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Interview: Jessica Messenger (Women In Horror & Film) (February 2016)

Actress and Producer, Jessica Messenger!
A rising face in Indie film and in horror is Jessica Messenger. This month is Women in Horror Month, so it felt real nice interview a local lady on the film scene. Having acted in shorts films like Rats, The Final Girl, Dead Bitch and the feature Wasteland, it was time for Miss Messenger to co-Produce the upcoming: Six Hot Chicks in a Warehouse, too.  The Kickstarter can be found - HERE.

How do you feel about Women in Horror Month?
I am delighted that we have a period of time where we recognize female talent that engulfs the whole horror industry. Especially over the last 10 years, more and more women are stepping forward to take on the role of writer, director, producer, DOP, sound etc, the list goes on. Women are not just the final girl or the bimbo that gets sliced in the first few minutes of film. They are the pioneers of great horror film making in all roles, i think that is what is worth celebrating. In the film and tv industry as a whole, we have plenty of issues as we've seen surfacing in the media, by women in the industry who just won't stand for it any longer. i think we are in a great time of change, the next 5 years are definitely going to see more of that. It all starts with having a voice, promoting great talent and sharing the joy of the job among'st peers who respect your work. The ball has been rolling for a while and it doesn't take long for it to snowball.

Tell me about Six Hot Chicks in a Warehouse?
Six Hot Chicks in a Warehouse or SHCIAW (as the cast/crew have come to name it) is a slice of grindhouse horror homage with a dash a British flavour to bring a Neon-Soaked Ultra-Violent Grindhouse movie to the genre fans. Its a mouthful but thats what this movie is. Its like an onion, you can just keep on peeling the layers back and find something new within it. The characters all have...character. There is a real element of drama, a very strong element of black comedy and of course grind house. Its death proof meets Mean girls. We follow lead character MIRA (Jessica Messenger) but really the story follows down and out photographer ADRIAN (Dan Palmer) too. The six hot chicks part, well, you'll just have to wait and see what thats all about, but there are so many cool scenes. The warehouse which is one of the main locations is being rigged into a 360 degree set, so that we can patronymically film fight sequences between characters. Basically dude, its going to kick ass!

What was your experience like on the Zombie-Drama, Wasteland?
Wasteland was an incredible experience for me. I had previous experience within feature films before but not to that degree. It was always sort of free-styled. Wasteland allowed me to get really in depth with a character, as you rightly said its a zombie-drama which may confuse genre fans, but it was a drama with  a splash of horror, not the other way around. I received the script like 3 days before shooting or something, they had to recast the role urgently. i went onto set not really knowing my character at all, which is entirely different to SHCIAW where I've had 4 years to get every single aspect of her nailed down. I loved playing Beth, she was complicated. Tommy Draper wrote incredibly complex characters, he's a fantastic writer and it really challenged me. I learned a shit load from that shoot, have a lot to thank it for. I also made great industry friends who i will cherish for life. 

Any plans to direct in the near future?
No definitely no "plans" and i say that loosely because I've found my self co-producing on SHCIAW which was NEVER on the cards for a long while. I was really focused on acting, i always wanted to
Jessica Messenger in Tom Wadlow's Wasteland (2015)
get that area of my career nailed down first, but I've become so embroiled in the foundations of SHCIAW that it only seemed natural that i helped Simon P Edwards (director) with co-producing. I am really enjoying it, but i won't be taking on another production job for a while. As for directing, I've always loved writing. Ive read books, wrote songs, scripts, stories etc since i can ever remember. The only way i ever dealt with anything was to write it down. Naturally when my life allows more time, i will definitely write a script and from there i will have to direct it. I just don't think i could allow someone else to shape my vision. Im very controlling of my creative process, i don't think i can hand those reins over. So, in a long winded way, i will direct. just not now, maybe 5 years or so. 

How did you get into acting in film?
I got into acting for film in an incredibly long winded way, once again. I clearly don't like doing things quickly or easily haha. I spent the better part of 18 years dancing. I trained, i worked hard, i loved it with everything i had. But i just wasn't creatively full. I got to 18 and realized, I was a tiny fish in a huge pond and quite frankly my skills didn't cut it at all. I knew i loved the arts, id studied performing arts, physical and musical theater, and I adored movies since i was a young teen, so i decided to go to uni and study film and television. A bit of leap i know. I had all sorts of challenges whilst studying, but it really was the making of where I've taken myself now. I put all my past experiences of being a performer and my love interest of film together and bam! I'm here and i love it so much. I found what I should be doing, it just took a while to get there.

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