yourself. Plus being married to a producer makes it a lot easier.
What can you tell us
about your filmwork prior to Rabid Love?
Iíve worked a lot.
There are a couple dozen credits on IMDb. There are a few movies, that can
be rented or downloaded. In horror, thereís 100 Ghost Street: The Return of Richard
Speck and Zombie Night. Those were both
Asylum films along with 500 MPH Storm. I also do a lot of
comedy. I play a funny role in the movie Frank which stars Michael
Fassbender, Domnhall Gleeson, and Maggie Gylenhall. It was at Sundance
this year and is going to make its way around some movie theaters next
month. Other than a few TV co-stars, most of the stuff Iíve done is
super indie and doesnít have distribution.
How would you describe yourself as an actress, and what do
you draw upon to bring your characters to life?
am constantly growing as an actress. When I started, I thought I was only
a dramatic actress good for crying and doing emotional scenes. A few years
ago, I got thrown into comedy and loved it. Iím very adventurous when it
comes to stunts, so Iíd really like to do something heavily action
driven. Who knows where all this crazy business will lead me.
(or indeed actors)
who inspire you?
tend to be inspired more by specific performances than by an actor's entire
career. Iíve always loved Kim Basinger in Batman and recently I
rewatched Election with Reese Witherspoon and really loved her
performance in that. I also really like Olivia Wild in Tron Legacy. Iíve
always been told that I looked like Julia Roberts so that made me like her
a lot of course. I know that these are all random, and Iím sure Iím
leaving out tons of actors. Anyway, I just find inspiration all over the
Your favourite movies?
love movies with very strong character development. My favorite is Love
Actually. The way you meet every character in very short scenes at the
opening and you leave each scene knowing exactly how you feel about each
and every character. Thatís some pretty talented filmmaking.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I dare not answer
this question. As an actor it is very dangerous to ever say that you
donít like something. You never know who you could be working with
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
and follow me on Twitter: @HaylzBellz
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
or not that I can think of right now anyway. Thank you for the interview,
Michael, and thanks for supporting our film by helping to get the word
out. Everybody, order or download Rabid Love
today and review us on sites
like Amazon and Netflix! You would be doing a very good deed by helping
out some highly passionate independent filmmakers :o)
for the interview!