If you aren't familiar with actress Lauren Ashley Carter than you doing yourself a grave disservice. Whether she's slowly losing her mind in the critically acclaimed film DARLING from director Mickey Keating or using mind control and telekinesis in her latest film THE MIND'S EYE from director Joe Begos, one thing is for sure, she is a force to be reckon with. In anticipation of the release of her newest film, I sat down and talked with Ms. Carter on what it's like to have otherworldly powers, her passion for the horror genre, and some of her amazing upcoming projects.
Shannon McGrew: Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for speaking with me today! For those who may not be familiar, could you tell us a little bit about your role of Rachel Meadow in THE MIND'S EYE?
Lauren Ashley Carter: Rachel has telekinetic powers along with her boyfriend, Zack Connors. She seeks help from a prolific doctor, Dr. Michael Slovak, in order to gain control of these powers as he promises he can do. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse when the diabolical doctor reveals that he has other intentions, and hand-picks Rachel to be his source of strength and evil. But he picked the wrong lady, because she's not going down like that.
SM: What interested you in the role of Rachel Meadow?
LAC: I have never done an action film before, and I love that (director) Joe Begos writes scripts that start at 100 and catapult the viewer into a non-stop exciting and bloody ride. Rachel is a bad ass concealed in a periwinkle turtleneck, just waiting to get out. And maybe get a jacket, too...
SM: What was it like preparing for your role in THE MIND'S EYE and was there anything in particular that you drew inspiration from?
LAC: I had about two weeks to prepare, so I definitely upped my cardio because I know that endurance is key for any project, but especially indie film when you have no idea what kind of days you'll be having (time, temperature, food, etc.). I don't think any of us were prepared for the epic blizzards that occurred, but I'm glad I had been preparing physically, it certainly helped being outside for hours in the freezing cold. I have no idea how Graham survived, but I'm thinking about extracting his spinal fluid.
Linda Hamilton was in my head from the very beginning. I hope that I at least come off as a pocket-sized version. I'm a fan of the 80s and 90s epic gore drama/sci-fi/horror films, so I knew what effect Joe wanted to have on the audience, and I was delighted that Joe asked me to join the cast.
SM: All your performances are packed with so much power and talent - something that is not always seen within the horror genre. Every role I've seen you, including THE MIND'S EYE, leaves such an impression and shows that women within this genre don't always need to be the damsel in distress. For you, what intrigues you about the horror genre and keeps you coming back?
LAC: I fell in love with it at a young age because it was so much fun. When I played make-believe growing up, I would often pretend that I was trapped in my house and had to escape. When I was grounded and had to do chores all day, I would (and I do not jest) tie myself up in electrical tape or duct tape and pretend that I woke up and was left a note of chores to do in order to escape. I was grounded a lot, so I had to keep it interesting. I would also torment my childhood friends by climbing through their windows with knives or baseball bats when they thought I wasn't coming over. I have no idea how I was never arrested and/or thrown into a cage.
Horror films were the peephole into performing for me, and from there my love of film and theater only grew. I could be myself in the horror genre: big and explosive, which was something I couldn't do in life. I was always told I was too loud, my eyes were too big, I talked too much, I cried too much. I think that the horror genre, more than any other, accepts and welcomes everyone.
SM: Last, but certainly not least, what can we expect from you in the future and what should we be keeping our eyes out for?
LAC: Most recently, I finished a feature called IMITATION GIRL written and directed by Natasha Kermani. Natasha is one of the founders of Illium Pictures (co-producer of POD). IMITATION GIRL is a lyrical telling of an alien being, IMITATION, who falls to Earth's shores and takes human shape. Intertwined with Imitation's story is the story of the girl whose form it takes, Julianna Fox, a semi-successful porn actress who years for a career as a classical pianist. More info can be http://www.illiumpictures.com/imitation-girl-feature-film/
I'm also writing a horror-comedy novel, DEBBIE, semi-autobiographical based on my experience living in New York City as well as my experience with an ovarian cyst. Once it's finished, I'll be adapting it into a screenplay. It will be a love letter to Frank Henenlotter, and I'm hoping I can track him down once the book is finished and force him to read it - ha! There's another movie. Let's make it great!
I also directed my first short film, INTRODUCING PARKER DOWD, which is up on Vimeo, starring Rebecca Blaine Carton (LIVING THROUGH THE LENS), and co-starring Lewis Black ("The Daily Show", "Accepted"). My good friends Raina Jones and Matthew Ducey, wrote an incredible script, "Loveshy", which will be my first feature. We will shoot in Ohio, where we all grew up. Finally, I am putting together a musical feature about schizophrenia with music by Laura Stevenson. This has been quite a project to navigate, but I've learned so much in the process, and also realized that it's quite a bit of responsibility. Writing and learning have given me a much needed purpose that I felt was lacking for some time. I don't have to wait for a gig to be able to do either of those things. I'm not good at waiting for things to happen. I go a little mad.
SM: Wow! You have so many incredible project and I can't wait to see them all come to light. As always, thank you so much for talking with me today. You are quite literally one of the most fascinating people I've ever had the pleasure of talking to and I wish you continued success with THE MIND'S EYE and all your other projects. THE MIND'S EYE comes out today in select theaters and is available on VOD and iTunes.