Your new movie The
Headmistress - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
I would say that The Headmistress
is about a woman discoveringóand
eventually being swallowed whole byóthe evil of her ancestors, and the
unsuspecting group of people who fall victim to its wrath. Mara
is a stressed out woman to begin with, and the minute she enters this
house she inherited, she gets a sense of doom at the pit of her stomach
that drives all of her actions until the final scene.
What did you draw
upon to bring your character to life, and how much Katherine Bellantone can we
find in Mara?
I mapped out the stages of an anxiety attack and used it as a character arc
for Maraís journey. Like
most people, I have had experiences of intense anxiety and even hit a
point in my mid 20s where I was having full blown panic attacks, seemingly
out of nowhere. Thankfully those days are well behind me; but Iíll never
forget the feelings they elicited. Being
trapped in a house with so much lingering negative energy and evil
reminded me of the claustrophobia-like dread of a panic attack, so I used
that as inspiration! Also,
the nunnery we were filming in provided TONS of things to draw uponÖ the
wallpaper in the room I slept in was a character in itself!
How did you get involved with the project
in the first place, and what drew you to it?
is probably my favorite genre of movie to watch, so when I saw the casting
notice on Backstage for the film, applying was a no-brainer! I auditioned
for the role of Ani as well.
To what extent can you identify with The
Headmistress's approach to horror, and is horror a genre at all
dear to you?
am a lover of all things horror! A couple of my favorite films are
Midsommar and The
Babadook, but Iíd say one of my favorite things to do
in bingeing horror shorts on YouTube. The
Other Side of The Box is probably the most terrifying thing Iíve seen
in my life.
I love The Headmistressís approach to starting with wide shots and then
gradually getting closer and closer to the actors as the film progresses,
and even how
they made the filmís title character a simple tall, shadowy figureóas opposed
to something too monster-y or creature-y with 6 thousand teeth,
etcóbecause for me thatís ten times more terrifyingÖ it just seems
more real, and reminded me of figures Iíve hallucinated during sleep
What can you tell us about The
Headmistress's directors Christopher A. Micklos and Jay Sapiro [Christopher
A. Micklos and Jay Sapiro interview - click here],
and what was your collaboration like?
and Jay were awesome! They knew it was my first feature film and gave me some great guidance while
leaving room for me to make my own discoveries. Theyíre
also a couple jokesters, and kept things light in between takes, etc.
which helped all of us relax.
A few words about
the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
cast that I worked with was freaking amazingÖ each actor absolutely
killed their role. And to boot, they were so positive and kind to be around. Iím
lucky that I got to work with a group of truly great people.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
the end of the month, Iíll be traveling to Maine to shoot a leading role
in a feature comedy called Canoe Dig It? Itís
a mockumentary about competitive freestyle canoeing. Also
I have a supporting role in a TV miniseries The Clowns which will be
released sometime in the fall. Itís a horror series with very dark comedy.
Both of these roles are worlds away from Mara!
What got you into acting
in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the
first acting experience was in 3rd grade, playing a munchkin in a high
school production of The Wizard of
Oz, and Iíve been hooked ever since. I
majored in Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and
spent several years doing a variety of theatre projects in Chicago before
I stumbled upon film and fell in love.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to The Headmistress?
was my first feature film! I
had a late start to on-camera work. My first film was a horror short I
filmed when I was 27, and spent the next three years doing shorts and small
film projects until The Headmistress. One of my favorite experiences
filming a short was in Boulder Colorado called They See You, which
you can view on the Alter
channel in YouTube: https://youtu.be/-FHylulaG88
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
would say one of my strengths is versatility. I change my techniques based
on the character and style of the film Iím shooting. Sometimes I take a
very physical approach to finding a character, sometimes I rely heavily on
my own imagination, and other times I draw from personal experiences. And
I always draw from the other actors I work with.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
Pugh, Nicolas Cage, Melissa McCarthy, all of the actors from Trailer Park
Boys, Cate Blanchett.
The Babadook, The Wonder, Titane, A Woman Under The Influence.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Any of the Marvel/superhero movies. Also
not a fan of action movies. You
can only blow up so many cars before I start to lose patience.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your website, social media, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying
to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
has been lovely. Thank
you for the questions, and I hope you have a lovely summer! J
for the interview!