An interview with Arielle Brachfeld: rising Scream Queen, smart ass, unabashed nerd, and SNES aficionado.
Robert: What is your earliest memory?
Arielle: My earliest memory is the smell and feel of clover in the backyard.
Robert: What do you do to relax? Any specific hobbies or activities you like to do that would surprise your fans?
Arielle: I play video games (currently “Borderlands the Pre-sequel”) generally to relax. When I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety I always want to get up to a forest and hike. In terms of hobbies, I love to fence (foil) and I’m also palms deep in a puppet show about socks who think they’re great Shakespearean actors. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Robert: If tomorrow were your last day, what would be the first thing you would do?
Arielle: I’d get to the deepest mountain forest I could and bring some of the best sci fi and fantasy books I can. And probably try and get away with something that no one in their right mind would try, you know, for the thrill of it.
Robert: Why do you think you’re succeeding in an industry where so many others, particularly women, haven’t?
Arielle: I don’t know that I’ve succeeded. I’m working, which is no easy feat don’t get me wrong. But, I’m busting my butt every day in every way I know how to keep working. I produce, I write, I shoot, I edit. I make sure I always have an artistic project I’m engaged in. I just don’t know how to function without making movies. I always come back to that I’d be doing this whether I get paid or not, because it’s what I love.
That in and of itself has been tremendous. It’s not about success, it’s about always being able to do what you love. It is cool to realize that you’ve hit certain milestones in your career. I just always try to give everything I can to a character. And to always remember that I’m on set playing and doing something that I love.
Robert: To date, what has been your most challenging role in a film, on any level (physically, mentally, acting, etc.)?
Arielle: The most challenging role has probably been Deputy Darlene Whitfield in “Axeman 2: Overkill.” She was so masculine, and so physical, and not a victim in the slightest. I’m used to playing very vulnerable characters, and Darlene was a complete departure. She opened my eyes to what strong characters can do.
Actually, without Darlene, I wouldn’t have been able to tackle Beatrice in “Good Family Times” nearly as well. Beatrice had a phenomenal fortitude and internal strength that I had insight into because of Darlene.
Robert: If you could star in the re-make of a classic horror/sci-fi film, what film would that be and why?
Arielle: Oooooh, this is a tough one. I don’t ever, EVER, want “Alien” to be remade. It’s a masterpiece. But I might actually kill somebody to play a similar character to Ripley. In terms of how bad ass and groundbreaking the character is, I’d love to try and do her justice. The other answer is Kara Thrace, Starbuck, from “BSG.” Katee Sackhoff is one of my favorite actors of all time. I would never want to remake that character, but I’m not ashamed of some of the illegal things I would do to get a chance to play her. It’s one of the best series ever, and I would die happy being a part of that universe in any capacity.
Robert: Speaking of killer casting, what can you tell me about your upcoming film “Good Family Times” written and directed by Staci Layne Wilson?
Arielle: I can tell you that you’ve never really seen anything like “Good Family Times.” I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be given freedom to just play as an actor. It was exhilarating working with Staci, and all my “Good Family Times family. When Staci and Jen (both of whom I admire tremendously) approached me about the part, I felt like I won the lottery. To work with people of that high of caliber on material like this is a dream.
I think I squealed when I listened to Staci’s message. I’ve never had the opportunity to play someone as complex as Beatrice. The only real things in the world are her mannequin family members. It’s a head trip. I knew it was going to be the project of a lifetime, especially when I found out the other actors on board. I’m a huge fan of Elissa’s. And, I really admire and look up to Jen and her work. I was thrilled to work with Richard, Matt, Sean Keller, Elissa, Jen, and Nikita. I couldn’t believe I had this opportunity.
Robert: I am friends with Maria Olsen, and contributed to another film you worked on called “Live-In Fear.” What can you share about this horror film?
Arielle: Maria is one of my all time favorite artists and people!! I had the absolute joy of having “Live-In-Fear” be the first project I worked on with this renaissance woman. After working with her, I thought that this is the type of artist I want to be. You find people that inspire you and that share this joy of film making. She’s an artist through and through, and simply one of the best humans you will ever meet.
“LIF” was such a cool experience (pun intended). We filmed in this tiny town, Brian Head, Utah, in the dead of winter. I was so worried the townsfolk would turn the shoot into a real horror film. We were definitely outsiders.
I got a chance to see it play at a festival this past fall, and it’s such a cool, weird film. I was actually disturbed watching it. It gets under your skin, and it’s so unsettling. Brandon Scullion has such a unique and powerful voice as a filmmaker. It was wonderful working with a group of people who were just happy to be making art in the middle of freaking Utah.
Robert: Is there an actor/actress present, or past, you most wish you could/could have worked with? Why?
Arielle: Katherine Hepburn is the first to pop in my head. What a classy, smart ass lady. I think Philip Seymour Hoffman was a genius of our generation. He gave everything to his characters without question. I admire artists that put everything on the line the way he did.
Robert: How much do you draw upon yourself when creating a character?
Arielle: I think my single sanity saver is that I try and separate myself as much as I can from my characters. When I hear cut, I don’t want them hanging around any longer then they have to. But, I give myself permission to bleed for them. When I take on a character, I want to give all my heart to them, whatever type of person they are. Acting is terrifying. You’re going to feel things you try not to feel day to day.
Robert: What do you like the most about working in the horror industry? And what do you like the least?
Arielle: Horror is the only genre where you can go to such emotional extremes on a single project. I love that. I love the bare humanity that exists. I also love the horror community. The fans are phenomenal. The other film makers are always excited to help on a project. It’s such a supportive, tight community.
I also love that horror has such amazing female characters. I’ve not encountered the wealth of talent, on or behind the camera, that horror draws. Oddly enough, it’s a very woman-centric world.
I hate trying to wash the fake blood off at the end of the day. That stuff stains! I’ve got my gore clothes that I wear certain days on set if I know it’s a heavy makeup day. Our washing machine was broken earlier this year, and it was always weird trying to wash my gore clothes in a laundromat.
Robert: I know you’ve done model work and have a love of fashion. Do you see yourself pursuing this further in the future? Do you have any interest in costume or set design for films?
Arielle: Costumes are a great way for me to get to know the character better. I find that specific, tangible things add an incredible dimension to these people that you don’t know is there until you’re wearing them. I remember talking with Staci about a talisman for Beatrice. We were shooting necklace ideas back and forth, and then she sent me this pic of an antique bee. I was like “Yeah, that’s her.”
I love the reality that fashion photography creates. You can create this whole world in a single frame. Josh Banks, who I’ve the absolute pleasure of working with fashion wise for years, really opened my eyes to the artistry behind fashion, and the creativity employed. Before working with him, I thought it was about looking cool. I don’t think I’d pursue it beyond the occasional shoot, but I appreciate the artistry tremendously.
Robert: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers of my blog?
Arielle: I would love to give some shout outs to the film noir I’m shooting, “Day For Night.” It’s directed by Michael Chrisoulakis, written by Guy J. Jackson, and I get the pleasure of sharing the screen with two iconic women, Lin Shay, and Sally Kirkland. I also get the pleasure of working with Camilla Jackson, Azim Rizk, Ruben Pla, and DuJuan Johnson.
Also want to give a shout out to the upcoming Macbeth adaptation, “The Letter Red,” written by Edward Gusts, myself and Joston Theney. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Joston and Ed on several features, and they are two of my favorite artists of all time. I’m thrilled we have so many “Axeman 2” alum working on this film. “Axeman 2” is in post and will be out later this year! (Maria Olsen has a great part in it, FYI)
Finally, “Chemical Peel,” which was directed by Hank Braxtan, written by Dan Sinclair, with Natalie Victoria and I responsible for this messed up story, and distributed by Lionsgate, is available now.
I’m still pinching myself that I get to work with all of these amazing people.
Oh! And sock puppets! Check out SockPuppetShakespeare.com You’ll never be the same!
Robert: Thank you for taking time out to chat with me!
Arielle: Thank you so much Robert!! Thank you so so much for helping indie film get some love! It’s a joy working on these projects and I want to give as much love as I can to all these amazing artists.
Follow and learn more about Arielle and her films online: