||How did you get cast for the role of
Danielle Stevenson for 'THE DAY THEY CAME
persistence, persistence, and yes, hopefully
talent too. I auditioned for Scott and Marlene
months before I was actually cast. I prepared a
couple of monologues, tried to show both my
comedic and dramatic side. They then had me read
from the script, and I knew immediately that this
would be such a fun project. A very gritty, very
bloody, down and dirty kind of film. So, I
screamed my lungs out and tried to make those
zombies come to life. It was a great audition,
and Marlene told me later that she thought I had
the part in the bag. After months writing Scott
at least once a week, reminding him how much I
wanted to work on the film, finally preproduction
things were taken care of and official casting
could begin. Scott asked me to play Danielle, and
I was thrilled.
In the role of Danielle you display a lot of pain
due to the death of Brandon, your brother. How
did you tap into that? Can you explain?
I am an older sister in real life, I have three
younger brothers and therefore it was easy for me
to empathize with Danielle's loss. A lot of times
before we'd shoot a scene I would do some acting
warm-ups replacing Brandon's name with the name
of one my brothers and run around screaming their
name. It helped me get in the moment, although I
am sure I looked like a crazy woman.
Ive heard some great things about the guy.
What was it like working with director Scott
is a very unique person. I have NEVER worked with
anyone like him in my career. He is very open to
change. I mean we could be filming a scene and
someone would decide to take their character in a
whole new direction, change some lines, add a
little twist to the plot, and if Scott liked it,
he'd allow it. For instance, I thought Danielle
would vomit when running across the bridge right
after her brother had been killed because of the
physical and emotional trauma she'd endured.
Scott said, "let's try it" and bought
me some vegetable soup. Each day was
unpredictable and new. Scott has a great eye for
interesting camera angles and would often think
of ways to capture a scene that no one else would
have ever thought of. He is also very
self-motivated; his energy alone would carry us
through some of the really long days.
Something else I want to hear about from
the trenches. What was it like
working with budget constraints in primarily a
have to say, I was surprised. I knew it would be
low budget, but I didnt realize just how
low budget. It was hard to keep up my energy for
an 18-hour day living off of soda and
pizza. In a way the conditions were helpful
because often times everyone was very physically
drained and therefore we could use that towards
the scenes. Our characters were very physically
worn down, so in the end it all worked out for
the benefit of the film.
How long was the shoot?
was a several month process, but we'd only be on
set for a day at a time. Sometimes, there were a
couple of overnights where we'd stay at Scott's
house. And our days on the set were incredibly
long days. There was a lot of crapping in the
woods, picnic style dining, basically a very
Sounds ummm rustic. Going along with
that what was your most memorable experience from
working on 'THE DAY THEY CAME BACK'?
think my death scene had to have been the most
memorable day of shooting. It was a very
emotionally exhausting day in that it was my last
really big scene as an actress, and it was the
end of my character's life. Just the end of a lot
of things. It was a beautiful set, the water
behind us, the sun going down, the sandy beach,
and then you have the opposition of all this
beauty with a group of disgusting zombies coming
towards me, ready to end it all. Danielle,
knowing she couldn't swim, just gave up. She got
tired of running.
Were there any negatives from working on 'THE
DAY THEY CAME BACK'?
I am a very organized person. So, I had to get
use to Scott's free spirit, impulsive way of
doing things. I think it is so important as an
actor to learn that each set is different, every
director is going to have a different way of
doing things, and you just have to morph. So,
although the lack of food, long days, and
unpredictability was at times difficult, it was a
great learning experience.
And the positives?
was all positive. Even the "negatives"
I mentioned all worked to the betterment of the
film. It was an awesome location, perfect to make
our reactions truthful because we did feel really
stranded out in the woods. I had never really
done a horror, zombie film, so it was such a
crash course in that genre. It was very
therapeutic. If I had a bad week, Danielle's life
was at stake, so I could just yell a little bit
more, run a little bit faster, and get it all out
of system that day.
So did this awaken some hunger in you to be in
more zombie films?
absolutely. I'd really like to kick some zombie
ass in the next one though rather then just
running all the time.
Any future projects youd like to brag about
or plug or promote?
I recently shot a
commercial that will run on the east coast during
the Superbowl for an east coast builder. I also
have a one woman show entitled "Oblivious To
Everyone" that has been up and running
off-off Broadway since March. Always try to stay
Thats some diverse work. All the best to
you Jessica and we hope to see you in more horror
movies in the future.