Originally published at Fangoria.com on October 25, 2009
Jenna Morasca, professional TNA wrestling star and champion winner of “Survivor: Africa,” graciously sat down with me at the 2009 Big Apple Comic Con to discuss her role in the short segment, “The Watcher,” from the horror anthology, DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW. The film held a screening at the Rock and Shock Festival this past weekend and will be presented at Killer Film Fest in November.
JS/FANGO: Tell me about your role, Cherry, in the segment, “The Watcher,” in the anthology, DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW?
JM: My role I’d like to say that it’s kind of the damsel in distress but kind of with a little more attitude. It was a lot of fun for me to play it because I love playing tough women. There’s a fighter in this character. It was really enjoyable for me to play her because it kind of gives you everything you want in a horror film but with a little bit of a twist.
It was very labor intensive. We didn’t have any stunt doubles. I did everything that you see; everything from being dragged, being covered in blood, being hit and falling. I wanted to do it all. So I was kind of excited to get some bruises and some war wounds from the movie. You try to plan a fall as best as possible but you never really know how you’re going to fall. Being dragged through the woods with blood on you, you collect everything that’s on the woods unto your body. Taking a shower was like a science experiment. ‘Oh look…a bug and a leaf.’
JS/FANGO: How was the transition for you from television, where you’re playing yourself on “Survivor” and “Fear Factor” to film, where you’re playing someone else?
JM: I have to say sometimes its hard being yourself. But whenever you’re able to escape into a different character; it’s a little bit easier for me. You can really just embody and be that character. When you’re playing yourself, you sometimes get worried what people are going to think. How are people going to react to what you’re saying? But when you’re playing a character, you can really just immerse yourself into the role. You don’t have to face the repercussions you would normally have to deal with.
JS/FANGO: “The Watcher” relies on you, as the actress, being physically in shape with the running, and mentally you have to pretend to be frightened. How did you prepare for the role?
JM: To be honest with you, I’m actually a really big chicken. So being scared is not so far off the grid for me. I love, love, love horror movies but I also love scaring myself. So I’m the type of person who will be in at the house by herself and hear a noise. I’ll get up, grab a knife, and think someone’s in there. I was built for horror movies because I conjure up these types of movies in my head. Scaring the crap out of myself is pretty familiar to me.
JS/FANGO: How was Michael Neel as a director?
JM: Michael is wonderful; he’s such an amazing director. Him and Greg (Ansin) both. He (Neel) has such a vision on how he wants the movie to be played out. He has such a delicate way of telling the actors how to do it; where we feel we have a little bit of room to breathe our life into the character but we’re still on track on what he wants. He loves this genre of films and it comes through. You can feel the love and respect he has for it. He wants to live up to the memories of great horror films. He brings that to the set. He makes it exciting and fun. He lets you adlib a little bit, which I think is always great. The best things happen whenever they’re not on script. That’s the best directors to work with; people who have a picture of how things are going to turn out. They just want you to guide them the way there.
JS/FANGO: Tell me about shooting your scenes in the woods.
JM: When we were making “The Watcher,” I literally got scared in the scene where I’m walking in the woods by myself. We used a really interesting lighting technique. We really only had one camera. So I started way far away by myself, and it was dark. And before they yelled ‘Action,’ I looked around and I was like, ‘I’m kinda scared.’ The woods are scary. I don’t care how old you are or how tough you are; when you’re in the woods by yourself in the dark and you can’t see anything, it’s scary.
JS/FANGO: What are some of your favorite scary movies?
JM: One of my favorite horror movies is…Oh my gosh…I’m totally blanking on the name…Red rum?
JS: THE SHINING.
JM: THE SHINING and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT! I know that’s a really terrible one but I kind of enjoy the movies where you really feel violated after you watched it. I just watched a movie with Liv Tyler called, THE STRANGERS. That was very disturbing and I also love gory movies: SAW and FRIDAY THE 13TH. The more blood and guts; the better for me. My first horror movie I think I ever watched, not even really scary, was GREMLINS and then CHILD’S PLAY. I was scarred for weeks from the scene when he cuts the Achilles tendon underneath the bed.
JS/FANGO: What projects are you working on now?
JM: Currently, I’m not with TNA anymore. I’m doing some TV hosting. I did a lot of work for CBS you’ll see in the future. Ethan (Zohn), my boyfriend and I are in the process of pitching our own reality TV show. There’s a lot of good stuff coming up.
For more information on Jenna Moresca, visit www.jenna-morasca.com and for more about DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW and its premieres, check http://www.driveinhorrorshow.com/