Kelli Maroney-Actor Interview (2018)

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.

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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.

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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:

kellimaroney@aol.com

http://www.kellimaroney.com

Badass Cheerleader Productions

contact@kellmaroney.com

kellimaroney@gmail.com

 

Damian Maffei: Interview (2018)

I had the definite joy of speaking with Damian Maffei from the new Strangers: Prey at Night but also from such films as Closed for the Season, Christmas With the Dead, Wildfires, and I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday.

The new Strangers is about a family’s road trip taking a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it weirdly deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive.

I really enjoyed the film and Damian’s performance in it but he does not consider that acting and he should know. He was born in Queens, New York on June 27th, 1977 and went to school for acting at William Esper Studio in Manhattan where they teach the Meisner technique and the “Reality of Doing” with such notable alumni as Christopher Meloni, Steve McQueen, and James Caan. So lets ask him a few questions :

Why do you love horror?

~Who knows. I’m sure there’s some psychological reason for it. I just know that when I’m searching for a new movie to watch, I’ll immediately browse the horror genre. Or if I’m trying to get something going creatively, push a project, it’s in the genre. Dark, brutal, most of the time. I just know that when I was a kid, and I was sneaking downstairs to watch something on TV… I’d try to find a horror movie.

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So I wanted to find out about some of his favorite horror films, films, and the actors and actresses in them.

~Fave Horror: Alice Sweet Alice (1976) with Paula Sheppard as Alice and also starring a young Brooke Shields, Jaws (1975), Alien (1979), Alien III (1992), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Christine (1983), and all time favorite is the original Black Christmas (1974). He is huge fan of the slasher sub-genre in horror.

He also for TV shows loves House of Cards and Glow.

Some favorite actresses- Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim VS the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane), Sigourney Weaver (Alien and Ghostbusters franchises), Amy Adams (Sharp Objects, and Nocturnal Animals).

Actors- Kane Hodder (Jason X, Victor Crowley, Hatchet , Jason Goes to Hell), Guy Pierce ( Memento, LA Confidential), Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Zodiac), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises).

The Most fun I had talking to Damian is when he said Weekend at Bernie’s was his favorite horror comedy, I had never thought of it that way but he is right it was a very macabre film when you think about it. But we both agree it is actually time for a reboot of the film and in this day and age we would flip the script so that the roles played by Andrew McCarthy and Johnathan Silverman from the 1989 version would now be played by Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon with Damian as the new Bernie! I would definitely pay to see that!

What do you want people to know about you?

~Oh, I don’t know. That I’m out here just trying to do some quality work, make the most of whatever time I have in the things I’m lucky enough to be in. And when I’m not menacing people onscreen I’m usually being overpowered by my 3 sons and 10 pound dog. My favorite decade for movies, particularly the genre, is the 70’s. By far and away.

Any funny stories from sets?

~On Prey at Night I charged Lewis at the pool and swung so hard I lifted my entire body into the air and fell on my back. I was embarrassed, and pissed off, so I just laid there for a couple of seconds not moving or saying anything. But… I had the sack on my head, so everyone thought maybe I had knocked myself out. I’ll do another Strangers one, there’s a scene in a van where I get in, and the other character is sort of pinned to the seat via this wood plank that’s gone through the windshield. So I get in, and there’s all glass on the dashboard. Fake glass though. Looks real! Movie magic. So I sit down, and I get the idea to just… Play with the glass a little bit before I turn my attention towards the radio. Wipe some glass and blood off the dashboard. Little cleanup. So I do it. Johannes liked it, told me to keep it in. So I did it again on my next take. Take after that, I sit down in the car, start to wipe the glass off, and I feel my skin being penetrated and let out a yelp like a sleeping puppy being poked in the ass with a knitting needle. Apparently, during the other character’s shifting in his seat, the wood plank had shaved off a sliver of actual glass from the window, and it landed in the glass pile. You can tell the difference if you give it a real good look, but not when you’re in the zone, man! Anyway… For all that, the bit didn’t even make it into the theatrical cut. And to think I bled for it…

Do you have a personal mantra?

~A personal fave is Ray’s “I’m not going to listen to this, I’m not going to hear this now.” from The Burbs. I trot that one out often. Otherwise I like to bastardize Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night” and appropriate Galaxy Quest’s “Never Give Up, Never Surrender.

I want to thank Damian so much for taking his valuable time to speak with me. I am a fan of his and as I look on IMDB there is an upcoming film that he will be in called Haunt by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods both known for being writers for A Quiet Place and Nightlight. Damian could not tell me much about it except that it was one of the most fun times he has had shooting a film. IMDB’s description is as follows: On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real. The film is still in post-production but it sounds like a lot of fun and I for one am looking forward to it and Damian’s performance in it!

If you would like to learn more about Damian I have included some links:

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0535541/?ref_=tt_cl_t5

https://www.instagram.com/damianmaffei/

David H. Thornton: Interview (2018)

 

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I have the unmistakable pleasure of being friends on Twitter with the amazing David H Thornton, who you might recognize as Art the Clown from the fantastic horror film Terrifier. The more I read about him the more intrigued I became. Art the clown does not speak yet David gets across every notion of Art’s intent and action, then I come to find out he is a  voice actor to with a wide range of voices and inflections. Color me curious to find out more about this compelling man and actor. Lets get to the questions!

How long did makeup take and was it really uncomfortable?

~ It took about 3 1/2-4 hours to apply uninterrupted, though usually longer since Damien was doing my makeup and would occasionally have to leave me to go film or set up shots. The mask itself was not uncomfortable since it was molded and glued to fit my face. The teeth were not bad since they were also molded to my teeth, but they did make me drool a lot. Because of this, Damien was constantly touching up my makeup around my mouth. The contacts were the worst for me since I don’t like things in my eyes. I truly suffer for my Art!

Art doesnt speak much, everything was expressed by your face or your body. Did you study improv or actual clowning?

~ I didn’t take professional classes on clowning, though I am a lifelong student of it and learned from the performances of those that perfected the craft before me such as Chaplin, Harpo Marx, Keaton, Carrey, and Doug Jones. My two biggest influences, however were Rowan Atkinson and Stefan Karl. I would watch Mr. Bean over and over when I was younger to learn from Rowan and applied that knowledge to many characters that I played. However, it was not until I understudied Stefan Karl (who you might know as Robbie Rotten) as the Grinch for 5 years, that I personally had someone that could mentor me and help me fine tune my skills in this area. Stefan was a master at physical comedy and I learned much from him over those years. Sadly, he recently lost his battle with cancer. I intend to carry on his legacy in my own way.

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Are you a fan of horror?

~Oh yes! Very much so! Though I was a little late to the game since I only got into horror when I was a senior in high school since my mom never liked those movies and would not want them played in the house. I was basically dragged to Scream 2 by my friends and discovered a love for the genre. I have not stopped watching since!

Favorite horror movies and or books?

~Movies: Top 5 (besides Terrifier) are; Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Omen, The Exorcist, and Halloween. Books: I am a very big Stephen King fan and just finished “It”. Any of his will work here, especially The Stand or The Dark Tower Series. Also “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”, and “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey!” Loved those books as a kid!

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How did you get into voice acting and how many voices can you do?

~ I discovered my first voice in the 1st grade during story time when a girl in my class passed me a note asking if I would be her boyfriend. I let out Goofy’s “Gawrsh! Ah hyuck!” and a new passion was born. Who Framed Roger Rabbit introduced me to the legend that was Mel Blanc. When I discovered that one man did all of those voices, I wanted to learn to do the same and took it upon myself to do so. Any time I hear an interesting voice, I feel compelled to learn how to mimic it. Now I do well over 200+ character voices (I lost count years ago) and have turned that into a career that I enjoy doing! I’d love to be the voice of Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse one day

Any great impersonations?

~ That is such a Sophie’s choice since I do so many! I’d say that some of my best are Bugs, Krang, Mickey, Shaggy, and Barney Fife though.

What style of acting did you study?

~Oddly enough, none. I actually have a degree in teaching and did not go to school for acting. I simply learned from watching my superiors and people in general and adapted to what worked best for me over the years.

What would be your ultimate role?

~ The Joker, bar none. He’s my favorite villain of all time and I love him dearly. I do play him on a web series called Nightwing: Escalation. However, I would love to play him on tv or on the big screen. I’ve seen so many great live action portrayals of the character, but not a single one of them was what I think is a true depiction of the actual character from the comic books. In my mind, Mark Hamill’s is the closest, and is what I base my version largely off of. I’d love to bring my version to the masses one day.

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Any other special skills?

~ LOL! I can put my feet behind my head. Ladies? 😉

What would you like people to know about you?

~That I feel extremely fortunate to have a career that I truly love doing and that I am eternally grateful to my fans for giving me this chance to live my dream. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

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Any personal mantra?

~It is a lesson that I learned 16 years ago when my mom passed away from cancer and also a similar mantra that Stefan Karl lived by: Live the life that you want. We only get one shot at this world, so why not live it to its fullest and pursue the dreams that you have? You never know what you may be capable of until you try. Life is now.

You can find David at https://www.facebook.com/david.h.thornton and https://twitter.com/DavidHThornton and https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7476686/

 

 

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