An Interview with Brooke Lewis – By Josh Samford

Brooke Lewis is a name that may seem familiar to you if you’ve spent any time spelunking in the world of independent horror. She has worked on over thirty projects to this date and even had a small role on the reality competition show “Scream Queens”. A unique individual, Brooke is a Renaissance woman of sorts as she expresses herself through as many outlets as possible. A talented and burgeoning young actress, we at Rogue Cinema were lucky enough to ask her a few questions about her current projects, her past and just what we can expect from her in the future! Read on and enjoy!

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Rogue Cinema: Hi Brooke, for our readers who aren’t as familiar with your work, can you give us a brief rundown on how you first made your way into the Entertainment business?

Brooke Lewis:I was the kid who would sit in front of the TV and talk to the characters on the show, as if I were on TV with them! I was also obsessed with Dracula and vampires at an early age (ya know, before I knew I was one! ;). Although I was a huge horror fan as a kid, my earlier acting work was definitely more mainstream. I was singing, dancing and taking classes from a young age, which led me into musical theater, which led me into comedy in New York and I got my lil “break” in TONY N’ TINA’S WEDDING Off-Broadway for 3 years. This led me into edgy NY indie films from drama to comedy to mobster movies to TV pilots. I soon took off to Hollywood to pursue more TV stuff. I landed a low budget horror film and was hooked! I started Philly Chick Pictures and partnered with larger production companies to create a few horror/thrillers and have been fortunate to work in the horror/scifi genres ever since.


RC:
What was it that drew you to acting initially?

BL: I was “born” to be an actress so I guess I always knew! It was always a part of my heart, soul and dreams. I have always been overtly emotional, so I’m drawn to things/people that/who allow me to express myself. I admit it…I’m not just a “Scream Queen”, but a “Drama Queen”, as well!


RC:
Have you always enjoyed horror movies and genre film?

BL: Yes of course…since I was 5! Horror is like no other genre. It is a film medium that allows us to push the envelope and explore the darker side of human behavior. I find it dark, sexy, intense and thrilling! I love and embrace a lot of the roles that horror offers women. While other genres often portray female characters as weak, horror allows us to play the killer, vigilante, psycho, devil, etc…Oh, and, I freakin’ love Vampires!!!


RC:
I am always interested in what other filmmakers are watching, so what kind of films have you found yourself watching lately?

BL: LOL! This should tell you and the readers a lot about me but I watch TWILIGHT, GOODFELLAS, PRETTY WOMAN and THE NOTEBOOK over and over and over again! What can I say? I am a “sucker” for blood and love.


RC:
You adorn the title of ‘Scream Queen’, do you find that title at all limiting for you as an actress?

BL: The title “Scream Queen” to me is an honor! It means a “powerful” female presence in the horror genre! I hope to be recreating that rare combination of powerful women in film in both mainstream and the horror/sci-fi genres! In my opinion, any true horror fan will recognize that the greatest roles for women in horror history were not necessarily the roles in which women were victimized or objectified, but the roles in which women were the heroine (Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN or PROM NIGHT), or the strength behind the man (Margot Kidder in AMITYVILLE HORROR) or the killer (Sissy Spacek in CARRIE). In my opinion, there are currently sub-genres inside horror and I tend to gravitate toward the more mainstream themes and roles for women, as described above. I have 6 films being released this year and only 2 happen to be in the horror/scifi genres, so I don’t think the title “Scream Queen” has been limiting for me as an actress at all, in fact, I wear it with pride!


RC:
What do you think the current state of independent cinema looks like?

BL: Quite honestly, I think it is a mess! I think with the disappearing of dvds, the internet craze, piracy and the digital explosion, indie films will never be regarded and respected as they once were. Now, anyone with a camera can shoot an indie film with no credentials, money, crew, trained talent, etc…and call himself a “filmmaker”. On the flip side, the studio system is now making “low budget” films and “calling” them independent, which makes it that much more challenging for true indie filmmakers, so you really can’t win! A mess, I tell you!


RC:
Unlike many young actresses, you work within many roles on your films. The IMDB has you listed with twelve producing credits, can you tell us what spurred this interest in working behind the camera as well as in front?

BL: In 2002, I created Philly Chick Pictures to "produce entertainment with an attitude”. My movie career started as an actress in low budget independent fims in NYC. I was always the actress with a ton of energy and a business brain, who would call in a favor to attach talent, crew, locations or think fast enough to do damage control on a set. After doing this work for other people’s companies or projects and not being credited or compensated properly, I finally realized that I had been "producing" all along! I learned that I have a creative soul and a business mind. I have never been the type to sit back and wait for things to happen, so I started Philly Chick Pictures to further my acting and producing career, make films with an edge and find and develop strong roles for women! Almost 8 years later, I am still learning and growing every day and with each project I choose. I have made a lot of mistakes in my career, but am very committed to learning from them and moving forward!


RC:
How difficult is it working in between these roles while filming?

BL: It is unbelievably difficult and I don’t recommend it! It is very challenging to be delivering your best work as an actor, while you are worried about your crew and the technical aspects of a film. You need to be in two totally different headspaces as an actor and producer and sometimes it is difficult to not let the two merge. I have been very fortunate to work with a few teams who have given me the space to focus on just acting during the days I am performing!


RC: You have several projects lined up right now that have spurred a great deal of interest in the online horror community. Among those are Mondo Holocausto! and Dahmer Vs. Gacy, both of which have already produced a decent amount of buzz online. What can you tell us about these two very interesting movies?

BL: DAHMER VS. GACY is another low budget horror/scifi/action/comedy. It merges serial killers and government science experiments in a campy, but smart kind of way. If you can understand the subtext of the script, you will see how clever it actually is. I play the role of Tammy Hart who is a Southern Televangelist based on Tammy Faye Baker. How our brilliant actor/director, Ford Austin, channeled that through me, I will never know. Acting in that scene with Ford directing me is one of those "moments" that actors cherish throughout their careers. The film has recently hit the festival circuit and is winning Audience Choice Awards! MONDO HOLOCAUSTO! is an “over the top” horror/comedy modeled after the old Italian-style films, in which the voices are dubbed. Anthony Sant’Anselmo is a young writer/director who has this smart and hilarious vision and also happens to be lucky enough to work over at SOUTH PARK, so he is also schooled in the talents of voice-over. When he sent me the script, I laughed from start to finish and knew I wanted to be a part of this project!


RC:
You also worked as an actress and co-producer on the sequel to the beloved cult classic Slime City, the aptly titled Slime City Massacre. What can we expect from Slime City Massacre? The original is a personal favorite of mine!

BL: Well, I am so happy to hear you are a SLIME CITY fan! SLIME CITY MASSACRE is a gem of a lil indie horror/scifi/action flick! Greg Lamberson, the writer/director/producer, put his life into this project! Everyone pulled together to create something wonderful and artistic with a very low budget. I think horror fans will be impressed with the FX, sets, art direction and locations. For all the original SLIME CITY fans, Greg really stepped it up with the sequel! I play Nicole, a prostitute in the 1959 flashback scenes. I really enjoyed preparing for this character and I hope horror fans enjoy my work in this one. There are soooo many amazing cast members to mention, but the four leads include Debbie Rochon, Lee Perkins, Jennifer Bihl and Kealan Patrick Burke and, of course, Robert Sabin and Mary Bogle from the original. This was a project I chose solely based on the script, my role and Greg’s passion to make the film and it turned out to be quite a gift! I am forever grateful to Greg and the cast and crew of SLIME CITY MASSACRE, as I recently won the B Movie Golden Cob Awards 2010 for Best Scream Queen of 2009 for my work on the film! 🙂


RC:
What else is there coming down the line from Brooke Lewis?

BL: As for Brooke, along with the films mentioned above, I have a few others being released this year, including Marc Clebanoff’s dark comedy GERALD, Sal Polisi’s mobster drama directed by James Quattrochi called SINATRA CLUB, Fabian Carillo’s action flick DOUBLE TAP directed by Ryan Combs and a short film SPRINKLES, directed by Roger A. Scheck, in which I play the lead Maura and is probably my most challenging and showcase performance to date! And, as both an actress and producer will be working on an intense drama/thriller UNTOLD IN WEST TEXAS with my dear friends and business associates Parrish Randall and Roger A.Scheck. As for Philly Chick Pictures, I am proud to tell your readers that we are in the development stage of creating a feature film for Ms. Vampy. I am blessed to have a co-production deal with Illusion Industries, in which I will star and produce, Todd Tucker will direct, Jim Pacitti will star and produce and Tamar Halpern, Todd, Jim and I have written based on my original story. The feature is a Halloween Family Comedy titled VAMP IT OUT and will be in the vain of THE NANNY meets ELVIRA meets HOUSE BUNNY. I am following my heart and soul with this piece and my goal is to inspire teenage girls and women to embrace their inner beauty, follow their dreams and when faced with fear, dig deep inside, find their inner vamp and VAMP IT OUT!!!

Rogue Cinema, many thanks and Love & Horror to all! XO Brooke Lewis

 

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We here at Rogue Cinema would like to thank the fabulous Brooke Lewis for sitting down and answering our questions! She is a multi-talented individual with a lot on her plate, so it means a lot to us that she could find time in her schedule. You can read more about Brooke via her personal website at http://www.brookelewis.com or you can read more about Philly Chick Pictures at their official website http://www.phillychickpictures.com.