Downright Creepy: Hey it’s Eric with Downright Creepy thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
DH: Yeah sure, no problem.
DRC: I guess my first question is probably the first thing to cross my mind after I finished watching Shiver. In this movie, more than any other, it seemed like you had to go through more physically and emotionally continually in more scenes than I think I’ve seen you do before. Was this the most grueling shoot that you’ve had to do?
DH: To date I think it was for sure. Root shack, which is the way it was described, was pretty gnarly. That was actually the reason I took the project because it was something I really hadn’t done before. I’ve always kinda been the feisty, sassy tough girl and this was sort of a chance to start a little bit softer and get to that point. But that meant having to be sort of tortured and struggling around and emotionally abused to find my strength. It was for sure the hardest thing I think I’ve had done up to that point.
DRC: Right, and most horror movies seem to build to that and this seemed to start it early and you kept having to go through the grinder over and over again.
DH: Yeah, the scene where he finds Wendy and has the garret around her kneck I think we did that, I think it was like a 12-page scene originally. It was cut down quite a bit. But it was like a 12-14 hour day pretty early on in the shoot and having to bear through that it was definitely hardcore.
DRC: That kinda made me wonder also, when you’re working with an actor with that much physicality going on there, did you have time to work up some trust with Mr. Jarrat?
DH: You know John’s so nice and lovely and Julian, our director, is also so kind and lovely that they totally made me feel comfortable and safe. At the same time, you really want to get into the character, but at what point do you go “okay, I think this is enough”? It was definitely a shoot where I came home every night and poured myself a cocktail.
DRC: Maybe a little cocktail before too.
DH: Yeah, I mean I definitely couldn’t carry that around with me that’s for sure.
DRC: I actually saw an interview earlier where you discussed the tolls of horror movies and maybe moving away from that and how it’s getting really hard on you. Was this the point where that was beginning to be a factor?
DH: You know, that was probably right around the time that I was like “okay, I wanna sink my teeth into something as an actor” and then I did it and went “okay, I think I’m cool. Don’t think I really need to do that again.”. You know, I’m working on a film right now and was actually doing a pretty intense scene the other day and I had a really hard time getting my heart rate down after a physical struggle, fight scene. And i was like “wow, okay I can feel my heart pounding through my stomach” and it just took awhile to kind of relax. So I though “I’m kinda not as young as I used to be ya know?” You could also hear it in my voice. After Day One of screaming and I was like “Oh my god, am I really losing my voice? I’m out of practice”. So yeah, that’s a factor and there’s only so many times you can play the heroine or victim until you just say “okay it’s time to pass the torch.” Then you move on to direct and then when it’s time come back as the heroine’s or victims’ mother I’ll step back into it.
DRC: Is that what led to Among Friends and moving into the directorial world then?
DH: Yeah, it was just time. Time to be on the other side. I’ve loved acting but I’ve never really been in the business to be a hardcore actress or any of that. I just sort of grew up in it and love it because it’s sort of who I am, but I definitely enjoy the filmmaking aspect of it and the creative side and always have. So it was just something that I felt I would fit in better behind the camera instead of in front.
DRC: I just have to say, since I have you on the line. The Last Boy Scout one of the most underrated movies ever.
DH: Why thank you.
DRC: I know people know you for horror now but I had to say it.
DH: You know it’s funny because I’d only done really three horror movies up until 2007. I only did the two Halloweens and Urban Legend and 2007 was when I really started to get back into it.
DRC: Yeah, I kinda noticed that when I was looking over your career. I was wondering how that happened all of the sudden. You just became a scream queen when really you’d done a lot of work before that.
DH: I mean I had a following when I was a kid. And people were always incredibly devoted to following my career because of the Halloween franchise but being in Rob Zombie’s sort of rebooted the excitement in a bunch of new generations of fans and genre communities.
DRC: Would you say that’s what kind of drew you back into that, just the fan’s excitement to see you in that world then?
DH: Yeah, I was just kinda trying to find my way. I was transitioning from child actor to playing adult roles and was kind of in that funky place. I was 30 and playing much younger and not really able to play my age and didn’t really have a desire to do television and you know was really just trying to figure it out. So it came my and I never expected it to boost it the way it has in the last couple of years but I’m grateful. Write what you know, and do what you know and I know the genre and what fans want and the community is such a great place to be and the support is dynamic. I’m happy where I am right now.
DRC: I saw you at a convention in Kansas City a couple of years ago and even among those fans, they seemed to be at your table more than a lot of other people’s tables. So you see the excitement there.
DH: You know it’s interesting because over the years I’ll keep doing the same shows and people will ask me to come back and i’ll go back and do it and it’s the same people who come to see me and then some. They bring their DVDs to be signed or whatever it is and they just wanna come and hang out. I think I’ve always been accessible I think and pretty normal and most of my fans are my age so I think they’ve grown up with me. So it sort of feels like a sibling or a friend.
DRC: Right, and while we’re on the subject of horror, I know people are gonna be mad at me if I don’t ask about the See No Evil 2 and working with the Soska Sisters. Can you say anything about that at this point?
DH: I can say very little. They’re very secretive about all this stuff but I am kinda obsessed with them and I know the feeling is mutual. They’re hilarious and brilliant and beautiful and so incredibly talented and such fan-girls. It’s such a breath of fresh air to be doing this movie. The WWE Studios and Michael Lousiey, who’s the head of the company, and the Soska twins are just amazing to me and have kind of rebooted my desire to be in front of the camera. More than before I did this for sure. The fans are super excited and I’m a big fan of Katie Isabelle, there’s just a lot of people that are in that that are just, I mean Michael Ecklund, that are so rad. This movie is by far the hardest I’ve ever worked in my career. Let’s put it that way.
DRC: The sequel kind of came out of nowhere and then they started announcing the cast after they announced the sisters right off of American Mary. It kind of took everyone by surprise.
DH: You know, I wanted to be directed by them before I stepped out of the spotlight and got behind the camera. I just wanted to do one more thing. I’ve wanted to work with them before I took a break, because I didn’t know if I’d get that opportunity again. I met them and fell in love and we made it happen. I’m just having an amazing time and I’m working my ass off and so are they. I get text messages from them every night saying “You rocked it, you’re amazing”. To quote them, they always text me and say “I can’t believe I’m working with Danielle fucking Harris”. They’re super cool. I love them.
DRC: I guess the obligatory question from that is that horror has always been, especially behind the camera, sort of a boy’s club. I wondered how important and how much do you see it as an issue that talented female directors such as yourself and the Soskas start to take the center stage?
DH: I think we still have to kind of fight and prove ourselves. The twins the other day said to me along the lines of “people are saying that you’re finally a director now”. Well they’ve done three films, so I don’t know why they weren’t a director the first time they did it. Where if a man had done it the first time they would have automatically been a director. So I think it’s a struggle, and a little bit harder for us but it’s not gonna keep us down. I think women bring an emotional level to genre that has been lacking for a very, very long time and a kinda sexy, stylistic twisted way. That’s why they’re called the twisted twins. And I’m the same way, I don’t know if you’ve seen Among Friends but I kinda have that dark sense of humor as well, and love what I do as do they. It’s a challenge but I don’t think it’s anything we can’t overcome. I mean look, shit hello, they’re directing See No Evil 2. So I think they’ve overcome. And my turn’s next.
DRC: Yep, is there anything else you want to talk about that you’re doing next before we let you go?
DH: I think this month, obviously, all the movies will be on TV but tonight I’m actually on Halloween Wars on the Food Network. I’ve done a bunch of kinda cool things this month. I’m gonna be on a SyFy show called Skin and on the 25th of October I’m co-hosting a series for E! called Hollywood Death Trip. That kind of focuses on real murders and scandals in Hollywood. It’s pretty intense, I think I cried everyday and finally got a chance to go to the morgue for the first time. I’m really into that stuff so that’s pretty rad, so check that out.
DRC: Okay, will do. We’ll look for you and, again, we really do appreciate the time. Thanks a lot.
DH: Thank you. Thanks so much.