Danielle Harris has had a long career, starting at a young age and appearing in such favorites as HALLOWEEN 4 & 5, DON'T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER'S DEAD, and THE LAST BOY SCOUT. In 2007 she ironically starred in Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake (as well as the sequel) and has since continued in that genre, slowly becoming a modern day scream queen, playing in such cult favorites as GODKILLER, HATCHET II & III, STAKE LAND, etc. as well as directing her own feature, AMONG FRIENDS. Her latest film, SHIVER, finds her playing a more demure role to her usual "firecracker" ones, while fending off a crazed serial killer.
We chatted with the lovely actress about her new part, a typical weekend, the best movie she's seen in theaters of late, how she stays in shape, her ever-growing tattoo, favorite scream queen, and of course, her favorite horror icon outside of HALLOWEEN.
What’s different about Wendy Alden (her character from SHIVER) when compared to other horror roles that you’ve played before?
Wendy didn’t have as much fire and strength. She was kind of a soft spoken, maybe lonely; didn’t really have a good relationship with her mom, didn’t have a good relationship with men and definitely was not a firecracker. I normally play firecracker roles, so it was a nice challenge to kind of have to find that arc and not go into it so strong in the beginning and then have to hold that out the whole time.
What’s a typical weekend for you when not working…if ever?
Well…Jesus, I’m planning a wedding right now, so that’s given me mush brain, I would say. I’m a big cook, so it’s usually like I get up in the morning and I go to yoga and kind of like chill my brain out from running around all week and then usually have breakfast and then end up at some farmer’s market somewhere with, y’know some magazines that I bought on a plane from wherever I was coming from the week before and have a bunch of stuff that I want to go home and make. And I just cook a bunch of shit. Honestly, that’s what I do, I just make a bunch of stuff and put it in the fridge.
I have a little bit of OCD, so we just moved and bought a house in December, so I’m putting the house together, essentially, whether it’s shopping for different bedding or rearranging photos or, y’know, buying flowers, I love to go around our property and cut flowers and put flowers everywhere…I’m kind of a homemaker, I know it sounds kind of boring, but everyone’s expecting me to, like, be kind of bad ass and in reality I’m kind of like, y’know, a regular 36-year-old woman I would say.
What’s the last great movie you saw in the theater?
The last great movie I saw in the theater would probably be…what did I just see? Prisoners! Hugh Jackman rocked it. Loved that the men completely outshined the women.
Maria Bello was pretty good, too, but yeah, it was a great movie
I actually thought she was phoning it in. I know she was supposed to be checked out, but I think she kinda checked out. The times where she goes to the hospital and she didn’t even seem like she gave two craps about her husband. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to because she was still mad at him for letting it happen. Maybe that was a choice, but I’m an actor and I can kinda see when someone’s made the choice to do that and when someone has just, actually not shown up. That’s just my opinion, I mean, who am I to judge, like, she could act me out of the friggin’ park. But, I always love her and I just thought this was like one of the best performances I’ve ever seen of Hugh Jackman. I just absolutely loved him. Amazing. And Jake, too. I was seeing him on TV doing interviews and he was like ‘No one’s gonna see the ending coming’ and I was like, ‘yeah right, I do this for a living, I’m gonna know what the ending is’ and I just was totally shocked.
Do you have a favorite TV show that you’re watching right now?
Orange Is The New Black, I would say. I don’t really watch TV, so when I do it’s usually when I’m trying to put myself to sleep and when my melatonin is kicking in and it’s usually like, honestly, Real Housewives or The Kardashians or something that I don’t have to think about if I can’t find, like, a good ‘80’s movie on TV. Like, right now I’m gonna be on the Food Network tonight at 9, so I’ve actually got that and I watch Iron Chef. I watch a lot of cooking stuff and a lot of reality stuff. The actual real series stuff is usually stuff that I have on Netflix that I have on my iPad. ‘Cause when I start a show, I want to watch all of them. So, I can’t wait every week, so I like to wait until the season is done and then I can watch them all in two days. I’m impatient (laughs)
So, you’re obviously in very good shape, as demonstrated at the Palms Midsummer Lingerie Carnival. Is that a natural thing or do you have to work for it?
I’m short, so I gotta work out a lot. I could put on 5 pounds in 3 days if I just ate without working out. But, y’know, I always dance and love, like, taking ballet classes and yoga and I’ve got a ballet bar and a sugar pole in my dance room at my house, so I do a lot of fun workout stuff. I feel like I’m just healthier and exercise is really a mental thing for me. I like feeling strong and knowing that I need to do that to take on the movies that I do. So, I do yoga in my room almost every morning before I go to work just to kind of get me centered and balanced out, but it’s about strength. I’m not sitting here doing breath of siren humming I’m actually, like, wanting to break a sweat. I just want to feel strong.
Up until I was 30 I wouldn’t even audition for a movie where I had to wear a bathing suit. I wouldn’t even go in, because I would not do it on film. And then I started, kind of, accepting myself for the way that I was. Y’know, back then, six or seven years ago, everybody was like 90 pounds and then, y’know, there are a lot of women who have sort of broken that mold and allowed girls like me who look just healthy to feel more comfortable in our own skin and it’s made me do things…like, right now I’m in the new issue of inked magazine where I’m wearing less than I was wearing for Midsummer Night’s Dream, but…it’s scary! It’s scary going all out, but I’m gonna try and have a family soon, so I guess do it when you can.
Are there plans for more ink or are you at a standstill?
There’s always gonna be plans for more ink, I’m just not gonna go in any other areas. The reason why mine is such a big piece and why it’s so intense is that I love to get tattooed and I love body art, but I like it in one place. That’s why it’s so intricate, because I keep, kind of adjusting and adding and making changes to the one piece that I have. It just keeps kind of getting bigger and bigger. And, I think when I went above my shoulder blade recently and added the roses up above it was sort of my transitioning from more being worried about getting jobs as an actor to sort of stepping into the directors seat and kind of going you know what I don’t need to not have tattoos anymore, like, I don’t need to have them only in a place where I can cover them. I want to be able to have them and then if they have to be covered for a movie then they’re covered. So, that was sort of my way of kind of not being so worried about being fit into a mold anymore.
Who is your favorite scream queen outside of yourself?
Oh, jeez…Y’know, I love Katie Isabelle in American Mary. I’m working with her right now, too, so she’s awesome. That’s a role I would’ve loved to have done myself. I love girls like that. (pause) Are there really many scream queens? Like, I don’t really know that many…
I would dare say that you are kind of one of the most recognizable now.
I think, maybe. It’s just ‘cause I work a lot (laughs). Maybe it’s just ‘cause I’m a workaholic.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
Well…shit, I mean, listen…Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt? I mean, how many do you want me to name? I’m getting married, I shouldn't be saying anybody (laughs).
That’s okay, now’s the time to say it.
He always says it’s not fair, because I get my five, y’know, I’ve got my five people on my wish list and he’s like, that’s not fair, you’re an actor and the chances of you actually having that happen is pretty high, so he doesn’t really like to hear about it.
Do you have a favorite horror icon outside the Halloween franchise?
Y’know, I grew up with Freddy, but I’m also like, I mean, Gremlins is like my jam, so, I’m kind of a big Gremlins fan. Anything that I saw when I was a kid, essentially. I’m not a giant slasher fan kind of girl, even though I dig ‘em, obviously, I mean, I’ve done a bunch of ‘em. I think Freddy always scared me the most as a kid.
Awesome! Danielle, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
Thanks so much!