Blood, sweat & bruises in Louisiana
With eyes that paralyze, Lowndes demanded our attention with her smoldering beauty when she associated herself with the godfather of the Texas Chainsaw family, Tobe Hooper. This Vancouver native starred in the director’s Masters of Horror episode “Dance of the Dead” playing a young girl living a sheltered existence with her mother in a post-apocalyptic America. Then an organ trafficker named Jack (Jonathan Tucker) comes along and exposes her to society’s underbelly where Robert Englund hosts a club and makes the dead “dance.” Pretty wild start to anyone’s acting career, wouldn’t you say? Still, Lowndes sells her trip down this surreal rabbit hole Hooper creates, making an impressive debut and bringing to the grim fantasy a girl next door charm and plausible naivety.
The young actress made an inevitable move to Los Angeles in 2006 where she was introduced to a script over the holidays called Autopsy, the directorial debut of Adam Gierasch. Lowndes was offered the role of Emily, a Marti Gras partygoer caught in a sinister hospital run by Robert Patrick, Jenette Goldstein, Robert LaSardo and Michael Bowen.
Autopsy opened earlier this year in Horrorfest, After Dark Films’ annual genre event. The film hits DVD this week and ShockTillYouDrop.com caught Lowndes for a brief chat while she was en route to the set of The CW series 90210 in which she stars as Adrianna Tate-Duncan.
ShockTillYouDrop.com: What were your first impressions of the Autopsy script?
Jessica Lowndes: I thought it was twisted and smart. I could see everything in that reading experience. The idea of doing my own stunts and going through all of the emotional stuff was very intriguing for me to do.
Shock: Yeah, about the stunts…Adam told us you were gung-ho about doing most, if not all, of them?
Lowndes: I did almost all of my own stunts, I didn’t regret it. The make-up department probably regretted it because they had to put body makeup on me every day because I was covered in bruises and scratches. It was the first project I booked coming in to L.A., it got me my work visa. It was fun and cool and I think it turned out good.
Shock: Being a relative newcomer to the States, what did you think of Louisiana?
Lowndes: Louisiana is one of my favorite places ever. We shot at this crazy hospital and got to go into this college town on the weekends and go to New Orleans.
Shock: A fully-functioning hospital…
Lowndes: It was fully functioning. I made the mistake after the hand drill scene – I’ve got blood running down my face the rest of the movie – and I didn’t realize it was picnic day. [laughs] And some of [the patients] were sitting around outdoors. I came up out of the hospital – everything looked the same in there, you got lost easily, and it could get very claustrophobic – to get some air and one of the patients saw me and started freaking out. I wasn’t allowed to leave the building ever again.
Shock: You went head-to-head in this film three pretty intimidating figures – Robert Patrick, Jenette Goldstein and Michael Bowen. How was that experience?
Lowndes: Robert is just very intense, and very funny, so when the camera went off we were just laughing. And Jenette is one of my favorite actresses I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I just loved how much she committed to the character and the choices that she made for the character were fantastic. Michael Bowen he was incredible for the physical scenes and emotionally hard scene. And it does get a little rough. I basically told them where my injuries were and when they’re pulling my hair, they’re not really…well, maybe a little. You just talk about your boundaries and you have to make a pact with that person. I am so glad about the experience all around. I learned so much about myself and pushed my boundaries. Learned to scream.
Shock: You’ve now worked with one horror vet – Hooper – and one newcomer to the director’s chair. Obviously there were some differences there…
Lowndes: I love Tobe Hooper, he’s so sweet! It was different because Tobe’s done it for years. Adam had a lot of pressure on him especially because he was directing it and other things. And all I had done was Masters of Horror and a couple of other projects. We both needed to prove ourselves. Adam was so great to work with and gave us a lot of creative freedom. The film turned out really colorful, which is what Adam wanted.
Shock: After this you went on to take a brief part in The Haunting of Molly Hartley. How’d that come about?
Lowndes: I originally auditioned to play the lead, but I couldn’t do it and after I got back they decided to write this whole opening – after the movie was shot and done. That was an incredible set to work on. What Drew Barrymore is to Scream I am to this movie.
Shock: In the time that I’ve known you, you seem to have a genuine appreciation for horror. Are there a few more genre films in your future?
Lowndes: I love the genre and for me it’s really fun. It’s interesting because when you watch a horror movie it evokes so many real emotions. I’m up for anything, I’d like to hopefully do a romantic comedy and give my [crying] eyes a break.
With a season of 90210 behind her (cameras will begin rolling again this June), Lowndes tells us she’s going to star in another thriller entitled Altitude, for more on that click here.
Source: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor