Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interview with Actress Raine Brown

Raine Brown is a classically trained theatre actor who is well versed at playing Shakespeare’s heroines as well as performing modern pieces such as Laura in The Glass Menagerie and Abigail in The Crucible. Most recently, Raine has been focused on her film career, as evidenced by her IMBD resume, working on numerous independent movies. She has starred in films such as Horror, Aunt Rose, Barricade, Satan’s Playground, Beast and 100 Tears. Raine has relished her Scream Queen status and has continued to promote her projects and meet her fans as a reoccurring guest at numerous horror conventions.

Raine continues to work relentlessly on many different projects such as Sculpture, Don’t Look in the Basement, Game Over, and BrainCell all of which she carries the staring roles. Further, Raine has started her own production company called RaineY DaZe Creations, which has had a hand in production of numerous films and most specifically the two yet to be released films called I < 3 U, which she is the co-creator and star, and Psycho Street, where she will not only star, but work as a first time director in one of the segments. Raine also recently performed at the 32nd Annual Samuel French Original Off-Off Broadway Festival, and the one act Fish at the NYC Fringe Festival.

Fatally Yours: How did you fall in love with the horror genre? 

Raine Brown: Actually that is just what happened, I fell into the horror genre and then loved doing it. I trained to be an actor and would audition constantly for any type of work: theatre, film, commercials, comedy or drama. It didn’t matter, I just loved to act and loved to work and was hungry to do anything. My first big feature was with Dante Tomesselli’s film Horror. After that, I would get called in to more horror auditions when they saw that film was in my credits and I kept getting cast in horror films and building a reputation and contacts. After working on a number of films, I really began to love the excitement and crazy dramatic storylines in horror films.

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?

Raine Brown: Horror means delving into people’s most basic fears and inner demons and exploring them as a way to release them and understand them.

Fatally Yours: What is one thing you’ve done within the horror genre that you are most proud of?

Raine Brown: I have stayed true to myself. I don’t think I am your typical Scream Queen. I don’t do naked or love horror just for the novelty factor. I really care about the acting and the art behind the production. I am not in it to exploit and work on superficial projects. I am here to explore and create and to fulfill an artistic need I have to perform.

Fatally Yours: Do you feel women in horror get the proper recognition when compared to their male counterparts?

Raine Brown: I think so. I think women have a real place in this genre. I mean they don’t call us Scream QUEENS for nothing and there is no male equivalent. Literally and figuratively Ha Ha!

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? 

Raine Brown: I think the film business as a whole is dominated by males. They are the ones who do most of the writing, directing, and producing. However, in this world of independent film, I find that the guys that I have worked with are some of the best people I know and some of my best friends. I do feel that the people I work with listen to my ideas and work to make the process very collaborative. I have felt very respected and most of the filmmakers just want to make the best film possible. So, if I have something to contribute to make it a better project, I have felt listened to. I always appreciate that independent film tends to be such a collaborative effort and would miss that part of the creative process working on more studio projects. I wouldn’t mind the money…but….

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 exploited?

Raine Brown: I have made it my mission not to be exploited as a female in this genre and to play strong and powerful roles. As a child I didn’t really like horror movies because I did inherently find something misogynistic about them. Of course I didn’t have the language for this at the time, but thinking back that is how I felt and so I never could identify with them. I think today, things have completely changed. I think that more and more females are being drawn in by horror films and I think it is because the genre has changed and now, often has a women character as the hero. In more films then not, I have played a powerful woman and the heroine who despite all these big guys around, has to be the one to save the day. I have actually become almost typecast as a strong female who kicks butt at the end. I can live with that stereotype!

Fatally Yours: As an actress, do you feel roles in horror for women tend to be weaker or stronger than those for males? 

Raine Brown: As I said, I have been very lucky to play very strong females. In many of my recent movies, I was the lead female, and she is the one that has to be the champion and find the strength within herself to fight what every evil was thrown at her for that film. I think in most films there are victims, but they seem to be both indiscriminately male and female who get bad things done to them. I find that male viewers like to watch a strong female at work and that the increasingly female horror audience personally identifies with “woman power”. I think the days of the weeping willow girl are over!

Fatally Yours: What are your overall thoughts on how women are portrayed in horror films?

Raine Brown: Unfortunately, I think there is always going to be a market for the naked female victim who is exploited and toured. I don’t like those roles and I think it is becoming less and less. I think the torture porn error was short lived. If you are going to invest hours watching a film, people want a story and they want to care about the characters. Again, I have found that the women I get to play are strong and some heroic and some very crazy, but all have their own will and story and I think are fairly portrayed .

Fatally Yours: What has been your favorite character you’ve portrayed?

Raine Brown: I don’t know. It sounds silly, but they all have become kind of like friends of mine. I like each one for different reasons. Like my role Ashley Steel in Sculpture. She is an artist and a very tortured soul that in the end completely mentally and morally breaks down and that was so interesting to explore. I got to play really dominate and aggressive women, but with a comedic tilt such as Nurse Amber Lovejoy in Hypochondriac and Silvia Moffat in Down the Drain. I got to play a really tough tom boy who has an awesome action sequence in Beast. I got to play more of a sullen somber role as a girl who lost all of her family in BrainCell. And who can forget the totally crazed over the top Christine I got to portray in 100 Tears. So many of the characters are so different and thinking of them brings back a time and place and I really do have a fondness for each of them.  They are like children, I have to love them all no matter what.

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.?

Raine Brown: Well I have noticed a change in what I do. Along with acting, I have started my own company RaineY DaZe Creations which has helped to produced and wardrobe numerous films including BrainCell, Game Over,  Beast. Also, last year I executive produced, and co-produced and co-created the story for the film I starred in called I <3 U. It is a horror dark comedy where I play Liz Fletcher, a type A personality caterer who is bored with her life and her schlumpy husband and has this entire secret life where she artistically “rids” the world  of looser men. Things get complicated when she falls for a competing serial killer. This role was completely written for me and that was the beauty of helping to produce the story. I got to play a character that I had really wanted to and had input on how it was created and developed. Also, I am currently co-producing and starring in the anthology Psycho Street and am a first time director for one of the segments call No Rest For The Wicked. This piece really caught my attention because it is such a character piece. It is a dramatic thriller that delves in to the psychological world of a very lonely and disturbed single mother. I have to say the leap to the other side of the camera has been both a ton of work and rewarding at the same time. I do appreciate more of the control over the creative direction of the films, but it is so much more stress and work to organize all the pieces versus just showing up when everything is in place and performing. I do like both ends and have found my male co-works have been very supportive of this move.

Fatally Yours: What women in horror do you look up to?

Raine Brown: God, I love Betsy Palmer! She has stories that would make your roll over and pee your pants. She is so spunky and lively, I want to be her when I am older!!

Fatally Yours: What would be your dream role?

Raine Brown: I don’t know if I have a dream role specifically. I know I would love to do a cool series, like the Resident Evil films. A role that is really powerful and completely identifiable, and that I would get to play in a trilogy or continuum of films. That would be brilliant!

Fatally Yours: What advice would you give aspiring women actors who want to work in the horror genre?

Raine Brown: m, actually take acting classes. Don’t just think because you are cute you should act. There are a ton of cute girls out there and yeah aybe you will do a film or two, but if you want longevity, learn your craft. This way even if the film is not the most amazing piece of art you can find, you can bring something to it -besides you cute behind. Also love what you do and be a positive force on every set. It is so difficult to make an indie film on a small budget; no one needs divas. Don’t be that girl.

Fatally Yours: In your opinion, what makes the perfect scream queen and who is the ultimate scream queen?

Raine Brown: I think you need a good scream first of all, some looks and intensity and passion. But I think there are as many types as flavors of ice creams. Something for everyone to like. I don’t know who is the ultimate Scream Queen but Vampira is just so classic!!

Fatally Yours: What inspires, influences and motivates you?

Raine Brown: Color, rhythm of music and dialogue. Laughter, intensity, flow. Love, physical contact. Looking for the extraordinary in the mundane. Psychology, passion, creativity. Security, adventure, me time, familiar friends and new faces.

Fatally Yours: What are your goals for yourself within the horror genre?

Raine Brown: My goal is to continue to work on really creative and fun projects and keep meeting more talented people and to carry on working with the people that I love to work with.  I want these films continue to enhance the reputation of horror genre and to improve its legitimacy as an expressive filmic art form.  Also, I just want to have fun doing what I love!!

Fatally Yours: Where can people find more info on you?

Raine Brown: My website, www.rainebrown.com, and for moment-to-moment updates www.myspace.com/rainebrown

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