-Interview by Nic Brown-
Nic - Deneen, how did you get your start as an actress?
Deneen - Well, before I got into film, I was actually a ballet dancer. Unfortunately, when I was 16, I broke my left foot during a performance. It was one of those situations where I kept telling myself that I could still dance and even managed to do so for a few years. However, I started to really struggle with pointe work, couldn't handle long rehearsals, or even move the same way... and I realized I couldn't dance professionally with an injury like that. It was probably the most heartbreaking thing I have ever experienced, but I knew there was no point feeling sorry for myself, so I looked into other options.
When I moved from
From that moment, I was completely hooked and knew this is what I wanted to do. I absolutely love it and not only have I worked on some great projects, but I have met some of the most wonderful people.
Nic - What do you find is the most challenging part of acting for you?
Deneen - I know other actors feel this way as well, but there are moments when it is difficult coming across as natural on film. No matter your level of experience, you sometimes come across a role, or even just one scene, that just doesn't feel natural to you. The way I see it, we aren't just playing "characters"... we're portraying people... and it is our responsibility to bring something real to the audience. So, at least for myself, I sometimes have to take time before a scene and remind myself that I'm not "Deneen" when the camera is going, I'm someone else.
Deneen - MASTER’S DEVILS is a film based on the comic book by Legion Studios, specifically a story written by Spider C. Guffey. Basically, there is a bar called "Slim's" in which all these slimy, horrible, disgusting men go to drink and be... well... slimy, horrible, and disgusting. Then, out of nowhere, these 5 devil girls show up and put them in their place. I play the character of Devlynn Envy, who is kind of the animal of the group. She has crazy hair, messy makeup, and a hellish attitude. Frankly, the only thing she wants to do is beat the crap out of everyone. She is probably one of the most fun characters I have ever played and I enjoyed having a chance to not only be seductive... but also a bad ass.
The film also stars four other ladies that are all very beautiful and wonderfully talented (Lyxi Brinkman,
Nic - Are there any other film projects you’re working on right now?
Deneen - Apart from MASTER’S DEVILS, I recently wrapped a short film called BLOOD KIN, which is a vampire story by Del Harvey. In this film, I play the lead character Simone, who happens to be a newly turned vampire. Vampires are sort of the crazy phase right now, but BLOOD KIN isn't the typical vampire-human love epic. (There is a hint of a romance there, but it isn't the focus.) Simone's past is sort of a mystery to the audience, but you can see she feels a lot of anger and resentment towards her father (played by Craig Sunderlin) and that is actually what moves the story.
also working on a horror thriller by Lawrence Lee Wallace called
DARK HALLWAYS, which features an ensemble
In January, I start working on AS NIGHT FALLS, which is the newest film by Joe Davison (100 TEARS, EXPERIMENT 7)... and also stars Dwight Cenac, Raine Brown, and Debbie Rochon. This movie is going to be an absolute BLAST and I can't wait to start filming. Not only does it have your typical blood and gore, but it has tons of stunts and fight scenes. There are also several projects I will be filming next year, including a DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT! remake by Alan Rowe Kelly and Anthony Sumner... but I can't give out much information right now.
Nic - When people think of the “movie business”
they think of
Also, the opportunities
for actors are not just in
Nic - I understand that you are experienced in fight
training and that you are also taking stunt classes. So are you
going to add stunt person to your resume?
Nic - Do you have any interest in stepping behind the camera as a director or writer?
Deneen - I have to be honest and say I really prefer staying in front of the camera! I have produced films and I have done work behind the scenes with Breakwall Pictures, but I have no desire to actually get behind the camera and direct. Writing is something I have considered, as I do have a few ideas floating around, but even then... I would rather just work with a writer on bringing those stories to life. Acting truly is my passion and everything else just sort of falls behind it.
That being said, I have SO much respect for filmmakers. Since I have and do work behind the camera at times, I know just how difficult and stressful it can be. In film, there is always so much focus on the actors, but it is the crew that really holds everything together... and without the director, the writers, the producers, and everyone else...there would be nothing.
people believe horror films objectify women, others say the
genre has opened up doors for women to play more empowered
characters. How do you feel about women’s roles in horror?
Deneen - Oh, I don't think it objectifies women... and if it does... it is only because people let it. I personally don't feel offended when I see a hot girl stripping down in a horror film, because it isn't like anyone is forcing the actress to do it. That is her choice... and if she doesn't care, then whatever. Besides, there are more and more films being made in which the woman is the survivor... the bad ass... so I am on the side of horror opening doors for women. Every script that has been presented to me in the past year has had at least one strong female character, and if anything, it is the men that are being objectified.
Nic - Would you want to be known as a “Scream Queen”?
Deneen - Well, I've already been called and labeled that, so I
guess I don't have a choice in the matter.... which is fine by
me. I know a few actresses that don't like the "Scream Queen"
label at all, but I don't mind. If anything, I consider it an
honor, since a lot of actresses that I admire and look up to
fall in that category. Besides, I don't feel it restricts my
acting abilities. Just because I enjoy being covered in blood,
creeping around dark abandoned areas, and screaming like a crazy
person... doesn't mean that is all I can do...although, I do
Nic - When you’re not making movies, what do you like to do for fun?
Deneen - I'm the type of person who has so much fun just sitting
at home playing video games or watching movies like
LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS. Call me a nerd,
dork, geek... whatever you like... but I enjoy it! I also love
going to Renaissance Faires and Anime/Video Game/Comic Book
Conventions. When I lived in
boyfriend and I also LOVE playing laser tag! We're both pretty
busy, but when we have free time, we'll drive to a laser tag
arena and kick major butt. There is something really adventurous
about laser tag... I always feel like I am in one of the Alien
movies or something.
Nic- So you enjoy going to Ren faires and cons… does this mean you dress in costume for them?
Deneen - You better
believe I do! When I go to the Texas Renaissance Festival, I
always dress up as some sort of elf... because elves are the
best. (I have the pointy ears and everything!) My favorite
characters to dress up as though for Cons though would be Jill
Valentine from the Resident Evil games and Aerith from Final
Fantasy VII. Jill is fun because I feel like I would totally be
ready if a zombie outbreak may occur in the middle of the day...
and I LOVE going as Aerith because she is such an iconic
character, as well as my personal favorite in the Final Fantasy
series. She may not be a fighter like Tifa, but she is extremely
brave and strong in her own right. I like that about her.
I really want to dress up as Cassie Hack costume from the Hack/Slash comics one of these days, but now since I've worked with Legion Studios, I admit to being a little biased towards dressing up as a Devil Girl now. Hehe.
Nic - How do you think the internet is affecting the film industry for both the major studios and the independents?
Deneen - I'm not sure how it is affecting the major studios, but it sure is helping the indie crowd! Those of us involved in indie filmmaking are now able to really promote our stuff... we're reaching tons of people through the internet, which is something that was difficult before everything started going online. Actors, directors, musicians, photographers... we are all able to connect and network even if we are in different states or countries. People are also posting their trailers, promotional pictures, cast information, updates everywhere... facebook, myspace, twitter... and even if you don't like those sites, you can't deny that at least they get the word out!
Nic - What would
be your dream role? (Who would you want to work with and what
would the project be, something like that.)
I would also love to work with Quentin Tarantino, especially after the KILL BILL movies. He tends to use a lot of badass women, blood, and hardcore action... which is right up my alley. Yeehaw!
Photo credits: Jessi Tetzloff, Ou Bai, Collin Martin, Eddie Eng, Legion Studios.