(Courtesy of The Asylum)
In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, screenwriter/lead actress Jamie Bernadette talks about her twisted mystery/slasher flick, The 6th Friend, co-starring Chantelle Albers, Dominique Swain, Jessica Morris, Tania Nolan, and Monique Rosario. Not only does the actress opens up about her dynamic chemistry with her charismatic cast members, she also provides some behind-the-scenes tidbits within the exciting thriller from The Asylum!
In our review, six college best friends throw their own private graduation, only to see it go terribly wrong when an uninvited guest arrives. Five years later, the girls gather once again and endure a night of far more horror and bloodshed.
With The 6th Friend now available on VOD, co-writer/producer/actress Jamie Bernadette reveals how the project came about and collaborating on the screenplay with director Letia Clouston. If you’re interested in taking an advanced course in film school, then join us in the actor’s studio as we talk about the making-of the horror flick.
VM: Tell me how the concept for The 6th Friend came about.
JB: I watched a movie, The Descent, which is all-female horror. The women don’t fit into any female stereotypes. They were strong, intelligent women working together. That inspired me to write The 6th Friend. In a similar way, it was about having the females not be stereotypes and be strong, intelligent, and working together.
VM: I love watching movies where the actors write the scripts, like Sylvester Stallone with Rocky and Tom Hanks with That Thing You Do! I feel like the acting/writing explores a different range. Was writing the screenplay a way to explore your range as an actress?
JB: No, I didn’t have that intention. I wrote it for the story. It wasn’t to show my range or anything like that. I had done a lot of other films. People have seen me act before. You know, it wasn’t like a showcase.
VM: Chantelle Albers did such an amazing job as Melissa! Tell me about working with Chantelle Albers. A lot of your scenes together felt improvisational.
JB: No, we stuck to the script. Occasionally, maybe there was an improv line, here and there. No, we really stuck to the script. By the time we got to shooting, I had written the first draft. And with Chantelle, we decided to produce [the movie] together. And then we hired Letia Clouston to direct. She wrote a second draft. We bounced it back and forth several times. It was the ninth draft by the time we got to shooting. That script was pretty polished!
VM: I’m glad you mentioned producing. Tell me about juggling all these roles as screenwriter, actress, and producer.
JB: Producing is part of the challenge. I had never done anything as challenging as that in my life. You have to handle so much. Every time there is an issue, someone is coming to you. That was a challenge but when I was acting, I focused on my character. When we were wrapped up for the day, a lot of the producing came in. I slept two hours a night when I was filming that movie!
VM: Tell me about capturing the group chemistry on camera with Dominique Swain, Chantelle Albers, Jessica Morris, and the rest of the cast.
JB: I knew Jessica Morris, Tania Nolan, Chantelle. With Dominique Swain, I knew of her work but I didn’t know her personally before this movie. Monique Rosario had sent in a tape. I did most of the casting except for David Villada; Chantelle brought him in. I casted everybody else. As for chemistry, I already knew a lot of them. But we did spend time as a group before we started filming. I felt that helped us become real friends. I think it comes across on camera also. We, the 6 friends, were also staying in the cabin, where we were shooting. Every night was a slumber party. We really sent a lot of time together.
VM: How did The 6th Friend change you as an artist?
JB: Every film that I do, as an actor, I learn something. I learn something about acting. There’s always a lesson that a project has to to give to me. This particular project…I don’t know to be honest! I don’t know how to answer that question! [Laughs]
VM: How can readers find your movie?
JB: It is released on Video on Demand. It’s on a ton of platforms — Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Xbox, Google, and pretty much everywhere.
VM: What are you working on now?
JB: Well I’m writing The 6th Friend 2. I’m writing the sequel. I’m about halfway through. It’s always been the plan to have a sequel. I am attached to 17 movies. They are all in pre-production phase. No exact shoot dates set!
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]
The 6th Friend is now on VOD.