Seregon O’Dassey is an actress, model, and scream queen. She has acted in a lot of horror films but has a very diverse resume that also includes work on various soap operas. What I find particularly interesting is that Seregon at one point worked at a funeral home, and her job involved reconstructing corpses so that they look presentable for a funeral. She also did embalming and a lot more but these days she only sees corpses on film sets. I was curious if this affected her in terms of working on horror films, which probably seem tame in comparison to what you see in a morgue! Luckily Seregon was kind enough to grant me an interview, and we talked about a lot of things from her fighting skills to her horror films and everything in between. Her latest film, Scrooged in the Hood, premiered in Arlington, MA on December 10, 2011 and her film “Witch’s Brew” won 2 Killer Film Fest awards.
A lot of horror films feature dead bodies, but they’re fake. In your other profession, you deal with actual dead bodies. Is it fun? Scary?
Well the real dead bodies looked kinda fake. At this point I’d seen so many horror films that I expected bodies to look like they did in movies; they don’t look anything like they do in horror films. Films make them gory, too bloody, guts ripped out, etc. Even the worst car accident victim wasn’t quite that bad…
Did you need to get any type of training to do what you do?
Yes. I majored in Biology and then specialized in Mortuary Studies/Funeral Services. That is the subject in which I have my degree.
If I get shot in the face and killed, is there a chance you’ll end up reconstructing my face?
Probably not. There’s something called the “2/3 rule”. If at least 2/3 of the face is gone there will be a closed casket. But one of the required courses is cosmetology and restorative art. So I CAN reconstruct a face, but most funeral homes don’t do it if that much work is required.
Since you are used to being around corpses I imagine that you have no fear of being on a set with zombies and monsters. What scares you?
A situation that I can’t get out of, Losing my autonomy, Being kept prisoner, the concept of sex trafficking or the idea that 100 years ago you could’ve been put in a mental institution for just about anything…
What is the grossest thing you have ever seen in life or in a film?
Not much grosses me out, coming from a funeral background. What ‘disgusts’ me is a different story. Why are we still seeing graphic rape scenes? Enough already! It seems the more rights women get the more we have to demean them in other ways. I’m so sick of abuse towards women, kids and animals.
What do you think of revenge films like the I Spit On Your Grave remake, which features graphic rape, but then features the torture and murder of the rapists?
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never seen that film. And I never will. I research the subject matter of films before I see them, and I purposely avoid films that have that kind of violence toward women. I refuse to help “glorify” such a horrid action. I will say, however, that I am all about revenge! I love when the villains and enemies get their comeuppance.
Your websites all state that you do not do p*rn. Do you have to put that up there because you get inundated with offers from sleaze balls wanting to take nude pictures of you? How do you deal with that? Is there a perception that because you’re an attractive scream queen that you’ll do p*rn? Do you have anything you want to say to the people who have tried to get you to do sleazy p*rnos?
You wouldn’t believe the crap I’ve had to put up with. I get idiots wanting to give me massages, tie me up (oh and I can’t bring an escort!), ask me what my “limitations in film” are…seriously…get a life! You want to make a p*rn movie? Go hire a p*rn actor. The reason I have a disclaimer on my personal website is because some adult sites link models’ names into their search engines.
If you got in a fist fight would you win? You have a pretty tough take-no-sh*t attitude, do you like to kick ass? What type of training do you have in terms of martial arts, weapons, etc.?
A fist fight with whom?
LOL. I’ve won a few and lost. Martial arts taught me more than just fancy moves. It’s an attitude of how to work through things, deal with certain people (also in a non violent way), how to eat healthy and take care of myself. It’s a tough workout but it’s amazing how good I feel when I’m done. And to be honest it’s the actual fight I enjoy, not the end result ;)
You have a lot of projects coming out in 2012, is there any one in particular that you are looking forward to doing?
It’s been almost 3 years since Cleric was filmed. I’m REALLY looking forward to promoting it when it comes out. The creator of the score is a DJ and will be doing a promotional tour.
Besides acting and reconstructing corpses, you do other work as well- can you tell me about your behind the camera work? Do you see yourself doing more acting in the future, or more production, or both?
Well, I don’t work at a funeral home anymore. I act and model full time, but I also write and I’m starting to do more producing.
What is Kung Fu and Titties?
LOL it’s a comedy. Theatre of the absurd. The lead guy, Richard Titties, is an older and out of shape wannabe MMA fighter. I play his girlfriend who gets kidnapped by an insane god of an alternate universe because he thinks I’m someone else. Chaos ensues.
What are some of your goals as an actress? Do you aspire to work outside the horror genre at all?
Of course. What a lot of people don’t know is that I already do other genres. I’ve done comedies, dramas, daytime (soap operas). Horror is just what I’m most known for doing.
Do you have any advice for people trying to get into the acting business? Should they join a union? Get a good headshot? Start with background roles and then go for lead roles? Kill the competition?
Yes! LOL just kidding. Do not go and join a union right away. It can actually kill a lot of your chances, since a lot of film now is non union. Get some experience first. Get a little bit of a name and some recognition, and some stuff for your demo reel first. A good headshot is key. I had often been told my headshot was “too glamorous” but then I’d get a more plain looking one and be told I’m prettier in person. Since I also constantly hear people say “your headshot should look like you” I decided to go back to my original picture. I AM glamorous, so now it looks like I do. And you know what? My phone rings when I use that picture. Stay true to yourself. You can never go wrong when you’re yourself.
On your site it says you worked with Paul Sorvino, what project was that?
I actually studied with him for a while. He was my acting coach when I was still living in Pennsylvania. He taught me quite a bit, and I’m very grateful for his time and talent.
I recently took an acting class with a former soap opera actress and learned quite a bit, what was your experience working on soap operas?
I love it. It’s so fast paced. You learn a lot in a little amount of time, from stage directions to the script. Soaps get a bad rep, but honestly if you can do that then you can do anything!
Is it true that it normal to have a 16 hour or longer shoot on most soaps?
No. Film can be that long, but soaps usually are not.
Is it harder to get a good television job versus a good film job and which do you prefer?
I would say so. In film I have a reputation. In TV, although I’ve done a lot of it over the years, seems to be harder. Casting directors change, move, etc and the needs of the networks change with each show. So even if you’ve worked with someone before doesn’t mean they need your type now, of if there’s a new CD they may not know you, even though you’ve done a lot of work for the company. In film, especially indie film, fans are loyal and a director will call you in to read for a part or just give the part to you because they know you from having worked with you on a previous film.
I can’t believe someone said one of your headshots is too glamorous!
Of course it is, if it’s a good picture. I think you look glamorous in them all- maybe whoever said it was jealous- which headshot was that said about, the one with the black and white top with the black straps. Everyone has an opinion. Most people love it. That’s the pic that gets my phone ringing the most, so it’s pretty obvious that’s the one to use ;)
Interview: Seregon O’Dassey