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INT: Christa Campbell

04.08.2008by: JimmyO

Christa Campbell is a stunning beauty. She is also a pretty damn good actress. And most importantly, she loves horror and continues to work in our beloved genre. It was Tim Sullivanís 2001 MANIACS that showed the world how temptingly dangerous a milk maiden could be. She has since added a number of horror films to her resume including the recent DAY OF THE DEAD, a sort of ďremakeĒ of the George Romero classic (Read The Arrow's Review Here). And frankly, I had fun with this one (although I think it should have been called something else besides Day of the Dead) and I especially had fun seeing Christa in a very different character.

Christa also happens to be a lovely women who really enjoys her work and dealing with her fans. I really enjoyed talking to her because she is an absolute class act. She is serious about her career, but is certainly not so wrapped up in it that she looses her sense of humor. And she is also a pretty smart lady. She has worked hard to continue working and she seems to be earning herself a pretty respectable career. And Iíll be honest, Iím a very lucky guy to have the opportunity to talk to her about DOTD, 2001 Maniacs and of course, her Playboy pictorial. Man, this lady has brains, beauty and a whole lot of class. Yep, Iím a very lucky guy.

Iím going to start off with DAY OF THE DEAD obviously, because that is what weíre here to talk about. First off, you play a momÖ

Yeah, well originally when I met Jeffrey Reddick and I heard about the project, I really wanted to be in the movie. So I met with Steve Miner and the part was written for a mid-forties woman with a kid. ĎCause they had Mena [Sevari] attached and back then, Mena was supposed to be like seventeen. So they kind of re-wrote it for me, it was kind of cool actually.

Yeah, itís a nice change of pace for you I think.

It is, and I think Fangoria did a whole interview and they put some pictures of me in this months Fangoria. And it says like, you know, Ďcause Iím always playing like the milk-maiden so itís cool to get messed up and become a zombie. I get to be a zombie!

How long was the make-up process for you?

It was three hours and there were actually three different phases. So if you were in stage one, which was like the beginning, when you first got the virus. Then there was stage two and stage three. I never actually made it to stage three, but I believe Bud [Played by Stark Sands] went through all the phases so he actually went to stage three which is even a more extreme process of make-up.

Yeah, he was there in it for probably half the film.

Yeah, he had it for like, fifteen days or something with the make-up, it was crazy.

And obviously, he was kind of a different take on the character Bub in the Romero version.

Yeah, I though he was great. He was really comical and a little bit [dramatic], like with his emotions, because he couldnít really do much with the zombie once he turned.

Had you seen the original film?

I have, but I think thatÖ itís called a remake, but I think that it stands on its own. Itís not like we were trying to remake or copy anything you know. What Jeffrey wanted was a fresh take, and sort of using, you know, the name is attached for box office or whatever, but it definitely is an original, I think. A lot of the fans, you know, before they see it they were like, oh, you know, Iím not sure, itís a remake, we donít like remakesÖ but I definitely think it, well we screened it yesterday and it screens amazing. I think itís definitely an original.

I saw it this weekend also and I kept thinking, this isnít DAY OF THE DEAD, this is a different animal.

Yeah, it sort of reminded me of like 28 DAYS LATER or RESIDENT EVIL.

Absolutely. Itís kind of funny how zombies have had their own metamorphosis throughout the years in Hollywood. You know, we had the slow moving zombies and now we haveÖ I donít know, suddenly theyíve become superheroes or something, with superhero strength.

No, no, I thought they were cool. I loved it. We were screaming yesterday when theyíre climbing on the ceiling or the front of the car. I thought that was awesome.

It was fun. I mean, I actually liked the film but Iíll be totally honest, I think they should have called it something else. Just because some people will not be able to see past the idea that itís a ďDay of the Dead remakeĒ and not see it on its own merits.

Well, I think before anyone saw it there was a lot of judgmentalÖ a lot of people writing negative things. And now, what Iím reading on the message boards is Ďwow, this is a really cool filmí.

Iím glad to see that people are kind of giving it a chance. It is different, but it was fun, I had a good time watching it.

Yeah, its fun.

Now, originally werenít they looking to get a theatrical run for it?

Well I think its theatrical around the worldÖ donít quote me on that but I believe it is. Except for here. And I think, I donít know what the reason is but I just thinkÖ in this day and age you just have to pick and choose which films you want to put out theatrically because you have to put a lot of money into [advertising] and everything. But I think it will do well on DVD.

Oh yeah. I think it will definitely do well on the home video market. The cover of the DVD itself will probably sell it.

Itís a fun little action film, you know, zombie flick. Itís entertainment.

You really have stuck to doing horror in general. What is it about this genre that attracts you?

Well its fun. I mean, come on, if I was on a soap opera itíd be quite boring, you know. You get to kill people, you get to fight, you get to have guns, you get to be bloody. I love the genre. And I have a lot of fans within the genre that support me. Itís amazing.

Well I think you made a huge impact with Tim Sullivan and 2001 MANIACS as the milk maiden. You did such a nice job in that film that people see that and think, well were doing a horror film, letís get her.

Yeah, once you do one, and they like it, and they are like, Ďoh, she did this one and it was successful so letís put her in this one.í And as an actress, youíre not going to say no, I donít want to get bloody anymore. Itís fun. [Itís a] great time. And the fans love it, I mean, I was in Europe last year and people were screamingÖ I was filming an action film with Cuba Gooding Jr. and people were yelling, Ď2001 Maniacs!í in Bulgaria.

Thatís awesome. Now, Day of the Dead was filmed in Bulgaria right?

Yeah, we filmed that in Bulgaria. And its amazing Ďcause people were like, Ďwow, thatís Bulgaria?í [after seeing the film].

I didnít realize it until I watched the commentary.

Yeah, we filmed the whole movie there and Steve Miner did a great job.

Well Steve Miner knows his way around horror. Heís definitely a name that has been around. I loved FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2, I loved some of his earlier films and I thatís why I was more willing to sit and not listen to the, ĎOh, itís not the Romero film!í

He was great. He had a really specific idea with this movie and what he wanted. And he just really great.

How do you feel about remakes in general?

I think its great. Especially when you update them becauseÖ studios make remakes because itís the name, and they were successful, and you donít take so much of a chance, I think, because you get some of the old fansÖ and for the controversy. I go on the message boards and every two minutesÖ I mean, Day of the Dead was like number twenty-three on the, whatever, last week and theyíre going, ĎItís not going theatrical.í and youíre like, ĎThis is incredible.í Just because a movie with controversy has people, you know, even though they want to be judgmental in the beginning, theyíre still talking about it. When they go on there and write something, theyíre gonna see it.

Doesnít that ever get frustrating for you to go on-line and see people saying such negative things about a movie they havenít seen?

No, because theyíre on there. People write stuff about me all the time and Iím like, the fact that theyíre logging on to search me out, to find me, if theyíre still like, in some dark way, theyíre a fan one way or another, you know. People are always going to have their opinions and stuff, and now people are seeing the movie, itís coming out like, Ďwow, this is kind of a cool movieĎ. Theyíre always going to say something, no matter which movie it is. They are always going to say something.

Well, my opinion is that you did a great job in the filmÖ again, it was fun to see you as the ďmomĒ and as a zombie.

Thank you. A lot of times you go and do make-up or whatever, they [say], ĎOh, youíre a pretty girlÖ make you look glamorous.í and after 2001 MANIACS, I was like, ĎNo, I wanna get dirty, I wanna get nasty.í and Steve MinerÖ I was the only personÖ even in the beginning, you know, itís weird the ego, Ďcause we were shooting and even before I turned into a zombie, he was like, ĎNo, you canít wear any make-up.í, nothing [Laughing]. They wouldnít let me wear any make-up. This is it, not a stitch of make-up [Laughing]. So you just kind of embrace it and you go with the character. Youíre playing a character and thatís part of what makes people good actors, I think if youíre portraying a character, itís not you, itís not like Iím the model that was in this or that. Youíre playing a character and you have to stay true to that.

Did you ever find that you were discriminated against because of your looks, especially early on in your career?

Well in the beginning I always played those types of parts, like the milk maiden, the hot girl or whatever. But now, thatís why I work so hard to go against that, and play different parts, and thankfully Iíve been able to. You know, I was given the chance, the opportunity, to play different characters. Because I want to show that, okay, I really can act and I want to play those characters. So now Iíve just been able to in the past couple of years, Iíve been getting roles that are not based on beauty, like in the military or this or that, different roles. So thankfully, Iíve been lucky that Iíve been given those roles. You just have to go in there and prove yourself. You have to work harder at the other things, you know.

Well looking at your IMDB page, youíve got like eight films in either post or pre-production right nowÖ thatís quite a bit.

I keep busy. I am very competitive and I think because, people want to say Iíve been in this magazine, or this or that, and I want to always fight that and prove myself. Iím constantly proving myself. Thatís why Iím willing to go in there and play the full character.

Now if you donít mind I want to bring up Playboy a little bit.

Okay.

It seems like you have more and more actresses these days posing nude for Playboy and there is less of a negative connotation with that. Do you feel that helped your career?

Well, I thinkÖ well they were generous with what they paid me so it was something I really couldnít turn down. And, you know, I just felt like, they gave me full creative choice with the photos and I got to choose. It was a really fun shoot. And they gave me a lot of power with that. I was very specific in that I didnít want to do in in a slutty way, not slutty, but I wanted it to look classy and beautiful.

Which they did by the way, they were great photos.

Thank you. I wanted to stay true to who I am and what I really look like. So they said yes, absolutely. So I was really, really happy and itís different because there are so manyÖ itís not as big deal as it used to be because now you have Maxim, you go on-line and you have the women everywhere. It used to be like, thatís the only magazine where you could see women, so I think it has changed. And I think I did it in a good stage in my career where itís not likeÖ where, if itís the first thing youíve ever done, then it kind of becomes like, okay, youíre a Playboy Playmate. If youíve kind of already done movies before, and then you do like a pictorial, I think it adds to it. For me, it only raised my fan base. I get people writing me letters, and more people know who I am. I never knew who you were until I saw your photos and blah, blah, blah, and now Iím going to rent your movies. You know, now I want to see what youíve done. So I think itís only a positive thing. I never looked at it like, oh, itís such a big deal, itís just anotherÖ you know, for me, Iím an actress and it felt like just another added thing that will expand my fan base.

It does seem like it has really pushed you, now you seem to be one of the busiest actresses working in film [Laughing].

Knock on wood [Laughing].

Iím looking forward to seeing AUDIE AND THE WOLF, with you and Tara PriceÖ it looks fun.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, thatís a really coolÖ thatís the thing, you know, I love to work. So whether Iím starring in a movie with Christian Slater or something, or Iím doing a small movie and I have the time to do it, and itís fun and itís creative. Its never been about the money, its been about the process. Itís always like, yeah, that sounds really cool, Iíd like to do it. Itís never about the ego or cash or money or whatever youíre paying me, itís like, oh this is a really cool group and a really cool project, and I really want to be involved in it.

Finally, I have to ask what is the status on 2001 MANIACS: BEVERLY HELLBILLYS?

Well I think Tim and Robert Englund just went to Texas and made a big announcement. I think theyíre planningÖ they have everything ready to go and I think it depends on Robertís schedule, so I think they are talking June now. Because heís just quite busy soÖ and you know, the fans will always be there for that movie so Iím like, call me and let me know. But for Robert Englund, its become like, he said now he is like fifty percent Freddy and, or like seventy percent Freddy and the rest in Mayor Buckman. His fan base has opened up so much with this new character so he really wants to keep developing it even more. So he really wants to do the sequel as well.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@joblo.com

GET THE DAY OF THE DEAD DVD HERE

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