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An Interview with Juliet Reeves, Star of Girl in Woods

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2016

Films starring Juliet Reeves on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Girl in Woods - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

It is about a woman who has been through a lot of emotional turmoil and is just really at a place where she getting her life together with the help of her fiancť. She gets lost in the woods and is forced to confront the demons in her past and needless to say, she unravels, mentally.

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Juliet Reeves can we actually find in Grace?

 

For me the most difficult parts to bring to life were the unpleasant memories from her childhood. As anyone does, I have had some traumatic things to deal with and it was a scary place to revisit but to really be emotionally invested in this character I had to be brave enough to delve into my own issues. I think I connected very much to this character on the level of having so much to deal with from her past. However, I did often think: I am much stronger than Grace. She seemed to get lost both physically and mentally, much quicker than I would let myself.

 

Grace goes through a bunch of quite traumatic experiences in Girl in Woods - so how straining was that for you as an actress?

 

Emotionally, this project was incredibly draining. By the end of filming I felt like I was going a bit crazy myself. It is not easy to live through these type of intense emotions but also to stay in them through several takes and hours of shooting can be maddening some days and some days it is freeing and therapeutic.

 

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

 

I actually had not done much acting in about 4 years before Girl in Woods because I had become a mom and was focusing on that. I had recently relocated near Memphis and just figured I was finished making films. I was doing small commercials and a few fun little projects because I love acting and will never quit. I opened my email one morning and there was a very brief email from a director out of Memphis saying heíd heard I was an actress in the area and wanted to see if I would come in and read for the role. Initially I was skeptical because I had been contacted before this way and it often did not lead to legitimate productions. Going to the audition was vastly on a whim and because I missed auditioning. A lot of actors hate auditioning but I have always enjoyed the process. Once I saw just the scenes I was given to audition for Girl in Woods I just felt like it was a good fit. I did not have to stretch to find my footing in the role. I walked right into it.

 

What can you tell us about Girl in Woods'  director Jeremy Benson, and what was your collaboration like?

 

Jeremy is an incredible storyteller. What struck me right away about him is that he has an exact picture in his head of the whole story down to the details and that he writes actual characters who have unique traits and are already so dimensional in script form. I had no idea exactly how rough the shoot was going to be not just emotionally but physically. I was certainly warned but until I was out in the elements shooting I really didnít grasp it. I was so tired most days and edgy due to the characters emotional state. There were a lot of times I was sure Jeremy thought I was the worst person in the world to deal with and Iím sure I was being awful but it was an intense shoot. I feel bad about that. Jeremy was very patient with me and I really think highly of him for that.

 

With Girl in Woods being filmed mostly outdoors in what looks like harsh conditions, how did that affect your performance, and do you consider yourself at all an outdoorsy kind of woman?

 

Trying to get into an intense emotional space on this set was sometimes like trying to juggle and walk. I learned a lot! Climbing up the side of a mountain while sobbing for hours on end is so difficult because you also have to make sure you hit your marks and remember your lines. So many things going on at once and being so erratic at the same time I would miss so many beats and nuances. It was hard but I loved it too! I like a challenge. I thought I was gonna die more than once. Almost got bit by a rattlesnake, thought I could drown, fall off a cliff. What an adventure! I was not that outdoorsy prior to the shoot but now I love it. Hiking, kayaking, exploring. I definitely brought that from the shoot. I fell in love with the mountains.

 

What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Such a small crew! Maybe a dozen people total for the initial shoot in the mountains. We were like a little family. Like a very strange little summer camp. I miss it! We stayed at this great cabin far up in the Smoky Mountains and did not have internet or a phone signal so very isolated from reality. On set, due to the size of the cast, mostly just me most days, it was a tight nit group. A lot of days were so hard but the crew was so helpful and supportive.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

My husband, actor Jeremy London, who plays my fiancť Jim in the movie, and I run an acting school together called London Arts and teach in New Orleans and Biloxi, MS and we just shot a great short film, a comedy called Monsters Anonymous starring most of our students and Brian C. OíHalloran who was in Mallrats with Jeremy and is known best for Kevin Smithís Clerks. I have a small cameo role in it but was a blast doing a comedy for a change.

 

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

 

I auditioned for a zombie film 10 years ago that was being shot locally in Orlando where I lived at the time. Just for fun because I had a friend going and it was an open call. I booked it! Yikes. I had no idea what I was doing but it was a blast. After the shoot I decided I wanted to pursue this but needed training because I was dreadful! Ha! I trained at Art Sake in Winter Park, FL and also took classes in LA once I moved there.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Girl in Woods?

 

Lots of short films, festival films, tons of commercials and a couple of horror/thriller features that went straight to the Blockbuster (remember those places?) video shelves. So not exactly the best quality but was all a learning process and I am fortunate to have had it. Since Girl in Woods I have been on an HBO series Dallas Buyers Club and a few other small roles in big movies. I have also had another baby so not yet back into the swing of things but ready to get going again.

 

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

 

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It is so important as an actor to learn what youíre marketing and I have learned I book the gritty roles. I never thought I would be playing strippers with drug problems, emotionally deranged women, etc. but it's far from who I am and maybe thatís why. I have fun playing these characters. Itís freeing to step outside of yourself. I draw from that little dark place we often brush under the rug.

 

Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?

 

Naomi Watts! Favorite! Saw Mulholland Drive when I was in acting school and thought, I wanna do that! That looks fun! I met her at the SAG Awards and she was lovely too. She is certainly my role model. I also love Jack Nicholson. He is so fierce and bold in every role.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

The Shining, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and Juno.

 

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

 

Not a chick flick person. Too sappy. Canít handle it.

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

I am on Twitter @MRSJulietLondon and our acting school website is www.LondonArtsActingStudio.com for info on classes.

 

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

 

I think we got it all!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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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
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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