First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
Hey guys! This is Eliza Swenson. I'm an actor among other things… I
love writing music, late nights, Doctor
Who, French movies and still
haven't figured out Tevo.
First up, I'd like to talk about
a few of your upcoming projects: What can you tell us about The Witches
Witches of Oz was special to work on. It is a
fantastic story with characters that you cheer for and we were lucky to
be able to get the amazingly perfect actors that we did. Christopher
Lloyd, Billy Boyd, Lance Henricksen, Sean Astin, Mia Sara, Ethan Embry,
and Jeffrey Combs just to name a few. Since I am the producer as well as
one of the actors in the show, I have seen the movie and I will say that
this is one to watch for. I play Billie Westbrook, a New York literary
agent that shows Dorothy the ropes of the big city. It was great to see
the story come to life with some of the best actors in the industry.
Could you talk about Legend of the Red Reaper
for a bit?
I got involved in
Legend of the Red Reaper
Tara Cardinal [Tara Cardinal
interview - click here], the lead actress and also the producer, knew my work and
called me up. We hit it off immediately. She was great to work with and
there was a lot of chemistry between us. I play her magical sorceress
mother; a very sad character full of regret. It was a wonderful team of
people full of passion for the project. I didn't get to do any cool stunts
like Tara, but I got this fun scar on my face.
What about Drop Dead Gorgeous?
Drop Dead Gorgeous I play an aggressive model who will do anything to be
the next big thing. I have to admit that when I auditioned I was in
the casting room surrounded by models and I thought, what am I doing here?
But you know, you always just do the scene, try to get some laughs and
talent conquers all (hopefully).
last released film was Chrome Angels I believe. A few words about
Chrome Angels… ya, it is technically released,
but I think only in Thailand for now. We'll see about here, I don't have
any info on that. Fond memories. We filmed in Louisiana in a hot, muggy
summer. It did wonders for my hair! The coolest thing about the experience
were all of the guns and I learned to ride motorcycles! When the stunt
guys took me to learn, we went to an abandoned mall parking lot. I was
like, "Ok, I'm ready to do it on my own." So he told me to go 40
feet or so, but instead I rode all the way around, I thought he was going
to have a heart-attack. It was awesome!
Eliza Swenson, Leigh Scott
Chrome Angels and The Witches of Oz
were both directed by Leigh Scott, who has actually directed quite a few
of your past films. What can you tell us about the man?
Leigh and I are creative partners so, as you can imagine, it is intense.
We both are so critical of our work but it always helps to have someone
there with an opinion that you trust and respect. Leigh is smart,
talented, intense, and creative. I get an idea in my head, and I work at
it for as long as it takes to get it off the ground. With Leigh, he's
always working on thousands of problems all at once. I love his directing
style and his imagination.
talk about a few of the films you did with Leigh Scott individually: What
can you tell us about Frankenstein Reborn, which I think was also
your debut feature?
Frankenstein was my first film with
distribution. Leigh really wanted me for the part of Elizabeth, but he was
worried that I wouldn't be comfortable with the material because he could
see my religious upbringing. So, I chatted with him a bit and I think I
did a pretty good job of convincing him otherwise. I am quite fearless.
Maybe it is a redhead thing.
A few words about King of the
Wow. This movie is always playing on TV. It
is funny how you never know where things are going to end up. I was
filming Satanic when Leigh was shooting King of the Lost World and he
asked me if I would come by for a couple of days for this little scene.
Little did I know that I was going to be eaten by an 80 ft. gorilla. One
of the reviewers wrote a story about what happened to Gloria, my
character. Well, actually, he wrote more of a poem about what happened to
me. He just couldn't face up to the reality; that was one nasty gorilla.
What about Dracula's Curse?
of my favorite projects. I love vampires and action so I was excited to
play Gracie. She kicks a lot of ass! I just can't wait to do the sequel.
One of the fun things about being an actor is getting to learn new skills.
For this movie, it was swordfighting. And once again, me with machine
9/11 Commission Report actually sounds like a bit of a breakaway
from the classic horror themes you had done with Leigh Scott so far. A few
words about that one?
Ya, it was much different. It was actually more like performing in a
play. We would work the scenes over and over as actors and then, because
it was documentary style, we would fly through the shooting. Much
different than an action film.
Dragon is a film you have
even written together with Leigh Scott. What can you tell us about that
movie and your experiences as a writer?
Writing has always
been intriguing, but just like film scoring, it is way more work than
should be legal. You are never finished. Rewrites every day of filming. It
is rewarding; creating your own world.
And then there's
of course Transmorphers. A few words about that one?
Transmorphers… well, you know, a military four star general, robots
running the world, all in a day's work. It got so much hype because of the
title, but it was really a marketing thing from the production company.
The movie has nothing to do with Transformers. What's in a name?
Leigh Scott's earlier films were produced by The Asylum, a company
that is for some reason ridiculed by many. Your thoughts on The Asylum?
don't have anything bad to say about those guys. They make movies, they
make money, and they give people a start. Nothing wrong with that. There
was always a love/hate thing going on with the internet trolls and The Asylum. It was a great group of people to work with and I learned a lot.
away from Leigh Scott and The Asylum, what can you tell us about Pineapple,
in which you play a rather provocative role as I understand?
was intense. Drugs, sex, and Rock'n'Roll. All of the extras in the strip
joint were real strippers so they showed me the ways. We were filming in
Austin Texas; beautiful city. All of the actors were local except for me,
so I was a bit of a fish out of water, but that's where I pull out the
charm! Playing the character taught me how to just go with it; not think
too hard. The opposite of my neurotic writing self.
few words about the wonderfully titled Candy Stripers?
You like the title? I liked the outfits. All the sexy nurses running around
and I played the nerdy nurse. I've got some funny little scenes. There is a
whole movie in there for crazy Sally the nerdy, sadistic nurse. Too bad I get
turned into an alien.
speaking of wonderful titles: Pocahauntus sounds even better - what
can you tell us about that one?
Oh, this one was just a bit of fun with some friends. The perfect drinking
movie. I play a lesbian; of course. Always seem to be playing lesbians. I wish
there was a movie about the behind the scenes. I had two death threats. Guess
you had to have been there.
future projects you just have to mention?
Not sure what the
future holds, but I would love to do a period piece. That is a secret
dream of mine. And making Witches of Oz into a TV series wouldn't hurt
How did you
get into acting and into the movie business in the first place, and did
you have any formal training as an actress?
I've been acting and singing since childhood.
After I went to college, first thing that I did was move to Hollywood. And
my adventure began. My family thought that I had gone insane. Actually,
they still think I'm insane, but in a good way.
help but noticing that most of your films are of the horror variety. Is
horror a genre especially dear to you?
Horror as an actor
is fantastic; it is so intense. It is the perfect genre to start with
because it trains you to go with your instances. I wouldn't say that I'm
the biggest fan of slasher films, but suspense, ghosts, monsters, fantasy,
superheros, aliens… the list goes on. Anything with an imagination.
Women in horror
are almost automatically labelled scream queens. Does this label at all
It is a fantastic label. There is a lot of
screaming and we are royalty; it is only fitting.
People might not know that you are also a
musician, having written quite a few movie scores and fronting the Goth
band The Divine Madness. What can you tell us about that aspect of
Music is my life. It is hard to explain where
it comes from or what it is. You just write and write into the air and it
finds you. I trained since I was seven and four years of classical
training and the answer still eludes me. I think that is why it is so
intoxicating; the mystery. The band is beautiful; I write music that I
want to write. Not worrying about commercializing it. If people like it
great; it is just a bonus.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your website, MySpace, Facebook, whatever
Well, if you want to say hello, you can find me on Facebook
and MySpace. I don't always answer but I try to. I have met some awesome
fans through the Internet; feedback is always nice.
Actresses (or indeed actors) who have inspired
Actresses mostly. There is only one actor that does it
for me; Nicholas Cage. He is quirky and cool. Of actresses, my
favorites would be the classics like Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and
of current Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet and Samantha
Morton. I like risktakers.
Your favourite films?
There are so many. Moulin Rouge, Kick Ass, The
Libertine, Stardust, Beauty
and the Beast (1946), Breakfast at Tiffany's, Pan's
Labyrinth, Indiana Jones, Witches of Oz (of course)…
the list goes on.
... and of
course, some movies you have really deplored?
Departed is the only one that really comes to mind. You know, I
usually don't see films I think I'm going to hate; violence without a
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
My favorite color: Black
Favorite soda: Diet Coke
Favorite drink: Scotch
Favorite place: Recording Studio
for the interview!