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An Interview with Jennifer Rouse, Actress

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2008

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Why don't you introduce yourself in a few short phrases to all those who don't already know who you are ?

 

Well, Iím an actress and filmmaker. Iíve had roles in horror films such as Chainsaw Sally and The Death of Poe. Iíve also been involved with film producing and music scoring.

 

All chained up in

Chainsaw Sally

By and large, you are labelled as a horror-actress or even scream queen. Do you think this label is correct or does it bother you ?

 

It doesnít bother me at all! Iím actually quite flattered! The horror fans have been very supportive. I think that label came about when I did Chainsaw Sally. The scene where I scream the most is quite a memorable one!

 

Your upcoming film though, One-Eyed Horse, is a Western. What can you tell us about the film and your role in it ?

 

One-Eyed Horse

Yes, One-Eyed Horse is a western that will be out on DVD sometime in 2008. The story is about a man named Justin Gatewood (Mark Redfield), who gets out of prison and has his mind set on getting revenge on a man named William Curry (Mike Hagan) who put him there and let his brother die on the battlefield in the Civil War. I play Justin Gatewoodís daughter, Helen, who has been running the familyís freight business and wants her father back to lead a normal life with her.

 

You have two other upcoming films, Lady Gunslinger and The Tell-Tale Heart. Lady Gunslinger also happens to be a Western. What can you tell us about that film and do you think the Western genre might re-emerge via independent cinema or is it just coincidence ?

 

Westerns do seem to be making a come-back in the film industry lately. Itís a total coincidence that Iím doing these westerns recently. Both One-Eyed Horse and Lady Gunfighter were planned before this reemergence.
Lady Gunfighter is kind-of a road trip film. In the beginning of the story, my character is getting married and a gang of men crash her wedding and shoot her husband-to-be. She then sets out to find these men and kill them. She takes her husbandís brother with her on her journey. Along the way she meets a quirky cast of characters. Itís a drama but with a lot of comedic elements to it.

 

The Tell-Tale Heart on the other hand is all-out horror, an adaptation of the famous Edgar Allan Poe story. A few words about that movie ...

 

This version of The Tell-Tale Heart includes Poeís famous story, but also has a wrap around story about a killer who, just after the end of the Civil War, takes over a boarding house run by a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Clarion, who will be played by Robert Quarry and Ingrid Pitt.  The Poe story about the old man in the room takes place within the film. Mr. Clarion is an invalid and spends most of his time in bed. He psychologically torments the killer. We have a great cast that includes, in addition to Ingrid Pitt and Robert Quarry, Mark Redfield, Debbie Rochon, and Kevin G. Shinnick. Iíll be playing ďThe ClarionsĒ daughter-in-law, who lost her husband in the war and is living at the boarding house.

 


The Tell-Tale Heart is not your first Poe-related film though. One of your most recent releases is The Death of Poe ...

 

Yes, The Death of Poe is the story about what may have happened to Edgar Allan Poe in the final week of his life. No one really knows for sure what the cause of his death was, but based on theory and facts the film takes you from Edgar setting out from Richmond, Virginia on his way to New York. He stops off in Baltimore and is found several days later in a gutter and taken to the hospital. The Death of Poe fills in the gaps of those few days. Itís filled with surreal imagery about what may have been going on inside Poeís mind as he dealt with addiction and depression. The DVD is great for fans of Poe because itís a 3-disc set that also includes the silent films The Avenging Conscience from 1914, The Raven from 1915, and an audio CD of Poeís stories and poems.

 

As far as I know, The Death of Poe is the first film you also wrote the complete musical score for. Can you say a few words about your music, your musical career, and your experiences with scoring films ?

 

Iíve been playing music since I was a kid and wanted to go into music as my career before I discovered acting. I had done some music for industrials before but  The Death of Poe is the first score Iíve done for a feature film. Doing a whole film score was definitely a challenge for me. Iíll be doing the score for The Tell-Tale Heart next.

 

Apart from acting and making music, you have also produced a few films. What can you tell us about that aspect of your career, and what do you enjoy most, acting, making music or producing ?

 

Yes, I have been the associate producer on The Death Of Poe and Chainsaw Sally but I definitely enjoy acting the most. Itís great to be a different person for a while. I want to learn as much as I can about filmmaking so I helped with producing those films to gain experience and knowledge.

 

I can't help but noticing that Mark Redfield is in some way involved in most of the projects you are working on. What is your connection ?

 

Iíve known Mark Redfield since I was a kid. Our parents are friends. I fell out of touch with him for a long time. So, when I started acting I gave him a call to see what he was working on and for advice. At that time, Mark had just started talking to Jimmy Burril about doing a film about Chainsaw Sally. I tagged along to a party that Jimmy and April Burril were having and Jimmy asked me if Iíd be interested in playing a role that he was thinking about for the film. Thatís pretty much how Mark and I re-connected and I came to be involved with Chainsaw Sally. Like many filmmakers, Mark has a group of actors and crew that he uses in a lot of his projects. Wayne Shipley was also working with Mark on The Death of Poe when he decided to make his western film, One-Eyed Horse. Wayne cast Mark, myself, and several others from The Death of Poe. I guess you go with people who are good and you like working with. There seems to be this big intertwined group of us who always work together.

 


... in Chainsaw Sally

There are a few of your past films I would like you to talk about a bit: Chainsaw Sally, one of your earliest films as far as I know, has over the years become quite a cult hit ...

 

Yes, Chainsaw Sally has gotten a lot of attention and has been well received. I think the idea of a female serial killer intrigues people. Then they get to know all of the fun, quirky characters that are in the film that we all can relate to.

 

A few words about BloodShadow ...

  

That film actually has been pushed off for a little while.

 

In Dirty Shame, in which you only had a small role, you actually worked with legendary John Waters. What can you tell us about him ?

 


Working with John Waters was great. He is very down to earth and has a great sense of humor. Although, when it comes to his work he takes it very seriously. I hope to work with him again in the future.

 

There's one film I just have to mention, the British TV-production Armed Robbery Orgasm - what a great title ... It's not as sleazy as it sounds like though, right ?

 

WellÖit is, in a way actually! I did some production work and played one of the robbery victims on that project. Itís a documentary based on a book written by Dr. John Money about a crime spree that happened in the 1980ís in Baltimore. A man named Ronald Keyes whoís former girlfriend Debbie Myers, claimed that the only way she could get turned on was to commit armed robbery. So according to Ron Keyes, Debbie talked him into going on this crime spree and then turned him in for it.  Itís a twisted, delusional tale based on Ronís diary. Debbie denied that it was her idea to commit the crimes and hadnít seen Ron since she turned him in. Ron passed away just before the film team came to the US to shoot the re-enactments but, thank God, they had already gotten some interview footage with him.

 

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You also did quite some TV-work ...

 

Yes. Iím on almost every episode of the current season of HBOís The Wire as Whitingís ( the editor-in-chief of The Baltimore Sun Newspaper) Secretary. I also had some small roles on The West Wing and The District.

 

By and large, you have done all your films in and around your hometown Baltimore. What can you tell us about the Baltimore film scene, and would you ever consider moving somewhere else for filmwork ?

 

The Baltimore-Washington DC area actually has a pretty active film and television scene. Weíve had several television shows that have been based here such as The Wire, On the Block, Homicide and The West Wing. As far as film goes many productions use the area as a substitute for cities like New York or even Amsterdam as Ridley Scott recently did with his up-coming film Body of Lies.
I do plan on moving out to the Los Angeles area relatively soon. Of course itís the best place to be if you are in the film industry.

 

Your website and/or mySpace and/or whatever ?

 

My personal website is www.jenniferrouse.com. I try to keep it updated with news and new photographs. You can find links to the various film sites on my website. I also have a mySpace page at www.myspace.com/jenniferrouse.

 

What actresses (or actors indeed) inspire you ?

 

I think there are too many to list! There are a ton of actors and actresses from the past and present that inspire me. Some of my favorites - not in any order - are Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp,  Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Katherine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, Charlie Chaplin Ö I could go on and on.

 

Your favourite movies (you are not in yourself) ?

 

I love all of Alfred Hitchcockís films. Between his directing and Bernard Hermannís musicÖwow! Itís a shame they had a falling out toward the end. They were such a great team.
Iím also a fan of Tim Burtonís movies. I love that he does gothic horror films. Not many people are doing that in mainstream Hollywood these days. He has such a great eye and the art directing for his films is amazing. I just saw Sweeney Todd in the past few weeks and loved it.
I really like what Guierrmo del Torro has done with films like The Devilís Backbone and Panís Labyrinth.
There are a ton of other films that I love.

 

Any other interests besides film you would care to talk about ?

 

Well, since I started doing western films in the past year or so Iíve acquired an interest in riding horses and shooting guns.
When Wayne Shipley first cast me in One-Eyed Horse he started having weekly training sessions that he called Cowboy Bootcamp. I hadnít ridden a horse since I was a teenager. So, it was basically starting over for me. I had to learn the commands and the personality of the horse I was going to be riding in the film. For One-Eyed Horse Iíve been riding a horse named Wesley that has been great to work with. He learns all of his marks very fast, within about 2 rehearsal takes. The only thing he had a little problem with was riding up to a bon fire in one of the scenes. But we got through it.
The gun shooting has been a new experience for me. Back in September of 2007 I joined the Single Action Shooter Society (S.A.S.S.). Theyíve been great! I had only shot blanks before joining, but the members of S.A.S.S. have been very generous with teaching me gun safety and proper shooting techniques. The trainers Iíve been working with said the best way to look like you know what youíre doing for a film is to ACTUALLY know what youíre doing. Good advice I think!

 

Future projects you haven't mentioned yet ?

 

Iím in pre-production for The Tell-Tale Heart and right after that Iíll be doing Lady Gunfighter. Iíve also been looking at a few other scripts for future projects as well.

 

Anything else I forgot to ask but you are dieing to talk about ?

 

I think that pretty much covers it. I want to thank you for taking the time to interview me. Itís been a pleasure!

 

Thanks for the interview.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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