An Interview with Hayley Derryberry by Dean Sills

SONY DSCAn Interview with Hayley Derryberry by Dean Sills

UKHS – Hi Hayley, welcome to UK Horror Scene.

First of all I would just like to say you have the most fantastic name for an actress, it’s really cool. How did you get into acting and writing especially in the horror genre and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?

HD – Some actors get started in theater or commercials, I got started in the “Indie” world. I started my professional acting career in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and there was a huge scene of independent filmmakers there and where there is independent film there tends to always be horror. I expected that I would end up in horror, but what I didn’t expect is how much I would love it. The horror genre is one of the most forgiving for new filmmakers starting out with low budgets. It also has the most loyal and accepting group of fans that you’ll find anywhere. The best thing about working in horror is connecting with the fans.


hdb3UKHS – Your new movie ‘Rabid Love’ recently came out on DVD. You play the lead character Heather Ross plus you also co-produced and co-wrote the film. I did enjoy the movie and it was great we go to know the characters. How did you and your husband Paul J. Porter (Director and co-star) come up with the story and what’s it like working with your husband especially when he is directing you?

HD – The story was all Paul’s idea. And then, the script kind of formed around the locations and actors that we had available. It was changing down to the last day of shooting. The main driving force behind Rabid Love was to get our first feature film made and do have fun while doing it. We didn’t want to stress ourselves out too much because we knew we’d be doing most of the work on our own. Working with Paul now just seems like any other day. When we first started, we thought we should try separating our professional and personal lives and all that. That lasted about a day. Finally we realized that this is who we are and how we work. Our work is a part of our home life and visa versa.


hdb1UKHS – I love how the movie is set in the 1980s and at times it almost feels like it was made in the 80s. How did you find the perfect location and how long did the entire shoot take?

HD – Originally we wanted to find a very forest-heavy location, maybe something up north with a big lake like you see in many summer vacation movies. But Paul was just looking around on Google maps at Hanston, Kansas (which is where he spent a lot of time while growing up) and he saw a few wooded areas and a little bit of water and thought we might be able to do it there. Hanston was well located for us because it was close to Albuquerque and close to Kansas City and Paul’s grandmother lives there so we would have some local resources.
The town itself still looks like it is in the 80’s so it worked out great. The cabin where the characters all stay is one that Paul’s family rents out every year for hunting trips and it also looked trapped in time. I can’t imagine now trying to shoot anywhere else. I think the entire shoot was 5 weeks.


hdb2UKHS – What was it like working with Brandon Stacy (David) and the rest of the cast of ‘Rabid Love’ and have you worked with any of them before?

HD – Brandon and a lot of our main cast had worked with us on a short version of Rabid Love that we shot to raise money for the feature, then we brought on a couple more faces for the final shoot. The entire cast was amazing. We were truly lucky to get them. They were all real pro’s and we were even more lucky that they were willing to live with us out in the middle of Kansas for a month.


UKHS – How did you prepare for the role of Heather and how much of you is actually in her?

HD – Heather is pretty much me, or at least one of my sides. We actors tend to have multiple people trapped inside us. Heather is one of mine. For the feature I had to do a lot of running. I didn’t grow up doing any kind of sports and certainly no track but Paul did and he taught me a lot. I ran 5 days a week leading up to the shoot and learned how to jump hurdles. I ended up really enjoying the running so I kept it up afterward for myself.


hdb4UKHS – When you are writing about horror or comedy where does your inspiration come from?

HD – I’ve never been trained as a writer and I don’t think my brain works the same way that many of theirs do. For me when I’m writing, I kind of act out and visualize the scenes in my head as if I’m watching the movie and as long as I understand each character, I can figure out what’s going to happen in that scene. Its really important for me to build up each character and understand their backstories and motivations then writing everything else just falls into place.


UKHS – Can you tell us a little about some of your other work as an actress and which projects have you enjoyed working on the most?

HD – Like I said, I got started in the indie world. I’ve done a lot of low budget films, many of which never got finished or never got sold. My favorites are ones where I really get to develop a character. I’ve done a lot of bit parts on TV shows or bigger projects, but for most of them I don’t really get to do much with my character. The best is when I have a character with a major arc in the film and I really get to work on it. And then its even better if there are special effects involved. One of the coolest projects I’ve gotten to work on was Red, White, and Bluey last year in Australia. I had a major character in the film (White) and Paul and I got to fly out to Australia to work on it. Plus it was Sci Fi, so all around a really great job for an actor.


hdb5UKHS – If you were stranded on a desert island, which three items would you want to have with you?

HD – Clean drinking water and a boat, maybe some sunscreen. Sorry got to get back to my civilization. I love being around people. Solitude is not for me.


UKHS – I read that your favourite Horror movie is ‘Evil Dead ll’. I love how it mixes pure elements of tense horror with comedy. What do you love about this movie and why is it your favourite?

HD – I didn’t grow up watching a lot of horror films and the ones I did get to see always just scared me to death. So I grew up thinking that horror was just scary. It was in my late teens probably about 19 years old when I saw Evil Dead II for the first time. It was the first horror film that I saw that was fun. Then it was like I just got it: It is fun to scare the crap out of yourself sometimes. My favorite horror films are the ones that can scare you and make you laugh.


hdb8UKHS – Finally, are you currently working on any other projects which you can tell UKHS about?

HD – Paul and I are working on shooting another film soon, and I’ve been writing. There are a few projects that I’m working on as an actress as well, but everything is still in its early stages so I don’t want to make any announcements yet. Do follow me on Twitter. That is the best way to keep up with me. I’m @HaylzBellz and I look forward to connecting more with you. Thank you, Dean


UKHS – You are welcome, Hayley. Thank you for your time and keep up the great work.

Rabid Love is available to buy on DVD from in the USA – HERE

Images courtesy: Hayley Derryberry

Facebook – HERE

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Dean Sills

About Dean Sills

Dean Sills is a professional freelance writer and actor from England. He has written for a number of magazines and Newspapers including Down Your Way, Cinema Retro, Elvis Presley Fan Club magazine, F1 Racing, Barnsley Chronicle, Awesome online magazine plus many more. He was also a Newspaper Correspondent for the former, Dearne Courier and ran his own Quiz of the Week each week inside the newspaper along with a cartoon. His acting credits can be found on IMDb nm5088823 and he recently worked on the new Indie Horror film "Blaze of Gory" in which he had a bit part with a nice few lines of dialogue.

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