Actress and model Amanda Marie is another Texas girl who’s making quite a name for herself in the independent film industry. Besides her work in front of the camera, her resume also includes producer, casting director, assistant director, choreographer, wardrobe, hair and makeup artist, and still photographer. She’s played roles ranging from glamorous to grotesque and hasn’t been afraid to take a few bumps and bruises that sometimes go with the territory.
Amanda currently has a recurring role in the web series The Allegiance of Powers, and as this goes to press, she’s preparing to leave for Columbia for two weeks, where she’ll be shooting scenes for Massimiliano Cerchi’s Where Evil Dwells. The film’s produced by Josh Piper and features a diverse cast whom she is understandably very excited to be working with.
Amanda was gracious enough to grant me this interview before her departure and in addition to her accomplishments and obvious, I can say that she also has a great sense of humor. Above is Amanda on the set of A Love Story, which is currently in production and will continue filming next month, after her return to the States.
CHRIS CHARLES: So Amanda, when this goes to press, I understand you’ll be getting ready to leave for Columbia to shoot Where Evil Dwells. I assume you’re very excited about that?
AMANDA MARIE: I am so very excited! I have never been there before so this is a great experience to be able to travel to a new country, and getting to do what I love at the same time! I leave on November 18, 2013 for 14 days. We will be staying in Medellin at a very sweet villa. The film will be shot in the woods of the area. Release is expected for early 2014 with distribution already in place! This is a fantastic script by director Massimiliano “Max” Cerchi and executive producer Josh Piper. The cast are from all over the world. Al Snow from Kentucky, Paula Marcenaro Solinger from Texas, Sebastian van Vrey from Germany, Domiziano Tenderis Arcangeli from California, Jeffrey Kim from New York, and Mark Johnston from Washington. Looking forward to all the great cast I will be getting to work with from all over the world.
CHRIS: You currently live in Dallas, but are originally from a small town in Arkansas. Do you still have ties to your hometown?
AMANDA: I moved to a little town called Beebe, Arkansas on my 10th birthday, where I lived until graduation. I don’t really talk to anyone from there any more as over the years we all have just grown apart. My father and sister both live here in Texas so that is why I chose to move back here after living in several other states.
I guess you can say I made a full circle: started in Texas, then to Arkansas, North Carolina, California, Florida, and right back to Texas. I have recently gotten engaged so I will be moving again out of state but this will actually be a big help to my career with where I will be relocating to. Excited for the future and what all it holds!
CHRIS: You also began modeling a few years after acting. What are some of your most memorable photo shoots, good or bad?
AMANDA: When I lived in California, I was asked to model for JC Penney and that was a lot of fun. Also, I did runway shows out in Las Vegas at some of the casinos. So you know those were fun! The most recent shoot I did was for a catalog for Norwex. This was for a Norwegian cleaning line. This was actually a lot of fun. I am featured as the principle character in the catalog. There were several different scenes that were shot for the catalog. The set, the crew, and the client were all fantastic to work with.
CHRIS: A few months ago, you did an Alice in Wonderland-themed photo shoot. What was that for?
AMANDA: The Alice in Wonderland shoot was for the photographer to build on her portfolio as well as a friend who wanted to build on hers. They asked and seeing as I had never done one like that before I jumped on the chance. Was a lot of fun doing and the photos should be complete any day now!
CHRIS: You’ve also done a lot of jobs behind the camera, as well as in front. Any you didn’t enjoy doing?
AMANDA: Hmmm, that is a good question. I prefer being in front of the camera as that is where I can go into “role playing” mode. But I guess the main one behind the camera was assisting with sound when I was an AD. Sorry but just standing there with headphones on and holding a giant pole isn’t really my kind of fun. But of course, I make the most out of every experience!
CHRIS: In the film Blood Red, you play a blind woman who’s murdered. How did you prepare for that role?
AMANDA: That was a role that I was determined to do my homework on. I started by renting the movie Jennifer Eight and See No Evil. I also watched several Youtube videos on blind women. I would blindfold myself and walk around my apartment learning to rely on my senses and my memory. I practiced with the blind stick as well as using the sense of touch to learn people’s facial features. I wanted to make it as real as possible.
CHRIS: Would you say it’s been the most physically challenging role you’ve done so far?
AMANDA: This, by far, was not only the most physically challenging, but mentally as well. Seeing as how I am tortured and killed, trying to fight something that you can’t actually see is not an easy task.
CHRIS: Most indie actresses can’t help but do horror/slasher films. Is horror your favorite genre?
AMANDA: Actually, horror is my favorite. My first film was actually a comedy and that was fun. But I have always been a fan for the horror films. Jamie Lee Curtis is actually one of my favorite horror actresses. I am working to become the next “Scream Queen,” and seeing as how I was born on Friday the 13th, 13 minutes to midnight, I guess it was just meant to be for me to be a screamer!
CHRIS: You wore some heavy makeup and prosthetics in M is for Malice. How much time did you have to spend in the makeup chair being transformed into the “creature”?
AMANDA: I was in transformation for about an hour. Between the latex, the makeup, the gluing of the teeth, the works it was a slow and steady process. But well worth it!
CHRIS: Have you finished filming your scenes for A Love Story?
AMANDA: Actually there is still one final scent to film on this. I have been in touch with the director and to accommodate me he has agreed to wait until my return to film the final scene. It honestly worked out better to everyone’s benefit to wait until December to film the remaining.
CHRIS: You played a belly dancing gypsy in The Parallel. Had you studied belly dance prior to getting that part?
AMANDA: Actually, in North Carolina I took belly dancing classes with my friends strictly for fun and exercise. I never thought that it would actually work out to my benefit. But I am sure glad it did!
CHRIS: Are there any types of roles you’d like to play that you haven’t been offered yet?
AMANDA: I am really into the crime style television shows, such as SVU, CSI, Criminal Minds, Bones, etc. I would actually love to be able to play some type of investigator or profiler sometime. Every time I watch these shows I imagine myself in the role of one of the females. To me, that would be a challenging role as well since they are very dramatic and suspenseful.
CHRIS: Have you held any “day jobs” that you’ll probably laugh about in the future?
AMANDA: Years ago I actually worked at an ice cream parlor. When I think about it now I do laugh at being the “ice cream girl,” but hey, I got all you can eat ice cream for free! How can I complain about that!
CHRIS: Doesn’t sound like a bad job, at all ….especially compared some other struggling actresses have told me about. So, are there any special significance or back stories to your tattoos?
AMANDA: My tattoos do have significance. The ones on my shoulders are in remembrance of my children. I also have a dolphin tattoo on my ankle as I love the freedom and intelligence of the dolphin. I would love to be able to be that free. The other ankle has a dragonfly. According to some Native American cultures, the dragonfly is a symbol of the soul of departed loved ones. I really loved this story and felt a sense of peace by this.
CHRIS: Many of the actresses and models I interview who clearly state they don’t do nude scenes or photo shoots, say, despite that, they still quite often get offers to do them. Same with you?
AMANDA: Actually, I do nude scenes in films. I don’t do the photo shoots per se, but I do the scenes in film. I do not have a problem with them as long as they are done tastefully. And of course if there is an actual contract drawn up.
CHRIS: Care to mention any hobby or skill you don’t usually mention on your bios?
AMANDA: I actually write poetry. I have been writing since I was about 13. I love to be able to put my thoughts out into words. I have even had a few published over the years. I also absolutely love to cook! I would kill to meet Chef Ramsey! One day my plan is to go over to Italy and cook with an actual Italian chef for a whole week. My favorite food to cook is Italian, so to be able to learn from the real deals would be so amazing!
CHRIS: Well thanks again for being so willing to do this Amanda! In closing, any plugs for upcoming projects or shout-outs to anyone?
AMANDA: Thank you again for doing this interview with me. 2013 has been an awesome and amazing year!! I would love for people to visit and “like” the different films I am working on. You can find these all on Facebook. Where Evil Dwells by director Max Cerchi will wrap production in December 2013. Blood Red by director Benjamin Ward will wrap production in spring 2014. Soulcatcher by director Greg Vestal will wrap production in in December 2013. A Love Story by director Lamarc Broussard will wrap production in December 2013. Till Death by director Diana Bingham will wrap production in spring 2014. Velvet Vengeance by director Jeremy Campbell has completed production and film will be completed for distribution in early 2014. You can also find me at Facebook, IMDb, as well as my website. So very excited to see what the future has in store! Thanks again Chris and lots of love!!
CHRIS: It’s my pleasure, Amanda. Oh, just one more question: Were you really a black-eyed “P” for Halloween? AMANDA: That I was! I wanted to go with the original costume and I work in an office so thought this would be an easy costume to have for it. So I painted my eye black, put on a grey shirt, and safety pinned the letter “P” to my chest. Some of the responses and guesses to what my costume was were actually very hilarious! Only about a handful of people were actually correct in their guesses.
Promo stills from some of Amanda’s featured roles:
Yes, that’s really her under all that makeup and latex
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the quarterly magazine, Effective.