What initially inspired you to become an actress?
I was a painfully shy child and deeply empathetic, yet I found the courage to audition for my third grade play and was cast in a part with one (glorious) line. The moment I stepped onto the stage, I knew I discovered something magical. Acting served as my outlet to explore my empathetic tendencies and to imagine life as another person in different circumstances. The bonus, especially as a moody teenager, was the cathartic release of emotions that sometimes felt too heavy to carry.
What kind of movies did you grow up watching?
My favorite play has always been “Romeo & Juliet,” so my mind exploded as a teenager watching Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo & Juliet.” Beyond the passion of the words, I fell in love with the colorful cinematography, narrative lens, and the creativity behind modernizing Shakespeare’s genius. This film really represented to me the breadth of possibilities in movie-making.
You got to work on Supernatural; what was it like working with Jared and Jensen? Did you follow the series before you made your guest appearance? Or afterward to see how it wrapped?
Jared and Jensen could not have been more welcoming! You could tell how much they loved their roles not only as actors, but as leaders of the show, establishing from the get-go a safe space to creatively collaborate. I was honored to sneak in as a guest star in the final four episodes, and the last episode before COVID-19 shut down the set (and the world). I did check out the final episodes and thought they did a wonderful job of closing out such an expansive series!
You had previous experience in the horror genre; one film that stands out is Lake Dead. What were your thoughts on the movie? Was the movie ever destined to spawn a sequel? It seemed to be left open for a potential franchise.
Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved making that ridiculous camp film! I had just graduated college, so getting to dive into a film as #1 on the call sheet was such an exciting learning experience. I got to work with a large ensemble cast (many of whom are still dear friends today), map my character arc, and take on some emotionally taxing circumstances. Such a blast!
With your latest movie, County Line: All In ready for release soon, what can you tell us about your character?
I play Sheriff Jo Porter, a very strong, ambitious woman whose life mission and deepest passion is to serve and protect. She has had to swim upstream in an industry (and part of the country) that doesn’t believe her gender is qualified to lead. Because of that, she’s had to work twice as hard to prove her worth. In addition to her police training and being a state trooper, she was on S.W.A.T. and got a psychology degree to position herself to transition what she calls “old school policing” into a new era. And after years of biting her tongue and listening to a lot of mansplaining, now she’s in charge and ready to show the boys’ club what’s up.
What was it like filming with the legendary Tom Wopat (Luke Duke himself)?
It was such an honor to join this amazing cast. And to join a well-established universe of fully fleshed characters from the first film. Working with Tom was fantastic. We have a special dynamic on and off-screen, which perfectly lent itself to these characters; we had a drastically different way of looking at the same thing, yet shared the same mission and goal in mind. And don’t tell him this, but he taught me a lot ;). Tom’s a pro, and it was joyful to work with him. Every cast member brought their fullest selves to the set each day. The producers and casting did an incredible job gathering a uniquely kind, caring, and talented group of people. I felt very lucky to be on that set.
The trailer looks amazing for County Line: All In, and it looks to feature some fun action sequences. Did you like performing fight scenes and shooting guns?
Because of the preparation and professional support of our stunt coordinators and firearm specialists, I felt extremely safe during our action sequences. Our director and crew worked with me to create an environment where I could perform with confidence, and enjoy the experience. I took a firearm handling and safety class prior to filming to prepare for the responsibility of handling hot guns on set, which felt vitally important on the day. Jo is a sharpshooter, so my goal was to move like a seasoned professional.
You also appear in the next installment, County Line: No Fear. Were All In and No Fear shot back to back? How long did it take to shoot each movie?
Yes! We shot the film in 3 weeks each (6 weeks total), back-to-back. It was a wonderful whirlwind; the set proved to be a home away from home, and the long days gave me the opportunity to focus deeply on the work.
The trailer showcases old school vs new school. Is it safe to say your character and Alden butt heads, before finally learning to get along?
I think Alden represents Jo’s opposition. He can get away with trusting his gut, breaking the rules, going “all in” with a sort of cowboy-esque reckless abandon; and she hasn’t been afforded the same allowances. As a woman in a male dominated industry, she can’t break the rules, she can’t afford to make mistakes, she has to be fully buttoned up, and no one gives her gut instincts the benefit of the doubt. Alden just doesn’t understand that, simply because he’s never had to. When he goes off the rails, no one pats him on the shoulder and calls him sweetheart. Over the course of the film, Jo explains to Alden what she’s been up against as a woman, and he genuinely starts to understand. He starts to show his vulnerability, and respects her point of view. And she learns that there is incredible value in Alden’s experience, boldness, and his ability to go “all in,” and fully trust his gut.
It’s always great to see a female lead in the action genre; was it fun playing an action hero?
Absolutely. Her county depends on her to protect them, and that’s more than her intention – it’s her life’s calling. And there’s a lot of people expecting, wanting, and willing her to fail, so she has everything to prove. Everything is on the line for her. And she knows that she must set the stage for success for any woman who follows her.
The third movie centers around the New York mob; can we expect even more old school action?
A major crime family threatens their citizens and justice system. Protecting the community is what Jo, Alden and Dante do; they are all devoted to their jobs with an unwavering commitment. So, when a big city crime boss threatens them, it’s life or death stakes. This enemy is intelligent, quick-witted, and without moral boundaries; he’s a true sociopath. They must stop him before the damage runs too deep to ever recover from.
Does the third movie tie up the franchise? Or is there a possibility for a fourth movie?
There MIGHT be room for a fourth; and my fingers are certainly crossed that there will be another!