Actress-author Jamie Rose burst into the public consciousness with important roles on the nighttime soap Falcon Crest and the exciting cop drama Lady Blue in the 1980’s. Since then, she has maintained a heady pace with roles in films such as Tightrope, (cult classic) Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town and her numerously eclectic appearances on nighttime episodics. But it is her passionate performances in such films as the beloved slasher Just Before Dawn (1981) and the gothic, criminally underrated Playroom (1990) that have, rightly, earned her the admiration of terror titans, worldwide. The exciting, forward thinking Rose, kindly, took a moment at the tail end of the Cinema Wasteland convention (in April 2013) highlighting Just Before Dawn, to talk with Big Gay Horror Fan about theater, the art of acting and her adventures in the limb flung worlds of horror.
BGHF: Hey, Jamie! So, you’ve done several horror films and (a bunch of) crime dramas. I’m just curious, as a woman, how do you deal with your characters being put in violent situations?
Jamie Rose: Well, you’re playing a character and you have certain requirements. If a character is supposed to cry, if a character is supposed to scream – you do it! How do I, as a woman, react to doing the violence? It doesn’t bother me, obviously (laughs) because I did the movies. But, it just depends, as well. There ARE certain things I won’t do. I turn down stuff a lot. I have never done a cigarette or alcohol commercial. I am somebody who – especially at the beginning of my career – made a lot of money doing commercials. I made a decision, because of things that have happened to my friends and family, that I won’t advertise alcohol or advertise cigarettes. I did an episode of Criminal Minds this season that was incredibly violent. But it was amazing writing and a great character. I know an actress who said “I’m a pacifist, so I don’t do that.” I was like, “Really? Do you do Shakespeare?” She said, “Well that’s off screen!”
BGHF: Not always! Like–
Together: (Excitedly) Titus Andronicus!
BGHF: It’s one of my favorites!
Jamie: I saw it in London, man, and it was so gory that people were passing out! Violence has kind of been a part of – I don’t want to say entertainment – it’s been a part of dramatic literature, a part of drama, from the beginning! With Euripides and –
BGHF: Everyone plucking out eyeballs!
Jamie: In King Lear, the plucking out of Gloucester’s eyes always happens on stage. Ultimately, I understand her position, though. It’s just not mine. I have more problems with gratuitous nudity. That’s something I don’t do. Or I have to really look at a part – like say Just Before Dawn. At the time, I was a kid and it was my first movie and I was so excited. I felt like it was kind of innocent. I don’t have gigantor breasts. It was not a big deal. If it was Europe, that would be nothing. It wouldn’t be considered anything. I wore my underwear. I had smallish breasts. It’s not even a big deal!
BGHF: Well, I love the female body – and I am almost always happy to see it, no matter what. I think it’s gorgeous!
Jamie: Me too! And, also, the male body!
BGHF: (Laughs) Oh, yeah! – I always lament that there is not enough male nudity in films, though.
Jamie: I think it’s trickier with men, though. Okay, now we’re getting a little graphic – but an un-aroused male: not the most exciting thing to look at! (Laughs loudly) Just a hanging, dangling thing!
BGHF: Well, at least, give me a backside, please!
Jamie: (Laughs) Yeah! The stomach is nice, too! But, we are seeing more of it! But even just in the classical sense, I like stuff. I am a huge Gustav Klimt fan. I have some nudes. I love pin-up art. My husband is like “Ah, you love pictures of nude women!” But, I don’t love pictures of nude women like Playboy. I just think certain pin-up art is beautiful. What can I say?
BGHF: I have to admit, I actually get Playboy in the mail. It’s fun for me and I find it beautiful. Besides, who doesn’t want to see, for example, Lindsay Lohan naked? Just to see what it looks like!
Jamie: (Dubiously) Well —
BGHF: (Laughing) Okay, maybe you don’t!
Jamie: Yeah! I think it’s more ascetically based. I actually think she’s a really good actress. I am really sorry what has happened to her. She’s obviously suffering from a disease. Such a talented girl –
BGHF: I think so, too! Do you think it goes back to her starting out so young and the hardships of early fame? You started out as a child, yourself.
Jamie: I started at age 6.
BGHF: It can be such a hard life.
Jamie: I think it’s that. But — I just did a couple guest star things – a Green Acres and a Family Affair. I did some commercials as a kid. So, I didn’t have that high end fame. I was auditioning along with Jodie Foster and stuff. I was that era. But Lindsay was an actual star, at a young age. So, I’m guessing she didn’t have good support. A lot of it, I think it’s what is around you -the value system in your home. I did a movie with The Olsen Twins when they were 15. These girls were dolls! I gotta tell you, these girls were sweethearts! I don’t know too much about their home life. I know there was a divorce, so it couldn’t have been perfect. But, they love each other so much. And they were so there for each other. They were just delightful. But I felt so sorry for them. We were at a resort called the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and it was a friggin’ blast. There was a water park and a casino. It was really fun! And here they are, 15 year old girls, and they literally could not go outside without getting mobbed! And — worse than the kids, were the parents of the kids. “My daughter loves you!!!” So, they had to stay in their room. They couldn’t be kids. We actually went out, one day, to a little private island. We smuggled them out. It was just the cast. We had jet skies and we gave them a play day. It broke my heart because they were just sweetie-pies. I just have to say that I adored both those girls!
BGHF: And I adore your performances! You have such duality and layers in your work. The first time I went “wow’ was when you played the mother of Shelly Long in the flashback scenes of Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase.
Jamie: That was a good part!
BGHF: Amazing work!
Jamie: That was an intense role!
BGHF: Well, you did such deep work, there. You could see all the layers of what that character went through to bring her to that point in the story. All your training came through.
Jamie: Thank you! I appreciate that.
BGHF: Is that hard to get into those intensely tough places, emotionally?
Jamie: Well, not anymore. It was. Like with Just Before Dawn, it is truly interesting for me to remember that experience. In some scenes, I feel like my work was terrible. I think he (Jeff Lieberman, the director) did a really good job of editing. But for some scenes, I remember, I really struggled. (Motioning to the photos on her table) There are pictures of me, here, crying when I was getting killed. That was just real. That to me, if there is something called talent, was just my talent. My talent was to be able to behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances. That can be taught. I think, though, I actually had some aptitude for that or I wouldn’t have started when I was 6, right? And I’m an acting teacher, too. So, the hardest thing is to take that, what people sometimes call talent – and people maybe have it to different degrees – and strengthen it. As a teacher, the goal is to strip away all the adulthood crap that you’ve learned, so you can return to that state of pure imagination. I would say to my students, like you say to a kid, “We’re playing store! I’m the clerk, you’re the customer. Okay, that’s it! We’re in!” There’s no having to prepare or studying up on store! But then you become an adult and it’s harder to access that. But, now, I’ve been doing it so long and I’m trained. So, some things I don’t need to have my training for and some things I do need to have my training for. One thing I’ll say, too, is the worse the material, the harder it is to act well. When the writing is good that helps – like the situation in Just Before Dawn. Jeff really is a good director and I think that script is really good. So, I just believed it. When that guy is coming at me, I am scared. I just believed the situation. It’s just freaking me out! It’s freaky!
BGHF: Speaking of freaky – Playroom was another fun horror film you acted in. Do you have memories of making that?
Jamie: Of course! (Laughs) I don’t drink so I remember everything! I have to say the funniest thing about that project! So, I get killed by an electric saw, cutting me in half. The saw was cut out of wood. The spokes weren’t even. They obviously drew it by hand. It looked like a cartoon saw, number one! Then, as it came towards me, it wobbled! I called it the little saw that could! And what’s operating the saw? It’s a guy on a stationary bike with a belt attached to the saw. So, it’s this overweight Yugoslavian guy on a stationary bike who is making the saw turn! So, that’s budget filmmaking!
BGHF: Hysterical! I love that story!
Jamie: Another thing – it was Vicky Jensen who did the art production and production design on that movie.
BGHF: Her work was so good! The old school dig site in that film is truly creepy and believable!
Jamie: Hello! Yes! I went to junior high school with her. Well, she went on to co-direct Shrek and directed Shark Tale. She’s still a friend and she’s amazingly talented!
BGHF: That’s amazing. I love hearing about powerful woman, successful across the board, being creative behind the scenes in horror films – which is thought of, traditionally, as such a male ballgame.
Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah! And as far as the horror thing, myself, I’m like an old school horror fan. I always used to watch Creature Feature on my local channel. I loved the pre 1970’s, black and white horror. I was addicted to that: The Wolf Man, The Wolf Man Meets Frankenstein. I, also, love the original Frankenstein. All those old movies – even the cheesy ones! I, also, loved Dark Shadows. I was addicted to Dark Shadows! I even became totally obsessed with Elvira in 1980. So much so that when I was on Falcon Crest, which was a top 10 show at the time, I insisted on going to Knott’s Berry Farm – so we could see Elvira’s show. That is how much I loved Elvira! I wanted to be Elvira! I loved her! I thought she was so beautiful and hot with her cleavage and her black hair. I just thought she was the coolest! Then I met her and — she’s a strawberry blonde in real life!
BGHF: There you go!
Jamie: Right on, baby!
BGHF: Too cool! It looks like we need to wrap it up, here, so can you tell us about some of your current or upcoming projects?
Jamie: I had a book published by Penguin Publishers. Shut Up and Dance. I’m an author and I’m really proud of it. I am, also, recurring on Franklin & Bash this season. It’s a really fun show. I, also, did a great episode of Criminal Minds, which I mentioned earlier. It’s kind of a horror movie, in a way. It’s called God Complex. I was the wife of Ray Wise. I highly recommend it. I really like my work in it. It’s kind of like Medea – serious drama! More than anything, though, I am an appreciator, as well! Of reading, writing and – well, not arithmetic! (Laughs) Let’s just say Readin’, writin’ and paintin’!
Be sure to keep up with all of Jamie Rose’s exciting projects at http://www.jamierosestudio.com!
Big Gay Horror Fan, meanwhile, is always worshipping all that is freckled and fabulous at http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan!
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!!