Fans of horror films can all agree on one thing, we love us some Danielle Harris. We all adored her in HALLOWEEN 4 and 5, and she continues to charm us in her recent role as Mary Beth in HATCHET II and III. We were lucky enough to chat with Danielle regarding HATCHET III(out August 13th via Dark Sky), as well as AMONG FRIENDS (her directorial debut available August 27), and of course, her rightfully earned title as a Scream Queen.
I don’t know, and it depends. Your guess if there’s going to be another one is as good as mine. I’m pretty sure that Adam (Green) wrote this one with the intention of it being the final. Never say never cause you never know. But I feel like, I don’t really know where to go from here. This is what’s great about the Hatchet series: there’s a great beginning, middle, and an end. Which not a lot of the videos in the genre do, which goes to show you that Adam isn’t really out to make a buck, he really wants to tell a story. So then it would be open, and there would be like fifteen of them, and that’s not really how he saw the Hatchet series. But if Adam called me and said “I’m doing another one, and I would love for you to do it,” Then great, but I personally think this is the end for Mary Beth. And the end for Crowley actually. If the story is true, then this will be the end, but never say never.
How do you feel that your character Mary Beth has grown throughout the series?
Well, in the first one it wasn’t me. In the first one, you kind of didn’t know what to expect from her. She kind of went in a little bit naive and a little bit trying to be tough, but didn’t really have that experience or that thing where you experience something so traumatic and tragic that you either curl up into a ball and disappear, or you build up strength. So, she hadn’t experienced that yet. She was kind of learning, and getting her feet wet literally in the first one, and then I came back in the second one quite soaked. (laughs) Again, literally. So from then on, it was like I had just been through this exhausting night. But for me as an actor, it was hard cause I didn’t get to experience that first one. Which I can’t imagine someone coming into the third one, and not being me after what I went through in the second one. That’s very difficult to pop in at that height and state of emotion cause you just get thrown right into it. So, because I had experienced all that other stuff, it was much easier for me in the third. In the first one, she’s getting her feet wet. In the second one, she’s completely soaked. And in the third one, she’s dried off and she’s fucking over it. So she doesn’t wanna go back in there, that’s for sure. She’s got nothing to lose, but at the same time you know, who does she have to help now? You know, she doesn’t care if she goes to prison or she gets the death penalty? I mean, it doesn’t matter she lost her family. You know, it’s all over. She’s just done.
Yeah nothing to lose, huh?
Yeah, Nothing to lose.
Well, I want to talk about AMONG FRIENDS, which is coming out soon, and is also your directorial debut. How does it feel to work on a feature film as a director and to be on the other side of the camera?
It’s so difficult, and so rewarding at the same time. (laughs) It’s really difficult; you have to wear so many hats. Especially since you’re doing a low budget, independent genre film with a large cast, and very short time. So I had never done that, my experience as a director is on that just in general, was nothing that I had ever experienced as an actor. So, I was learning as I was going as well, and learning how to pull it off. And, you know some directors get stressed out that they have to shoot four pages to do in a day, and I’m shooting eighteen pages a some days, and trying to get through it without having a nervous breakdown. But I did it, and it went well, and I loved it. I learned more in that year that I spent on AMONG FRIENDS, than I had in my entire career as an actor, about filmmaking. It was something that I was sort of starving for, and I needed to make that move and that’s why I’m inspired by the experience, as grueling as it was. And I think that’s kind of my direction that I need to go, literally.
Is directing something that you’re going to want to continue to pursue?
Yeah, I’m actually in the middle of trying to option a script right now, from a writer that I fell in love with about a year and a half ago. It’s been a bit of a back and forth and trying to get it has been a bit difficult, but we’re working through it and hopefully I’ll be able to get it, and it will be my next project. So if I can option the script, then I can find financing hopefully and then ideally begin production as early as spring of next year.
Oh wow! That is exciting!
Yeah! Fingers crossed. (laughs)
When most people hear the term “Scream Queen,” You immediately come to mind. I know for me and most people, so how does it feel to have made such a lasting name for yourself in the horror genre?
It’s pretty amazing, because it’s been such short time I feel like, yet I feel like I have been in it forever at the same time. With the exception of the two HALLOWEEN films, and URBAN LEGEND, I didn’t do genre for 20 years. So I just really started backing into it in 2007, which isn’t that long ago. So it’s something that I think it was just time for maybe there to be a new face, and it’s wonderful and it’s also very difficult because people expect you to do and be a certain way, always. And after a while, you have to turn down the scripts of the victim…and now I’m the Final girl. But now that I’m the final girl, I have to go through a lot more (laughs) for a longer period of time as an actor. For example: I was talking to someone the other day about how back in the day, “Scream Queens” were different. Jamie Lee Curtis was a scream queen, and she barely got scathed in the original HALLOWEEN. Where I have to in order to survive, which is all they really had to do, in order for me now a days in 2013, I have to go to hell and back again, and be completely just destroyed emotionally and physically for me to live. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’ve been up for it for a while. I’ll take a break and direct for a little bit, but I’ve been trying to knock it out of the park and give it 100%.
You’ve worked with everyone from Tony Scott, to Rob Zombie…Are there any directors out there who you would love to work with but haven’t had the chance to yet?
Yeah, I was actually just talking about this. Quentin Tarantino is still my fave, and writes the most amazing women and the coolest chicks ever, he’s just a genius filmmaker, and a friend. He’s number one on my list. To do a movie with him, would be, like the bull on the nine, I would cry possibly for a week. And I saw a Woody Allen film recently, that I thought that would be an amazing opportunity, and Katherine Bigelow, another one, and Todd Solondz. There are just so many directors that are all so different from one another that it would be amazing, even Gary Marshall, you know what I mean? All of the directors that I mentioned are so opposite in style that I would love to have an opportunity to learn from all of them.
Yeah, that’s great to hear…I could totally see you in a Quentin Tarantino movie, which would be amazing.
It would be so rad. (laughs)
Yeah, I would love to see that happen. Well ok, Danielle, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Thank you! Thanks so much!
I am so looking forward to AMONG FRIENDS. I’m really excited about it.
Aw Thanks. I hope you enjoy it. It’s just really fun and goofy and I don’t take myself seriously. It’s one of those pop into your DVD player, grab some friends, and have a beer. It’s simple.
HATCHET III hits DVD/Bluray August 13th via Dark Sky Films.