Renee Olstead Talks Unfriended

I think we can all agree that the internet is one of the most deadly places to hang around, especially when there’s the spirit of a dead classmate terrorizing your Facebook page or wreaking havoc inside of your iTunes playlist.

In all seriousness, we here at Dread Central were pleased to be able to chat with the ever-so inviting star of Unfriended, Renee Olstead. So huddle around your laptops and enjoy our talk about what creeps her out, her role in the film, and upcoming projects!

Unfriended hits Blu-ray and DVD on August 11th!

DC: Can you start off by giving us the lowdown on the film – what’s it all about?

RO: Unfriended, I think, is a very innovative and creative film that people haven’t seen before – we’ve spent so much of our lives being engrossed with what’s on our computers that it’s easy for people to buy into it as well because most people in one way or another have experienced one form or another of internet negativity and the idea of how it can take on, and actually become, the monster. It’s been really interesting to see the reaction because people aren’t used to seeing horror in that world, and it’s gotten a really good reaction so far.

DC: What was the shoot like? I can imagine it wasn’t your conventional filming setup – did they just sit you down in front of the computer and let you go?

RO: Yeah, it was pretty innovative – there was a lot of work that went into it. We all had our own camera rig attached to our computers, and we were fitted with Go-Pros, and there was also a small light attached to our laptops as well. It was really fun – we shot in 80-minute long takes, so it wasn’t the traditional movie shoot with scenes and camera turnarounds – all the things that you’re used to doing in smaller pieces. This was more of a fluid, one-shot moving sort of deal – it was a lot of fun, and I think it pushed us as actors because there’s a lot more things at play like someone’s worried about the framing of our computers, making sure that they get the same shot at different moments in case they needed to edit, and matching up with the script at the right point because they wanted to keep the audience interested by not giving them one static shot and to keep everything changing – I also think that it plays into the fear that you’re feeling. It really was a lot of fun and it pushed us – we had a great team of people that were giving us direction, and it was a lot of fun to shoot – definitely different though.


DC: Now, what is it personally that scares you about this film?

RO: I actually got really scared when we were making this! I don’t do well with horror films, and I get really scared. Now that the movie is on digital download, and people can watch it on their laptops, they can experience what we were, and there were times during reshoots we were watching playbacks of characters and scenes I’d done where I didn’t know what was going to happen – I was legitimately screaming! I don’t do horror movies very well, but I like The Exorcist! (laughs)

DC: You’ve acted, done a bit of soundtrack work, and I just recently saw that you have a producing credit coming up – which one do you find the most personally rewarding, and if you could look down the road about 20 years, where do you see yourself?

RO: That’s a very good question – I’ve always been really creative, and I think it revolves around whatever is inspiring me at the moment. I have a background in music, and I signed with Warner Brothers when I was twelve and put out two albums with David Foster. I always try to keep moving – I look at a script and think, “This would be so much fun to play,” and I think that I can try to bring a bunch of different elements to those characters. It just depends on what’s happening in my world, but I’ve been very fortunate to find a tablet for my creativity.

DC: Last one – after the release of this film, what can we expect to see from you soon?

RO: I have a new movie called Tell-Tale Lies, and we’re doing a screening and a Q&A out here in L.A., and the distribution should be shortly thereafter. It’s an Edgar Allan Poe story (based on the Tell-Tale Heart) that’s been retold on a college campus with a bunch of rich kids who think they can get away with anything. So there’s that, and then there’s something else in development, so August is going to be a very crazy-busy month for me as far as filming goes, so I’m excited for that as well.


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