An Interview with Mimi Michaels – By Nic Brown

The Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas draws horror fans and filmmakers from around the world. The 2011 event featured a special sneak preview of the upcoming sequel to the surprise horror hit LAID TO REST. CHROME SKULL: LAID TO REST 2 picks up right where the credits rolled on the first film. In addition to some of the survivors from the first film, LAID TO REST 2 features a whole new cast of victims and villains. Actress Mimi Michaels joins the cast as a young woman who falls into Chrome Skull’s sights and must spend the rest of the film using her wits to stay alive in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Michaels is no stranger to the horror genre. In 2008 alone she encountered vampires, killer sharks and the boogeyman (30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DUST TO DUST, SHARK SWARM & BOOGEYMAN 3 respectively). However, this talented young actress has been working in the industry since she was four years old, doing everything from commercials to appearing on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. One of her most notable roles though was that of Aimee Semple McPherson, the famed evangelist of the 1920s in the film SISTER AIMEE: THE AIMEE SEMPLE MCPHERSON STORY.

Now Mimi is taking a break from signing posters with her CHROME SKULL co-stars to talk with B Movie Man Nic Brown about her new film, her favorite horror films and why it was easy for her to act scared when Chrome Skull was coming for her in the film.

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Nic – Mimi, you’re here at the Texas Frightmare Weekend promoting your new film. It’s some kind of romantic, family comedy isn’t it?

Mimi – (Laughs) Close… It’s called CHROME SKULL: LAID TO REST 2. It’s the sequel to writer/director Robert Hall’s hit 2009 horror film about a mysterious killer who uses technology, and a really big knife, to kill his victims.

Nic – What’s your role in CHROME SKULL?

Mimi – I play Jessica Cannon and the best way to describe my role is that I’m the lead damsel in distress for this film. So I spend most of the film on the run from Chrome Skull and fighting for my life.

Nic – I know the first film, LAID TO REST, had quite a bit of action and violence in it, and from what I’ve seen, the sequel promises even more. Was it a difficult shoot because of all the action and effects?

Mimi – It was a pretty grueling shoot, emotionally and physically. Physically we were always running and fighting and things like that, but what was even tougher was the emotional side. My character spent a lot of time screaming, crying, and being generally terrified so it does take a toll on you. However, it is also a cathartic experience because you get lost in the role and the emotions.

Nic – What do you feel was the most difficult scene to shoot?

Mimi – That’s not an easy question because there were a lot of difficult scenes to shoot. One that comes to mind though was a scene with Thomas Dekker, who plays Tommy in it. He was in the original film and we kind of find each other during this cat and mouse game with Chrome Skull. Well, Chrome Skull ends up cornering us in a cage and for the scene they had all the lights off and were shooting with night vision so we couldn’t see anything. It was genuinely frightening to be in that position – totally blind except for the occasional flashes of light and then when you can see, there’s Chrome Skull trying to kill you. It was tough being in that whole scenario.

Nic – How do you motivate yourself to generate the fear you need to convey on the screen for scenes like that?

Mimi – It’s funny because Rob, the director, asked me about that once on the set because he was impressed with how scared I looked and he asked what I was doing to create that. I told him it wasn’t hard, I just believed that Chrome Skull really was after me. (Laughs) In all different roles you take as an actor you have to use different techniques to create the emotions the director is looking for. With this one I was really able to tap into my character, Jessica, and all these horrible experiences that were happening to her. You can’t always do that, but it wasn’t too hard for this role.

Nic – Other than CHROME SKULL, do you have any other new projects that you’re working on?

Mimi – I’m actually going to be starting work on a new independent film. It’s kind of a Christopher Guest style ‘mockumentary’, but I can’t really say much more about it yet.

Nic – You’ve done a number of horror films including BOOGEY MAN 3, BACKWOODS and now CHROME SKULL, so it’s clear you don’t mind working on them, but do you like watching horror films and if so, what are some of your favorites?

Mimi – I love the horror genre, so being here as a guest at a horror convention like the Texas Frightmare is great! I’ve been fortunate that I do enjoy horror and that I’ve had the opportunity to take roles in horror films. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing all kinds of movies, but it makes it more fun when you like the kind of film you’re making.  Now thinking about some of my favorites in horror, that’s a tough question. However, I recently had the chance to watch the Swedish horror film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. That was just an amazing film. I know Hollywood did a remake of it, but I haven’t seen that yet. The original Swedish film was so good. It was scary at times, but with a real story and dramatic tension. It was a very well made film that also happened to be a horror movie.