(Courtesy of High Octane Pictures)
In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actress Kendra Carelli talks about her lead role and the visual style behind Bloody Ballet. While discussing her role as Adriana Mena, Carelli describes how her character dove in the thriller’s surreal madness.
As we mentioned in our review, a beautiful ballerina dancer, Adriana Mena (Kendra Carelli), lands the lead role in the upcoming Nutcracker performance. She’s then forced to face her own personal demons. Jealousy and tension begin to provoke the supernatural.
Available on DVD, Kendra Carelli talks about getting into character for Bloody Ballet, playing off the frightening sequences within the movie, and her upcoming projects. So please, join Carelli and I as we take an in-depth acting class and discuss the world of indie filmmaking.
Villain Media: Tell me how you became involved with Bloody Ballet.
Kendra Carelli: It wasn’t called Bloody Ballet, it was called Malevolence. After it was called Fantasma, it recently became Bloody Ballet. Same movie! At the time, I was working in the indie cesspool. Brett Mullen and I had known similar filmmakers. We had never worked with each other on any commercials, shorts, features, but we kind of knew each other. I came in to audition for it, I got it, and came into the privilege of working with an amazing crew and cast. That’s how it came about and how I got the movie. And then from there, after a year-long process of filming, because it was low budget, we were shooting when we had the time and money.
VM: What I really liked about your performance, you play Adriana Mena as a tortured soul. Tell me what interested you about the character.
KC: What initially drew me to her, the scene in the therapist office, it gave an insight into Adriana’s mind. She was a character I never played before. I had to depict a character with mental illness, in a format such as horror, which has the largest fan base in the world. I had to do research into mental illness, which had an element of fiction obviously. I got to artistically explore that. It was something I could learn and gain greater knowledge about. I don’t have mental illness but I know people that do. It was an opportunity to explore that.
VM: Without getting into spoiler territory, tell me about playing an unreliable character. Did that affect acting choices? Or did you need more guidance from director Brett Mullen?
KC: That is a wonderful question! I have not been asked that in any other publication! The narrative was constantly evolving and changing. It was very unorthodox. Usually you shoot within three or four weeks, sometimes less, sometimes more. And we shot this over a year and a half. It was kind of on the day. You’re going scene by scene, which were also changing. I just had to make the human choice; instead of the actor’s choice. I was just trusting Brett and asking him, “Where is this scene going to go?” Instead of a full script, I had to figure out what was my moment before. I had to take into account what my character will be doing next. Instead of doing it scene by scene, I think it helped with the character. There was no prediction of what’s coming next. There was no playing into that. I didn’t get to think about it that much.
VM: There is a really terrifying sequence of you in the shower in Bloody Ballet. What’s more of a challenge, doing a ballet sequences or playing scared?
KC: I did 4 months of training. It was only going once a week. For the movie, I was put on point after three months. You’re not supposed to be on point for at least a year. You should train for at least a year before going on point. Physically that was quite difficult. We had great teachers and I had a great double.
That bathtub scene is one of my favorites as well. They’re literally both me. They did a split screen. First they shot me, regular Adriana. And then the dead version of Adriana. That took about three hours of hair and makeup. Joh [Harp] and Matt [Cloude] were incredible! They’re amazing special effect artists! The blood, the prosthetics, the cold, and being wet was very uncomfortable. The product looks awesome! But in the moment, you’re like “Why did I agree to this?” [Laughs] It’s worth it when you see it on-screen!
VM: How did Bloody Ballet change you as an artist?
KC: That’s a great question! I feel like it made me more open to unorthodox filming methods. At times, it could feel frustrating. Leading the film is a lot versus going on as a supporting character; it’s much less pressure. I don’t know what my character arc is going to be. We didn’t have a completed script, but trusting in the filmmakers, and trusting the end product is going to work or may it won’t work, I learned so many things. Any time I’m on set, I’m constantly walking away with new tools and meeting new people. It’s not the way it’s usually done but trust in it. What’s meant to happen will happen.
VM: How can readers find your movie?
KC: You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, Comcast, Dish Network, On Demand, Vudu, Google TV.
VM: What are you working on now?
KC: I have one movie out right now, a small role in Killer Single Dad. That’s on Lifetime right now. Two other ones, Bride’s Revenge and Killer Reputation. They’re coming out really soon. I don’t know the exact dates. Bride’s Revenge has a twist ending! In Killer Reputation, I’m a young country artist; a very different character than Adriana. The Dark Within just came out. Army of One is an action film. I’m also writing and producing, behind-the-scenes stuff as well. Last year, I realized I’m equally passionate about being behind the camera as well. Next year, I can tell you about those projects!
Bloody Ballet is now available on DVD.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]