Your upcoming movie Bethany - in a few words what is it
about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
Bethany is about a
young woman, Claire, who inherits her childhood home from her late mother
and has to come to terms with the pain, violence, and trauma of her past.
I play Claire in the film. She’s a wounded woman who is trying to
piece her life back together. In the course of the film, she has to
confront her past (in a rather scary and gruesome way) and in the process
she regains her strength and wholeness.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of
Stefanie Estes can we find in Claire?
Claire is dealing with
some very intense darkness, the likes of which I have been lucky enough
to avoid in my own life. However, as an actor, it was really
fascinating to explore the pain of the character. You have the script to
give you a baseline for the creation of the character, but then as an
actor you have to use your imagination to create backstory that
emotionally feeds the story you are telling in the film.
How did you get
involved with the project in the first place?
sent in a taped audition and the producers asked me to come in to read.
I came in to the production office and read for James [James
Cullen Bressack interview - click here], the director, and
then he called me a few hours later and said I had the part.
extent could you identify with Bethany's horror theme?
is great because its equal parts haunted house story and psychological
thriller. I love scary movies that involve the psyches of the
protagonists where you start to wonder how much of the terror the
character is creating themselves.
Bethany reminds me a bit of Repulsion or The Babadook in that
way. The minds of the characters and the supernatural scares are
intertwined in a very cool way.
can you tell us about your director James Cullen Bressack [James
Cullen Bressack interview - click here], and what was your
James was wonderful to
work with. He had a very clear vision of what he wanted to
accomplish with this movie – every page in his script was completely
marked up with notes and color coded. James had very specific
ideas for my character, so we did a lot of pre-shooting work together
that was very helpful come shooting time. He really helped me
create a very visceral backstory for my character.
What can you tell us about the shoot
as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shoot was very fast – we shot the entire film in 2 weeks. The crew
was amazing and so focused on the job at hand. Everyone had such a
great attitude and there was a real sense of everyone working together as
a team. And even though it was a fast and intense shoot, there was a
great sense of camaraderie on set.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
just wrapped another horror feature called Altar – it’s found
footage film, which should be pretty awesome. You can check out the
trailer on the Facebook page:
I also just finished up a short film that I was working on with my dear
friend Elizabeth Abrams – its called Underneath and it's about a
woman struggling to make a change in her life while coming to terms with
the death of her mom – it’s a piece that is really close to my heart,
so I am very excited about it.
What got you into acting in the
first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I think I was a little surrounded by it as I was growing up.
My uncle, Richard Estes, is an opera singer and my aunt, Brooke
Alexander, is an actress.
I got to watch my uncle on stage and my aunt on As The World
remember my mom would mute the TV till my aunt’s scenes came on because
she thought the content was inappropriate for someone my age.
So I would make up the dialogue for the other characters on the
show. I had a
whole different world of story lines going!
So, I think it's safe to say I caught the acting bug pretty early
I was pretty shy as a kid.
I told my mom I wanted to quit the first acting class she enrolled
me in because it was so overwhelming.
But I gained much more confidence and performed in plays all
throughout middle school and high school.
I decided I wanted to pursue it, and moved to New York and got my
B.F.A from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
you still remember your first time in front of a movie or TV camera, and
what was that experience like?
I remember the first time I
was on camera during a film class at NYU.
I had kind of an obsession with eating carrots at the time, and I
had eaten so many that my hands had developed an orange tint.
It’s a real thing, I swear!
Look it up: carotenemia.
The person running the camera was like ‘what’s wrong with your
had to have a sort of intervention about my carrot eating.
Its super weird, but that’s the thing I most remember about my
first time acting in front of the camera.
What can you tell us
about your filmwork prior to Bethany?
been working pretty consistently in indie films since I graduated from
can check out the romantic comedy When Harry Tries to Marry on
Netflix or Amazon. It’s
a super cute romantic comedy with a little Bollywood flavor. You can also
see the zombie apocalypse film Disaster LA on the SyFy channel or
Actresses (and indeed actors)
who inspire you?
Rowlands is one of my icons. I've been thinking about her because I
just watched Minnie and Moscowitz. She's a stunning performer. Her
performance is A Woman Under The Influence is so fearless. I
love how she and John Cassavetes collaborated together and made the films
they wanted to make. She's really inspiring.
Your favourite movies?
very hard for me to choose favorites.
It’s a problem I have.
I will stick with the horror theme going on here and pick my
favorite horror films: Rosemary’s Baby, The
Shining, A Nightmare on Elm
Street, It Follows.
and of course, films you really deplore?
really not a big fan of blockbuster superhero movies…but that seems like
that’s all that is getting made now unfortunately.
Facebook, whatever else?