Today on the Actor Highlight series we are featuring Emily Kelly. Emily has quite a resume that is deeply rooted in theater. The role Emily played in the Gretchen’s Lock film is Jenn. Everyone knows that one person who is very matter of fact and likes to correct things that ain’t right (I can see eye rolls from Emily now, haha!). Emily will even admit to having a bit of Jenn’s personality. As soon as Emily auditioned for the role she knocked it out of the park! Yes, that’s for all of you baseball fans since Opening Day was yesterday. We all immediately looked at each other, wrote “Jenn” on her audition form, circled it, and maybe put a few exclamation marks beside her name also.
During filming she nailed every scene and keep us laughing in between takes. If you purchase a blu-ray of the film she ends the blooper reel laughing hysterically and puts her own take on being injured. Also, it was 1:00 am after three long days of filming so it was a nice comic relief.
Emily graduated in 2003 from Marshall University with a BFA in Acting and Directing. Following graduation, she relocated to Los Angeles where she worked for eight years in various aspects of theatre and film production. The bulk of her time as an actor has been spent onstage, although she played a featured role in Dark Alley Film’s “Killer Yacht Party” and also spent time working in post-production sound as ADR/Looping Talent.
Behind the scenes, she has produced and directed projects for a number of theatrical companies, as well as contributed production assistance and costuming expertise to a handful of film projects. Since her return to the Ohio Valley four years ago, she has appeared in a few theatrical productions. She is a lifelong horror fan, and someone who loved to explore Gretchen’s Lock as a teenager.
This Summer she wishes to return to the stage in a directorial capacity.
MPF: What was your favorite part of filming for Gretchen’s Lock?
Emily: My favorite part of filming “Gretchen’s Lock” was definitely the fun that we had. I wish that the cameras had been rolling between takes to catch all of our hilarious, off-color moments on the set. I think that we really fed off of each other’s energy, and it made for a great time. I couldn’t believe the chemistry that we all had, after working together for such a short time. I really think that it will show through in our performances on-screen.
MPF: Did you know anything about the local legends of Gretchen’s Lock before auditioning?
Emily: In high school, I had a small group of friends that were interested in the occult-Supernatural phenomena, mysticism, etc. Hailing from a small town with little to do to occupy ourselves, we would sometimes go to Gretchen’s Lock at night to see what we would see. There is an undeniable energy embedded in the area, and I feel as though it’s magnified at night. I can think of one particular occasion where we all experienced something that none of us could explain. I could tell you about it, but you probably wouldn’t believe me, anyway.
MPF: Do you believe in ghosts?
Emily: I absolutely believe in ghosts. I’ve heard way too many credible stories and even had poignant enough experiences of my own that it would be impossible for me not to. I think that each and every one of us leaves an indelible energy on the ground that we’ve walked and the people that we’ve met, that lingers long after we’re gone from this Earth. That energy may not always manifest itself in the same way, but I’m quite sure that it’s all around us.
MPF: What’s your favorite role you’ve ever played? (Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be your role in Gretchen’s Lock).
Emily: I don’t think I have a favorite role that I’ve played, so much as I have a favorite show that I have worked on. In the months following Matthew Shepard’s murder, a theatre company from New York City traveled to his hometown and interviewed townspeople about their feelings and experiences surrounding the incident. The play that resulted, “The Laramie Project,” is a powerful examination of the depths of which human beings both love and hate. I’ve been lucky enough to be cast in two separate theatrical productions of “The Laramie Project,” once in college and once during my time in Los Angeles. Both productions featured a small cast, with each actor playing multiple roles. I’ve played roles ranging from a lesbian college professor, to the young girlfriend of one of his assailants. While I’ve always loved entertainment for its quality of escapism, I value this show so greatly for the thought-provoking dialogue that it creates. I am extremely proud to say that the Matthew Shepard Act was signed into law during our run in Los Angeles. No one may ever know if “The Laramie Project” had anything to do with such an important piece of hate crime legislation, but I like to believe that theatrical activism does play a part in raising awareness of vital issues. It’s such an important story, and I hope that I can bring a production of it to this area sometime soon.
MPF: Which actor(s) inspire you?
Emily: I’m always inspired by different actors for different reasons. I LOVE Benedict Cumberbatch. Whether he’s playing a classic, literary detective or a real-life, eccentric mathematician, his characters always feel so multi-faceted and complex. I’ve always admired Robert Downey, Jr. for his versatility. They say that it’s far easier for an actor to make someone cry than it is to make them laugh-for me, he’s one of the most successful actors in doing both. I’m also a huge fan of Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, because their performances are always absolutely fearless.
MPF: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Emily: My favorite movie of all time has always been “The Breakfast Club.” It’s one of those movies that’s held different meanings for me throughout different points in my life. I love writing like that.
MPF: What are a couple of your hobbies?
Emily: What are my hobbies? I love to work out. I go to the gym every morning after work. It’s my me-time, and it’s my time to clear my head. Everything’s better after a good sweat. Music is another good head-clearing hobby for me. I love to play the piano. I’ll sing at the opening of an envelope. I belong to a couple of area choirs, but would really love to sing in a band again, someday. My favorite hobby, though, has to be cosplaying with my daughter. She’s five years old, and she loves to dress up for comic conventions, parties and pretty much any other event she can. We love comic books and sci-fi, so we’ve made costumes for everything from the Avengers and the Justice League, to Star Wars. We’re currently working on our new Star Wars costumes for the Steel City Con coming up in Pittsburgh this April.
MPF: What made you interested in acting?
Emily: From the first moment that I stepped on a stage, I knew that acting was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. There’s something really intoxicating about getting to put yourself away for a while, and be someone else for a bit. As an actor, you can be pretty much anyone you want to be-The possibilities are endless. Being primarily a stage actor, I’ve also always been drawn to the collaborative energy of performing live. When you’re up there it’s just you, your co-stars and the audience. There’s no safety net. Every performance is different. Every audience reacts differently. It’s electric.
MPF: Favorite color?
Emily: My favorite color is pink. Mauve. Magenta. Hot Pink. I love them all.
MPF: Who is your favorite character in the Gretchen’s Lock film?
Emily: Honestly, I think that my character, Jenn, is my favorite character in the Gretchen’s Lock film. When I first read the character descriptions and the sides for the audition, I knew that she was the character that I wanted to play. I won’t reveal too much about her personality, but she is definitely an important, stock persona to the horror genre. While we’re on the subject, I will admit that I did see a little of myself in her.
MPF: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
Emily: If I had to give aspiring actors any advice, I would tell them to be fearless-Don’t be afraid to leave your heart on the stage or the screen. Work on projects that you’re passionate about. Make your own opportunities. Always be punctual, prepared and professional.
Thank you, Emily, for your outstanding performance in the film! We’re so glad that you were a part of the production and you did a fantastic job!
For more information about the Gretchen’s Lock film & for tickets to the ONLY local showings in Columbiana, go HERE. We’re thrilled to bring you a locally made independent film production featuring local legends and made in Beaver Creek State Park! Thank you for your support in our endeavors & we hope to see you at the Grand Premiere of Gretchen’s Lock on April 23. It’ll be a provokingly good time!