Hey everyone, this is my second interview with one of the cast members of the new horror film HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE), and this time it's with another lead actress, Ashlynn Yennie. Just like her co-star who I recently interviewed, Ashley C. Williams, she plays one of the female characters in the film who's held captive and gets her mouth surgically attached to the anus of another character to create the bizarre "human centipede". Ashlynn was super nice, funny, and more than willing to answer whatever questions that I had for her. In this interview we talk about her involvement with HUMAN CENTIPEDE and her upcoming film FETCH (written by Trent Haaga of DEADGIRL fame), amongst other things! Enjoy!
The Death Rattle (Aaron): Hey Ashlynn, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Before we get started, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got into "the business", and what inspired you to become an actress.
Ashlynn Yennie: I am from Wyoming, so there are not a ton of acting opportunities for a little girl with big dreams. My parents are the most supportive people and let me aspire to follow my dreams. I love entertaining and have been doing it all my life. I grew up watching old black and white films with my mom and two sisters. My biggest inspiration for becoming an actress is the mere fact that it is the thing that gives me the most joy... pretending to be someone else... it's the best job ever. Seriously.
Death Rattle: So obviously we're going to be talking about HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE), but just like I told your co-star Ashley C. Williams, I have not seen the movie yet but am really looking forward to it. For now I'd like to just ask you a few questions about your involvement with the film, and hopefully once I've seen it (which will be ASAP) we'll be able to do another interview and actually talk more about the movie. Is that OK with you? Ashley already committed, so no pressure or anything!
Ashlynn: I would love to answer the questions you have AFTER you see it!!
Death Rattle: HUMAN CENTIPEDE is your first leading role in a film. Were you a bit nervous going into it knowing that a lot of the film would be focused on you, and also keeping in mind what the movie was about?
Ashlynn: Honestly, I didn't have much time to worry about nerves or anything for that matter. I was so excited to be a part of the project and the whole process for me was quick. I auditioned on a Tuesday, had the part on a Friday, and flew to Holland the next week to start filming. I just took a deep breath and went for it... pretty much balls to the wall.
Death Rattle: Describe your character in the film, Jenny. What's her story and what kind of person is she?
Ashlynn: Jenny is one of those girls you love to hate. She is a spoiled baby who has no concept of "real" life. Jenny is naive, she relies on Lindsay to get her out of situations.
Death Rattle: From what I've heard or read, a lot of people opted not to do the film once they found out what it was about or what they had to do. My question is, when you found out about the film and auditioned for it or whatever, what kind of information was given to you beforehand in regards to the story? Did you know anything about the plot, or was there just a general idea that it was going to be a horror movie?
Ashlynn: My manager asked if I wanted to audition for a controversial European film and I was like... "Sure, why not"... I went into the casting and there was a synopsis of the film. I read the synopsis and I watched other girls walk out of the casting. I had to find out more, it was the most bizarre concept I had ever heard. My first audition with Ilona was about an hour and I asked so many questions. I saw drawings of "the centipede" and I left thinking if I get this, this is going to be so awesome and fucked up!!
Death Rattle: What were your initial thoughts once you found out about the gruesome nature of the film and what you would eventually have to go through once you started filming it?
Ashlynn: I didn't think it was ever gruesome. I felt the humanity shine through the script. It is the destruction of three people and the fear of this actually being possible made playing the role so frightening!
Death Rattle: What sold you on it? As far as agreeing to do the project, I mean. Was it one particular thing?
Ashlynn: It was the opportunity that sold me on it. I am all about taking risks and a lot of girls wouldn't even audition. We are the most badass chicks you will ever meet... :)... We are fearless when it comes to taking new and challenging roles.
Death Rattle: Did you have any doubts before or during production as far as how you would perform, or were you pretty optimistic about the whole thing?
Ashlynn: I didn't have any doubts before or during production. I met Tom when I got to Holland, so saying "Yes" to a film where your face will be sewn to a chick's ass without meeting the director is pretty courageous... so you have to be optimistic.
Death Rattle: What was your average day on set like?
Ashlynn: It really depended on what we were filming that day. Some days Ashley and I were drenched in rain and others we were in make-up for hours getting the scars put on to be the centipede. It was the most amazing experience! We could not have asked for a more professional crew. Tom knows how to run his sets and he is an amazing director.
Death Rattle: Personally, I've been excited about this film for a while now because it's such an absurd idea for a horror movie and it's unlike anything I've seen thus far, but I also know that there are other horror fans out there who aren't fans of "shock cinema", or what-have-you, and would probably pass on it. That being said, how would you sell HUMAN CENTIPEDE to someone who's against seeing it? Or is it one of those movies where you tell people "If you think you don't want to see it, then you DON'T want to see it!"
Ashlynn: It's one of those films you will love or hate. There is no gray area. For true horror fans, they will love it, and for all of those are too creeped out, I say see it anyways... I am the biggest baby when it comes to horror films and now I am making them! haha
Death Rattle: I've actually heard that the movie isn't as disgusting as one would assume, and that what makes the movie effective isn't so much the gore as it is the idea behind it and how suggestive it is rather than being in-your-face (no pun intended). Is this true?
Ashlynn: There is a scene in RESERVOIR DOGS where the guy gets his ear cut off... they shot it once showing the actual cutting and then once with the guy's back covering what he was doing... the clip where you don't see the actual deed was used because it was so much more powerful. Tom lets you see just enough to let your imagination do the rest. It is a very hard thing to accomplish in film and Tom does it masterfully! Go in with an open mind and you will be shocked and surprised at what you see and the things you think you see!!
Death Rattle: Do you have a single most memorable experience that stands out during the time you were filming in Holland?
Ashlynn: This is almost impossible to answer. Everyday was a different experience like no other! The prop shop where we got our casts of our faces made and where we fitted into the centipede formation was probably the funniest 'cause that was the first time all three of us were like... "Yeah, we are going to do this shit!!""... haha. Working with Dieter, Ashley, and Aki was amazing! They are all truly phenomenal actors and I feel privileged that I got to work alongside of them.
Death Rattle: What was it like the first time you saw HUMAN CENTIPEDE with an audience? Were you nervous, satisfied with the audience reception, etc.
Ashlynn: I saw the premier in London. It was surreal! It was a theater that sat 1300 people and we had about 900 there to watch the film. I sat in-between Tom and Ilona and I held my breath for most of the film. The audience in London loved the film and after we had a Q&A and then press to do. Aki and I could not stop smiling! If you watch the interviews you can feel the excitement from all of us! It was so satisfying to see it on the big screen with massive audience approval!
Death Rattle: Tell us a little bit about your upcoming film, FETCH, and your role in it. I noticed that it was co-written by Trent Haaga who wrote one of my favorite horror films of 2009, DEADGIRL, so I'm actually a little curious as to what it's about.
Ashlynn: FETCH is about six members of a youth group who get abducted in rural Kansas. It is written by Trent Haaga and is being directed by C.M. Downs. It is a crazy story about fear, torture, love, and it has canines in it!! I play Starlene (I know her name is awesome!), she is a drug-addicted stripper who is married to a man she can't stand. It is going to be an amazing film!!
Death Rattle: What's the status of FETCH right now? Is it still in production?
Ashlynn: I am headed back to Kansas next week to finish filming. We have five days of principle photography left. Here is a link of stills from the film and more info.
Death Rattle: Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of acting?
Ashlynn: I love to cook, paint and make dreams come true :)
Death Rattle: Who would be your dream actor, actress, or director to work with one day?
Ashlynn: That is so hard to answer... anyone from the cast of TWILIGHT. Done. (Kidding... don't get me wrong, that would be awesome...). Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amanda Seyfried (that chick is funny... I actually just want to be her friend), pretty much everyone and anyone who is creative and passionate and has a sense of humor!
Death Rattle: Without giving too much away for the people who haven't seen it yet (including myself), if there's one thing that people will remember about HUMAN CENTIPEDE, what will it be?
Ashlynn: Dr. Heiter... that is all I have to say... once you watch it you will see what I am talking about!
Death Rattle: Finally, tell everyone why they should go see HUMAN CENTIPEDE.
Ashlynn: Because if you don't it will be like the chubby girl who missed her prom... you will feel like you missed something in your life and can't figure out what it is??? And no one wants that!!
Death Rattle: Ashlynn, thanks so much again for the interview. Take care of yourself, best of luck, and hopefully we'll be speaking again soon!
Ashlynn: Thanks for the interview and can't wait to hear what you think of it!! Bisous!