|Michelle, why don't you start us off with a
visual and describe the room or place where you
are answering these questions?
My fabulous little
apartment in L.A. with my cat Shooter purring in
my lap! My place is decorated with a lot of art
from New Mexico as well as some of my Mom's
off, congrats on all the awards that Matt
Zettell's 'The Cellar Door'
has received and especially to your Pretty Scary
One to Watch Award. Is it a little statue or a
certificate or what... and where do you keep it?
awesome tombstone statue that looks like black
marble with a little grey woven into it with
white letters. It's a sweet looking award! I keep
it on my computer desk for inspiration. 'The
Cellar Door' is a psychological horror/thriller
in which your character (Rudy) is caged by a
serial killer played by James DuMont.
attracted you to the character?
biggest attraction was the wide range of emotions
Rudy went through. Happy, fearful, terrorized,
victimized, frustrated, enraged and vengeful. I
loved the cat and mouse elements of the story and
the many ways she tried to lure Herman into
letting her out of her cage. She rocked and was a
lot of fun and challenging to play.
Was it hard to
get into the headspace of your character?
were a few challenges. I don't care to show my
vulnerabilities very much and there were several
scenes where Rudy was extremely vulnerable and
scared out of her mind. Actually being in the
cage and experiencing the tight space helped a
great deal by making the circumstances much more
What were the
best and most challenging things about filming
I don't know if
there was a best because every single day on set
was AMAZING. Every single person was a joy to
work with and it was a strong, cohesive team. I'd
get home at the end of the day thrilled at how
the day went.
challenging moment for me was when Rudy talked
about her family with Herman. She was talking
about when her Dad died; her mom's horrible
cooking was no longer funny. The night before we
shot that scene, I found out my own Father only
had roughly six months to live. Even though it
was through a character, I could barely choke out
that line, of putting Rudy's Dad's death in a
past tense as I knew mine was around the corner.
I've never mentioned that in an interview
before.... Pretty intimate detail. But that was
truly the most challenging scene for me to
separate me from her in that one moment.
And if you
could have one behind-the-scenes moment from
filming 'The Cellar Door' preserved
and put into a time capsule what would it be?
be at my apartment, believe it or not! James
DuMont (Herman) did a voice over job for a Home
Depot Commercial on the radio. It was about six
days into shooting the film where I'd been stuck
in a cage the whole time. My clock radio alarm
went off at 6am. It was James's Home Depot
Commercial; I'd never even heard it before. So I
literally woke up to hearing HIS voice! I shot
straight up in bed and couldn't figure out at
first where the hell I was - if I was on set or
at home or what was going on. It was hysterically
So if you were
going to cage someone in the movie business and
hold them there until they divulged all their
industry secrets, who would it be and what
especially would you want to know?
It might sound crazy, but Tom Hanks and Rita
Wilson. They're two people who have managed to
have extremely successful acting careers,
production companies, children, and you never
hear scandalous things about them in the press.
I'd want to know how they find balance in all of
their endeavors. I'm sure they have help, but you
can have the best help money can buy and still be
a spastic mess. They have it together on every
level and that's an inspiration to "me"
on every level.
I also want to
hear about your work as Claudia Bush in Kevin S.
'Witchboard 2', 'Witchtrap',
'Night of the Demons')
film 'Brain Dead'.
How did that role come about?
West. It's an awesome periodical for Actors to
utilize to not only learn more about the
Industry, but a way for us to submit ourselves to
projects being cast. I submitted for it,
auditioned and very luckily landed a kick ass
role with a kick ass Director!
you to Claudia?
tough, brass and bold. She doesn't hold back on
Tenney is such
a seasoned veteran, what things did you learn by
watching him in action that would be especially
helpful to all the fledgling filmmakers reading
lucky to have a lot of quality conversations with
Kevin. He's truly an amazing human. One of the
things he told me is as a Director, people will
always question and challenge your decisions. So
as a Director, it's important to be crystal clear
with your vision and have people around you who
are also crystal clear. He's a great leader and
can keep his humor and keep his cool.... even
when shooting in 120 degree weather. He's very
humble and FUN. The Director has the
responsibility of setting the tone on the set.
Kevin's set was fun and professional.
talking advice, if a young woman came up to you
and asked for advice about breaking into the
horror film business what things would you tell
her to do?
different Directors she wants to work with and
what types of horror she's interested in. Study
the types of films that are out there right now
and figure out what type of character she'd be in
them. The heroine? The nosy neighbor? The slutty
cheerleader? Understand her type and where she
fits in. Take headshots that would match those
types of characters so she and her rep can submit
her on them. Networking events like Shriekfest in
Los Angeles are a great way to meet people in
this genre. It's a relationship based business.
I also want to hear
about your work as Sarah in J.T. Seaton's new
Intervention' with Lynn Lowry,
Peter Stickles, Victoria DeMare, and Lloyd
Kaufman. What attracted you to that project?
I met him through myspace, of all places, through
a manager of mine at the time. My manager had
given me a script (different film) that J.T. had
written and I loved it. I kept in touch with J.T.
in hopes of working with him in the future. When
he had auditions for George's, he contacted me
directly to come in and read. It was an awesome
experience - again, everyone was super cool to
work with on that project.
Do you have
any other upcoming projects that you would like
all the racksandrazors.com readers to know about?
shot a Comedy where I play a vapid ditzy
ex-stripper character! Who would think it, right?
(Pathetically Cheap Adventures of Xtra-Man) It's
in Post right now.
sequel to 'The Cellar Door' that's
currently in Pre-Production. The script ROCKS and
I'm beyond excited to be shooting that this
Spring. It's nothing like the first one, more
like a continuation of what follows.
shot a fun pilot with my Business Partner and
fellow Scream Queen, Kimberly Amato called the
Mis-Adventures of McT & A. It's a very tongue
in cheek silly Web Series where we take
suggestions from our fans on facebook and shoot
them. It can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcImoZVeS6U
On the horizon
for next April is an Event we're putting together
to benefit a Battered Women's Organization. We're
in the embryonic stages of planning, but it's
something very near and dear to us and several
people we know.
vampires, werewolves, psychos, aliens, creatures,
witches, telemarketers what does it for you
horrorwise Michelle and why?
I love it all!
The purpose of films or other mediums of
entertainment is to escape for a couple hours. I
love wondering what's going to happen next or
which character\rquote s going to "get
it" next, etc. Creature features are
fascinating because of the fantastical and
mythical lore behind them.
On the other hand... Not so much.
Do you have a
horror movie dream role?
it would be really interesting to play a female
Hannibal Lector type character. And somehow mix
that with some action, blood - yet have a tiny
redemptive side to her as well. Cunning and
devious but bloodthirsty without being vampiric.
pulling into the Michelle Tomlinson Drive In.
What three horror movies are on the triple bill
this evening and what goodies are they going to
be serving up at the concession stand?
Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead', 'The Ring'
and 'Hostel'. In that order. The concession stand
would have popcorn, but instead of regular
butter, it'd be red colored butter so it would
look like blood splatter. Confectionary candy in
the shapes and colors of zombie fingers and arms.
Black stringy licorice to mimic the hair that
comes out of her mouth in The Ring. Gummy candy
that looks like a freshly cut off finger from
Hostel that would be filled with red gooey syrup
so when you bit into it, it would ooze out. The
cups would be fashioned into the shape of the
well from 'The Ring'.
What was the
first horror movie to scare the crap out of you?
on Elm Street'. It was the first horror Film I
saw- I was really young and I freaked out when I
went to bed, thinking I'd dream of Freddy and
meet my demise.
you in real life?
dumbing down of America.