In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actress P. J. Soles talks about her supernatural revenge thriller, Candy Corn. From writer/director Josh Hasty, find out what happens when vigilante justice becomes so twisted; there is no room for either the innocent or guilty party.
It’s Halloween weekend and a group of bullies are planning their annual hazing on local outcast, Jacob Atkins. When they take things too far, he’s resurrected to seek revenge against those that wronged him.
With Candy Corn now out on VOD and Blu-Ray, P. J. Soles talks about her role as Marcy Taylor, the inspiration behind the character, and her upcoming projects. Check out our review as we head into the actor’s studio and discuss the craft of character-building.
Villain Media: How did you become involved in Candy Corn?
P.J. Soles: I get scripts a lot, but I usually don’t read them. This came came to me through Ben Scrivens, who owns the T-shirt company, Fright-Rags. They made nice T-shirts with me on it. Ben is a nice friend of mine. He was actually onboard as executive producer and he wanted me to connect with Josh Hasty. He suggested to give it a read. Josh is an up and coming guy, has a video production company in Cincinnati, Ohio. He did the making of 31, with Rob Zombie.
With those two connections, I did The Devil’s Rejects with Rob and Scrivens from Fright-Rags. You know, the least I could do was read it. I loved my part in the script. I thought it was really well-written. With all the hype surrounding Josh Hasty as an up and coming writer/director, and the fact that my character does not get killed [laughs], I was like okay!
VM; Tell me about working with Josh Hasty.
PS: I did want to talk to him. We got on the phone. We probably spoke for like an hour. I told him all of my concerns. I wasn’t interested into making movies. I was getting older. I’ll forget my lines. I had a little bit of nervousness. He said, “Don’t worry. I have a good idea of what your character is. We’ll work together. And you’ll be happy you did it.” And I am! I really like it! [Laughs]
VM: I really enjoyed Marcy Taylor as the quirky comic relief. Tell me what interested you about Marcy?
PS: What I liked about the part first of all, Josh came up with the whole costume idea. It’s the first time I had ever done a movie that I didn’t design my character’s wardrobe.I had a couple of choices on set. He said, “I like what you brought. Let me show you what I had in mind.”
I fell in love with it instantly. And the idea about my hair. I thought, what I like about this, it’s getting far away from me as possible. It’s what I like to do with my characters. I don’t like to play type. I like to play against type.
He said you are the mother hen of the sheriff’s station. You care about everybody. You are the motherly influence on the station. You are calm when everything is chaotic. I thought that was a nice description of the role.
VM: Tell me about working with Courtney Gains, who is executive producer and plays Sheriff Sam Bramford.
PS: He was absolutely lovely! I had never met him before, which is unusual. I just really bonded with him. We had really nice chemistry. So we were able to play with that a little bit. And the lines lent themselves to that kind of motherly flirtation. He was wonderful to work with. He led the charge in the scenes I had with him in the sheriff’s station. I really enjoyed working with him!
VM: How did Candy Corn change you as an artist?
PS: I don’t think it changed me as an artist. It did enable me to say yes to a couple of projects. Before that, I really wasn’t interested. I have three grandchildren now. I’m not going to as many conventions as I used to. That was a sort of surprise in my life. I was content with that. I was turning down any role because I want to really shine if I do a part. I don’t want to be used because of my name. After talking with Josh Hasty and after filming it, it gave me a boost and confidence to take a look at things.
Ironically, it was his script and his conversation that led to the first of three films. I said yes in July, filmed Candy Corn in December. After Josh, another opportunity came my way from Barry Jay, who filmed Killer Therapy. And that’s a really exciting film! I’ll say yes to him. And then my friend, Eden McGarr, he did a movie called Hannukah. That was with Sid Haig; the first Jewish slasher movie. [Laughs] And in all those movies, I don’t get killed! I did three films in 2018!
VM: With Halloween coming up, I always see men and women dressed up as Lynda from the original John Carpenter film, Norma from Carrie, and Riff Randell from Rock n’ Roll High School. What’s that like to connect with the audience on a different level?
PS: I just think it’s amazing! It always astounds me when a 16-year-old girl shows up at my table at a convention, crying because she loves Riff Randell. People tell me, “You haven’t changed!” I’m laughing and going, “Sure!” [Laughs] It’s wonderful to see that my characters have had such an influence, especially with girls. I think those three that you mentioned, they stand on their own. There’s something about them that people are attracted to. They’re fun-loving and full of life. I think that’s what people respond to. They want to enjoy life. I think that resonates, especially with young people. I like that the parents of my generation have passed down these movies.
Candy Corn is available now on VOD and Blu-Ray. P. J. Soles will be appearing October 11th-13th, 2019 at New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival at the Showboat Hotel Atlantic City.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]