With your new movie
The Haunting of Alice
D being a ghost story, is that a genre at all dear to you, and
some of your genre favourites?
I do enjoy thrillers and
horror movies, it's a genre I got into when I began acting. My
favorites are The Shining,
The 6th Sense, The Orphanage. I love
suspense and I love thought provoking stories.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing The
Haunting of Alice D, and what made you pick exactly this subject -
a ghost in a former whorehouse - for what I believe to be your directorial
I didn't know this would be my directorial debut
when I wrote the screenplay... it just happened this way. I like to
write stories that make you think and that are fun to watch and act in.
I like complex and troubled characters, so I created this twisted
What can you tell us about your movie's approach
to horror (as in suspense vs sudden shock, atmosphere vs all-out gore and
It's more about the build-up and suspense in
this one. We have a lot of things going on that you might not notice
in the first view, things moving... Alice hiding, etc. While there is some
gore, it's defiantly more about the scares and suspense.
Many (me included) also read a feminist
message into The
Haunting of Alice D - at all intended, and care to elaborate?
ha. Yes, well I've read some people think I was trying to hide a feminist
message in there. I'm not hiding anything. I don't think your
sex or sexual identity should limit you from doing anything. I never
limit myself, and to those who feel threatened by what they perceive as a
feminist message, I think they probably feel threatened for a reason.
Haunting of Alice D, characters of both sexes can be perceived as "good
and bad", and the character I play is a prostitute who engages in
sexual situations and nudity on screen. So I was actually quite
surprised when I saw some of the comments about a hidden feminist message.
I honestly was just trying to create interesting and complicated
characters, like a lead girl who is both sweet and innocent, and yet has
decided to sell herself for sex for one night.
would you describe your overall directorial approach to your story at
hand? And how would you describe yourself as a director in the first
I'm very laid back on set and I love working with
talented artists who are putting forth their awesome performances and
creations to culminate in our film. For The
Haunting of Alice D, I knew what I wanted and
I felt like hiring actors and crew members that would be able to
facilitate that vision was obviously the best approach for me as a
director. I cast and crewed the crap out of this movie, meaning I
worked very hard in pre-production putting together the most incredible
team I could, so that filming would be smooth. From our amazing
cinematographer Eric Latek, composer,Carlos Vivas, producers who had my
back Chris Maltauro, Kristina Page and Josh Hammond, and with the rest of
our tiny, but extremely kick-ass talented crew... I was able to let
everyone do their job, overseeing this awesome creation coming to life,
and work with our talented group of actors.
You also appear
in front of the camera in The
Haunting of Alice D - so do talk about your character, and what
did you draw upon to bring her to life? And have you at all written
Natasha with yourself in mind?
Al Snow, Kane Hodder, Barry Ratcliffe
I honestly wasn't sure who I
would play, I just wanted to make sure we had the best actors in their
spots and then I would fill in whatever role was left. I prefer playing
dark and troubled characters, so Natasha was a great fit for me. She
is kind of leading the main character (Jenny, played by the terrific
Megan Hensley) into the situation... So it was fitting J
Natasha. I don't think she is a bad person, just someone who has
gone down a dark path. She feels empathy for the Jenny character,
even though she's "been around the block" and is quite hardened
herself. I think there is a part of Jenny's innocence that she sees, that
reminds her of her old self... and maybe as an actress who has been doing
this for over ten years, I could relate just a little bit J
What can you tell us
about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
I mentioned before, we spent a lot of time in pre production. I had
worked with most of the actors before, actually everyone besides Kane
Hodder and Juan Riedinger, who were both beyond fantastic. I
couldn't be more happy with our cast. Everyone nailed their
characters and everyone got along so well. It was a lot of fun.
of course also have to talk about your wonderful location for a bit, was
this all one house, done in a studio, a composite? And what was it like
We shot 98% of the movie on location at a
gigantic and amazing mansion in Rhode Island called The Beach Mansion.
That place is so gorgeous and was its own character in the movie.
It's beautiful, it's foreboding and it was perfect for us! We also
housed most of our cast and crew there during filming.
What can you tell us about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
This was one of the
smoothest and most fun shoots I've ever been on. Cast and crew got
along so well. Most of us stayed in the 9000 sq ft mansion during
filming, so there was a lot of fun during and after filming.
Anything you can tell
us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
love it, people don't love it... Ha ha. If you want to be an artist,
you have to be okay with criticism and praise. I've had a lot of
supportive comments and observations and some not so... It's all good.
I'm just so grateful to be able to do what I do.
on the experience on The
Haunting of Alice D, could you ever be tempted to return to the
director's chair - and (other) future projects you'd like to share?
Working on writing two right now, another horror and a drama. I'm
not sure which will come first.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I've been a ham my whole life.
I started acting in horror movies and taking classes, while living
in Boston, and while I was looking for a hobby. At that point I was
just out of school and feeling quite unfulfilled with my life... It went
Can you still remember your
first time in front of a camera, and what was that experience like?
was so nervous! Ha ha. My first on camera work was for a short that
was in a 78hr film festival... And yes, I remember it quite well. The
acting bug bit pretty hard on that shoot.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
Haunting of Alice D?
I've written and produced two features, a thriller, Lure (renamed
A Lure: Teen Fight Club by distro company), and a comedy, Money Shot
(also renamed by distro and released by Kevin Smith Movie Club)
I've acted in a lot of great projects like the cult classic Bloody
Bloody Bible Camp and most recently Dog Eat Dog with Nicholas Cage and
Wild Boar, directed by Oscar winning SFX artist Barney Burman in his
directorial debut. Also starred in The House Across the Street
that came out last year, alongside Alex Rocco, Ethan Embry, Eric Roberts
and Courtney Gains.
How would you describe yourself as an
actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
I said before, I love complicated and dark characters... I like playing
people that are quite opposite to me. I always research the
character I'm playing and their motivations. Other than that, I try and
know my lines while also leaving them so that they come out fresh. Hard
to explain, but I don't like being so prepared that my actions and
reactions aren't natural.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
I'm inspired by so
many people. Actors and actresses that take risks, and make
The Shining, The 6th Sense, Dances with
Wolves, The Last of the Mohicans, Glory, The Patriot (can you tell
I want to act in an epic period piece? J), movies that make you think!
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I'm not super into action movies with lots of machines fighting...
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
@alicedmovie and @jesssonneborn
for the interview!
Thank you so much!