An Interview with Jocelyn Padilla by Dean Sills

jpad7An Interview with Jocelyn Padilla by Dean Sills

UKHS – Hi Jocelyn, thank you for your time and welcome to UKHS.
How did you get into acting and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?

JP – Since I was about 2 years old I knew I wanted to be an actress. I was hooked on Tim Burton films at a very young age and knew I just wanted to be in there…on the television and movie screen. Except for my father who was a street break dancer in his youth and used to sing and rap with his brother in his early 20’s no one in my family has that creative drive and ambition that I do. So therefore that made me the black sheep of the family. I did theater in local shows in my town and I worked on theater in high school and into community college. I graduated from Emerson College in 2009, blindly moved to NYC failed miserably and moved back. That is when my acting career in film began.

I was asked by a local director from Fall River to audition for his début feature horror film Jonah Lives and from there I began working on other local indie films, most notably Murder University with Scorpio Film Releasing where ,against my type, I played a murderess. I love the old school horror films like the original Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play and The People Under the Stairs. I love Hitchcock classics. The less you see the more it frightens me and plays with my emotions. Even though I know it’s not real and even though I act, it still messes with my brain! Like films such as Final Destination and Saw…those really fuck with me! However, I feel like the more gore and blood you see it sort of takes me out of it. The fear of the unknown, pulling from your inner core things that scare you are really to me the BEST horror films.

jpad4UKHS – Congratulations on the DVD release of ‘Jonah Lives’. I know the film has had mixed to negative reviews from film critics and to be honest I have not seen the film yet but I do have a different view to most critics due to working as an actor and knowing how much work goes into making an Indie Horror movie. What can you tell us about your role in the film and do you feel some of the critics really give a true reflection of the film in their reviews?

JP – This is the first film I have acted in where I played a lead and it got distribution. Thank you. I am super excited about it! I have been reading every review since the DVD was released this past April 21st 2015. I’ve noticed mixed reviews with critics either loving it, hating it, or confused by it. The first review I read tore my performance to shreds here is an exact quote “It’s certainly a lot more competent than Jocelyn Padilla, who delivers a particularly, almost laughably dire performance as Barbara, the scaredy cat of the group. It’s all over the top squawking of her lines in a bizarre, stilted delivery and strange exaggerated facial expressions that makes one think there must be something….wrong…with the character.” I saw this review on twitter. Had this been last year I probably would have cried, then questioned my acting and my life choices then ripped him a new asshole online. I have grown so much as a person and as an artist that I chose to retweet it and use humour. I said it was the most hilarious review I have ever read because the truth be told it really was funny as hell.

Long story short now the critic and I talk on a semi-regular basis he thanked me for being a part of horror film history despite his review and now he is interested in other films I am doing. Why am I going to lose sleep and get angry or worse question myself as an actress over these critics reviews? Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The film had its flaws but what first film from any director and writer and production is going to be “perfect” on its first try. You live, you learn from your mistakes and hope you don’t repeat past mistakes in your next films. I play Barbara the films heroine. She has many complexities to her. She is growing up and as she grows up her past and connection to God and her religion is being tested. And tested was her faith when the teenagers conjure up Jonah a man wrongly murdered by his wife for his wealth and fortune. Someone told me once that my character reminded them of

Laurie Strode from Halloween. Curtis wasn’t the hottest girl on the block a very unconventional
beauty but she had something special about her that sparked and that’s why her career has thrived all this time. This person said I reminded them of her not in physicality but in likeness. I may not be the most beautiful woman in the world but I have a drive an ambition to succeed. I am not doing this as a hobby to pass the time. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life and these harsh critics only make my skin thicker and more prepared for what I will potentially face in my career in the future.

jpad2UKHS – Speaking of beauty you are not just a beautiful young actress but also a talented filmmaker. What can you tell us about your work as a director on ‘I Am Monroe?’ and how did you come up with the story?

JP – I really appreciate the kind compliments Dean! Thank you so much. I was getting to a point in the second year of my film acting journey where I felt like I wasn’t getting the opportunity to really show what I can do acting wise. I also have always been interested in writing and film directing. So I decided to write my own script. I began with my first short entitled The Twain a short 15 minute dark comedy about two emotional broken artists who decide life isn’t worth living for and decide to broadcast their suicide online! After that, I Am Monroe? was born. The word Monroe is most cultures translates as “mouth of the river”. The film is about life, death and rebirth of a woman named Norma Jeane. She was a starlet. Who had a very troubled life. My character Woman in the Womb is her reincarnated body. Woman finds herself in a beautiful forest that acts as a limbo between life and death.

Laine the Spirit Guide which I loosely based on Shirley MacLaine whom I look up to is assigned to me to guide me through. I view images of my past upon a mirror and in order to be reborn I must pass a series of tests, learn to forgive those who have wronged me and those I have wronged. But its not that simple. Woman also has to fight off
the temptations of her devil upon her shoulder Red Death who acts as a succubus. It’s a very trippy film. Something truly unique and in some cases probably way overly ambitious for a first time filmmaker. But the audience will definitely have questions and debate about what really happens to us after we die. I want people to come out of this film changed a little. Or at least having had learned something new. It has taken over two years and lots of negative and positive experiences to get to where we are now which is in the editing stages of post production. The look of the film is so beautiful. I was so lucky with crew, actors and locations. That film will always be my biggest learning lesson of all films I will ever do. I grew so much in that journey. All for the better.

jpad6UKHS – You are co-directing ‘I am Monroe?’ with Nathan Suher. Will Nathan be directing your scenes as an actress in the film and have you made the leap temporarily or permanently to the other side of the camera as a director?

JP – Nathan Suher was mainly in charge of directing the scenes where I would be acting in. However, whether I was acting or directing my scenes we both equally worked together to direct this film. It’s truly a collaborative film piece. I will always be grateful to Nathan. Despite any tensions he and I had at certain points…let’s face it movie making is fucking hard and sometimes emotions get crazy he stuck by me through thick and thin. Any other director probably would have ran off like their ass was on fire but he stuck through this journey alongside of me and I thank him for doing that. He told me that Monroe was also a huge learning lesson for him as a filmmaker as well with all the ups and downs it was well worth it in the end. Just seeing the rough cut of the Official Trailer I began to tear up because it was such an amazing feeling to see your film finally piecing together like a puzzle. It’s a very emotional and wonderful feeling. I will continue to focus on directing, producing, marketing and acting with out a doubt! I have even tinkered on the idea of learning Sound and Boom Operator and Special Effects Makeup. But right now I will definitely work on directing acting and writing.

UKHS – What is the hardest role that you have had to play and do you go to extreme lengths to prep for your parts and stay in character?

JP – I’ve got to say I Am Monroe? was probably the hardest role I have had to do. Being in charge of crew, cast, doing HMUA, producing, marketing, cooking food, buying food and costumes and props, barely getting any sleep from one shoot day to the other and then having to act for ten hours and the million other jobs I did to make this film happen plus having to learn lines and try to stay in character was so hard. I will never direct a film and act at the same time ever again. It was too much on my plate and it began to really wear me out emotionally and physically. I would never take away that experience but I have learned you cannot do too many jobs in a film it’s just not healthy. My main concern is I really hope my acting didn’t suffer as a result. But again I learned so many do’s and don’ts. Having a really intense scene and then worry that a boom is in the shot, or someone’s face is shiny or calling QUIET ON THE SET right before I have to act it was a test of patience and of my skill. So yes, I am Monroe with out a doubt was the hardest role to date for me. These things you cannot learn in a classroom setting.

jpad3UKHS – What would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you need to make a classic horror flick?

JP – 1. A great Script. Something fresh, unique. Something that goes outside of the box of the horror film realm. Something that challenges the audience but also challenges you as the artist. Something that really can pull at the heart strings of the audience.

2. A strong villain/ness that evokes all kinds of emotions from the audience. One moment you feel pity, then fear, then love, then hate towards them. I think the audience needs to connect to the
characters in general not just the villain. But without the villain you don’t have a horror film. If a strong villain can do all of that you really have the makings of a classic horror film.

3. A workable budget. You can’t do anything in a horror film without a workable budget. Unlike a coming of age drama or comedy you need lots of blood, special effects make-up and gore to really make a horror film work. If you make shitty special effects deaths its going to pull the audience away from the film. Unfortunately in any film you really need a great budget to make it work but I feel horror films really suffer without the proper budget to afford all the gore you need to make the film work and not appear cheesy or cheap.

UKHS – OK, you were born and raised in Stoughton, Massachusetts, so since you are from New England in the USA, what would scare you the most? Seeing Jaws in the water, while you take a swim in the sea in fictional Amity or spending the night at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally insane on Shutter Island?

JP – Oh great question! The idea of a mental institutions scares the living shit out of me. I love the ocean. I feel at home by the water. With the ocean I have the control, I have the choice to swim in the Ocean and how deep I go in before I feel like I am bait for the sharks. So in that regards that doesn’t scare me. In a mental institution you are the property of the ward. You have no control over the things you can do or say. They pump you up with pills and shots to sedate you. They keep you alive in a zombie like state, droolling on yourself with no concept of time or importance. I have read about how those hospitals treated patients especially women. The idea of being forced to exist in one of those places really makes me ill thinking about it. Maybe perhaps I did live in one of those mental hospitals in a different life and that’s maybe where the strange fear comes from!

jpad5UKHS – In ‘Amor Sangre’ you play Lucianna, a 426-year-old vampire who kidnaps a housewife who you fall in love with. How much fun was it playing a vampire and did you enjoy the kissing scenes with Lindsey E. Cork?

JP – Amor Sangre was a great challenge for me in the sense that I have NEVER been given the chance to play a vampire and to play a fun comedic almost borderline slapstick kind of role.

Lucianna has waited two years to find the opportune moment to kidnap her lady crush. She kidnaps her and bring her to her home. An abandoned house. Lucianna doesn’t believe in killing humans so she thrives off rats blood for nourishment. Veronica being the prissy house wife that she is refuses to drink rats blood because its unsanitary. She suggests that Lucianna find a “Unfortunate” person to use as their blood source. The couple meet Serena played by Lin Hultgren a witty prostitute who goes from being their next meal to a friend. There’s even a Pimp named Carlos who provides some comedic relief played by Leo Areia.

I had a blast on this set despite the many challenges it has presented. Lucianna is probably my favorite role I have ever played because I got to channel my inner Lucille Ball. And it made me realize that I shouldn’t doubt my acting skills and talent because when writer and creator Lindsey E. Cork who also plays Veronica the Housewife offered me the role of the love struck rat-eating idiotic vampire Lucianna. I have to admit I was born to play a role like this. But I wanted and needed to challenge myself. Lucianna was literally a blast to be able to embody.

It’s a very unique take on the vampire story. Instead of a man dominating the woman it’s a LGBT style vampire rom-com that is very refreshing to see and doesn’t alienate the audience because it doesn’t focus on the fact that Lucianna is a lesbian. It’s just is and doesn’t cause a big scene because of it.

What was also great about this film is that it really had some great messages and smart dialogue. It was also very cool because it was a very feminine centric film. We had Geena Matuson who directed, Katherine Castro who was our director of Photography, Lindsey E. Cork who wrote the screenplay and I also acted as a producer alongside Cork and Matuson. Oh you just had to ask THAT question Dean? Well, let’s just say I have shared several on-screen kisses with several actors and Lindsey’s the best! No other comment is needed. Haha!

jpad1UKHS – Finally, can you please tell us about your new project ‘Kiss of Death’ and are you currently working on any other projects which you can tell UKHS all about?

JP – Kiss of Death will be our first venture into a feature film. It’s in it’s early sperm stages. We have a concept and idea of what we want for it but we will be spending literally this year developing the screen play. We do not want to rush into this one. All I can say right now is that the film has been dubbed a “new aged horror”. it will include elements of past lives and reincarnation in this mixed with tons of blood and gore. Lindsey and I really want to connect with as many horror film websites, fans, blogs, radio Podcasts and everyone in between. it’s important now to really reach out to the horror film community and network. Jonah Lives has certainly helped
get my name out there slowly to a lot of horror film outlets.

Our goals is to have a very solid script and begin working on a Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign and work on potentially getting sponsors and product placement for this film. We are going to need a workable budget not only for pre-prod costs but production and post production cost. I want to be able to pay my lead cast and crew as well. It’s important to me to do that for this one. Also, I really feel that this film has a really unique niche that people will be interested in watching. There’s also a character that I would literally “kill” a scream queen or B-Movie Star to be in this particular role. As soon as all the details are able to be discussed I will let you know more about it.

I just finished wrapping a short film from Seven Times Productions entitled Taboo, directed and written By Jennifer Grossman. I got to play an 1930’s night club singer. I got to sing and everything. It was a blast!

I am currently in pre-prod for two films I am involved in filming in June and in August. In June I am assistant directing a film directed by Nathan Suher entitled Next/Door which is a twisted and sick story of unrequited love and the depths someone will take to declare their love. This movie is a psychological thriller which I think you would love!

The second film is a short movie entitled A Daisy for Rose written by Cork and I. The film is about a quirky and creative young girl named Daisy who begins to have horrific dreams about a field and a witch each night. One day, after being attacked by a bully she drives off the wrong path accidentally and stumbles upon the same house and field that was in her dreams. As she becomes slowly obsessed with the house and the old woman who lives there…little by little her dreams begin to offer clues as to why she feels so connected to the house and to the mysterious old woman who lives behind the closed doors named Rose. A total opposite feel to the guts and glory that will be Kiss of Death! I am a Gemini. I can’t stick with the same thing for too long. I get bored. So my writing also reflects that! Thank you so much for interviewing me. I loved the questions!

UKHS – You’re welcome Jocelyn. That’s great, I am a Gemini too! Thank you for your time and keep up the good work!





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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.