Your new movie Within
the Darkness - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
To me, Within
is a fun genre film
that does a great job of using strong characters to demonstrate how our
minds dictate our reality. I loved Megan from the beginning because
she's interesting and multi-layered.
What did you draw
upon to bring your character to life, and how much Shanna Forrestall can
we find in Megan?
I'm from New Orleans and
we're very open to the supernatural and to things being more than they
seem. I know so many people of various beliefs that have strong connections to the supernatural -
I definitey used some of them
for my inspiration. I love how Megan is empathetic in certain
situations and very good at reading people. I think we're alike in that
way - now what she does with that info... we may differ on usage. And Megan has style.
I don't normally wear that much makeup, but that outfit
Given your character's a medium,
how do you prepare for such a role even, and do you at all consider
yourself a spiritual person, personally?
I walked away from organized religion a long time
ago, because I believe that it is typically misused to control and
manipulate people, but I would definitely consider myself a spiritual
person and I believe there are various dimensions out there that we do not fully
understand. My truths are simple: 1. God is love.
2. Love is everything. 3. We need more love.
How did you get
involved with the project in the first place? And to what extent could you
identify with the film's horror theme?
The film's director
Jonathan [Jonathan Zuck
interview - click here] was gracious enough to accept a video
audition and I was so happy to be chosen for the project. It was
such a fun role and I made lifelong friends and memories that I hold
precious. I have a few fun horror pieces under my belt right now - I was
in The Last Exorcism, Rites of Spring, Charlie Charlie and
I also starred
in John Schneider's Smothered.
What can you tell
us about Within
the Darkness's director Jonathan Zuck [Jonathan
Zuck interview - click here], and what was your
Jonathan was a dream to work with. He is a
great leader - we called him "coach" - and a great support
for his cast and crew. He is gentle and allows us freedom to explore
while staying at the helm to make sure we stay on course.
A few words about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere?
This was seriously one of
the most fun shoots of my career. By living together and working
together we formed friendships that span across the US and continue to live on.
This ensemble team was perfectly cast
and found some real moments working together that fused us for life. I am so proud of my teammates -
Erin Nicole Cline (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1599810/),
John Bailey (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0047329/),
David Coyne (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1145107/) and
Tonya Jay (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1800223/) -
they are great people and talented actors and we really
formed a special bond working on this project together.
There were some
seriously silly moments as we got tired and a little delirious further
into the shoot. Some "strange" things happened that were
not in the film. Hee hee.
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
I have a few things
coming out soon - one of them is my most
recent short film project that I wrote, produced and starred in, it will
make its world premiere at the Louisiana International Film Festival this
May. it was a labor of love and took one of the most heart-wrenching
seasons of my life and turned it into a little film I am proud to have
"birthed". It affects audiences deeply and that makes me
happy. It's called Breathe
and it's about grief. It also has a strong secondary
message, but I don't want to tell you what it is or it will spoil the fun.
What got you into acting in the first
place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
You know I kind of fell into the film industry when
it hit Louisiana years ago. I dabbled in high school and college, but really
focused on proper training when I became serious about film and TV work professionally
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Within
I've had about 10 years of working pretty
consistently on everything from small indie films to big TV and film
budget projects, and it's been serious hard work and fun. I'm very
grateful for the opportunities I've had and the amazing people I've gotten
some time with - people like Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson and
How would you describe yourself as
an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
I believe in authenticity and I have studied hard to work on being in the moment and really believing the story
I am telling.
I love finding similarities between myself and the characters.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
Cate Blanchett is someone I absolutely adore.
I love the way she can be so brittle and so beautiful at the same
time. Also Nicole Kidman. There is something so raw about her
performances that I adore.
Ummm, that's a hard one - right now I spend most of my
free time binging on cable - shows like Big Little Lies, Handmaiden's
Tale, Queen Sugar and some others are really inspiring
because I love seeing female producers and talent get pushed forward with
stories about "real" women.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Honestly, I'm a scaredy
cat and if I watch horror, I typically watch it thru my fingers (because I'm covering my face)...!
When you have lived through some difficult
scary times I think scary movies are not quite as fun. That being
said, I use that fear regulary in my work and have no problem tapping
into terror or pain when it's needed. I think it's helped me to book
a lot of roles. for some reason people like to kill me. I've
died on film in many ways.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
love to connect with everyone out there. My Facebook and Instagram are
probably best: www.facebook.com/shannafromlouisiana
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Garza scored the
film and since then we have become great friends. He is an amazingly
talented composer and I've been able to hire him on a few projects. Music is so important, especially for these types of films, and
people take the time to notice his work. (He also scored my film Breathe
for the interview!