One of the finest actresses working in independent film these days has to be Anessa Ramsey, who stole genre fans’ hearts a few years back as Mya in the psychological thriller The Signal, which debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Since then, she’s gone on to co-star in another mind-bending horror flick called YellowBrickRoad that premiered at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival and also worked on projects outside the genre including The 5th Quarter and the Footloose remake.
Now Ramsey is set to return to the horror world with first-time feature filmmaker Padraig Reynolds’ film Rites of Spring, which will hit selected theaters this Friday, July 27th. The heist caper meets creature feature has been described as a ‘genre-bending mash-up’ akin to From Dusk Till Dawn and for very good reason- just when you think you’ve settled into one of Reynolds’ creepy worlds, he comes at you out of nowhere with something completely different and keeps you on your toes from start to finish.
Without a doubt, Rites of Spring will have the fans talking for some time.
In anticipation of the film’s upcoming release, Dread Central recently had the chance to briefly chat with Ramsey about the project and what attracted her it. We also hear from the actress about the challenges of playing this kind of a physical role (she loses her shoes before the credits even begin rolling) and her thoughts on Reynolds’ plans for a Rites of Spring trilogy as well.
Check out our interview with Ramsey below, and look for more on Rites of Spring soon!
Dread Central: Can you tell us how you got involved with this project and what attracted you to the role of Rachel?
Anessa Ramsey: Padraig, the director, was a fan of The Signal and he just sent me the script one day. I really loved it and I loved that Rachel wasn’t like the other roles I’ve done in the horror genre before so that was really appealing for me. I also really enjoyed that there were these two stories converging together, which was something I hadn’t seen done a lot before either. I think creature features are a lot of fun and since I hadn’t done one before, I was happy to get a chance to on this.
Dread Central: I thought it was interesting that she wasn’t your typical ‘final girl’- she had some baggage which I thought was a nice touch to the character.
Anessa Ramsey: Yeah, I liked that about Rachel; I liked that she was flawed. I think it makes her more relatable. She shows remorse for her actions at the beginning of the movie, she knows she screwed up and wants to fix it, but of course, now all this (events of the movie) happens and suddenly she has to become somewhat of a hero and that’s interesting to me.
Dread Central: Did you have any reservations about the physical aspects of this role; it seems like every time we see you in a horror movie, you’re being tormented in some horrible fashion.
Anessa Ramsey: You know, I have to admit I’m kind of longing to do a romantic comedy soon (laughs); no, but seriously, they weren’t going to let me do my own stunts so I had to talk them into it. I worked with our stunt coordinator out of Black Knight Stunts who just let me play around and eventually they saw that I could handle myself so Padraig then gave me the okay to do my own stunts. I have a dance and acrobatics background so the moves themselves weren’t that challenging, it was mostly the running around for most of the shoot without shoes on that was a huge challenge. And it wasn’t like I was just running around the forest in bare feet- I was running around the barn, the farm, the corn fields, the abandoned school- there was a lot of running. So I think I’m done with barefoot shoots for now (laughs).
Dread Central: Did Padraig give you any insight into the rites themselves since they are left wide open for interpretation in his film?
Anessa Ramsey: Just a little bit; I liked being a bit in the dark though. I don’t think I really wanted to know what they were or what they stood for. Of course there is the stuff in the script, but a lot was still left unexplained for us which I thought was cool- like Padraig wouldn’t give us the meaning behind the animal heads but he had his reasons. And plus, not knowing just makes the most sense when it comes to my character so it was better that I was left in the dark.
Dread Central: Padraig mentioned to me in his interview that he is planning on this story to become a trilogy; is that something he’s spoken to you about at all? He mentioned something about seeing your character in the sequel but wouldn’t say anything more.
Anessa Ramsey: Oh yeah, definitely; when I signed on, he mentioned that he wanted this to become a trilogy and that at the very least I’d be in the second film. But I am excited to get bloody and dirty again for him if everything goes through; I know that there’s some script changes happening now but that’s all. But I would definitely love to work with Padraig and play Rachel again; I love that he’s bending the genre in such great ways like this.
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