Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Interview with Actress Devanny Pinn
Devanny is currently one of the youngest scream queens to grace horror fans’ screens and has already terrorized her way through over 14 films this year alone…with no intention of slowing down. Devanny has starred in movies like 12-24, Bad Girls Burn in Hell, Scream Queen Campfire, Diary of Death, The New Face of Fear and so on alongside the hottest scream queens, including Tiffany Shepis, Rachel Grubb, Scarlet Salem, Tara Cardinal and Bianca Barnett.
Devanny has many exciting projects lined up for 2010 including the thriller 15 Til Midnight and an anthology series called Devanny Pinn’s Trial by Terror. She will also be co-hosting the 1st Annual Women in Horror Awards with fellow scream queen Tara Cardinal.
In addition to her film career, Devanny is a passionate activist. She started Scream for a Cause Foundation which uses the influence from scream queens and other horror genre icons to create awareness and support for a variety of charitable causes. Their recent project is The Great American Bloodletting, which is a nationwide blood drive for victims in Haiti that will take place during Women in Horror Month this February.
Fatally Yours: How did you fall in love with the horror genre?
Devanny Pinn: I grew up a pretty good kid. I was somewhat overprotected and was ok with except when it came to watching movies I was not supposed to. I love being scared and the rush that comes with it. Horror films thrill me, shock me and fully entertain me. I love that in our world there are no limits. When I started acting, I found a whole new way to enjoy my gore – being inside the nightmare just makes me giddy. Hehehe!
Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?
Devanny Pinn: Horror is my playground. For the longest time it was a male dominated industry that many people didn’t have the nerve to work in or watch, so of course I jumped right in. Horror is a release from the stiffness and boundaries of reality. As an actor, I love it because in my opinion, there are a lot more types of roles to play and in more interesting situations. I like extreme and intense material, so the supernatural, psychological and action elements in a horror film are way more fun then if I were to do a comedy or drama. Zzzzzzzz
More recently, horror is an opportunity. An opportunity for people to get their art made and seen more easily, and for women to take the reins in a field that society tells them they should stand down in.
Fatally Yours: How and when did you get involved in the horror genre?
Devanny Pinn: My first film experience was in a horror film called The Lonely Ones, and it launched my career. More importantly it allowed me to discover my blood lust. Until that point I was doing musical theater stage productions, and I thought that was my calling. I felt more alive covered in blood then ever before. Since then I have decided to do only indie horror films, and I cannot get enough.
Fatally Yours: What is one thing you’ve done within the horror genre that you are most proud of?
Devanny Pinn: Well, I’m still in the beginning stages, but I think what I am going to be most proud of is the events we are doing in honor of women in horror month. I am such a feminist so the fact that we have a place and a month to get together and honor the talented women of our genre is the most important thing I can do. Giving hardworking people the credit they deserve is bigger then all of us, and hopefully will unite us. I don’t want to talk about what the specific events are yet because some of it needs to be a surprise, but I hope that it creates the awareness that Tara Cardinal and I are planning.
Fatally Yours: Do you feel women in horror get the proper recognition when compared to their male counterparts?
Devanny Pinn: Of course not. It’s only recently that anyone is even acknowledging that women exist in our industry, other then to provide tits for the films distribution. I know a lot of people are going to tiptoe around this question, but I was never good at being subtle. The only reason women are being given any attention now is because that recent statistics have shown a growth in female viewers. Now that roughly 60% of the horror customers are women, the money grubbers have decided it might be an intelligent idea to have more female input.
Fatally Yours: As a woman in horror, have you found it harder to be taken seriously in a genre that seems to be dominated by males?
Devanny Pinn: If I get “shh” one more time regarding business I’m going to go serial killer on set, and I don’t mean when the camera is rolling. I can not tell you how many times I’ve taken pity on a guy who ran into a common problem during the filmmaking process, and given him the answer, only to be completely ignored, disregarded, dismissed and even told to be removed from set and unclothed. Of course when it actually turned out to that I was an intelligent and knowledgeable person, then it was laughed about that I, a women, knew more about the topic then the guy running the show. I still was not taken seriously, it was simply funny to everyone else, and considered an insult to know less then some chick does.
Fatally Yours: Have you ever felt exploited as a woman by any roles you’ve taken? Have there been certain roles you wouldn’t take because you felt the role was too exploitative?
Devanny Pinn: Many films with nudity or sex in it is exploitive, unfortunately a lot of it is in our genre. I only recently did nudity and I thought it would be liberating. In a way it was. And also I know several incompetent film makers will now be literally selling their film off of my skin. I am glad I did it simply so I can fully understand the concept and make better decisions regarding what roles I choose and why. I have some films coming up with nudity in them, and it’s very tasteful and in context that sheds a positive light on the female body and character. I think as women are taking over the genre, we need to redefine a few things as well. Nudity and sex does not have to be a negative or demeaning thing, I think more female writers and directors will be able to show this.
Fatally Yours: Do you feel roles in horror for women tend to be weaker or stronger than those for males?
Devanny Pinn: I think there is a fair amount of both actually. I think women are shown as victims and aggressors, heroes and bimbos. I love that male writers still like strong female characters. My favorite book, Men Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, explains how the male audience will originally enjoy the violence being committed against women and then switch to identify with a female character who rises to the occasion and kick some ass.
Fatally Yours: What has been your favorite character you’ve portrayed?
Devanny Pinn: Would be very recently in a film called Diary of Death – I played a demon who assists in collecting corrupted souls. I really enjoy other type periods and Devina, my character, is an ancient Egyptian goddess. The writer made her the most powerful of all the demons and incorporated the fictional story into actual Egyptian history. I really appreciated that an all male production would give my character such a dominating role. It was a lot of fun.
Fatally Yours: Since you’ve been involved with the horror genre, have you noticed a change in women’s roles within horror whether it be roles in horror films, women behind the camera, women writers, etc.?
Devanny Pinn: I know we have always been around, but I think it’s the right time and the right group of girls who have stood up and decided to have a voice. I don’t know that our roles are changing, I think people are just more aware of our presence – and that’s as it should be. I hope that a lot of women who are curious about horror check it out and even better, get involved.
Fatally Yours: What women in horror do you look up to?
Devanny Pinn: I have major respect for Hannah Neurotica for the spark that started all of this, Tara Cardinal my horror partner-in-crime for writing, producing, directing and starring films instead of waiting for a guy to help her get something started, to the girls over at Viscera and Chainsaw Mafia and anyone who is stepping up and empowering women in horror and everywhere. Thank you.
Fatally Yours: What would be your dream role?
Devanny Pinn: Anything opposite Jamie Lee Curtis and Sarah Michelle Gellar, they really left a huge dent in the horror genre as strong leading ladies and inspire me as an artist.
Fatally Yours: What advice would you give women who want to work in the horror genre?
Devanny Pinn: Do it! Do not wait, do not take no for an answer. Now is our time and there is some amazing art to be made. Ask how you can get involved, we would love to have you.
Fatally Yours: In your opinion, what makes the perfect scream queen and who is the ultimate scream queen?
Devanny Pinn: I’m going to bow out of most of this question, out of respect for the hardworking horror actresses. But I will say that the term scream queen is being thrown around without any regard for what it really is. There are many wonderful women in the horror business, but a scream queen is an actress in horror who is goes above and beyond in her film. If you have never acted or was a model in horror once, your photo is on a horror site, you ran camera or wrote something in the genre…are Paris Hilton, you are Not a scream queen. To try to make people take actresses in horror films seriously anyway is a huge task, especially when many actresses themselves do not consider a horror film anything that takes real acting chops or talent. If you give impressive, emotionally moving, bone chilling performances that an audience remembers and critics respect you for, then you are a scream queen. It is my hope that we can define and admire those girls for who they are and not insult the hardworking artists by throwing some ½ naked model on a horror site, or referring to a girl who has no idea about horror or what good acting is and calling her a scream queen. In fact those girls need to not be in horror films at all. Just saying…
Fatally Yours: What inspires, influences and motivates you?
Devanny Pinn: Art. And people who give everything in themselves to make it. Self expression is so powerful and beautiful, I love to see what moves people. I like when someone who is who they are and loud about it, bold people who break the barriers and the rules. I enjoy heights (probably because they scare me), traveling and doing charity work. Passion, love and fear are my biggest motivators. They also inspire my best work.
Fatally Yours: What are your goals for yourself within the horror genre?
Devanny Pinn: I want to empower women as a whole, inspire newcomers, put indie horror on the map as a respectable career path, express myself as an artist and make some damn good cinema for the fans behind the camera as well as in front of. I hope to be part of horror until the day I die (for real).
Fatally Yours: What are you working on next?
Devanny Pinn: I’ve got six films in preproduction over the next couple months. One in particular, 15 to Midnight, I am pretty excited about because it’s my first thriller. I’ve been very lucky to book a lot of work recently and I’m so thankful. I have been working really hard so it’s very rewarding to see the critics, filmmakers and fans appreciating what I’m doing.
Fatally Yours: Where can people find more info on you?
Devanny Pinn: My website is www.devannypinn.net that’s the best place to check out the latest info. I also am on Myspace at www.myspace.com/devannypinn and have some raw event footage for the talk show that’s in production with Tara Cardinal called Scream Queens: Uncut at www.youtube.com/screamqueensuncut
Big thanks to Sarah and Fatally-Yours for having me. I’m glad to be a part of this, and proud to be a woman in horror!