-Interview by Nic Brown-
happens when a career military man marries a Chinese woman who
even Jackie Chan wouldn’t want to piss off? You get a daughter
with beauty, brains and serious ass-kicking ability; in other
words: Jennifer Lee Wiggins. Born in
she originally wanted to go into law enforcement, fortunately
for criminals everywhere, she decided instead to pursue a career
Nic - Jennifer, I understand that you didn't set out to be an actress, so how did that happen?
Jennifer - I've always had a penchant toward entertaining people - as far as acting a fool and making people laugh - LOL. So, I suppose you could say that it was bound to happen. The drama and theater classes were always a fun outlet for me - the process made me so happy. The realization of doing this for a living didn't hit me until after college... and WOW! Did it smack me upside the head! Within a matter of months - I randomly looked into headshots, got an agent, booked a project for Japan TV, fell absolutely head over heals for acting for camera, then BOOM! - moved to LA to pursue it wholeheartedly... that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
Nic - You've got a lot of training in martial arts and weapons handling. Do you look for roles where you can use those skills?
Jennifer - For some reason they seem to find me.... no complaints here! ;o)
Director: "Jen - we need you to kick a bunch of dudes' butts....”
Jen: "SWEET - I'm in!!"
Nic - You've worked with director Jim Wynorski on THE BONE EATER. What is it like working with Jim?
Jennifer - Ahhh yes, Mr. Wynorski!! He's an awesome guy... a total character. He's very "tell it like it is." That's why we get along, as I have a tendency to be very frank and up front… sometimes to a fault. Doh! I'd love to work with Jim again - we both have the same twisted sense of humor. He's been in this biz long enough to get right to the point, get the shots he wants and not waste time… all the while, he'll have you laughing. Well, at least I know I was laughing. Hell (can I say "hell"?)... *shrug*... I was laughing through the entire commentary for BONE EATER. barely got a word or two out, because Jim had me cracking up the whole time!
Nic - Do you have any plans to step behind the camera yourself and write or direct?
Jennifer - I'd love to step behind the camera - but all in due time. I recently worked with Mark Dacascos on a project, and he's such an inspiration and a great friend. He encourages fellow actors to write, and be pro-active, so I'm definitely taking his words to heart... plus he'll totally kick my butt if I don't - LOL!
As for directing… who knows... I do love to step behind the monitors and watch with the director when I'm not filming - that is, as long as the director's OK with it. I'm currently working with a director who is very open to having his people hang with him in video village and watch the process. It's really interesting to see his mind working and piecing things together. I love it and I'm so thankful for the experience. So, again, who knows?
Nic - So what style(s) of martial arts do you practice?
Jennifer - I'm kickboxing right now. Other styles have been taught in private sessions in various locations.
Plus, it's engrained in the Chinese DNA. ;o)
Nic - I'm a big fan of Mark Dacascos, so I have to ask for some more details about your film with him!
Jennifer - I worked with Mark on a filmed called I AM OMEGA He's one of the most inspirational people I've ever known, and anyone I've ever come across who's worked with him has only great things to say about Mark. Now I'm another one! LOL! He's very easy to work with, plus, he kicks some serious butt!
Nic - So what do you feel is the most challenging part of being an actress?
Jennifer - Everything... haha! It's a good thing that I love to be challenged.
Nic - What are some of your favorite films to watch and what is it that you like about them?
Jennifer - Wow! Fave movies - I have A LOT! Here's a short list (in no particular order):
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE
Jack Burton: "It's all in the reflexes."
TEAM AMERICA - complete hilarity!! It's brilliant and cracks me
up every time I watch it. Leave it to Matt Stone and Trey Parker
to push the envelope. I love these guys! (big
- ALMOST FAMOUS - I love everything about this movie, from the direction to the music to the acting. It evokes a wide range of emotions and really makes you feel them as you watch. That's what movies should do, y’know?
The characters are perfectly written and executed. Kate Hudson is flawless in her role.
- THE DARK KNIGHT - My favorite Batman film ever! I love that the filmmakers went with a darker feel. Christian Bale has been high on my list of fave actors since American Psycho. Gary Oldman has been an inspiration to me for years... and lastly, there's no denying the complete brilliance of Heath Ledger's Joker. I sat stunned in the theater for most of the film. It took my breath away - No joke!
This is an ongoing and ever-changing list, as I love all kinds of movies. These four mentioned are part of my "watch anytime" staples. :o)
Nic - When you're not acting, what Jennifer Lee Wiggins do for fun?
Jennifer - Watch movies! Ha Ha! I recently got into paintball - and I absolutely love it... gnarly bruises and all!
Nic - So what would your “dream” role be?
I love physical challenges coupled with comedy plus a wide spectrum of emotions thrown in!
I know that's not the whole period piece Oscar worthy role type thing, which I do hope to attack one day…. but for right now - I'm feeling spry and firey… so Mrs. Smith / Lara Croft is exciting to me.. :o)
Nic - There has been some criticism of the horror genre, as well as many action films, saying that this type of movie may contribute to “real world” crime and violence. What are your thoughts on that?
Jennifer - Here's my take on that: Those who criticize are just looking for a scapegoat for the twisted wrongs that occur in our society - much like blaming rock and roll music for teen suicide and genocide - it's ridiculous.
I studied Criminal Justice in college, did my internship in the D.A.'s Investigation Department - Criminal Division, read true crime books for leisure, and watch the news... and let me tell you something - true crime is far more frightening than any fiction portrayed in horror & action films. Even the fictional crime novels that I read draw from real life cases, and it's usually the real world crime and violence that fuel the fictional stories anyway - then you just embellish from there (i.e. make them immortal or turn them into fictitious monsters, etc.). So I'll take Jason or Michael Meyers over Ted Bundy or Manson any day!!
Nic - What are your thoughts on the portrayal of women in horror films?
Jennifer - The women in horror that I key in on are the heroines. It's the one genre of film where it's acceptable for a female to be the hero - and I'm including the gamer series and comic book/graphic novel genre here too. It's easier to sell a kick ass adventure film with a heroine, if you spin it into a horror - it's pretty sad.
Side note: I've been working on a series of training episodics for the Army and there is some serious realism here. Every person I work with has a military background, including the director, so I get real world lessons each day that I'm on set with these amazing people. One of the things I've learned is that there are more and more female soldiers out there in the thick of it - true real life heroines! Hoowah!
So I say kudos to the horror genre for paying homage to kick ass chicks! :o)