In preparation for the release of ITN Distribution’s newest horror film, CLOWNTOWN, we sat down and spoke with actress Lauren Elise on her role as Sarah, what it’s like to work with evil clowns, and why she enjoys working within the horror genre.
Shannon McGrew: For those not familiar with your latest film, CLOWNTOWN, can you tell us a little bit about it and your role as Sarah?
Lauren Elise: The film is about a group of friends who get stranded in an abandoned town, or so they think, and discover a bunch of creepy clowns that inhabit the place. The clowns are evil and their goal is to try and kill us and we need to try and escape. I can’t tell you if my character lives or dies, but I’m one of the friends and I become a victim to the situation.
SM: What interested you in taking on this role?
LE: Well, when I first auditioned for it, it was called VIGILANTE, so I didn’t even know it was a film about clowns. I just thought I was going to do a horror film and I even needed to google the word vigilante because I didn’t know what the fuck that meant (laughs). We weren’t sent the script, so I just booked the role without knowing anything about it. Then, we found out that film was really CLOWNTOWN, and I was like “wait a second, what is this, I don’t understand” (laughs). Then we went through the whole process of like yeah, there’s clowns and they will be scaring you and then I got excited. I was like okay, now we are going somewhere, I love themes and I love the genre and I loved this theme. So that’s when I started to be really excited.
SM: A lot of people have a fear of clowns, including myself, so what was it like working with a bunch of evil clowns?
LE: All of those actors are very method. I’m not a method actor, when I’m on camera, I’m on camera, and when I’m off camera, I try to let that character just live on the lens. I think that’s a healthier way, for me as an actor. I tried to do method stuff before and it really messed with me. I don’t practice that technique but the clowns did. They would walk around hair and makeup in their costumes, they would play tricks on you, they would hide in the corner and in dark spots, but I love them, they are such great people, and I know who they are, but still, them being on all the time was petrifying. So many times I almost shit a brick (laughs). They were such good scarers, very professional at scaring other people. I went into this film not afraid of clowns. I was like no, this isn’t going to scare me, this is so stupid, I think clowns are cool. Coming out of this film, I don’t want to see anybody with face makeup on, I don’t want to be around a clown, I don’t want to see a clown, I don’t want to be friends with clowns, I don’t want clowns anywhere near me and my future children, no way. Post filming, I have developed a fear of clowns.
SM: You’ve done quite a few films in the horror genre, what is it about this genre that keeps you coming back?
LE: I’m a big fan of horror but actually I just love working on horror, I just think it’s really really fun. I like to mess with my range and play with my range, I like to do things that are very unexpected to keep myself entertained and I think it’s something that actor’s don’t do enough of. This whole idea of being pigeonholed seems like such bullshit to me. Like you’re going to be pigeonholed if you do something in horror, it’s like no I’m not. I’m in complete control of my career, I make good strong choices and if I don’t want to do anymore horror films I don’t do anymore horror films, it just means I’m going to move to something else. I do films that I want to do and horror is so intriguing because people that do them are really interesting people. I love meeting people in horror, they are juicy people, and they have amazing stories. They are really cool people and a lot of times I’ll do a horror film just to connect with new people.
SM: Other than the release of CLOWNTOWN, what can we look forward to from you in the future?
LE: I have three films coming out, one is called DEPRAVED which is a ghost story and Tom Sizemore in in it, it’s very very scary. The next one is called CREATED EQUAL and is directed by Bill Duke and the third one is in my favorite genre, horror/comedy, and it’s the only horror/comedy I’ve done (and hopefully not close to the last) called ATTACK OF THE KILLER DONUTS and it’s winning a lot of awards all over the nation at festivals.
SM: Well, it looks like you definitely have a full plate! Thank you so much Lauren for speaking with us today and we look forward to continued success on your upcoming projects as well as CLOWNTOWN.
CLOWNTOWN will be in select theaters on September 30 and available on VOD and DVD October 4.
- [SXSW Interview] Paris Zarcilla & Chi Thai for RAGING GRACE - March 17, 2023
- [Article] BOSTON STRANGLER – Highlighting Female Investigative Journalism - March 16, 2023
- [SXSW Interview] Steve J. Adams & Sean Horlor for SATAN WANTS YOU - March 15, 2023