How did you get into acting and what inspired you?
I was acting as a child just by myself or with friends. I would act out scenes that I would see in films. I also did local plays in my town and participated in Speech Team in high school, which is a group that does scenes and monologues and things of that nature and competes with other schools. I really can’t say that any one thing inspired me since I was interested in acting from such a young age. I just think that it was always in me, always a part of me.
Was horror a genre you always wanted to work in and did you plan on becoming a screamqueen?
Being a Scream Queen is always something that I dreamed about since I was a child, though I didn’t call it that. I was obsessed with horror films. When there was a horror film on tv, I was watching it. When I was about nine years old, I watched “A Nightmare on Elm Street” about forty times. I acted out the scenes in the film all the time, pretending to be the lead “Nancy”. Sometimes my friend would play with me and I would make her be “Tina” because she had blond hair as the character did in the film. I would watch “Halloween” and wish I could’ve played Jamie Lee Curtis’ role and then again when Danielle Harris was in Halloween 4 and 5 as a child, I wish I could’ve done that role. I definitely felt like I had missed out when I would watch these films and I wasn’t in them. I grew up in Illinois, far away from a filmmaking town and I had no idea how I would even audition for a film. I just remember feeling a loss each time I would watch a film and see a role I wish I could’ve played, even from the age of 5 years old.
I didn’t consciously realize that I wanted to act professionally until much later, into my later teens. Once I was acting in Los Angeles, I just kind of fell into horror. I was auditioning for anything and everything and there is more horror than any other genre because it is an easy sell so I think statistically speaking I just booked a lot of it. But, because of my obsession with it when I was little, I wouldn’t doubt that me dreaming about it had something to do with how things fell into place. I believe very much in a spiritual universe where thoughts can materialize in the physical universe. So, perhaps that is the very thing that happened.
You star in the upcoming “I spit on your grave” sequel “I spit on your grave: deja vu”. Can you tell us about the film and the character you play?The film is the sequel to the original 1978 film “I Spit on Your Grave”, which starred Camille Keaton and was directed and written by Meir Zarchi. The film has become a horror cult classic and is taught in many film schools around the world and also in some Women’s Studies classes. Now, almost forty years later, Meir Zarchi returns to direct and write the sequel and Camille reprises her role as “Jennifer Hills”. I play the lead role as the daughter of Jennifer, Christy Hills, who is a grounded, intelligent, caring soul. Christy and Jennifer have a very close mother-daughter relationship that resembles that of best friends.
What was it like working with Meir Zarchi and Camille Keaton?
I love them both like family, so we definitely bonded. I loved Meir from the moment I met him at my callback audition. He is warm and kind, sincere and humble. While on set with him, I learned not only is he a beautiful soul, but he is quite brilliant. He would come up with these innovative ways to shoot things, and the script that he wrote is so well executed and meticulously relevant to the original film, which is where the title comes from “Déjà Vu”.
I was supposed to meet Camille before we started shooting but she was ill with a cold and the producers didn’t want to risk me getting sick right before we started principal photography, so I met Camille for the first time on set. The first day that we shot together was a very intense scene. During some downtime in between takes that day, I went into Camille’s trailer and I spoke with her one-on-one for the first time and we just clicked.We have been very close ever since and I consider her one of my best friends. She has a great sense of humor and is very easy to talk to. She is open and friendly and real.
(Below: Jamie on set of “I spit on your grave:Deja vu” with Meir Zarchi and Camille Keaton)
You produced, co wrote and starred in “The 6th friend”(Congratulations on winning numerous awards for this film including Best Actress, director and feature). Can you tell us about this project?
“The 6th Friend” is a horror film but it is also a psychological thriller and a drama. At first glance, it appears to just be a slasher film but it is so much more than that. The film will keep you guessing from the moment it starts as you try to piece together what occurred on the graduation night of six best friends. It jumps forward five years when the girls get together again, and, to their horror, the nightmare begins again as someone hunts them down.
What inspired you to make “The 6th friend”?
I saw the film “The Descent” and it inspired me to make a film with an all-female main cast who were strong and real, not at all of a female stereotype as we too often see in films.I wanted the girls to be relatable. As far as what else inspired me to write the original script, I will have to wait until the film comes out to talk about that so I don’t give anything away. The director, Letia Clouston, came on and had some really wonderful ideas so she came on as another writer.I think the collaboration turned out a really special story.
The trailer looks creepy as hell and we literally cannot wait to see it. The killer looks so menacing, what process did you go through to come up with the killer’s overall look?
Well, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy. Trying to come up with something that hasn’t been done before or isn’t too similar to something else, can be quite challenging. After going through a few rounds of very different drawings by our mask designer and co-producer, Jim Towns, we finally all agreed on the mask that he created. The mask appears in the beginning of the film as a cleaner version and later into the film we see the same mask rotted and antiquated. There is a lot of meaning behind the mask, as you will find out soon.
Watch the trailer for “The 6th friend” HERE
What are you working on at the moment?
I am wrapping up the post production on the second feature film that I produced, “State of Desolation”. It’s a post-apocalyptic story about two people who meet and form a kind of a father-daughter relationship. It is a drama with horror elements. There are zombies, but the focus is on the relationship between the two main characters, played by myself and actor Craig Stark (Hateful 8). Writer/Director/Producer, Jim Towns, wanted to avoid telling the same old zombie story that we are seeing over and over again.
If you could play any character in a horror film, past or present, who would it be?
“Regan”, the possessed girl in “The Exorcist”. I love really challenging acting roles that bring me to absolute extreme, whatever that extreme may be.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
I love “The Descent”! I also love the first two original “Halloween” movies, the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, and I love “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, the remake with Jessica Biel, who gives a phenomenal performance.
When will “The 6th friend” be released?
There is not a release date yet.We are making our rounds at the film festivals first. But I expect the film to be out in about six months. We were just accepted into our 4th film festival.I cannot release details on it until the festival publicly announces it, but keep an eye on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages because I always make announcements on there as soon as I am able to do so.