Horror’s Scream Queens and Rising Talent: Six Questions for Jessica Felice
“Jessica graduated with a BA in Theatre, from UMBC. She’s earned two best actress awards for her performance in “Soulmate”. Although, she’s done many horror & thrillers in film, shorts, and television, she’s not limited to one genre. She’s played roles in television series such as “Copycat Killers”, “I Was Possessed”, and “Southern Fried Homicide”, as well as lead roles in feature films such as “Soulmate”, “The American Werewolf Project”, “Vampires”, and supporting roles in films such as “7th Day” and “The Untelling”, and in many short films and theater work. Jessica will be seen as Katherine in the gothic Horror Feature “The Haunted”, and as Ruby Blackwood/Lilith in “The Possessed”. She was featured in the online series Tales of Horror as the snarky Demoness Host Lilith Death. She also is a professional Voice-over artist and a popular model.”
1. How did you get into the industry?
I’ve been acting since I was a little girl, and was at summer camp. It was there that I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I got involved in productions at my elementary school, and then began taking professional acting classes in middle school all through high school. During those times, I also did a lot of community theatre. When I went to college, where I graduated with a BA in Theatre, I did several professional children’s theatre tours, dinner theatre, Summer stock, VO and other stage work, as well as extra work on commercials and film.
To help hone my craft, I also worked in the stage magic field, touring the country and doing a run in Las Vegas. What really changed my pursuit of theatre to film was a class I took called “acting for the camera” that class really changed my life. After which I began working on several national TV show spots, independent short and feature films, videos, promotional, hosting and VO work. My love and respect for performance and the subtleties of the camera have only increased since then.
I try to put 100% of my heart into every project I am involved with. To me it’s not just another paycheck, but a chance to collaborate, learn, and make something special.
2. What Scream Queen/Woman in Horror inspired you the most?
As far as women in horror, I think I’d say Eva Green’s work in Penny Dreadful. I’m a big fan of supernatural based thrillers that highlight strong actresses and women. She is one of them, and probably one of my biggest influences on my own work.
3. What horror film hooked you on the genre and why?
I’d say the film The Exorcist hooked me on the genre, as the premise was so frightening to think about. When I was a kid I also remember renting the Lost Boys and was hooked. I’m a fan of vampire films and I think that was the first one that grabbed me and I was mesmerized. There was a mystery and mystique about those characters combined with amazing effects and music. Another I saw as a kid was Interview with a Vampire so it had the same impact. I was intrigued and wanted to know more which was altogether terrifying and enticing at the same time. I love those fantasy elements so much.
4. When you are presented with a project, what are the things that draw you to certain projects and away from others?
When I’m presented with a script or ideas for a project, I really look for deep-rooted and multi-dimensional characters that are sometimes broken, flawed, etc. and evolve throughout the story line. High concept scripts combined with great character arc are the way to this girl’s heart. I can’t just look at a script and say, “Yeah it’s pretty good, I could play that character.” I need to look at a script and know that I need to be a part of telling that story. That is what I really look for, a compulsion to not stop until this characters story is told. I want to experience roles that will create an impact on someone after they’ve seen it. If I feel that, I believe others will too.
I honestly tend to stay away from two-dimensional type projects that are gratuitous in nature, or do things strictly for shock value and not for the benefit of a good story. Many times I have seen a great concept ruined by bad dialog or lack of character development. If it is simply a cool idea and nothing else I tend to stay away from it.
5. What are your thoughts on how things have changed in the genre and what are your hopes for the future evolution of Horror?
I think the future is bringing a long awaited equality for women in the film industry in general. I’m being presented with more and more scripts where the woman is not just there to scream or be eye candy, but instead provides real character substance to the plot of the film. The echo of Hollywood equality seems to be crossing genres and challenging actresses more and more.
Like anything else, it needs to be handled with integrity, not just hiring a person because they are a man or woman, but because they truly are the best actor for the role. Ridley Scott was so far ahead of his time when he did this type of casting with Alien. I can only hope more directors and writers use this formula in the future.
6. What are the next couple projects you are working on?
Currently, outside of several projects I can’t discuss just yet, I’ll be doing a film called The Thing That Keeps You. It’s psychological thriller, directed by Preston Walden with Domain Pictures, where I will be playing the role of Caroline Davies, a woman who has had dealt with bad dreams since her husband’s passing and hasn’t left her house in a year. Teams of sleep experts are brought in to try and help her sleep disorder. What they find is far more then any of them were prepared for.
Another project I have been cast in that is currently looking for funding through an indiegogo campaign, is a Sci Fi film called Hero Smythe, directed by Richard Thrift. I will be playing Kelly, Hero’s mistress/ love interest.
I have a feature film that I have been cast in called “The Board” which lends itself the classic ghost stories of the late 1800’s style, which will be shooting this spring. I also have several features being released in late 2018, and I’m continuing to read scripts that are being sent to me as I look for the next project that really calls to me.
Jessica Felice’s Links: