From Fast Times at Ridgemont High to the Chopping Mall, and from Night of the Comet to True Blood, and many other great roles, Kelli Maroney can do it all. I became a huge fan when I first saw Night of the Comet. So many films at the time had women tripping and falling and basically being helpless and here come this blonde cheerleader who gave as good as she got! She was not a victim and there is nothing better then a bad ass female kicking ass and driving off into the sunset! I was very excited to be able to ask Kelli a few questions and being the kind and gracious actor that she is, she kindly answered them. So without further ado lets get to the questions!
I know you were headed to the National Shakespeare Company in New York but you immediately got cast in Ryan’s Hope, did you get any formal acting classes?
Yes, I had a whole season at the conservatory the summer before, plus I was an apprentice at the Guthrie Theater before attending that school. We, the apprentices, were “extras” in the productions, and visiting rep actors like F. Murray Abraham, Steven Lange, and William H. Macy taught us classes in lieu of paying us for performances, because there were so many of us that the LORT theater couldn’t pay all of us. Or, any of us, for that matter.
You started young and I know you wanted to leave acting for awhile but you are still huge today. How did you stay grounded and do you have advice for young girls and women coming up in Hollywood and or the movie industry?
It’s not really that I wanted to leave acting, it’s that I was in-between “Young Babe” and “District Attorney” roles, so was starting to get a lot of victim roles, which I hated playing, because as I found out much later, they go against what we call now my “brand.” So I started looking around for other things to do with my working life to put food on the table. I wasn’t making enough money during that period to support myself properly and I was tired of compromising and trying to be what I thought they wanted, so acting became not fun for that period of time. My advice is always, “Be true to yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Don’t sell yourself short because you think it will get you somewhere in the end. You’ll be torturing yourself unnecessarily. Focus on learning your craft and being professional. Meet people as human beings and not as “connections.” They notice that. You won’t feel powerless as long as you remember that you have something to offer others, so focus on what you have to give and not so much on what you want to get.” That’s about it.
Do you enjoy doing horror films and what are some of your favorites?
I love horror, I love making movies, and every role I do is my favorite for one reason or another. I love paranormal horror and possession stories but haven’t gotten any of those kinds of scripts yet. I loved what Vera Farmiga did with THE BATES MOTEL, creating the role of Norma Bates and producing the series as well as starring in it. It was fantastic.
Why do you think it is important to have more women in film?
Well, we are at least half the population of the human race, so it’s likely that we have pertinent things to say about it. The “boy’s club” is in the process of being dismantled, but it’s difficult to change things when they’ve always been a certain way forever. So, it’s a process. Some of the covers are being pulled as to the way it’s operated previously, and hopefully people will speak up more now, and not be silent when things are unjust. Everyone will be happier if/when that happens. The industry is evolving as we are evolving.
What was it like working with John Hughes and Alan Ball (I know it was a shorter time with Mr. Ball)?
I never worked with John Hughes, although people often think I was somehow involved in his films for some reason. I auditioned for him once, and Molly Ringwald was reading with the other actors. She absolutely towered over me in a not-great way. I It was actually very funny, but not going to work for those scenes. Alan Ball was wonderful He loves the genre films of the 80’s and treated me like a queen. I was very honored. It went by too quickly for me, and I wish I’d gotten to work with him more. There had been talk of making my TV Evangelist a recurring character, but they had so many potential story lines that it never ended up happening. I’d have been so delighted to do that, as I LOVED the show.
Can you tell us about Rick’s Martini Bar?
It’s a podcast that I was interviewed on for FAST TIMES. The episode went well, and the podcast host and creator, Jerry McCarty, invited me to co-host. I’ve been doing it for around 8 years now. Not every show, but I book celebrity guests and Jerry and I bounce off each other for a nice contrast. It’s syndicated and available for free on iTunes. I believe it’s winding down now, and I’m thinking of doing another podcast, but don’t have any details on that yet.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
I was just a judge for the film festival SHRIEKFEST, which is a great honor. The film festival opens tomorrow evening! EXORCISM AT 60,000 FEET will premiere pretty soon, but no hard date at the moment, as It’s just coming out of post-production now. I’ts a horror/comedy with me, Lance Henrikson, Bill Mosley, Adrienne Barbeau, Bai Ling, Kevin O’Connor and more. It’s sort of a cross between AIRPLANE! meets THE EXORCIST meets SNAKES ON A PLANE. The comedy is just..wrong– is the best way I can describe it! I’m sure people will have a lot of fun with it.
And I was thrilled to work with Tyler McIntyre (SUICIDE GIRLS) on BLOWING UP EVERYWHERE, a festival short that will be making the rounds. I’m looking forward to having a few films on the festival circuit. Next year I’ll shoot TO AVENGE, A crime-thriller set in Ocean City, MD. Of the things that I can speak about, that’s all the info I have, so far.
If you could play any role, what would it be and why?
I’m more of a gun-for-hire than an actor who has dream roles, honestly. It’s what I’ve done my whole career so far. One thing I know from experience is that my “brand” is Survivor and Final Girl (Woman) and I dislike victim roles. That may change as I work and grow. We are always growing. Plus, that could be an over-reaction on my part to the really ridiculous number of “victim” roles I’ve come across, and it could be that I’ll snap out of it eventually.
Do you have a personal mantra? Is there anything you would like people to know about you?
Always raise the vibe of any room you enter, every time. You’re there because you have something to contribute that is needed, even if you don’t know what that is at the time. Ask, “How can I help? What can I do to support you?”
I want to thank Kelli so much again for taking her valuable time to answer my questions. To learn more about her or to follow just go to:
Badass Cheerleader Productions