She acts, she writes, she directs, she produces and she looks damn fine doing it all at that! Yup, am talking about cool chicka BROOKE LEWIS! The lady recently saw two horror films (that she starred in) hit the shelves (Dahmer Vs. Gacy and Slime City Massacre), so we took that opportunity to steal away some of her time and grill her as to her varied projects, her personal life and more! Check it!
You're a Philadelphia native that moved to LA to pursue her dreams. Do you miss the more down to earth vibe of Philly as opposed to the (lets face it) BS laced aura of LA? How often do you go back home a year?
Of course, I miss the East Coast vibe, energy and straight shooters! And, let's not forget the Italian food, pizza and cheesesteaks! :) However, I have to say that LA is my home now and I have a fantastic group of genuine, real and supportive people around me. And, I LOVE driving in my convertible on beautiful sunny days! I still visit family and friends in Philly, NJ and NY twice a year.
You act, write, direct, produce... is there anything you can't do? Everybody sucks at something. What is your Achilles heel?
LOL! Well, that's about all I CAN do! :) I'm not athletic and I can't handle my liquor, so what else is there??? ;) My Achilles heel, huh? Okay, in keeping it very real for the readers, I am not very good at romantic relationships and I am very insecure!
Now you have two new horror films out there spooking the shelves: Dahmer Vs. Gacy and Slime City Massacre what can you tell us about your roles in each respective flicks?
Yes, and can you believe they were released on the same day? :) These are both very special roles and projects for me. These were 2 of the lowest budget features I have worked on in years and 2 of the best experiences I have had! In SLIME CITY MASSACRE, I play Nicole who is seen in all of the 1959 flashback scenes and helps to explain the entire back-story of the original SLIME CITY. Nicole is a prostitute who is lost, but seeking food, shelter and somewhere to belong. She is a tough street girl, but vulnerable at the same time. She meets Zachary (Robert Sabin) who seduces her to join the cult. Greg Lamberson and I chose to play her subtly, but I feel that she had a lot going on inside! This film was such a labor of love for all involved, so I went all out by purchasing my own wardrobe and hair piece to be as authentic as could for the period.
In DAHMER VS. GACY, I play Tammy Hart who is a Southern Televangelist in the vein of a Tammy Faye Baker! When Ford Austin approached me about this role, I thought he was crazy! I mean, how could a Philly/Jersey/New York chick pull off a Southern Televangelist? But, Ford, being an actor himself, assured me that I could do it and, although a smaller, supporting role, it was one of my favorite acting performances ever! I am very proud of what the viewers will see in my performance! Tammy Hart is hilarious, from her accent to her hair to her mascara clumped and running down her face...classic!
Everybody has to pay their dues as an actor, take on roles in films that they may not be crazy about. Do you feel that you are at a point where you can turn down parts that don't appeal to you?
Absofreakinlutely!!! :) And, even if I am not at that point in my career, I turn down parts anyway!!! :) Honestly, I feel like I have paid my dues X 10! As I mentioned earlier, I have been at this game for many years before my break in horror. I traveled with touring theatre companies and acted in NYU student films when I was young. What fans and people don't see are all the pilots and films I did that never got picked up or distributed! That said, I just feel like I am at a different place in my life and career, in which I want to do good work with good and professional people!
"Professionalism" and "respect" are so important to me now! I have passed on great paying acting jobs, because the script was weak and I have passed on acting jobs where there was a great script, but the filmmakers had no money to pay their actors! I am "old school"...I still believe in getting paid for work and following a proper protocol, like dealing with agents and managers! Now, I'd rather pick up odd jobs to pay the bills than do work that doesn't feel good to my soul! :)
Onscreen nudity often comes with the Scream Queen moniker; what's your standpoint on it?
Nudity often comes with the "Scream Queen" title, but I have been fortunate to get where I am without doing it! Honestly, I would be further in my career had I chosen to do nudity, but it never felt like the right choice for ME. I have lost roles in films for choosing to not go down that road! That said, I don't have an issue with it, nor do I judge others for doing it! The only time it frustrates me is when it is added into a script or film for gratuitous purposes or to dis-empower or objectify women for no reason. I, personally, am much more drawn to roles for women that are emotionally strong, powerful or sexy! Believe me, as a producer, I totally get the appeal and necessity for some boobies in a horror flick! ;)
Your production company Philly Chick Pictures (great name btw), recently produced the drama THE SINATRA CLUB, which you also acted in. Quite a departure from the usual horror fare you're in. Was that one of the reasons behind your company's inception? Make different types of films and give yourself different types of roles?
Thank you and, yes, I was one of several producers on the mobster drama THE SINATRA CLUB. I am very proud of this one, as it is a bigger budget indie and it took a lotta blood, sweat, tears and years to bring to fruition. The funny thing is, I have been acting for quite some time in many other genres and actually got my start in theatre, comedy and mobster dramas, before getting a break in horror! I created Philly Chick Pictures to "produce entertainment with an attitude". I was always the actress with a ton of energy and a business brain, who would call in a favor to attach talent, crew, locations or think fast enough to do damage control on a set.
After doing this work for other people's companies or projects and not being credited or compensated properly, I finally realized that I had been "producing" all along! I learned that I have a creative soul and a business mind. I have never been the type to sit back and wait for things to happen, so I started Philly Chick Pictures to further my acting and producing career, make films with an edge and find and develop strong roles for women!
Are you planning on tackling more dramatic roles in non horror type films in the near future?
I plan on tackling many great roles in many great genres, including horror! Like, my manager and I recently received an offer for a lead role in a drama/paranormal ghost flick and this was one of the most incredible low budget scripts and roles I have read in years! I was so inspired, we immediately "attached" my name to the project! I really want to focus on amazing roles that inspire and move me in any and all genres! Okay, wait...I may have to pass on porn!!! ;)
You have a TV show in Post at the moment, one you starred in and directed called Ms. Vampy's Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk. I am assuming it's a TV take on your Ms. Vampy web series. Is it a Pilot you shot that you will then shop around? Or does it already have a home? What's the status?
Ms. Vampy is America's funniest, sassiest and most high maintenance vampire! Her personality is as big as her hair and is often described as Betty Boop meets Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny". She loves pleather and fur and wouldn't be caught "dead" without high heels! But, there's much more to this lovable vampiress from Brooklyn. Following the hit web series "Ms. Vampy" in 2009 and as a prelude to the Halloween Family feature "Vamp It Out", Ms. Vampy is back with "Ms. Vampy's Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk" to inspire tween and teen girls in a "tawk" show format, which covers issues that these girls are faced with today.
Discussion topics include: Stereotypes; Body image; Self-esteem; Peer pressure; Caring about what others think of you; Being popular; Facing your fears; Following your dreams; And, of course, boys and "Twilight"! That said, you are correct! It is another Ms. Vampy web series that is also in "talks" for a TV series and will introduce Ms. Vampy's feature film. The web series will launch around July 1, 2011 on the Ms. Vampy website. It stars: Brooke Lewis as Ms. Vampy, Jamie Leigh Belzowski, Victoria Bohush, Thema Chapple, Summer Demma, Kayla Farrish, Laci Kay, Estefania Lahera and Paula Lahera.
Any other artistic mediums you plan on diving into? I mean are we gonna hear a Brooke Lewis rock song soon?
Haha! Nope! I think I've got my hands full in the artistic department, but ya never know...Ms. Vampy could surprise you with a rock song when VAMP IT OUT is completed! And, John, here's a lil Brooke Lewis past secret...I was signed with a freestyle dance label years ago and was a "one hit wonder" with "Get Me Off Your Mind" :)
Word on the street is that you have a performance driven short film on the horizon called Sprinkles. Where is the short at? Where will we be able to see it? Would you say the role was one of the most challenging you ever tackled?
Yup, SPRINKLES is hittin' the horror street in 2011! :) When Roger A. Scheck wrote the role of Maura for me in this psychological thriller, I was instantly in love with her! She is such a strong, deep, layered character that I rarely get offered to play. I would definitely say it was one of the most challenging roles I have tackled and I cannot wait for the horror fans and filmmakers to see my performance in it. Roger really did an amazing job at directing this one and Don Danielson gives a tremendous performance! The film also stars cutie Stone Eisenmann. We are hitting the horror festival circuit now and will have the World Premiere at A Nightmare To Remember International Horror Film Festival in San Francisco June 18, 2011. Readers, please support us at the horror festivals this fall! Check out the trailer here!
You're also attached to Room and Board alongside the great Burt Reynolds. What can you tells us about your part and are you at all intimidated by the idea of acting opposite such a screen icon?
I am so thrilled to act in this film and I am hoping it gets made soon! I play Noreen who is my favorite type of role to play. She is a total over-the-top, sassy loudmouth (what a stretch for me ;)with wild hair and clothes (familiar? :). She is actually the comedic relief character in the script. As much as I am honored to act opposite a legend like Burt Reynolds, I'm not really intimidated at this point. I have been around the block and have been blessed to work with greats such as, Mark Ruffalo, Charles Durning, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Madsen, Michael Pare, Mickey Rooney, William Forsythe, Gabrielle Anwar, Margaret Colin and Danny Nucci. The only icon who really intimidated me was Tony Todd when we played detective partners in iMURDERS! I mean, hell...he is 6' 6" and he IS CANDYMAN!!! :)
Twitter or Facebook, which one do you use and like the most?
I am not a Facebook gal, but I am very grateful for the fan page that was created for me! I do check all the photo comments and I am soooo flattered! Unfortunately, I have seen Facebook cause too much drama for people I care about and this lil Mama needs no more drama!!! To my surprise, I actually dig Twitter! I love that I can throw out a one liner here and there, throughout my crazy busy day!
Where is Brooke Lewis on weekends? Chilling out at home, or out clubbing?
Well, my limo picks me up and takes me to my yacht...oops, sorry, I was fantasizing again :) Honestly, the last few years have been really good to me and my career, so I have spent most of my weekends promoting projects at red carpet events, premieres, festivals, signings, appearances, horror conventions, etc...Of course, the workaholic in me can be found taking meetings and reading scripts on the weekends, but I also cherish my chillaxing weekends with good friends at brunch or enjoying cocktails at the Beverly Hills Hotel! John Fallon and Arrow In The Head, thank you so much for spending time with me! You know I have been a longtime fan and I am thrilled to interview with you!
Thanks Brooke! Always great to have ya! Keep kicking that ass!