Hey Fiends! This month has already been an incredible time to speak to so many amazing people in the genre, and this happened to be one of those times. Here is yet another interview, but this time with Human Centipede’s Lindsay, Ashley C. Williams. If you read my Danielle Harris interview, she had mentioned some incredible true life facts about some horror greats, including the fact that Kane Hodder is a member of Mensa.
Well, here is something you may or may not have known. Ashley is herself a very dedicated theater actress who is highly acclaimed for her acting abilities, as well as for her singing voice! So, all of you Human Centipede haters keep in mind, when you say sh*t like, “that movie has some absolutely useless people” or “those actresses are disgusting, talentless trash”, you are an asshole anyway, and could not be more wrong. Here is my full interview with the beautiful and highly talented Ashley C. Williams, where she speaks on her love of the creative arts running her own theater project, Willow, as well as her loyalty to and the highly unnecessary hatred she receives for the most controversial horror film this year, The Human Centipede.
Ashley, I just want to thank you for wanting to do this first of all, I’m definitely a fan of yours as well. My first question involves creative interests. Through my research, I realized we had something in common, we’re both into poetry. Please tell me when you started writing, and also tell me what other creative mediums are you interested in?
Thank YOU, its my pleasure! Writing is something that is actually very personal to me, and I only write when I’m alone and truly inspired. Its something that I usually keep to myself. I have written a few poems and short stories that I have published on the Internet, that I am proud of. I started writing poems around the same time I started acting on stage, around 10 years old. It was just for fun, and something my mom inspired me with. My mother is a writer and a very good one at that. So i guess I get it from her. My other artistic endeavors that i consider hobbies are fine art, painting. I have a passion for oil on canvas, and, like poetry I only paint when i am truly inspired. Its been a while since i took a brush to a canvas, I wish I had more time! But I have sold a couple of my pieces when i was younger, and used to enter them into Art Festivals.
Your first acting experience was in the 1988 cult fantasy film Willow. The film was directed by Ron Howard, and produced by George Lucas. That’s a pretty huge leap for a first film! Do you recall the experience at all, and how did your first role come about?
Yes, that was a huge leap! I was only 5 years old and remember bits and pieces of it. I remember Ron Howards assistant coming to my kinder garden classroom when we lived in Northern California at the time, and him asking the teacher to pick out the best boy and girl from the class that could handle a speaking role in this film. She picked me and this boy Michael whom I remember having a crush on at the time! haha. I then remember walking up a hill on the set of Willow with Ron Howard and he auditioned me for the speaking role which was “Willows home! Willows home! ” I remember being TERRIFIED! and of course, I started crying. I really wish I was much smarter back then. I didn’t get the speaking part, but was put into the crowd of the villagers, and someone picked me up and put me on his shoulders so people could see me, since I was so small. . . that was pretty fun.
You attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Could you tell me what that experience was like for you?
I attended their 2 year conservatory program and then was invited to be apart of their 3rd year Repertory Company. I had a really great time. It was hard work, and I really worked my butt off. I really loved how they thought many different techniques and not just one, therefore we could really find what we truly identified with as an actor and how it could help us.
When you attended the school you received the Charles Jehlenger Award for Excellence in Acting, that’s an incredible honor! Could you tell me what production you were a part of when you received the award?
Yeah that was a huge surprise. I didn’t even know the award existed until we were at the ceremony to receive our diplomas and they called my name! I was like? I won? what did I win? ::laughs:: The Award I’ve been told was really for hard work and use of the techniques we were given while attending the 2 year program. But i think they made the decision after they saw me in the supporting role of Chole in the show The Country Club. I was very humbled and honored to be given that award. It was really nice to know that my hard work was recognized.
You are also a renowned singer in theater as well. Tell me, what is your favorite musical production you have performed in, and why?
Yes, I love to sing. I have been in many musicals, and had leads when i was young like Annie, and Tiger Lily. But I was never given the chance to have a lead in a musical as an adult until this year actually! My boyfriend wrote this incredible musical called Spellbound -A Musical Adventure. It got accepted into the NY International Fringe Festival and so we had a production of it this August, which my company Mind The Art produced along with Robert R. Blume (Executive Producer of the Drama Desk Awards). Even though it was my boyfriends musical and I had been workshopping it with him since i met him over 3 years ago, i still had to audition. I had two call backs even! Finally I landed the part and just gave all i had to this roll. I really loved it and I hope it gets to an off Broadway house or even Broadway one day. Playing Herianne in Spellbound has been my favorite role to date.
In 2007, you founded Mind The Art Entertainment, which you are also vice president. Could you tell me a little about what the program does?
Mind The Art is an arts and entertainment company that my boyfriend Christian De Gré and I founded. It really started off with us being frustrated with the industry and its ways. So we sought out to find a way to do it ourselves and produce new work that wasn’t getting a chance to be seen. It has now expanded into 10 different divisions all surrounding different art forms. So we are not just a theater company. We produce film, theater, poetry, fine arts, literature, play writing, dance, musical theater, and music etc. . . we have made a huge leap in the last year, and are now working with over 300 artists. Its really a great feeling to know you have made someones dream come true, when they have been frustrated for so long to get their work seen. We also are constantly workshopping new things, and honing our crafts on a daily basis.
You are first and foremost a theater actor, so how did the opportunity for The Human Centipede come about? Also when you read the script, did you have any reservations to act in this potentially controversial horror film, or did you think nothing of it?
Yes I am a theater actor mainly, but i have always wanted to do film. Before i did Centipede i had already done a couple small independent films, but since I live in NYC there aren’t many opportunities here. So i have been trying to balance both, since i really love to do film as well. Upon reading the “script” for Human Centipede, i was somewhat shocked, but really intrigued at the same time. I guess upon hearing Tom six talk about his idea the way he did, and he was so nice and passionate about it, i thought, lets give this a chance, so I went to the call back. It was very strange, i must say, and I had my reservations and spoke with everyone I knew personally as to whether I should do something like this. I had been waiting to find something where I could take a risk, and be involved in something completely original. The ass to mouth part didn’t bother me as much, cause I knew we weren’t really going to be attached like that. But it was a scary feeling going into it, knowing nothing of how it would look or how people were going to react to it. I just took a chance. It could make or break me, and I thought, this could be my chance! bring on the Centipede! !
When you received the role as Lindsay and you met Human Centipede director, Tom Six, for the first time, was there something in you that felt he might be considered a “dangerous” filmmaker to individuals who do not understand the genre?
Well, when i was at the call back audition, some of the girls were walking out and saying to me “these guys are p*rn freaks etc”. I just don’t think they understood. They didn’t give it a chance. Also this film was not classified in the breakdown as a “horror film” it said “European controversial film”. Tom Six is a dangerous and risk taking filmmaker, but that’s the best part about him! I love that he is “dangerous” thats what made this film so successful. He’s like a bitter sweet dangerous.
The Human Centipede has some extremely dark content as people know. So when the camera was not rolling, what was the mood like for yourself and the other actors? Was it lighthearted to keep your spirits up or was it still somber and somewhat strange?
Well yes. We were always very tired when we weren’t shooting, so most of the time we would be asleep in our rooms or I would be talking to Rob Hillenbrink the Effects make up artist. We would get deep into conversation to pass the time, and mostly i would want to talk about things that would get my mind off of the crazy emotional turmoil I had to go through as Lindsay. It was very hard to get out of that mind set after we would shoot certain scenes. . . so i would go to sleep to not think about it, or take a walk, or read a funny book. . . but we did have some laughs and a great chef on set! good food is the best, when you’re emotionally and physically drained.
Do you find the backlash that the Human Centipede receives funny, or are you sometimes hurt by it?
I find it hilarious, and a lot of the times people who get really passionate about the bad things in the film, i find it a great compliment, cause they really took the time to talk about the film whether they liked it or hated it, and that’s what we want! Sometimes i feel a sting when people who haven’t seen the film say that we “are desperate actresses who would do anything to get seen in a film and how could we go so low to be apart of torture p*rn? ” and i get upset cause I’m like, you haven’t even seen the film, weirdo! i have gotten some hate mail on face book, but i find it all funny! I am very secure as an actress and so i just say “thank you” anytime someone curses me out for it.
Human Centipede was of course your first venture into the terror genre. I wanted to know, do you have any plans to act in a horror film again? And more importantly, do you enjoy the genre yourself or do you just consider it a chance to work?
I am starting to like horror more and more cause i am really understanding the genre now. Since being apart of horror festivals and Horror Conventions, i really see how dedicated these fans are and how they talk about it. I get scared very easily, and I can’t stand blood and gore and limbs falling off. . . but I would never pass up a chance to do a film just cause it had all that. I would love to be apart of another one, if the script was good.
Could you please tell me about your latest theater project, Bong Bong Against The Walls. . . ? Is it challenging to play someone who is mentally ill?
I am so lucky to be working with Dario D’Ambrosi again. I worked with him last year in his 30 minute version of Romeo and Juliet, where i played Juliet butt naked and had a waterfall of blood fall on top of me. . it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done on stage! But so worth it, just to work with him. He is a renowned director and actor known for his off the wall avant garde work with theater and film, in Italy and also in NY. This show i am in with him right now is about mentally ill children; how the world views them and how they view themselves and if only they were loved they could set themselves free, so to speak. It revolves around this one girl (who i play) where she is in the beginning stages of Schizophrenia and she is only 12 years old.
Her teacher notices her strange behavior in class and tells her mother, who then decides to put her in a physiciatric ward to try and help her. Then the audience is taken into this girls world of what she sees, and she brings the other characters into it as well. There are puppets and there is singing. Its really very cool. Playing someone mentally ill is a challenge. But its brilliant, because I am not playing her as “mad” I am playing her as everything she thinks and feels is very “normal” to her, and she is so smart and fun and beautiful on the inside, which makes her glow on the outside. But nobody sees or feels what she does, so she is confused as to why she is “locked up”.
And could you let me know if there are any more actual film roles on your horizon?
I have a show in the works called Holiday in Hell, scheduled to go up in March of next year, and I am scheduled to star in a UK production of a horror film shot in England next Spring called Stagnant. Also i am starring in another British film, but that one is a romantic drama, which I am excited about! I get to play a Brit!
Ashley, thank you so much for speaking with me, we definitely look forward to your future projects. Of course! and again, my pleasure.
Thank you so much Ashley for being so candid and honest, I cannot wait for her next horror role either! You can see Ashley in Bong Bong Bong. . when it opens tonight and runs for three weeks at La MaMa ETC. You can receive ticket as well as all of the information you need by visiting these following websites.
www. lamamamama. org, www. mindtheartentertainment.com as well as her official site which is
www. ashleycwilliams. org
Scare ya later F. C. , and remember the only thing that can impale your dreams is your own negativity!
SIN-cerely, Your Evil Elvis, Robert Delamorte