18 June 2024

[continued from previous]

The Terror Trap: Letís talk about Curtains, a favorite of ours. Whatís your memory of how this one came your way?

Lesleh Donaldson: I got a phone call. ďYou have an audition for a horror movie.Ē Now, at that point I was like, ďOkay. Wait a minute! Whereís my Sophieís Choice? Whereís my French Lieutenantís Woman??Ē (Laughs.)

But they told me, ďOh, thereís these great actresses in it, including Samantha Eggar. John Vernon's on board. And Richard Ciupka is directing, who did the cinematography for Atlantic City.Ē All these great names and I thought, okay. Iíll go in.

Lynne Griffin was a big deal to me because sheís such an amazing actress. I worshiped her and wanted to have a career like hers. I just adored her.

TT: Did you two know each other beforehand?

LD: No, I donít think I had ever spoken to Lynne before Curtains. But I would go see her in theatre stuff all the time and she just blew me away with everything she did.

She was in Jean Anouilh's The Lark as Joan of Arc and she was incredible. She was beautiful and funny and nice, and she just had such a great career. So all these wonderful names were attached to the film.

TT: How did your audition go?

LD: Itís strange but I donít have a strong memory of auditioning for Curtains. I really donít. Itís bizarre. I went in and auditioned for Ciupka and the casting director. I donít recall it being a long process. It might have been a couple of auditions and then I got it.

TT: You were up for the part of Christie right from the beginning?

LD: Yes. And she was a skater! Another athlete! You have to understand that I am not an athlete. I AM NOT. At all. I can swim. Yet I was getting all these roles, and not only in feature films but in television. Like in The Littlest Hobo, I was a blind horse rider! Blind! Iíd never been on a horse in my life. I had to be jumping on stuff because she was a professional horse rider.

Not only was I doing athletic characters, they were athletes with handicaps. I was an epileptic swimmer. I was a blind horse rider. And here I was in Curtains, skating and getting my head chopped off! (Laughs.) It was becoming a joke. Again, Iím not an athlete. I could skate but couldnít jump and twirl and do that stuff.

TT: Itís funny because you sorta LOOK athletic.

LD: Well, thatís amazing because like I told you, I used to swim and I was on the basketball team...but I always thought of myself as a terrible player. I jog. I work out.

I remember when I auditioned for The Littlest Hobo, the casting director came out and went around the room and said, ďI donít want anybody lying. Donít lie to me. If I find out you canít ride a horse and you tell me you can, Iíll be really upset.Ē

TT: Thatís funny. What did everyone say?

LD: Everybody was like, ďOh, sure. Yup. Yup. Of course.Ē And when she got to me, I said, ďNo!Ē And yet Iím the one that got the part. I was thrilled but I was like...what??

TT: Nice.

LD: So I had to go and learn to ride a horse, just as I had to train to skate for Curtains. I had a couple of different figure skating trainers. I got this little routine down that I was gonna do. I tried it and went face first into the ice.

TT: Were you hurt?

LD: I had a bit of a fat lip, yeah. Makeup helps a lot. (Laughs.)

TT: Itís sad that you did all that work and didnít get to do it onscreen.

LD: It was also sad for Gerry Arbeid, the line producer, because he turned and he went, ďShe trained and she smacks her face? We paid for her training and she canít do it?!Ē I was like, ďDude, I trained in an arena. I didnít train on a pond!Ē

Anyway, they had a double there so it wasnít that big of a deal.

TT: What was your first impression of John Vernon?

LD: He was great. He had a good sense of humor, sort of dry and acerbic. I seemed to always be around people who were like that. Maybe thatís why Iíve become acerbic after all these years.

John was very nice. Very kind. Very down to earth. He kind of kept to himself. We didnít hang out on the set. But he was great.

TT: What can you tell us about Samantha Eggar and some of the other cast members?

LD: Samantha was more aloof. She was very nice, though. She would compliment me in a scene and stuff like that. She wasnít snobby or anything. I thought she was sweet.

Anne Ditchburn, I remember, was really wonderful because she used to help me with my routine.

TT: Oh, really?

LD: Yeah, she was a dancer so she would give me pointers. Just a sweetheart. I adored her.

Sandee Currie was great because she was so much fun. She was like her personality in the movie. Very bubbly and outgoing.

TT: She was so pretty.

LD: She was.

I talked about Lynne Griffin. I'll just add that I was always a little nervous around her because I revered her so much. I adored her. In a way, she was keeping her distance because she was the killer. But she was sweet and fun.

Linda Thorson, like Samantha, was sort of aloof.

TT: Perhaps Samantha and Linda were aloof because they were thinking, ďOh, here we are...doing a horror movie.Ē

LD: Thatís possible. But Lynne wasnít like that at all. She takes everything she does seriously. Itís a big deal. Sheís very professional that way.

Iím not really sure how Samantha felt about what she was doing.

Iím sure when the trouble started, it probably only exacerbated her. Lynne has better stories about her than I do because they spent more time together. I know she told the story in her interview with you about Eggar's wardrobe.

TT: Thatís right. Did you like that one?

LD: I thought it was a great story. I didnít know that. I could see it actually happening, too. I was thinking, "Okay...Iím glad I wasnít in the room." (Laughs.)

Iím just not that kind of person. I donít like shit like that. Generally, I find that the most talented and most successful people are really down to earth. Maybe if they do something like that, they do it in a more subtle way. I donít know.

TT: Itís possible she was just getting into that part. Really, when Samantha walks into that dining room and youíre all getting ready to have dinner...itís like sheís Joan Crawford meets Darth Vader.

LD: Yeah. She was perfect for that role. There was tension there. Iíd say she was well cast. I mean that in a nice way. That was the role and she played it well. Maybe she was a Method Actress and she was in character on the set at times.

When I would do a scene with her, she was very complimentary and sweet. I didnít have any trouble with her. I didnít see any of that stuff. I only had two scenes with her.

TT: When we interviewed producer Peter Simpson, he told us about his vision of Curtains as a straightforward slasher and his clash with director Ciupka, who wanted to make more of an arthouse thriller.

LD: Thatís right. He wanted an artistic, psychological thriller rather than an out and out horror movie like Prom Night.

But I have to say, Simpson knew what worked. He was a producer and he knew what was selling at the time. It was Friday the 13th. It was My Bloody Valentine. Thatís what he wanted. A slasher film. He didnít want artistic. He wanted it to look good and he wanted the acting and directing to be good. But I donít think he was concerned about it being complicated or ďartsy.Ē Peter was looking to make just your regular by the book slasher. Thatís what they clashed over and thatís why Richard walked off.

TT: How aware were you of that conflict?

LD: Ciupka made no bones about telling us how he felt about the film. He was like, ďThis movie is a piece of shit!Ē He wasnít happy with it. He wasnít happy with the direction it was going and let us know his displeasure. At least me, and I think he told a couple of the others.

TT: What did you think when he would tell you those things?

LD: Part of me thought, ďIf you donít give a shit about it, why should I?Ē You know what I mean? I had kind of a disillusioned quality for a while about it.

TT: Interesting.

LD: At some point, I actually thought it was never going to get finished. I really did. Because they didnít get to the skating scene and I thought they would just ditch the whole thing. I thought, "Theyíre not gonna finish it. Itís not gonna happen. Oh, well! On to other things..."

I was shocked when they told me to show up for the skating sometime around February or March of 1982. I was like, really? Again? And then they called me in the summer to film some backstory with Peter MacNeill, who was playing my high school lover. They wanted to show that Christie was a slut who slept with older men. I was thinking...why? I didnít say anything. Obviously, I was working and so I was game with shooting the film and showing me as a slut.

TT: Peter played your high school coach, is that right?

LD: Yes. I remember going to Seneca College and we filmed a scene out there where he dumps me. And I get upset, of course. It was one of those ďwe canít be togetherĒ moments. My character was this university student.

So I had this backstory, trying to justify why Christie would have slept with the John Vernon character. In other words, why would she go to bed with him, as opposed to Lynne or Sandee sleeping with him? I guess they were trying to work that one through and then tossed it out at the last minute.

TT: Your character seemed so virginal. It almost wouldnít have fit.

LD: I agree. It didnít fit in to the story at all. Sheís so innocent and naÔve that she would have been swept up by Vernon anyway. Why throw in this backstory that Iím some conniving, loose girl?

TT: Thatís true.

Who shot the scene after youíve slept with Vernon and youíre crying in his bed? Ciupka?

LD: I believe that was all Ciupka. Peter Simpson came in for the skating scene and the Peter MacNeill scene.

Ciupka did that artistic stuff around the table, and my post-coital bedroom sequence, and also the scene where Iím snooping on John and Samantha when they're fighting in Stryker's bedroom.

TT: How about the sequence in the girls' bedroom goofing around with Lynne and Linda?

LD: Ciupka shot that. He shot all those scenes before Peter and he went separate ways.

TT: When you mentioned that Richard thought the movie was a ďpiece of shit,Ē are you talking about the fact that he was getting disillusioned AS he was shooting those scenes?

LD: Yes. You could sense while he was doing it, he was desperately trying to do something unique. Like he really wanted to make it an artistic looking film. He wasnít happy. Itís not that there was anybody yelling at anyone on the set, from what I can recall. If there was any really heavy stuff going on, it was mostly behind the scenes.

At some point, he removed himself from the picture but that was when I wasnít working on it.

TT: Did his unhappiness affect the actors?

LD: Oh, absolutely. Definitely. It always does.

To be honest, I actually preferred Peter Simpson. I really liked him. I thought he was hilarious. He had a big personality. And he liked me. I didnít get that feeling from Richard. He was more of a distant kind of person.

I was in shock to hear Peter had passed away because he just seemed like he could go on forever. He had so much energy and a lot of enthusiasm for movies. Peter loved moviemaking.

TT: Old school producers weíve talked to like him are great. Theyíre a bit on the rough side.

LD: Right, a little rough. He was one of those big, cigar guys. (Laughs.) You know, he was kind of like Jonathan Stryker in a way. Not that he would sleep with any of the actresses or anything, but he was one of those ďsheís got nice titsĒ men. He made no balls about who he was. And I think thatís funny. Sometimes.

For me, Peter was a lot more fun to be around. He was like one of the crew guys. He would stand there and joke. As long as you gave a performance that he wanted, he loved it. He ate it up. It was easier to please him than Ciupka because Ciupka was going for something else.

TT: Would you say that Richard Ciupka was a little too serious?

LD: Yes, I would.

Too bad it didnít work because it COULD have either way. It should have been done either way. It should have been an art film or an out and out slasher. Itís unfortunate that all this shit got in the middle of it and made it what it is. Which is...I donít even know what it is! (Laughs.)

Iím happy people like it, though. Thatís really great.

TT: When you were doing the scene on the pond and you saw your stunt double coming towards you in the hag mask, was it surreal?

LD: Oh, yeah. It always is. Because you read your scene and you see that theyíre shooting your death today. Everybody knows whatís happening on the set. It says ďChristie diesĒ on the sheet. You know whatís coming. But it is surreal because youíre in it and youíre looking at all the stuff, and the mask, and thinking, ďOh shit, I hope she doesnít accidentally hit me with that scythe!Ē

All kinds of things are going through your head and you have to express shock and fear and all that stuff. Whatís this doll? Thatís odd. And whatís that coming towards me? You canít play the fact that youíre gonna get it.

TT: How long did that pond sequence take to shoot?

LD: Maybe two days. They did the ice skating scene and then me running through the snow.

TT: Lynne told us she has a recollection of doing a scene on the stage with the dead bodies. Do you recall that?

LD: Lynne and I talked about that and I read it in your interview with her. You know what? I was NOT into taking drugs but I swear, I do not remember doing that scene on the stage.

TT: At all?

LD: Nope. That scares me. Because, Iím like...did I have amnesia? (Laughs.) Maybe I did it and blocked the whole thing out. I donít know.

TT: Right, she mentioned your discussion to us.

LD: (In a British accent.) I donít take hallucinogenics! (Laughs.) I must have been...bored? I donít recall sitting in the makeup chair. Nothing.

TT: What if you weren't on that stage because they used a dummy instead? There's an old production still that shows your characterís body without a head.

LD: That could be what it was.

TT: Do you remember making a body cast?

LD: I remember making the body cast and I didnít know why...because they hadnít make a head cast for me. I have a Polaroid shot of the stuff going on me. I joked with them about putting that on my boobies.

I even remember saying, ďOh, youíre not gonna do one of my head, are you? Because I hate that!Ē And they said, "No, your actual head will be in the toilet."

TT: Maybe they attached your lost head from Happy Birthday to Me to your new body for the stage scene in Curtains. Problem solved. No Lesleh required!

LD: Right! Maybe that was it.

I vividly remember doing the head in the toilet scene. That was fun because I had to lie down in the toilet. They made a little toilet and they had it cut out and I laid down, and Linda opened the lid and screamed. I remember that.

You could be right. Itís gotta be a mannequin on that stage. It looks like one to me. Iím not sure they had any of us there except for Lynne.

TT: We've always had a theory about your body cast for Curtains. Remember when Sandee is running though the prop house and finds Anne Ditchburnís body hanging among the costumes?

LD: Yeah...

TT: Perhaps they made a cast of your character so it could be hanging there too, with all the other corpses.

LD: Or they could have had extras. Maybe they didnít want to bring in the actual actresses and pay them. They would have had to pay them scale, whatever it was. So itís possible they brought in some extras and dressed them up the way we died. That also could have been what happened.

TT: We're guessing that as with Funeral Home, you chose not to see any of the dailies for Curtains?

LD: No, I would never see the dailies for any of that stuff. Especially the way things were going on that one. That would not have been a good thing.

TT: How many times did you return for reshoots?

LD: Let's see. I was sent to the set once when they were gonna do the skating scene. It was up in the Muskoka area where they did Sandeeís scene in the tub with Michael, and some other scenes.

They had me there for maybe three or four days and they didnít get to me. They put me up in this hotel and kept me there. I hung out. And then they sent me home. I was like...oh, okay.

TT: Wow.

LD: I didnít hear anything and then some months later, I got a call from them telling me they were finally going to shoot my death scene. Like I mentioned before, that would have been sometime in early 1982. I hadnít really been skating at that point. I hadnít been practicing because I didnít know what the state of the movie was. I had not been in the rink every day getting up at five and practicing my routine.

TT: Thatís a mess of a movie.

LD: Yeah, so no wonder I tripped on the ice! There were a couple of reasons. It was the pond itself, plus I had not been working on my routine.

I know youíve heard this but there are people in Toronto who were crew and they have shirts that say something like ďI was on one of the many shoots of Curtains." It became a joke among the crew. Everybody and their dog worked on this picture.

TT: We know the movie is imperfect. But why do you think people have such warm feelings towards Curtains all these years later?

LD: Thatís a great question. I donít know. I think it might be the idea of it and the possibility of how great it could have been. It is really a good idea and it hadnít been done. I mean, itís a slasher film but we were going for something different.

Iím guessing that part of the charm is what a mishmash of ideas it is, and the fact that it had a lot of trouble. Thereís sort of a mythology about the filming. There might be a fascination about that.

TT: Apart from everything else about Curtains that may or may not work, you do realize why your scene on the pond -- from a genre perspective -- is amazingly brilliant?

LD: Yes. I do now. I didnít at the time. I had no clue about any of that stuff. It was like, "Iím dying today." However, I do realize now that itís brilliant, because most kills happen at night. Itís in broad daylight. Although I guess in Friday the 13th, the hitchhiking girl got it in the daytime.

TT: True.

LD: Iím incredibly flattered that people remember that scene and they freak out over it. Itís caused nightmares! People have told me and I like hearing stuff like that. It makes it worth it. It really does. It makes me think I made all these horror movies back in the day, but theyíre the ones that people remember!

People arenít talking about Meatballs. Theyíre talking about Curtains. (Laughs.)

TT: Thatís right.

LD: Iím ecstatic about that. Itís so wonderful. I love it.

TT: Thatís great to hear.

We should add that itís not just thatís it daylight. Itís also that the pop song coming out of the cassette recorder is off-putting. It relaxes you and then BOOM! Youíve got the hag.

LD: Right. And the doll. Itís just so unexpected. It really is. There are certain moments in horror films like Janet Leigh in the shower, where you arenít expecting something bad to happen.

TT: Exactly.

LD: Iím not putting the skating scene in Curtains up there with the shower scene in Psycho! But maybe thatís why people like it. Because it evokes a similar kind of feeling. That feeling of it being completely unexpected. They didnít see it coming.

TT: In the early years of running The Terror Trap -- in the late nineties -- we used to get a lot of emails where people would ask, ďGosh, I remember this movie...and it was okay, wasnít that great...but there was this terrific scene with a chick being chased by a hag on the ice. Do you know what that was?Ē

LD: Oh, I know. And I love that. I mean, itís great! Itís exciting to me for people to have that kind of memory about the scene, that kind of recall.

TT: We half-jokingly talked to Lynne about how it might be possible to do a sequel. Have you ever been approached about that?

LD: There are people who would love to do a sequel. There are people talking to Lynne and myself all the time about a follow-up. I donít why theyíre talking to me because my character is dead. (Laughs.)

But I hear things like, ďYou two need to get back together again for a sequel!Ē Iím like, ďUs two? Really? Just us two? You donít want Deborah Burgess or Anne Ditchburn?Ē Obviously, John Vernon couldnít be in it and unfortunately, neither could Sandee.

I guess people want it remade well. I guess they just need to do a remake. I hate that term because I hate when they do that.

Maybe people just want to see Lynne and I work together. In that case, maybe we'll be able to satisfy them with some new project at some point in the future.

TT: Tell us how Deadly Eyes came your way.

LD: Again, another call about an audition for a horror movie. About rats this time. It was with Lisa Langlois and I had worked with her in Happy Birthday to Me. I adore Lisa. It think sheís a really lovely person and a wonderful actress. It was based on a book by James Herbert.

Back then, I just wanted to work and thatís what I was getting offered. You donít learn your craft unless youíre actually doing it. It doesnít matter what kind of movie it is. You just get on the set and do it. Thatís the best way to learn HOW to do it.

I thought, this is okay. Iím gonna be in this movie and itís about rats. Big rats. I auditioned and got it.

TT: At least you didnít have to play the innocent ingťnue. Here you got to be sassy and a little bitchy.

LD: Exactly! Sassy and bitchy. Like the best friend usually is. (Laughs.)

And this time, it was an ambiguous death because it wasnít really clear. I mean, Iím assuming I died but I did go through a plate glass window when I was a kid and I got up without a scratch. That was a miracle. I donít know how that happened.

TT: Oh, wow.

LD: Yeah, so I argued that. I said, ďI could have lived! Iíve been through a plate glass window. I know you can survive.Ē

TT: Was that an accident when you were a child?

LD: It was an accident. I was twirling around in the lobby of my building. I had this habit of twirling when I was a little girl. My aunt and grandmother were there with me. And I literally twirled myself backwards right through the glass in the lobby. I stood up without a scratch. It was weird.

TT: Yeah, thatís amazing. Was anyone else around?

LD: Nobody saw but my aunt and grandmother. They had horrified looks on their faces. They just picked me up and took me in the elevator. Nobody said a word about how that happened.

TT: So in that case, we think youíre really alive at the end of Deadly Eyes!

LD: I could be, yeah. Itís possible that I was pushed through the glass. Although one could also assume I got trampled and cut and eaten and all of that. (Laughs.)

TT: We get a big kick out of the fact that Dachshunds in rodent outfits were used to play the rats.

LD: The dogs were cute...poor little guys. I felt sorry for them because they couldn't see a thing in those rat costumes. They had to navigate via smell. When they wanted them to go somewhere, they brought out some meat and the dogs would go in that direction.

TT: We know that one pooch died. Terrible.

LD: One dog died during the production; he suffocated or had a heart attack in that suit.

TT: Not cool. We're major animal lovers so "no go" on that one.

LD: On the whole, they weren't treated badly but I still think it was a cruel thing to do to the animals.

TT: Besides the Dachshunds, do you remember any other anecdotes about the film?

LD: Just that I recall it was kind of fun to do because I was able to work with a bunch of my peers. Young people my age that I knew from the acting scene. I had worked with Kevin Foxx in On My Own. That was nice. And there was Lisa, of course. Joe Kelly was great.

It was party time. It was work but it was fun and I was getting paid. Once again, I was completely clueless about the director.

TT: Robert Clouse.

LD: Right. It wasnít until years later that I went, ďHe did WHAT movies? Bruce Lee?? Enter the Dragon? Really?Ē I had no clue.

It was good for me to be ignorant about people because I get starstruck and kind of nervous when Iím around professionals who have some kind of background like that. Like J. Lee Thompson.

I do remember the producers being around a lot on the Deadly Eyes set.

TT: Are you proud of this classic horror phase of your career?

LD: I am now. Although I remember going to an audition in the early eighties. I was sent by Jeff Hunter, who is now huge at William Morris. At the time, he had his own agency and he liked me. I didnít sign with him because in those days, you didnít sign with agents. If they liked you, theyíd send you on stuff and if you got something, THEN they would sign you.

Anyway, I went to this one audition with Alex Gordon Casting. I think Alex cast a lot of Alan J. Pakula films. She was on the phone with someoneís agent and I was sitting in the room. I overheard her say, ďSo, sheís done what?....WHAT?Ē She was very exasperated towards the agent about someone.

And she goes, ďWhat has she been in? (pause) A HORROR MOVIE??Ē She went on, ďThese people do these HORROR MOVIES and they THINK theyíre STARS and they think they can mess us about while weíre trying to get them in to audition for REAL work!Ē

TT: Oops.

LD: I know. And I was sitting there listening to that and going ďUmm...Uh-oh.Ē I looked down at my resume and thought, ďOh. shit.Ē I had stuff on it like Happy Birthday to Me, Funeral Home, Curtains.

TT: Hilarious. Did you crumple up your resume and stuff it underneath your seat?

LD: (Laughs.) No, I didnít. She looked at it and I went, ďBut I was in Running! You see? Right there. I did Running with Michael Douglas. And I worked with Marc Daniels on Special People!Ē It was like...please forget about all that other stuff up there. Donít even look at it.

TT: For a lot of folks, horror is just one step above porn.

LD: Thatís right. But horror can make a lot of money so people wanted to do it under the right conditions. Everyone wanted to get in on the action. But it still had a stigma among the casting elites and agents. They would say, ďItís a horror film. Do you really want to do it?Ē

I loved horror, but it wasnít something I necessarily aspired to do. In Canada, there were only two types of films being done back then. Horror stuff like Terror Train, My Bloody Valentine and Prom Night, and then films like Porkyís and Meatballs and Pinball Summer. A lot of college humor type movies.

Many of the Second City people would do the comedies and I actually wanted to do them. I love comedy, too. I wanted to be part of that group, but I was always being sent out for the horror. I sort of got typecast. And also, I was very young and not in the States.

TT: Tell us about some of the auditions that got away from you. Wasnít one of them Milos Formanís Amadeus?

LD: Yes. I was up for that. That was huge. And I have a feeling that came from Michael Douglas because he produced One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest, which Milos directed. The lightbulb went on in my head years later that maybe he got me the audition or suggested me.

It was a big deal for me because I had seen Hair something like twenty times. I loved that movie. Milos Forman was God as far as I was concerned. I met him in his office. He was such a funny guy. Very down to earth. Really smart and wonderful. He gave me the script and said, ďGo home and work on the scene and come to my apartment tomorrow.Ē

I went to his apartment and I was late! He was seeing someone and told me to go sit on his bed and wait. (Laughs.) So I went in there and later, he came and got me. We read through the scene and he asked me to go back the next day for a screen test.

I go in and Iím in costume and everything and weíre doing the scene...and thereís Thomas Hulce ready to do his screen test next! I had met him when I was doing Anne Frank. He was doing Chekhov's The Seagull with Kathleen Turner, which was on the stage before we had put Anne Frank on.

TT: You were up for the role of Wolfgangís wife, correct?

LD: Yes. Constanze Mozart.

So I didnít hear anything and Milos ended up casting Meg Tilly in the role. She wound up tearing a leg ligament and they had to cast fast. Thatís how Liz Berridge got the part.

TT: Of The Funhouse.

LD: Right. She was fabulous in Amadeus. She was terrific. I like to flatter myself by thinking that if I lived in New York at the time and had a green card and permit and was a member of SAG, I might have replaced Meg. THATíS why I didnít get it. (Laughs.) Seriously though, Liz was probably next in line. Things happen for a reason.

Milos really liked Meg Tilly and he cast her later in Valmont.

TT: Is it true you tested to be Erica Kaneís sister on All My Children?

LD: I did. I screen tested with Susan Lucci. I auditioned for a couple of roles on that soap including the one that Kim Delaney got and also the part of Silver Kane. I went in for a couple of those.

Susan was very sweet. Adorable. Tiny. But the loveliest person on the planet.

TT: What actors or actresses do you consider role models?

LD: Iíve always loved Miranda Richardson. Sheís an amazing actress. I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to actors. I really love the Brits. I just think they do it the best. Theyíre brilliant actors all around. I love Gary Oldman. I kneel at the alter of Gary Oldman. Daniel Day Lewis, Kate Winslet.

I love Johnny Depp and Sean Penn. I love old movies and in terms of classic stars, Iím a huge Vivien Leigh fan. I know we have that in common, Jason!

TT: Thatís right!

LD: I adore Ava Gardner. She was beautiful and very talented. Also, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster.

TT: Those are all wonderful.

We know that as far as horror goes, you like ghost movies and wrote about The Sentinel for our Reflections onÖFear 2! piece.

LD: I love The Sentinel and The Changeling. Anything having to do with ghosts and the supernatural. That stuff is really spooky to me. Iíve always been terrified by The Exorcist. And The Shining is great.

TT: Tell us about any current projects on your plate.

LD: Well, I'm in an upcoming indie horror anthology called Tales of Poe. I'm in a great segment called The Tell-Tale Heart. Itís being submitted to film festivals as we speak, and Iím really excited about it. I was a little nervous to see it recently because, like I said, I donít like watching myself on the screen. (Laughs.)

I play a bat-shit crazy lunatic in an insane asylum. Whatís really wonderful about this version of The Tell-Tale Heart is that it's done with all women.

TT: That sounds cool.

LD: There will be another segment of the film called Dreams starring Caroline Williams, with Amy Steel doing the narration. There are a lot of really wonderful people participating in this project.

TT: You worked with Desiree Gould of Sleepaway Camp in this, correct?

LD: Yes! Desiree is awesome. And a wonderful actress. Sheís sweet, and she has such a great sense of humor. Just the nicest person with a huge heart.

I've also got another project in the works. It will be with the Chainsaw Sally people. Iím looking forward to that.

So thereís some stuff in the genre. Iím embracing my genre now! (Laughs.)

TT: Thatís great to hear!

You like to write as well?

LD: Yes, Iím dabbling in script writing. I have a couple of things Iím working on with partners. Hopefully something will happen with that. Iím not really a writer by trade. Itís a different medium for me and it requires a lot of discipline.

I also like to write poetry. Prose. I started writing it as lyrics in my early teens. I didnít know at the time that I was trying to model myself on Fleetwood Mac and Heart. I had no idea I was basically writing sort of pagan imagery in my poetry at the time. Who knew?

TT: Who are some of your favorite poets?

LD: I love Bukowski. Shelley. Byron. I love the romantic poets. Anne Sexton. And Edna St. Vincent Millay. As Iíve gotten older, Iím more into angst and gritty.

TT: That's awesome.

Lesleh, we want to thank you for taking the time and revisiting with us over twelve years after we first interviewed you.

LD: Itís been great. I love talking to you guys. You guys are awesome. I love the older movies you cover on The Terror Trap. Those are the best, and you've always been my favorite horror site.

TT: Oh, sweet. Thanks!

© copyright 1998-present | The Terror Trap; www.terrortrap.com | all rights reserved