Friday, February 5, 2010

Interview with Actress Zoe Daelman Chlanda

Acclaimed actor of independent film, Zoë Daelman Chlanda’s diverse movie roles in various award-winning features have gained her critical praise in the community among journalists and her peers.

An animal rights activist and entrepreneur, Zoë supports various charitable causes and also owns Absolute NYC Pilates in Manhattan.

Fatally Yours: What are your first memories of the horror genre and what drew you to it? 

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: The 1st horror movie I ever saw was The Omen. My parents were out for the evening and friends of theirs were watching me. They were more lenient than my parents and let me stay up late and watch TV with them. Actually, I don’t recall whether it was on TV or we watched a video? Nonetheless, I saw it and couldn’t forget it. For quite some time after I was either sleeping in my parent’s bed or with the light on in my room. I was scared. And I found it immensely exciting. I am drawn to that which terrifies me. I hate it, yet I get deep satisfaction in being consumed body and mind. I like being in situations where you have no choice but to be in the moment. Fear is among the things that will do that to you.

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: To me horror means a feeling or state of being that envelopes one completely. It means film work, for which I am honored.  It means a genre that captures a wide audience – an audience that is devoted, loyal, and inspires me to keep making horror films.

Fatally Yours: How did you get the role in your first horror film, Alan Rowe Kelly’s I’ll Bury You Tomorrow?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: I met Alan Rowe Kelly at a photo shoot. I was putting together a comp card (for modeling) and he was my makeup artist for the day. We hit it off immediately. He is warm, friendly, and easy to get along with. As the day went on and we got to speak more I told him I was an actor, much more so than a model in fact. Low and behold, Alan was in the process of writing a screenplay. He told me a little bit about it and in the end of the day we exchanged information. Alan told me that he would send me what he had written thus far, and we said goodbye. A short time later I received part of I’ll Bury You Tomorrow in the mail. I was intrigued and after I read it asked him to please send the rest of it when it was finished. The next time we communicated I got the full script in the mail and an invitation to audition for the lead character – Dolores Finley.

Fatally Yours: Was it your work in I’ll Bury You Tomorrow that made you pursue more roles in the horror genre?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: I’ll Bury You Tomorrow introduced me to the genre and vice versa. I credit that movie for putting me on the map (with audiences) and getting film directors (horror and other) interested in working with me. I credit Alan Rowe Kelly for much of my career past and present. He is a constant source of inspiration professionally and personally.

Fatally Yours: What upcoming horror films are you going to be working on? 

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: A few! I’m looking forward to starting production on Don’t Look In The Basement this summer. Alan Rowe Kelly and Anthony Sumner are producing and directing, and I will have the honor of acting along side of some of the best in the business – Jerry Murdock, Debbie Rochon, Caroline Williams, and Jeff Dylan Graham just to name a few.

I will also be working with actor/writer/director extraordinaire Susan Adriensen, on her film, Vengeance is Cynthia’s.

I’m working on a project, yet to be announced, with Jeremiah Kipp and Dominick Sivili, both of whom I worked with recently on the film Contact. I love how this movie came out and am proud to have been a part of it. It’s just getting out there and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!

Just last week I taped audio for Bart Mastrionardi’s film Vindication. Bart has a unique artistic vision. He is extremely passionate about his work/art, which makes him a pleasure to work with. I was thrilled when he offered me a role in the film. This is also a must see!

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

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: I am proud of each and every role I have taken on in the horror genre. I love my job and give it all I’ve got. I’ll Bury You Tomorrow will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first horror film and my first lead in a feature.

Fatally Yours: Are there certain roles you haven’t taken or refuse to take because they are too exploitative? 

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: There have been roles that I had concerns about after having read the script. In all instances I was able to voice my concerns to the Director, and collectively we were able to put my concerns to rest. I wouldn’t do anything I wasn’t completely comfortable with. After all, it’s me up there on the screen. I have great respect for all involved in any project I am a part of and demand the same in return. I have to believe that we all want what’s best for the film. If I don’t think I can deliver, for whatever reason, I won’t do the picture.

Fatally Yours: Dario Argento once said, “I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or man.” Alfred Hitchcock elaborated by saying, “I always believe in following the advice of the playwright Sardou. He said, ‘Torture the women!’ The trouble today is that we don’t torture enough.” What is your reaction when reading those quotes? 

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Beauty sells, indeed. “Torture the women”, well, I would add men, children, and animals. We are talking horror, after all. The more fragile, cute, or engaging a character is, the more one will cringe when they are killed, tortured, etc. I react to those quotes how I would imagine most people would – I’m horrified and disgusted, and yet listening and watching for more. Human nature isn’t always palatable.

Fatally Yours: Do you ever get annoyed by the stereotypical “bimbo in distress” who always seems to end up naked that many horror movies feature?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: I certainly get annoyed when “a naked bimbo in distress” brings nothing poignant to the movie. If the naked bimbo in distress doesn’t serve the film, or push the story, then, in my opinion, it is in bad taste, distracting, and juvenile. If a film resorts to this tactic in order to get attention, it’s a piece of shit. There’s a lot of shit out there, in my opinion, of course.

Fatally Yours: What horror movie would you say is equally fair in terms of men being objectified or at least, losing the same amount of clothes?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Good question. I don’t think I know of such a movie. Interested in work on a script?

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

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Overall, I think a lot of actress’s talent (in horror films) are underused. Women (actresses) should demand that their characters be more fully developed. Certainly women and their bodies are beautiful and should be celebrated, but there are so many more pieces of the pie that are equally engaging and interesting. And we are talking about films. Use all of your actors’ talents. And if their only talent is a great face and body, they are models, not actors!! The writers should give the audience more credit. Give us strong female characters. You want us to get naked? Give us a good reason to.

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

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: The character I’m working on at any given time, is my favorite. I fall in love with every character I play. It’s essential for me to do so in developing the character. Even the most deplorable characters have a heart, you just have to find it and then realize what in fact harmed or broke it, or changed it.

The most challenging character to date was Delores Finley from I’ll Bury You Tomorrow. She had schizophrenia, abused her medication (whether taking too much, too little, or not at all) and was sexually and mentally abused as a child by her mother and father. She was completely broken. She had so many layers. I had many headaches during the filming of the movie. It was no picnic being Delores. What a horrible life she lived. She was a truly tortured soul.

Fatally Yours: If you could play or work with any fictional horror villain in a film, who would it be and why? 

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Hannibal Lector would be a handful. Psychopaths interest me. Their brains are different. Perhaps broken. They live a completely different existence than the majority of the population. The research I would have to do is what interests me, whether I was playing the psychopath or playing along side one.

Fatally Yours: Since you’ve been involved with the horror genre, have you noticed more women becoming involved behind the camera as directors, producers, writers, etc.? 

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Since I have been involved in the genre, exactly 10 years, yes I absolutely see more women behind the cameras. In fact, I look forward to working with Susan Adriensen on a film she wrote and also will be directing called Vengeance is Cynthia’s. It’s going to be a great piece. Check it out at

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

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: I recently had the opportunity to produce Critics Choice, one of the films included in Alan Rowe Kelly and Anthony Sumners anthology, Gallery of Fear. Debbie Rochon stars in this piece so I spent a couple days, on set and off, with her. I think she’s fantastic. Quite an actor! And what a career she has had. I admire her moxie.

Fatally Yours: What would be your dream role/project?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: The next one…I’m living my dream of being an actor as often as possible. Every role/project that I’m a part of is, is a part of my dream. I would like an action role – I want to use fire arms and do some crazy stunts (jumping out a window or off a bridge). I think that would be fun!

Fatally Yours: What advice would you give aspiring women actors?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Hustle. Take care of your skin.

Fatally Yours: In your opinion, what makes the perfect scream queen?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: The perfect scream queen leaves you always wanting more. She gets in your head and you can’t get rid of her. She haunts you. You love/hate her.

Fatally Yours: What inspires, influences and motivates you?

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: Great films, great performances, my friends and family (pets included!). Love. The beach. Music. Good (vegetarian) food and drink. Dancers. Athletes. Children. Animals.

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

Zoë Daelman Chlanda: I want everyone to know who I am and what I do…Hopefully, I give good film.

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

Zoë Daelman Chlanda:

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