An Interview with The Editor Actress Sheila E. Campbell
An Interview with The Editor Actress Sheila E. Campbell
by Pathetic Waste
Sheila E. Campbell is an up and coming actress currently making her mark in the independent film world. With upcoming roles in Astron 6’s The Editor, Dead Men and the short film Bandages, this is only the beginning for the young starlet. I had the pleasure of conducting Sheila’s first ever interview.
PW: You are currently establishing yourself within the independent film and horror community. Where does your admiration for acting originate? What made you become an actress and where was your start?
Sheila: From a very early age, I remember being obsessed with movies; musicals and adventure films were a particular favorite. I remember wanting to be just like Indiana Jones for all of grade four, and then wanting to be Nellie Forbush (from Joshua Logan’s South Pacific) for grade five. It had never occurred to me that other children were not similarly obsessed.
My first taste in performance was in grade school. I was an avid participant in drama class, and tried to appear in every theatrical production put on. Drama class was the only reason why I graduated high school, and was the only class I would never skip. Throughout my early-to-mid-twenties, I occasionally did theater, while working and putting myself through university. Really, it was not until this last year that I have decided to really pursue acting as a career. Thus far, I’ve been pretty lucky to fall into some good projects.
PW: Your feature film debut is the upcoming giallo-horror-comedy The Editor. A film helmed by Canadian troupe the Astron 6! How did you get involved with The Editor? Were you familiar with the Astron 6 before getting the part?
Sheila: Funny story, I almost didn’t audition for Matt and Adam. Late last year, I was up to the wee hours one night, when I stumbled upon a casting call that Matt had posted on Facebook. I almost didn’t submit myself for consideration, because I was just about to head to bed, and I had to rest up for an audition I had the next day for a different film. But then I remembered my fiancé’s favorite saying: “If you don’t put your hook in the water, you’ll never catch any fish”, and decided to submit. Almost immediately, Matt responded to my email and invited me to audition for him and Adam the next day. Because of the very short notice, I had almost no time to prepare for the audition, and basically winged it. Whatever I did worked, and by the end of the day, Matt called to offer me the role of Margarit. It was a very special moment.
I was not really familiar with Astron 6 before I was offered the part, but I very quickly became a big fan after watching Father’s Day and all of their hilarious shorts in the weeks leading up to filming. Actually, I quietly swooned when I had dinner with Adam, Conor, and Matt after my first day of filming. I couldn’t believe that I was sitting with Ahab, Twink, and Father John Sullivan.
PW: Can you give us some insight about your character, Margarit Porfiry? How did you approach the role?
Sheila: Margarit Porfiry is a B-movie actress who suffers from hysterical blindness, and is also the wife of Inspector Porfiry (Matt Kennedy). She works for the same film studio that employs master editor Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks), and is an actress in the ill-fated film at the center of The Editor’s storyline. Margarit’s distinct look is based off of the famous white-eyed blind girl in Lucio Fulci’s 1981 film The Beyond. During filming I wore a specially made pair of white contact lenses that made me completely blind.
As far as how I approached the role, I developed my character by creating a back story, and by watching several classic giallo films for inspiration. One thing I purposely did not do during my research was learn how to ‘act’ blind, because I was going to actually going to BE blind during the course of filming. I figured that Margarit would not have become accustomed to being blind during the timeframe of the movie. The blind contact lenses really helped me get into character, beyond the obvious. I was amazed at the adverse psychological effect being blind had on me.
PW: The Editor will be having its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. How does it feel that your first feature film will be debuted at TIFF? Is it a little unreal? Did you anticipate the hype the film is receiving?
Sheila: Totally unreal is right! I didn’t believe the news at first- I thought that someone was playing an elaborate prank. I did, though, anticipate that this film would make a big splash. It has all the right ingredients for success: excellent script, mad genius film makers, bigger name actors, and a rabid fan base. I am happy that The Editor is being formally recognized, because it totally deserves it.
PW: I’d like you to reveal a bit about the production. Was it chaos? Was it unlike anything you had experienced? Did you get to work with co-stars Udo Kier, Laurence R Harvey and Paz de le Huerta?
Sheila: I had terrific fun during filming, and didn’t find the film set to be chaotic at all. I mean, we did some seriously crazy stuff, but it was all very exciting and fun. I was genuinely sad when I was done filming, and had a little cry.
As for our big stars, unfortunately, I did not have to opportunity to work with Paz, Laurence, or Udo. I was cast quite late into the production, and those three had already filmed their scenes earlier in the year. I did, however, have a chance to work with Broadway star Samantha Hill. Sam is unbelievably talented, and is very down to earth.
PW: I know the Astron 6 is a wild and very talented bunch. What was it like working with them? Did they welcome you with open arms? Can we expect you working together in the future?
Sheila: Personally, working with Astron 6 has been a dream, and the boys were more than welcoming towards me. Matt, Adam, and Conor (Sweeney) are super hilarious, and I found it tremendously difficult to keep a straight face when they would start improvising during our scenes together. From an actor’s perspective, I felt that Matt and Adam really trusted me with my character, and were quite open to any suggestions or ideas I had during filming.
I certainly hope to work with Astron 6 again! I would be happy to be in their next 100 films, if they would have me.
PW: Were you accustomed to the giallo genre before working on the film? If so, what giallo films were you familiar with?
Sheila: Honesty, I was only slightly familiar with the giallo genre before I was chosen for this film. I did enjoy watching Dario Argento’s Tenebre and Susperia, and Fulci’s The Beyond while researching for my role.
PW: What can Astron 6 and horror fans, worldwide, expect from The Editor?
Sheila: Fans will need a cold shower after they’re done watching The Editor. Basically, it’s the best movie of all time.
But really, this film is not your typical horror movie. For one, it’s an intelligent and side-splittingly funny horror-comedy. If you’re not a fan of Astron 6 before watching The Editor, I guarantee that you will be after.
PW: You also have a role in the upcoming Robin Blanchard film Dead Men. How did you get involved with the picture?
Sheila: Oddly enough, I met Robin through Facebook. Like Matt, he posted a casting call advertisement and I submitted myself for consideration. I did the audition and was offered the lead role shortly thereafter.
PW: What can you tell us about the film?
Sheila: ‘Dead Men’ is a noir-thriller about familial love and greed. I play the role of Mara Cain, an artist whose past keeps coming back to haunt her.
Originally, Robin had made Dead Men as a short film in early 2013, and then later decided to rework the original into a feature length film. The original short featured a young girl as the protagonist. I play the adult version of her in the feature. I had a really good time working on this project, and became good friends with Robin during the course of filming. He and I hope to work together again.
PW: When can we expect Dead Men to be released?
Sheila: Robin is planning to have Dead Men hit the film festival stream by early 2015. Right now, the film is in a phase affectionately known as “post production hell”.
PW: You also worked on the make-up department for the Dead Men? What was your involvement in the make-up department? How does make-up differ from being in front of the camera?
Sheila: I wore a few different hats during the filming of Dead Men. I did hair and make-up for several scenes, and also did some special effects makeup too. I just happen to have a knack for doing makeup, so I offered my services free of charge. I’ve discovered that having talents other than acting is quite useful in independent film making.
PW: You have an appearance in an upcoming short film, entitled Bandages. What can you tell us about this project?
Sheila: I am very, very excited about this project. Basically, Bandages goes like this: On his first night of retirement, Lazlo, a guilt ridden hit man attempts an act of kindness but quickly discovers that old habits die hard. I play a hooker named Luella, who isn’t what she seems.
Bandages takes much of its inspiration from the EC Crime comics of the 1940s and 1950s, and we are hoping to make an anthology series, comprised of several interconnected short films. The director, Steve Ward, has put together a pretty awesome Indiegogo campaign, and is planning to launch it in the next couple of weeks. Please check out official Facebook page for further details.
PW: You are currently sowing your name into the horror community. Would the label Scream Queen be a blessing or a curse?
Sheila: It could only be a blessing, of course!! I’d be totally honoured if the horror community made me one of their own!
PW: Do you plan to stay in front of the camera or do you have any aspirations to write, direct, produce, etc?
Sheila: Like every actor ever, I would also love to write, direct, and produce one day. But, for right now, while I am still sort of young, I plan on staying in front of the camera.
PW: Any advice you can give to aspiring actresses and scream queens?
Sheila: Ha! I still feel like I’m an aspiring actress, but suppose I have three pieces of advice to give.
Number one is act confident, even if you don’t feel very confident. Walking in to auditions with confidence will only serve to help your performance, and make you more memorable to the casting director.
Number two is to get involved in your local acting scene, even if that means attending workshops. Make friends who are involved in the arts, and ask them who their friends are. Introduce yourself and get your name out there, and make important connections. You never know who you might meet.
Number three is to NOT be a jerk. Be respectful, courteous, and polite, wherever you go, and towards everyone you meet. This goes for being on set too. Be on time, know your lines, have a character developed, and be as accommodating to your director and the film crew as possible. Having a good reputation is a very good thing.
PW: As an actress, what is the most important thing while working on a horror film?
Sheila: Drink lots of water and tea before and after your screaming scenes.
PW: If you could work with any director, who would that be?
Sheila: Mel Brooks.
PW: What is your favorite horror film?
Sheila: Hands down, my favorite horror movie is ‘The Evil Dead’. Ash is a total dreamboat.
PW: Anything you’d like to share with your fans and the fans of the Astron 6?
Sheila: At this point I’m pretty sure that the entirety of my fan base is only comprised of family and friends, but I would like to say that I am forever thankful for their love and support.
For something fun to finish off this interview, I could give you some trivia about the film:
The dog that is featured in the film is my real-life pet dog. His name is Johnny Cash and I adopted him from the pound. I’m fairly certain that I was chosen for The Editor because I offered Matt and Adam the use of my dog, free of charge.
During the filming of my screaming scenes, my scream was so loud that it caused our camera to skip frames multiple times, ruining several takes. The same thing happened to the audio equipment when I recorded my screams during post-production.
To the fans of Astron 6, I’d say that the boys deserve every bit of recognition they get. Not only are they mad geniuses, but they are also pretty awesome human beings. Imagine how cool you think they are in real life, and then times it by one thousand.
For More On Sheila E. Campbell, Astron 6, Dead Men and Bandages, PLEASE VISIT: