Your new movie Tennessee
Gothic - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell
us about your character?
for chatting with me! Tennessee
is a dark comedy about a couple of
simple-minded country-folk, Caleb and Paw, who graciously invite a
seemingly endangered young woman, Sylvia, to take shelter on their farm.
After a series of bizarre and ridiculous events, it appears the young
woman is not who she seemsÖ I play the character of Sylvia, a
flirtatious and cunning young woman who is much more dangerous than what
meets the eye.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and honestly, how much
Jackie Kelly can we find in Sylvia?
will honestly find very little Jackie Kelly in the character of Sylvia. Of
all the roles Iíve played over the years, Sylvia is the one I have the
least in common with. She is very seductive and charming to the opposite
sex, which are two qualities I donít really possess in real life. Iím
a horrible flirt and often feel painfully awkward in contrast to the
vivacious confidence that Sylvia exudes. But thatís what made the role
so much fun for me. It was a challenge and it gave me the opportunity to
step outside of my comfort zone. I studied a lot of films at the
recommendation of director Jeff Wedding to get into character. A handful
of titles include Risky Business, The Fourth Man, and Bad
femme fatale flicks was a huge part of the character development process.
How did you
get involved with the project in the first place?
worked with Jeff Wedding and producer Katie Groshong on a film directed by
our cinematographer Eric Stanze [Eric
Stanze interview - click here] titled In Memory Of prior to being cast
Gothic. We all clicked on set, even though their time with us
on that film was brief. When Jeff pitched Tennessee
Gothic to me, I was
100% down to participate. He and Katie are such great people to be around
on set, so it was impossible for me to turn down the opportunity.
what extent can you identify with Tennessee
Gothic's particular brand of "Southern horror"?
up in the suburbs of Chicago, I canít say I identify with the southern
horror we created in Tennessee
Gothic a whole lot. The characters in this
film are honestly so foreign to me in real life and their antics are
unlike any that Iíve ever actually experienced. But I am absolutely a
fan of Southern Gothic fiction and I appreciate the darkness of the genre.
In my teenage years, I spent a lot of time devouring the gothic fiction of
authors like Flannery OíConnor and William Faulkner.
Iím intrigued by themes like religion and violence being intertwined
with quaint, country life. Fun fact: I used to have a pet rat, Flannery,
named after the late author.
talk about your director Jeff Wedding, and what was your collaboration
Wedding is one of my favorite directors to work with! He spends so much
time with his actors, helping them understand the characters and their
motivations. Working with Jeff is a truly collaborative effort, and he
never makes you feel like a mere puppet in his play. Heís so passionate
about his art and itís a joy to watch him make it come to life. Heís a
true indie auteur, and I hope to work with him again in the future.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
had so much fun making this flick. The film was shot over the course of
about a month. Most of the cast and crew lived together during the
duration of the shoot, sleeping on air mattresses in a vacant church we
had access to near our main location. Everyone involved in the project
shared the same amount of passion that I have for storytelling, and I
think it really shows in the final product. There were a lot of giggles
between takes and the comradery of the team was exceptional. I couldnít
have asked for a better cast to work with. Those folks are hilarious.
Any future projects you'd like to
star in an arthouse horror film called The Man in Room 6 by director
Trevor Juenger [Trevor Juenger
interview - click here] and producer Carrie Juenger, which wraps principle
photography very soon. The film also stars Bill Oberst jr [Bill
Oberst jr interview - click here] and Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here]. In addition to this, I am currently in pre-production with Eric
Stanze [Eric Stanze interview -
click here] on another feature film.
From what I've read, you've started acting at a
rather early age - so what made you want to become an actress, what can
you tell us about your early days, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
started doing live theater when I was twelve years old. I actually wanted
to be on Broadway back then. Being on stage was something I really
enjoyed, but filmmaking became the ultimate goal once I reached high
school. I fell in love with horror cinema, and went to school to get a
degree in screenwriting. While in college, my stage acting dwindled, but I
started to get in front of
the camera on some indie productions. It wasnít ever my intention to get
so involved in the acting side of filmmaking, but Iím really glad it
Before doing movies, you did
your fair share of theatre - so how does performing on stage compare to
acting in front of a camera?
totally different animals, both difficult in their own ways. In the
theater, you have to be really sharp. You canít mess up and you canít
rewrite dialogue to work better for you as a performer. The cues are the
cues, no questions asked. But you also have a lot more leeway to be big
and animated. That is not the case as much with film acting. You canít
hide from the camera, and subtlety is really important. I much prefer
acting for movies, as filmmaking is the most rewarding and collaborative
art form that Iíve ever participated in.
What can you tell us about
your filmwork prior to Tennessee
first film role was in a short called The Dress. Thatís when the acting
bug really bit me and I became more serious about pursuing the craft.
Following that, I starred in my first feature film In Memory Of, which I
also co-wrote. Iíve kept pretty busy over the past few years, acting in
a number of features and shorts.
How would you describe yourself as an
actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
have no formal training as an actress, and therefore feel like Iím kind
of just winging it a lot of the time. I donít really bring any
ďtechniquesĒ to the table, just a passion for transforming into
different characters and making myself vulnerable. I will say, I am much
more comfortable with delivering emotions with my eyes and expressions
than I am with delivering dialogue. I really like to portray dark and
emotional characters. I find acting to be very cathartic and it has helped
me to deal with my own demons quite a bit.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
of my favorite actors are Sissy Spacek, Chloe Sevigny, Mia Farrow, and
Paul Reubens, to name a few. Oddly enough, I am also super inspired by the
entire cast of Trailer Park
Boys. The performances in that show are so
underrated and brilliant.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Gummo, Nekromantik, The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, Dead Ringers and ReAnimator are
the titles that immediately come to mind. I have a penchant for horror and
darker subject matter.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I really dislike superhero movies. Except for The Toxic
Avenger. I love
the monster hero.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
am on Facebook and my Instagram is @actressjackiekelly. You can keep up
with my film work on IMDb here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6475126/
for the interview!