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An Interview with Maura Stephens, Actress

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2017

Films starring Maura Stephens on (re)Search my Trash


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First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who don't already know you?


Catherine Maura Aidan at your service. Iím a dorky Canadian feral beast who likes to play pretend. I grew up on Elm St Ė sans Freddy Krueger Ė where I was homeschooled with my four creative and hilarious sisters. I was one of those kids who wanted to be a detective who is also an actor who is also a rockstar who is also a clown at the circus. I was a shy kid but really relished the various forms of storytelling my sisters and I would partake in Ė those were the moments where I felt freedom from my shyness. That love for storytelling never waned.


Any current/future projects you'd like to share?


Most recently Iíve been in two horror shorts from Andrew J.D. Robinson [Andrew J.D. Robinson interview - click here] called Placebo and A Walk Home Alone, and have a new one with him on the horizon which is a really awesome, creepy concept where I play a 911 dispatcher to Erin Kiniryís distressed caller. I recently saw her in Mitchell Slanís award winning short Balloon and sheís a gem. I think people are going to really dig Dispatch.


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


There was always character playing in my house when I was growing up. My love for all of that eventually lead to me pursuing acting and itís not too different from what I grew up doingÖ except now thereís usually a lot of mint flavoured stage blood involved and HD cameras. I did take a handful of classes in my early twenties, before that I was improvising different intense scenarios in front of the mirror. I remember in 1997 seeing Baz Luhrmannís Romeo & Juliet and being obsessed with Claire Danes and was inspired by her emotional range. I would sit alone in a room and practice making myself cry on command. Feels so silly admitting that.


with Andrew J.D. Robinson on the set of Beauty Sleep

Can you still remember your first time in front of a movie camera, and what was that experience like?


Two of my sisters, Celia and Sarah, and I made a few films when we were younger. I think the first one was when I was 10 and I played this woman who was abused as a child by her parents. She grows up, marries a fella, has a baby, and ends up killing them both and then herself. Spoiler alert! It was mostly improvised, too. Clearly a delightful romp for the whole family! We were usually really goofy, so that was a dark neighbourhood we went into with that one. We were strange kidsÖ and now weíre strange adults. I wouldnít have it any other way.


Past movies and career highlights so far?


Thatís a good question. Having the guts to go to my first ever audition at 20. When I mastered the surreal and emotional backwards beginning scene of Beauty Sleep. Having Beauty Sleep premiere at the Toronto Independent Film Festival, then later in the year having it show in Ottawa and having two of my sisters and my dad there. My first time acting in a film by my long time chum Michael Horrigan (2015ís Posthumous). Giggly bathroom SFX makeup sessions with my sister-in-law Ashley Robinson. Directing my favourite director Andrew (J.D. Robinson) when he acted in my 15 second short Ottoline. There are too many special memories to name.


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


How would I describe myselfÖ a little weirdo? Haha. This is a great question. I donít know how I would describe myself as an actress, but I would love to be Ruth Gordon when I grow up, haha. It all depends on the character with what kind of techniques and prep I feel will help. My work with 15 Second Horror Film Challenge is mainly diving into the shoot with pure instinct. With lengthier work, before the shoot date Iíll usually come up with my rough sketching out of who the character is, which can involve listening to certain music, or journaling as them to get into their head a bit moreÖ whacky actor stuff like that.


Over the years, you've starred in quite a few movies by director Andrew J.D. Robinson [Andrew J.D. Robinson interview - click here] - so what are your collaborations usually like, and how did the two of you meet in the first place?


We met online many moons ago from having mutual connections in the film scene. He wrote to me about a potential project knowing that Iím an actor, and that lead to us chatting until ungodly hours in the morning about everything from the serious to the absurd. In my head I would think, Ďheís the madman to my madwomaní. You always hope to find someone you can be batshit with one moment and then completely speak from the heart with the next. Heís my partner in crime. Working together is this lovely, focused thing where we often need few words between us because weíre really on the same wavelength. Itís groovy.


Going through your filmography, one can't help but notice that many of your movies are of the horror variety - coincidence, or is horror a favourite genre of yours, and why (not)?


Iíve always dug horror. I was that kid who idolized Lydia Deetz and watched Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari on a weekend afternoon while eating pancakes with my sisters. A lot of my fondest film memories involve bonding over fearful giggles. I was a semi-closeted morbid kid and was always drawn to the darker concepts Ė the bubonic plague, ghosts, whatever scary stories my sisters and I could get our hands on. That strange conflict of being both hideously intrigued and yet wanting to recoil is intoxicating.


Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?


There are so many, but Ruth Gordon, Tilda Swinton, Conrad Veidt, and Jack Lemmon come to mind. What they bring to their performances is so rich and their own. I always feel particularly inspired after watching their work.


Your favourite movies?


My all time favourite film is Harold and Maude directed by Hal Ashby. No piece of art breaks my heart and puts it back together like that film does. I remember my mom introducing it to me in the days of yore. Seeing the character of Harold, I felt like whoever wrote it got people like me. He is fixated on death, but he falls in love with this 79-year-old woman who is completely eccentric and full of life and teaches him how to live. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon give beautiful performances in it, the script is brilliant, and the entire soundtrack is Cat Stevens. Magic. Watch it if you havenít yet.


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


I donít know if there is any film I deplore, but I suppose anything that reduces a human being into an object without it being satire or a specific kind of commentary. I tend to roll my eyes when Iím watching a film and suddenly the camera is panning down a female characterís body like a peeping tom and itís not even necessary for the scene.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

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Your shop for all things Thai

Iím around the Facebook parts at, and Instagram at


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


I could use this to plug something Iím sure, but what immediately comes to mind is that I would like to send love and light to whoever is currently reading this. Yeah. Thatís a good olí fashioned hippie note to leave it on.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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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