Jessica Cameron is always making moves in the world of horror, whether she’s facing down a killer Santa or directing her newest film she’s always bringing something new to horror fans. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jessica about her starring role in American Guinea Pig: Song Of Solomon, working with Stephen Biro, and what she has in store for the future.
Terror Time: Hi Jessica, and congratulations on the starring role in Song of Solomon. When people think of the American Guinea Pig saga and Unearthed Films they usually think of the extremes of the genre and pushing the boundaries. What drew you to audition for the project?
Jessica Cameron: I’m a huge fan of extreme horror and cinema. It’s actually my favorite sub-genre. As an actress I find well-made extreme horror films really enable me to explore deep psychological intricacies of a character while suffering through extreme physical pain which is a challenge I adore. I love The Exorcist and for years I’ve been waiting for more good films within that exorcism sub-genre. Most that I have seen basically just pull from the original without adding anything new, which is a shame since with what I know about religion I know there’s so much more to play with. When Stephen Biro told me his idea for the film it was everything I wanted in an exorcism film and then some, knowing that his other films were extreme I knew he wasn’t going to hold back. I knew I wanted to be involved so I asked to audition.
TT: You mention the Exorcist and how all other exorcism films just basically mimic the classic. Are there any inspirations outside of the exorcism sub genre that you’ve used in building the character of Mary?
JC: I did a lot of research on demon mythology and tried to really find the most authentic information and testimonials. Its tricky cause with the internet there’s as much (or possibly more) fake info as there is real. Luckily for me my Director, Stephen Biro, is very knowledgeable with all of the above so I depended on him a lot.
TT: Yeah Stephen is quite the biblical scholar. This film has an amazing cast including Jim VanBebber and Maureen Pelamati. How was your experience working with two people who have paved the way for independent genre films?
JC: It was quite the experience; one I am confident I will remember for my entire career. Maureen is so kind and became a house mom when she was on set. I miss her and her delicious cooking since we wrapped. Jim was everything you think he’s going to be and then some. Sadly, there is never enough spare time when making movies so I still have a bunch of questions that one day I hope to ask him.
TT: I can’t even imagine the stories. You also got the opportunity to work with two of the best in the makeup FX field in Marcus Koch and Jeremi Cruise. Was your mind blown by what they came up with on the set?
JC: I’m such a fan of practical fx, and sadly they are becoming less common in this digital age. The fact that this film was going to utilize all practical fx was a big draw for me. That said my expectations were high cause I’ve been a huge fan of both Marcus and Jeremi and knew what they were capable of. All that aside, I was still blown away with what they did, they are simply masters of their craft. I could just watch them work for months at a time and be completely enthralled. I cannot wait for the world to see what they created.
TT: I’m sure it will set a new standard. Stephen Biro is known for his fearless approach in regards to content both psychologically and physically. Was there anything about his approach to directing that surprised you?
JC: I was pleasantly surprised with how much he trusted everyone on set. He hired some great people and really let them do their job the way they wanted to do it. I had some off the wall ideas for how I was going to portray my character and he was always happy to let me play in front of the camera, which was a lot of fun. The more your leader trusts you, the more his team trusts him.
TT: That’s fantastic that he’s open to interpretation. Acting has taken you all over the globe how was your experience shooting in Florida?
JC: Florida feels to me very much like a different country. The bugs are almost as large as my cats, the sounds of the swamp were so loud I couldn’t talk over them, and it stormed pretty much every day (though usually for a short time period). I love traveling and getting to experience new places/ people and cultures so it was exciting too!
TT: You’ve got a litany of projects both in front of and behind the camera. What can you tell me about some of the films you’ve got in the pipeline?
JC: Mania is finishing up its festival run, I’ve lost track of our actual award count but I’m thrilled with how well it’s been received. An Ending, Desolation, and Kill the Pa are all in post-production so we should have more news on their premieres soon. Red eye, American Guinea Pig: Song of Solomon and Solitary Confinement are all scheduled to start screening in 2017. I’m currently working through the final script on my next directorial adventure, it’s a fun flick titled Besties from two very talented writers. I can’t say too much about it but that its going to see me working with some of my favorite people.
TT: Wow. You definitely stay busy. I’m glad to hear that Besties is a go. From what you told me about it in prior conversation I believe you’ll break more boundaries with that one. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Where can people find you online to stay on informed of your upcoming slate of films?
Follow me on social media!
Official Website: www.jessicacameron.com
Buy official signed merch: www.jessicacameron.com/store
Also check out my real life shenanigans with Bestie Heather Dorff on Scream Queen Stream: https://www.patreon.com/screamqueenstream