How did you get attached to IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU?
I was fortunate enough to be one of the five original core members attached to IICHY. It started as an idea of Tennille’s to make a thriller, and from there I was invited into the original group. I loved the development of the film, a huge part of the core character developments came from the core team playing off of stereotypical characters that we were often typecasted as.
Tell us a little bit about your character, Austin?
Austin is an extremely ambiguous character. He’s a book cover model that can come off as arrogant on the surface, but deep down he’s about as insecure as they come. Austin is a character that desperately seeks praise and acceptance, and when he doesn’t receive them, his bottled up frustrations manifest themselves in volatile and often violent ways.
How was it working with the directors, Peter Poulos and Matthew Santia?
I couldn’t have asked for better directors to work with. On Peter’s end, he’s a genius behind the camera, so I always had a sense of security that even if I felt that my performance was lacking, his shots were going to make me look phenomenal. On Matt’s end, it was great working with a director that is also comfortable in front of the camera. He understands the character development process on a personal level, and often challenged me to dig deeper and bring my performance to the next level.
What was your favorite scene?
My favorite scene was probably Austin’s therapy session with Diane. This is the first film that I had the opportunity to share the screen with Tennille. The way that she plunged head first into her character allowed me to really let go of myself. While Austin and Diane were feeling one another out in the scene, I felt as if I was also feeling out Austin and really honing in on what makes Austin tick. A close second would probably be the scene where River attacks Austin. I actually broke my toe when I got tackled during that scene, and being that I sacrificed the most in a literal sense for that scene, I feel that I need to spotlight it as much as possible haha.
What was the most difficult aspect to making this film?
As a team, I think that we could all probably agree that filming during Covid was the toughest part of the project. Everything was touch and go for a while as we were all adjusting to the “new world.” On a more personal level, shooting late into the night was difficult for me. I’m a morning person through and through, so while I knew that shooting at night was essential to set the tone of the film, it was particularly difficult for me to shoot late into the night.
What makes this film stand out?
I think the originality of the film makes it stand out. The characters are purposely over-the-top, and the film is extremely self aware.
Do you have any favorite horror films?
My favorite horror film would probably be The Conjuring. One of my biggest pet peeves in the horror genre is when characters are created for the sole purpose of having more bodies to split open. While some body splitting is typically going to be on the agenda in most horror films, I still like real fleshed out characters to root for, and I feel that The Conjuring did a fantastic job doing that.
What made you want to get into acting?
Growing up I was painfully shy, to the point where if I was at a restaurant waiting to order food, my throat would be swelling up and I would be sweating from the anxiety of having to say my order out loud. I needed ways to get out of my shell in order to have a decent quality of life. I began by wrestling, getting out and getting in shape was helping me build self-confidence, but I still needed something to really push me out of my comfort zone so I began acting.
Who inspires your creativity?
I would say that it’s more of a what rather than a who. I’m inspired by past traumas. I’ve worked in mental health for years, and one of my coping mechanisms is to try to make humor through the dark situations that I’m in. It’s truly the only way to keep my own sanity. I began calling it “traumatic bliss.” When I think back to traumatic events, my brain eagerly searches for a way to redirect it into something creative. For me, creating brings me to a blissful state, thus “traumatic bliss.”
What’s next for you?
My goal is to continue acting, modeling, writing, and producing. I particularly want to get more active in writing. My dream is to one day make creating a full-time job for myself, and furthermore, my dream is to write and act in my tv show (preferably a dreamed).