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An Interview with Jennifer Lynn Warren, Star of Ayla

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2015

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Your upcoming movie Ayla - in a few words, what will it be about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


Ayla is a story about loss and obsession. Itís about what happens when our minds are so taken over by an idea that it manifests itself. From my characters POV however, itís about what itís like to date a guy whoís obsessed with another woman but still being stuck in love.


How do you prepare for your role, and what will you draw upon to bring her to life?


I first try to find myself in every role. I explore my own life experiences that correlate to the characters. Then I take anything I may not be familiar with and explore what I would do if I were in their situation, and I take it from there. Horror for me is about social commentary. Why are we going to be disturbed by this film, what does that say about us the audience, and how can I create this character to help tell that story.


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


Elias [Elias interview - click here] reached out to me on Facebook, and I found that to be so bold a move that I was intrigued enough to read the script and meet for coffee. I fell in love with the character, and so here I am.


To what extent could you identify with the film's horror theme?


I miss my grandmother everyday. Now thatís sheís gone, I feel more drawn to her than ever, and itís almost eerie how much she comes to mind. I find myself talking to her.


What can you tell us about your collaboration with your director Elias [Elias interview - click here] so far?


Iíd like to believe weíve developed a friendship along with our business collaboration. Heís truly one of the few good guys.


From what I know, the film's still in its fundraising stages as we speak - are you in any way involved in the fundraising efforts, and any idea what the schedule is yet?


I hear we are shooting in the fall in Seattle. I just shot a short called Alastair Tembylton directed by Sam Horton there, and I am really excited to go back to that city. Itís an amazing place to film, and the local crew we worked with was amazing.

As far as fundraising, I donít have any experience in that area, but I am doing what I can to help!


Any future projects beyond Ayla you'd like to share?


I really wish I could! I have another great project that I am shooting, but Iíve signed NDAís. Youíll just have to stalk my IMDb to find out when the production makes the announcement.


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


I have my B.A. in Theater, and continue to train in classes. Actors should always be in class.  


Genre fans would probably tar and feather me if I didn't ask you to talk about your involvement in American Horror Story for a bit - so please do!


It was the most fun Iíve think Iíve ever had. To be in New Orleans where the LaLauries lived and to actually see and touch the history is gold for an actor. I could walk up to any New Orleans native and they would have their own stories to tell about what happened in that house and the ghosts they believe still haunt it today. There is so much superstition surrounding the house, some people insist on crossing the street rather than walk next to it.


Any other past film or TV work of yours you'd like to talk about?


Horror fans will remember me from Creature. An interesting story with that film is that we shot my scene in an actual swamp in Baton Rouge, LA that contained actual alligators. I was naive back then and assumed I would be going to a sound stage. Youíd think I'd know better and ask more questions but it was such a thrilling experience, I would do it again.


You're also a trained dancer and fight director - so do talk about these aspects of your career for a bit, and how do they influence your acting and vice versa?


I train in Egyptian Belly Dance. Iíve always wanted to incorporate those movements into creating an ethereal monster. Itís also my creative outlet in between bookings.

Iíve also always loved sword fighting. I worked for a summer with the Houston Shakespeare Festival just because they let me fight twice a day. 


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


It depends on the role and the actors I am working with. I always prepare the way a method actor does. I am a fan of doing as much relevant research as possible. I prepare all the subtext and beats and break my scenes down. But when I get on set, I am prepared to let all of that go. The director or other actors can take the scene somewhere totally unexpected and you need to be able to react authentically and be in the moment. But I will argure you really canít do that unless youíve done all the preperation on your own beforehand.


Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?


Iíve been a fan of Richard Armitage ever since he did North and South and I thought to myself, if I'm ever in a position to bring him on to an American film I will do it in a heartbeat. Well, he beat me to it and I am thrilled for him. 


Your favourite movies?


Titus is my all time favorite. North and South is right behind it. Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield are some of my favorites too.


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


I love true horror films, but I canít do slasher films.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


Twitter: @jenniferlynnwar



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


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Yes! This is going to be an amazing film, and Elias [Elias interview - click here] and The October People have put together some amazing Kickstarter incentives, including the opportunity to have an Executive Producer credit, which is generous and almost unheard of. Check it out here:


Thanks for the interview!




© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD