Interview with Maria Olsen: Horror Actor, Writer, Producer and Director. Owner of MOnsterworks66
I know you’re EXTREMELY busy so I greatly appreciate you taking some time out of your insane schedule to do this.
Maria: My earliest memory is of when I was about 4 years old and I was trying to sneak into the spare room in our apartment to get hold of the little pink hard candies that I knew my dad had hidden in the drawer in there… I don’t think I made it in!
Robert: What do you do to relax? Any specific hobbies or activities you like to do that would surprise your fans?
Maria: I actually don’t know if I ever relax because my mind is working all the time, but I do try to make some quiet time for reading and watching movies while knitting my designer scarves (although “watching movies” is arguably still “work” for me). If I had more free time, I would write more, get back into the kitchen to cook the gourmet meals I used to cook when I was still in South Africa and start dabbling in photography. If I had oodles of free time, I would love to travel more…especially to Sweden!
Robert: If tomorrow were your last day, what would be the first thing you would do?
Maria: Spend the whole day with my partner, my dad and my cats.
Maria: I don’t think I’ve yet succeeded in the industry…I’m just working a little more than is usual because I’m lucky to have an interesting look and on-screen presence. I’ll talk about how I succeeded in the industry once I’ve won that Oscar…
Also, why certain people work more than others is a combination of a lot of factors including luck, marketing, age, ethnicity, look, networking, on-set behavior, representation, luck and, oh yeah, possibly also talent…
Robert: To date, what has been your most challenging role in a film, on any level (physically, mentally, acting, etc.)?
Maria: I would count my leading role as Mia in the feature Reunion as one of my most challenging. Not only was I in almost every scene, the role was also incredibly physically and emotionally taxing and, when I went home each night, my brain was mush and I was usually battered and bruised. The film looks incredible, though, and we should premiere in June this year.
Maria: I would like to be in a re-make of Metropolis; I would like this very much, lol! As I’m now too old to play Maria and the Robot, I think I’d like to try for Rotwang, the mad scientist. Yes, I get that he’s a guy but we’re progressive now, yes? And things can change 😀
Robert: What can you tell me about the series “Our Zombie Mother?”
Maria: At the moment, my co-producer, Patrick Griffin of Griffin Studios, and I are taking meetings with distributors in an attempt to secure distribution for a first season of this TV/web-series. We’ve already shot the pilot, and it’s out of post-production although we’re keeping it under wraps for now, and we’re looking to score an overseas and / or domestic distribution deal to bring in some further production financing before we move ahead with developing and shooting the first season.
Maria: Your readers should know that Live-In Fear is presently with our distributors, WildEye Releasing, and that they are working on poster and DVD-cover artwork prior to our release. As soon as I hear our release date, I will be shouting it from the rooftops! Brandon Scullion’s awesome film has got wonderful reviews so far – it premiered at a Los Angeles festival last September – and I can’t wait for it to get out there!
Robert: Is there an actor/actress present, or past, you most wish you could/could have worked with? Why?
Maria: Oh there are many! I would love to work with Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster and Gillian Anderson, to name a few. And of those that are already gone, Vivien Leigh would have been on top of my list to work with either on stage or on screen.
Robert: How much do you draw upon yourself when creating a character?
Maria: I think it was Meryl Streep who said that, in order to create a convincing character, you must draw out from yourself the things you have in common with that character and work from there. Yes, I’m paraphrasing her horribly, but the basic idea remains: we all have aspects of the characters we play within us, and it’s up to us to find them and work on them until they become dominant during the time we live as that role. This is very much what I do for the larger roles that I play.
Robert: What do you like the most about working in the horror industry? And what do you like the least?
Maria: I really like the fact that the genre gives actors the opportunity to play meatier roles than are usually found in more mainstream genres. In horror, actors can explore deviant and dysfunctional characters to an extent that just isn’t possible in other genres, and I, for one, relish this challenge.
What I like least is the fact that there seems to be no sense of risk-taking at the studio level as we see either the same types of horror vehicles recycled, sequel after sequel after sequel or the-remake-of-the-day. Innovation, envelope-pushing and risk-taking is thriving in the indie horror scene, though, and without it we’d never have films like Starry Eyes.
Maria: I really enjoyed working with Dennis and Kevin again – they had previously directed me in the short film, Curtain, which you can find on their Parallactic Pictures’ website – and I loved making new friends on set, including the super-talented Alex Essoe! I loved my character, especially the understated way that Dennis and Kevin wanted me to play her, and I’m thrilled with the reception both the film and my character are getting.
Everyone who sees it seems to have a different interpretation of who and what I am, and some of the ideas that are making their way to me are just SO intriguing! I’m honored to have been a part of Starry Eyes, and I hope that I get to work with Dennis and Kevin on many future projects.
Maria: Yes, absolutely! Two further films of mine have been released since Starry Eyes, and I’d love to give them a shoutout! The first is Hansel vs. Gretel, which is getting awesome reviews and which can be found on Netflix streaming and at all the usual DVD outlets.
The second is a film I co-produced along with Randal Kamradt of Soliloquy Films: the fantasy adventure feature Faraway. You can find Faraway on iTunes and other platforms (details on its Facebook page):
Faraway iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/faraway/id961918912
Faraway Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/farawayfilm
Also be on the lookout for Gore Orphanage, Axeman II: Overkill and Live-In Fear (another of my co-productions, this time with Brandon Scullion’s Iodine Sky Productions), which should all be released later this year.
Robert: Thank again for taking time to chat with me!