Your new movie Evil
Lurks - in a few words, what is it about and what can you tell us
about your character in it?
Lurks is about a woman named Kimberly who seeks out help from a
hypnotherapist as she struggles with her feelings of grief and loss.
Unbeknownst to her, the hypnotist is possessed by an evil force that
visits the earth every Blood Moon. The story follows her battle that's
carried on 15 years later as Kimberly is driven to save the life of the
daughter she was never meant to have. It's a bit of a mindbender that
will make you question everything you've watched by the end - and I
play Kimberly! Kim is a fighter. She's been through some serious shit -
multiple miscarriages, sexual assault, the death of her mother at a young
age and estrangement from her father. So when she's suddenly battling off
this evil entity, she's tough as nails.
What did you draw upon to
bring your character to life, and how much Amanda Winston can we actually
find in Kimberly?
I like to consider myself a "take no shit" kind of person, so
there's a lot of that in Kimberly. I haven't experienced the same
traumas as Kimberly, but I draw on the loss I know and how I've seen
others close to me deal with similar situations. Like Kim, I am also
skeptical of hypnotherapy :)
How did you get involved with the
project in the first place, and what drew you to it?
I was actually a last minute replacement. I think I was on set about 48
hours after my callback audition? The person they cast originally in my
role had to back out, and a friend posted the casting search for Kimberly
to Facebook. I'm a big fan of horror and suspense films, so it caught my
eye. I'm very drawn to characters that aren't typical ingenues, and Kim is
definitely not your typical ingenue.
what extent could you relate to Evil
Lurks' approach to horror, and is horror a genre at all dear to
lives more on the arthouse side of horror, thanks in large part to
Chris Shern's vision, score, and guidance of the edit. I think it's what
makes the movie memorable. It's not a big jump scare movie, definitely
more psychological/suspense. I love horror films! I feel like I'm
constantly playing catch up trying to consume all the awesome content out
there, but it's a fun arena to play in for sure.
What can you tell us about Evil
Lurks' director Aaron Hawkins, and what was your collaboration
with Aaron was pretty laid back - we had a lot of freedom as actors to
build the characters how we wanted.
A few words about the shoot as such, and the
was definitely an all hands collaborative experience. With low-budget
indie films, we're in it because we love it and helping out where we can.
So you know at one point when we needed an extra set of hands I held the
boom mic for a scene I wasn't in, for example. We took our time
filming on weekends to fit people's schedules, and everyone was very cool to
work with - very little on-set tension or anything like that.
Any future projects you'd like to
be in a classic camp slasher (but with adults!) called Tin
Roof that we're hoping will be out by the end of this year! We're
doing a handful of reshoots this summer. I play Kat, part of a group of
friends trying to save their favorite summer camp on the rocks, and it's a
bloody good time. Rob Mello (of Happy Death Day fame)
is the writer, with Rebecca Rinehart (The Embalmers, Frightvision,
Sister Krampus) directing.
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
been into acting for as long as I can remember - seriously since pre-school
when we put on a circus play and they made me the "ringmaster".
I found out later they did that because I was a bossy kid, but it set off
the performer in me and I've been doing it ever since. Growing up I
did mostly school plays and drama camps, and then got my BA in Theatre
from Butler University. Since college I moved to Chicago and have been
working in theatre, film, VO, and various other acting and collaborative
and creative efforts since. I've taken some classes at some local Chicago
studios as well including Black Box Acting, Vagabond School, and The
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Evil Lurks?
Prior to Evil Lurks I mostly did some super low-budget indies in Indiana (where
I lived up until 2011). Evil Lurks
actually kicked off a more serious
interest in me to pursue on-camera acting and I've been lucky enough to do
a handful of short films and indie features since. Prior to that I was
much more focused on stagework. A film I did back around 2007
Homecoming Massacre came out finally in 2020 and is now on
Tubi and other platforms - I won't say it's my best work but the murder
clown is pretty badass.
Besides movies you've also done quite a
bit of stage work - so how does acting for the camera compare to
performing in front of a live audience, and which do you prefer, even?
both exactly the same and super different at the same time. What's the
same is drawing from a place of truth - the camera and the audience know
when you're "acting" and not really invested in what you're
doing or saying. Character development and understanding the story are
essential regardless of the medium. What changes is the technique. There
are certain camera skills you have to be aware of with knowing your frame,
and if you're in a close-up or a wide shot, to better tailor the
"size" of your performance to the medium. It changes in theatre
too - if you're doing a black box show where the audience of 50 is 2 feet
away from you, it's a different kind of show than if you're in a
proscenium theatre for hundreds of people and you need to project to the
back of the balcony. What I prefer tends to go back and forth honestly. I
love the subtlety I can bring to film, but there is something intoxicating
and exhilarating about performing for a live audience.
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
a collaborative actor. Meaning, I like to discuss and discover motive,
story, and character and get really curious about the process with the
creative team when I can. I pull a bit from a variety of techniques across
Meisner, Viewpoints, Linklater, and others, but I don't subscribe to just
"one" way of acting - I think it's too limiting. I find I do
characters the most justice when I really spend a lot of time reading and
re-reading the script, and filling in all the "blanks" of the
character that aren't on the page - fill in their story to make them more
real to me.
Actresses (and indeed
actors) who inspire you?
rattle off a few favorites: Florence Pugh, Greta Gerwig, Kate Winslet,
Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP), Pedro Pascal. I do love Nic Cage at his most
Nic Cage-y and I just want to be besties with Keanu Reeves.
Your favourite movies?
is such a hard question, I enjoy a lot of genres. Picking a
handful off the top of my head; Midsommar, Everything Everywhere All At
Once, Violent Night, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Princess
Bride. I'm a
sucker for the original Halloween-,
13th-, and Nightmare on
and of course, films you really deplore?
unpopular opinion... I hated Bridesmaids. Beyond that, I'm really not a
fan of westerns in general. Never watched a single The Fast & the Furious
movie, but... I think I'd hate it (and I do like action!).
social media, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying
to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
husband (Jonah D. Winston) is in the film! Playing my husband in some
flashback scenes! That was pretty awesome. Also our dog Dr. Watson makes
an appearance, and honestly, he was perfect.
for the interview!