Your new movie Theresa
& Allison - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
& Allison has
gotten compared to Alice in
Wonderland, and I think that's very apt; the
movie is about Theresa, a newly-made and unwilling vampire, trying to
traverse this new, twisted existence she's been thrown into. All the
while, she's trailing behind streetwise vampire Allison (played by Sarah
Schoofs [Sarah Schoofs interview
- click here]), her love interest and someone who may or may not be on Theresa's
side. Maybe Allison is her Cheshire Cat. Our "Wonderland" is the
underground world of vampires, and it is hard, it is dark, it is
unwelcome. (Have I pushed that comparison enough?) Theresa is not, at
the start of the film, some facsimile of chaste femininity or some
brooding misunderstood genius; she's just human, someone you would see
walking down the street, a person with flaws. And I think something that
& Allison does so well is to make it clear that those flaws don't
just go away after she (or a good number of the other characters, for that
matter) gets turned. The humanity that still remains in Theresa is what
drives her through this new world and dictates her actions throughout the
What did you draw upon
to bring your character to life, and how much Arielle Hope can we actually
find in Theresa? And how does one prepare for playing a vampire even?
a good amount of me in Theresa! I relate to the idea of Theresa as an
outsider - through much of my teenage and into my adult years, I felt that
I didn't have a "place". I was a weird kid (hell, still am!) and
it took me a long time to find a niche that fit me. Theresa doesn't quite
fit in among the living either, and still sticks out like a sore thumb
among the dead. When she finds the people who seem to accept her for who
she is - Allison, for example - she'll grab on and have a hard time
letting go. She's stubborn, which I most definitely can be too.
far as preparing to play a vampire, a lot of that was already built into
the script. We see a lot of Theresa struggling to adjust, trying new
things and failing, asking questions about her new "life" and
getting answers that I, myself, would have been asking right there in the
text. So if there was any confusion or trouble relating on my part, I
could just utilize that uncertainty in the scenes and build from there.
Writer Charles Lincoln [Charles
D. Lincoln interview - click here] was also a font of information - he created this
universe, so if I ever wondered about something not mentioned in the text,
he always had clarification for me.
did you get involved with the project in the first place?
sort of stumbled into it! I met Charles Lincoln (writer, producer, fellow
actor, madman) through a friend of a friend in Central Park. I mentioned I
was an actress during a conversation about our creative pursuits, and we
exchanged numbers. Eventually he called me in to audition for the
character of Aurora, and oh God, I bombed. I let my
nerves get the best of me and didn't perform to the best of my ability at
all. I was certain I was not getting cast, and totally agreed with that
decision at the time. They coincidentally needed a reader for other
auditions that day, and asked me if I could stay past my audition time.
All I had to do was cry, scream for help and work physically with the
actresses auditioning for the role of Mysterious Woman (which went to the
captivating Pooya Mohseni), and I finally relaxed and was able to do some
work. I figured I was just helping out with casting, and I felt so
horrible about screwing up the audition that I wanted to make it up to the
people behind the table. One thing led to another, I was asked to come
back and audition again, this time for Theresa. I got to read with Sarah
(she had already been cast as Allison by this point) for the first time,
in a coffee shop. After we read a few scenes together, I answered a couple
of questions they (Charles and director Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here]) had for me about the character,
and inevitably they told me I got it. And here we are!
& Allison contains quite a bit of nudity - was this at all an
issue for you, and how do you handle such scenes?
nudity was very much a new experience for me! I had done some semi-nude
modeling before, but it definitely didn't prepare me for this. I was more
than a little self-conscious at first, but the great thing about
developing a close relationship with the cast and crew: if you've done it
once, you've done it a thousand times. Once I ripped off that first day
band-aid, from then on the attitude on set was very much "yep,
seen it, no big deal." Everyone was very professional about it! As
far as the scenes themselves, it's easy to forget about wanting to cover
up when you're getting the blood sucked out of you, or doing said blood
sucking to someone else. The film doesn't show nudity for no reason,
there's always context, and as an actor the action in the scenes won over
what modesty I had.
can you tell us about Theresa
& Allison's director Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
is the best. He made fun of me constantly, but I'd like to think I got him
back every once in a while! In all seriousness, I could not have had a
better director, teacher, or collaborator for a role like this. Takes went
by in rapid-fire, and he got the best out of everyone on set with
efficiency. As a director he's a great mix of hard-ass and prankster. If
you're doing your job, things are fun and everything flows, but if there's
a cog missing he's the first to point it out and fix it. Jeremiah gets
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
So, so cold. We did a lot of exterior night shoots, during the winter, in
the heart of Brooklyn. Foot and hand warmer pads were my saving graces.
Other than that! We were very lucky to, for the majority of the scenes,
have time to meet off-set before shoot days to rehearse. This meant
everyone got to meet out there, in the real world, before jumping into
scenes together in front of the camera; we all became very close due to
this extra time together. The on-set atmosphere was extremely supportive,
flexible and collaborative, and being comfortable with each other led to
even more playing around, trying new things, knowing the other
person/people would pick it up and run with it. It was a very unique set.
future projects you'd like to share?
I'll be involved in the upcoming series Mr. Jack, directed by Mick
Lexington. The tagline he loves to quote is "A New York story - a
Greek tragedy." It's a modern spin on a work of literature you all
probably know, but I don't think I'm supposed to mention by name at this
time! Production on that begins in a couple of months and I'm very excited
to begin working on it in earnest! You can check out the website for that
at jack32.com, which will be updated to reflect changes in the production
within the next month or so.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
started acting when I was 11. I fell in love, first, with musical theatre
- but when I tried doing the school musicals, the itch wasn't scratched,
though I kept trying. It wasn't until age 15, I got the role of Peg in a
play called Blue Collar Blues that something just clicked. I
had never felt anything "true" during my time performing in
musicals, but in Blue Collar Blues, I broke down and cried for the
first time, fully immersed after rehearsing a scene. I had never felt
anything like that before - it was world-changing. Haven't looked back
since. And yes, I went to Muhlenberg College for Theatre (Acting
concentration). I had the opportunity to work and learn under a
number of very talented professors and directors there, and many of the
tools I use as an actor today got their foundation during my time at
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Theresa
I had only really done a few student films here and there. My roots (as I
said) are on the stage, but Theresa
& Allison was my
first real experience on a professional set, I adored it and it led to me
focusing my attention on roles for the camera instead of the stage, at
least for the time being. I would love to get back to theatre, but film is
a completely different monster that I want to get better acquainted with.
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
suppose, as an actress, I need to understand the big picture, the where/why/when/how of
it all, before I can even begin to work. Why does she respond that way? Is
she scared? And if so, what scared her, and does she scare often? When has
she been this scared in the past? Etc. I also like to use techniques
that help to build up the world (past and present) around my character,
how it relates to her and let that motivate me and find my way through
scenes. And lastly, one of the key things I learned and ran with in
college was to start with physicality, let more traits develop from there,
then let the two inform each other. Theresa has closed-off posture, and a
quick walk; she has a lot of walls up, and she's not quick to trust; be it
trusting others, or even herself. She has a lot of doubt. And all of that
manifests in the way she presents herself.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
can only dream of being anything close to whatever Tilda Swinton is. I
absolutely love her. Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Sissy Spacek, and is
it too cliche to say Meryl Streep? Because, Meryl Streep.
always really bad at answering this one. In no particular order and picked
out of a metaphorical hat of movies I love: In Bruges, Pan's
Clockwork Orange, Pontypool, The
and of course, films you really deplore?
Shallow Hal. What a truly terrible movie.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
website is in the works! But for now I'm under my name, Arielle Hope, on
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I have to mention our extras/background actors! I mentioned the freezing conditions on set -
our extras were champs. They came out to some questionable locations and were asked to do
some insane, sometimes difficult things as actors and not once did any of them complain - and
there I was on the same set, whining about the cold! Every single one of them was awesome and
their dedication really helped build and populate this dark world we were trying to create. You
guys are stars!
for the interview!
too, thanks so much!