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Beautiful and Bad: An in-depth interview with model, actress, and horror icon, Jennifer Rubin, discussing her journey from Vogue to Elm Street…and beyond.

Editor’s Note: Our writer, Billy Stamper, had the pleasure to sit down with a horror icon, the lovely Jennifer Rubin. She’s a former Elm Street teen and a franchise favorite, playing Taryn from “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”. She was also amazing in “The Fear Inside” and “The Crush”. Billy chats with Jennifer about her successful acting, modeling and writing career.

Bil­ly Stam­per: Hel­lo, Jen­nifer! Thanks so much for chat­ting with me. The Crush is one of my all time favorite movies, so talk­ing to you right now is the most excit­ing thing. I want to start off by ask­ing if act­ing was always some­thing  you want­ed to do.

Jen­nifer Rubin: I start­ed out as a mod­el, so mod­el­ing was some­thing that I want­ed to do. My moth­er real­ly liked Vogue mag­a­zine, Harper’s Bazaar. A lot of women from her gen­er­a­tion were real­ly excit­ed about mag­a­zines at the time, so that was my real thrill. I start­ed out as a mod­el, which lead to me win­ning Inter­na­tion­al Mod­el of the Year in ’84. Then I went to get into all those mag­a­zines that I loved so much. After about 2 or 3 years, I was kind of con­cerned it wouldn’t last. So I made the jump to act­ing, because I felt that was the long term way to go.

BS: What was your first act­ing role?

JR: I did a lead in a movie called Blue­ber­ry Hill with Matt Lat­tanzi, who was mar­ried to Olivia New­ton John at the time, Mar­garet Avery, and Car­rie Snodgress, who use to be mar­ried to Neil Young. It was a real­ly cool cast. After that, I land­ed A Night­mare on Elm Street 3.

BS: Was it a dif­fi­cult tran­si­tion from mod­el­ing to act­ing?

JRNo it wasn’t because I was in Los Ange­les, and I was like the “IT” girl as far as the mag­a­zines would go. I was the Chero­kee Girl. I had bill­boards all over this town. I was in every mag­a­zine. You couldn’t open up a mag­a­zine with­out me being in it. I got lucky and got into act­ing before the “mod­el turn actress” stig­ma real­ly came about — when peo­ple didn’t want to give mod­els cred­it for also being able to act. But I slipped by that and didn’t have trou­ble mak­ing the tran­si­tion.

BSWere you a fan of the Elm Street fran­chise before land­ing the role of Taryn?

JRNot real­ly. I hadn’t seen the films. I think all I knew was that John­ny Depp had done the first film. I thought, if it was good enough for him, it should be good enough for me!

BSWhat was it like work­ing on a hor­ror movie for the first time, let alone such a high­ly antic­i­pat­ed one?

JRBack in that day, hor­ror films kind of had a stig­ma to them. But at the same time I could tell I was part of some­thing spe­cial — which I was obvi­ous­ly right about since you’re here inter­view­ing me 30 years lat­er! This was the last film before CGI. There were great writ­ers on it, Frank Darabont and Chuck Rus­sell. Frank did The Green Mile, and he’s an Oscar-cal­iber per­son. Then there was Chuck Russell’s sense of humor…it was amaz­ing.

I got lucky being a part of a hor­ror sequel that was both intel­li­gent and fun­ny. By the third film, Fred­dy Krueger real­ly found his humor, and every­thing worked out per­fect­ly. Still, the hor­ror fas­ci­na­tion didn’t seem as big back then as it is now. Right now, the movie is 100 times more pop­u­lar than it ever was when it first came out. Nobody was real­ly say­ing, “Oh, wow!” until afterwards…until the box office mon­ey came in. So, you know, you kind of want to be on that cut­ting edge in a way.

BSYou got to be a part of mak­ing film his­to­ry.

JR: Yeah, you don’t even know it while it’s hap­pen­ing. Even with Casablan­ca, Humphrey Bog­a­rt and Ingrid Bergman didn’t know they were mak­ing a clas­sic. You don’t know…you don’t know if you’re mak­ing a good film or a bad film. When you’re mak­ing a film, you’re just mak­ing one.

BSI must say that Dream War­riors was one of my favorites out of the series. What was it like work­ing with Fred­dy Kruger’s first Elm Street kid and fel­low women in hor­ror icon, Heather Lan­genkamp?

JRWell won­der­ful, excit­ing and per­plex­ing in a way…because she was in the first A Night­mare On Elm Street. Chuck was bring­ing her back in the third one. I don’t know if she want­ed to do it at first, but there was a strong rela­tion­ship between Chuck, Wes and her. You knew she had high stan­dards for the mate­r­i­al, high stan­dards for what she would and wouldn’t do. It took a lot of hard work to get the three of them on board. So I knew it was some­thing to take seri­ous­ly.

BSHow did the hair­styl­ist get your hair into that big Mohawk in the movie…and how did you man­age to make the knives move around your fin­gers so fast?

JRThe blades…well, you know how at the mag­ic store they have the shock buzzers that you put around your fin­ger? Well, they had one of those, but with ball bear­ings instead. So the knives stayed there. But I had to learn how to make them go cir­cu­lar. It was jim­my rigged, rigged gloves. The hair was my idea. I was walk­ing to the set to talk to Chuck, and some­body was read­ing “TIME” mag­a­zine. There was a Mohawk in the mag­a­zine, and I thought that would be great. I had my cos­tume on, but I had my hair down. So I thought, well every­thing must go up. When I wasn’t in the dream, every­thing was down, but when I was in the dream — hair up, knives on, all that stuff. So that’s how that came to be…that was my idea! Yippee!

BSThat worked out per­fect­ly, because I hon­est­ly couldn’t pic­ture your char­ac­ter Taryn any oth­er way. Switch­ing gears, I would love to hear about your role as Crazy Jane Casewell from The Fear Inside.

JR: (Laughs) Well, The Fear Inside, some peo­ple say is my best movie…and I have to agree. The direc­tor was Leon Ischa­so, who was a won­der­ful per­son to work with, the best direc­tor to work with. He real­ly pushed me to do some great act­ing. When peo­ple talk to me, they always bring up The Fear Inside, and it was real­ly cool — a great expe­ri­ence and one of the few times I worked well with a direc­tor.

BS: What was your favorite mem­o­ry of that film?

JR: Work­ing with Leon was my favorite thing. He was a big Ital­ian. Some­times Ital­ians do Amer­i­cano the best. He was just one of those pas­sion­ate, artic­u­late direc­tors. He was a real artist, not like some of those 1980’s direc­tors there just to make mon­ey. He was real­ly encour­ag­ing and had a great sense of humor. I loved all of it. I loved work­ing with Christi­na Lahti and Dylan McDer­rmott.

BSWas it dif­fi­cult to get into that state of mind of crazy for that role?

JRNo, no, because even when you’re play­ing crazy, you don’t think of it. I think when I kissed that lit­tle boy from Amer­i­can Pie, that lit­tle boy in the film, he was under­age. He came up to me one day and said, “You were my first screen kiss.” I was just like, “Oh my gosh, that’s good he went on to be a great actor and such.” It was a weird expe­ri­ence, but fun­ny.

BSNow I would love to hear about your expe­ri­ences in work­ing in one of my favorite movies, The Crush. In the scene when you’re attacked by bees, was that CGI?

JRThat’s inter­est­ing how they did that. They import stin­g­less bees from Africa, like 30 of them. They glued one to my leg and to my hand so they could move around a lit­tle bit. That’s how they did the close up. For all the hor­nets fly­ing at me, they invert­ed a vac­u­um clean­er and they blew spray paint­ed puffed rice cere­al out of it. Isn’t that fun­ny? It tastes like cere­al in that scene (laughs)!

BSYou were so good in that film. It must have been a blast. What was your favorite mem­o­ry of film­ing?

JRMy best expe­ri­ence was Rod­ney the door­man. I love door men to tell you the truth. They are just so help­ful, and if you need help with any­thing you just ask the door­man. Where to eat or what to do, they’ll real­ly tell you. Not the concierge desk but the door man. I remem­ber such beau­ti­ful sight­see­ing up there. Whistler moun­tain is up there, a great place to film as well. Cary Elwes stayed in (Tom­my) Chong’s House, and we went over there to have din­ner one night. We looked in the bed­room draw­er and found a mar­i­jua­na pipe, so that was fun­ny. He just leaves it lying around because it’s so nor­mal for him.

BSBesides being a tal­ent­ed actress, you’re a writer, too?

JRWell, I wrote a screen­play and am look­ing for lit­er­ary rep­re­sen­ta­tion. I would love to make the leap from actress to writer. The writer is the most pow­er­ful, too, as to where act­ing is the least pow­er­ful real­ly. So it’s going to be nice to be behind the cam­era. I love writ­ing — it’s more suit­able to my per­son­al­i­ty than being a charm­ing actress. I’m a very nice per­son, but I think I real­ly like writ­ing. I didn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly always like act­ing, but I’ve always liked writ­ing.

BSWow. So you’ve always want­ed to write?

JRI think it’s always been in me. I look at myself start­ing out as this mod­el who didn’t talk at all. Then I became this actress who talked oth­er people’s words. Now I can be a writer and hear oth­er peo­ple say MY words. I can’t wait to see the movie come to life…it will make me feel real­ly proud.

BSYou should be proud! It’s amaz­ing accom­plish­ing some­thing you’ve always want­ed to do.

JR: Thank you! I wasn’t sure I could do it. When you’re mod­el­ing, you kind of play a lit­tle stu­pid. I had to read at least 1500 scripts in order to under­stand how to write a movie. So thank god I read all the scripts. When I wasn’t act­ing, I was read­ing scripts. It’s great to able to put all that expe­ri­ence into writ­ing a script.

BS: Well, this has been absolute­ly amaz­ing — one of the great­est expe­ri­ences ever. Thanks so much for doing this.

JRAbsolute­ly, Bil­ly. It was fun!

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