Today over at Support Indie Flix we speak with accomplished actress Donna Hamblin. We discuss her acting style, her experiences, and what her plans are for 2021. Thank you for joining us, Donna.
DONNA HAMBLIN: Hi! Thank you so much for having me here.
Q: You've amassed an impressive resume, appearing in countless indie horror flicks over the last decade. Despite your long list of credits, is there a specific type of character you haven't had a chance to play that you would love to sink your teeth into?
A: I love doing character work. I've been very blessed to have played a variety of amazing characters so far in my career thus far. I would love to play a complete irate, a sociopath, nerd all in one (as long as it doesn't come natural) hahaha The challenges, research, and playing with all that embedded in one person? That would be such a high for me. The more hideous the character, the better I like them. Hopefully that will come to fruition soon this summer with a movie I'm cast in, Jeff Schneider's The Accident. Right now, it's covid, covid, covid. With that being said, All movie schedules have been postponed until this dreaded virus is under control.
Q: Out of all the on screen work you've done, what would you consider the most difficult or stressful scene you've acted in up until now? Why was it so challenging?
A: Without a doubt, there's a few. And not just scenes, but movies! Nadia in Loose Luck (A Jeff Schneider film coming soon), and Celeste in Stained Encounter out soon. Reason is, these two characters are what some would call normal, everyday women which on an average is the hardest, most difficult thing for me to perform. I mean, you definitely have boundaries that you can't go past, only to try to convey that behind the character's mask if you will. It's not that I don't enjoy it, it's definitely something I struggle with. Saying goes "The most difficult part an actor will play is themselves."
With other outlandish, salty creatures I've done in other films, there are limitless boundaries, so you have so much to pull from. I guess what I'm trying to say is, You're acting while trying not to play yourself...
Q: Have you always had a fascination with horror, or was it a passive interest that gradually intensified over time?
A: Both! I love 80's, 90's horror. It was when I evolved in the world of indie horror I really came to appreciate it even more. I am a big fan from any indie, to big Hollywood productions. Of course there are a few horror's I have yet to watch to this date, one is The Exorcist, the other one is The Omen. Reason being? They both scare the hell out of me!
Q: During my research, I read that you trained at The Second City Theatre in Chicago, what was that experience like?
A: I actually trained with Second City here in Las Vegas while they were performing on the Strip! I am so thankful I did! Not only was it fun, but I have utilized so many of the techniques that I learned by doing them in films. I absolutely LOVE improv! At Second City, they really break you out of any shell you are in as well as insecurities. You can never look too silly in their class and it is complete improv, no scripts at all. This really helped me as an actor with not limiting myself which was that hump I had to overcome. Improv is such a tool for any actor to use in my opinion. Whenever possible, I will ask if I can do a little improv on set. I did a movie last January that was complete improv, no script at all, Uncommon Bond , that the wonderful producer Joe Sherlock released, and it was very well received. I also improvised a whole movie for Tony Newton (out in the UK). This being said, I don't think I could have ever pulled either off without the fabulous teaching of improv of Second City.
Q: Out of all the roles you've taken part in, which character/performance are you most proud of?
A: Oh gosh, that's difficult to answer being there are a few I'm very happy with. I will say I usually don't like watching myself, I am very critical of my acting. With that being said, if I watch a movie I have done and see the character I am to portray, rather than Donna, it is then I am proud. I feel I've pulled it off (for myself anyhow). A few examples are Rosie from Hellcats Revenge 1 and 2 (a Len Kabasinski film), Martine in Elimination, from the anthology Tales from the Midnight Horror 2 (a Phil Herman film), Frau Perchta from The Krampus Carol (a Jake Zelch film) and Annie in Alien Wars (a Jeff Schneider film). Now, I have not watched Alien Wars as of yet. However, the filming I did with Luc Bernier just flowed so real with the two of us that I know it's going to rock on film. Which brings me to this being said. Working with such talented actors really helps me bring out more of the character. This is something I feed off on set. So I believe it's also the other talented actors who have helped me bring out the best in whatever I'm playing, something I appreciate dearly.
Another character I am proud of is Carla, in Evil Under the Skin (a Masch Productions film). Another example of acting with some amazing talent. Their names? Tim O'Hearn and Helene Udy. As an actor, your job is to make it look real, and affect people even if you are playing an ant. I have been on set where waiting to go on, and just listening to the other characters from behind the scenes has expanded what I had in mind doing in the first place, otherwise, I ended up doing so much more with the part I was playing, just listening while in the background, I really pay attention on set for this reason.
Q: Are there any filmmakers out there that you would just die to work with? Doesn't have to necessarily be a horror director, I'm talking about any genre.
A: Oh wow! Steven Spielberg?? --hahaha-- I have to say, I have been fortunate to work with amazing producers and directors I have always wanted to work with so far. I haven't really thought of any other. Of course, I would love to do a Tarantino or Rodriguez movie, who wouldn't?! Trust me, all producers/directors I have worked with, I will say there's not a day that goes by I'm not extremely thankful for them in their trusting me. I have been in big production sets. I have found more fun on indie film sets. (of course I would never turn down a big budget production) I remember once I was filming a television series. I spent four hours in my dressing trailer waiting to go on set to say only one short sentence. Whereas on the B movie sets, I get to act all day long. Acting is a huge passion that drives me through life! I have met so many amazing people on indie sets that I now call friends. That never happened in big budget. I probably wouldn't recognize any of the people to this day other than the stars of it. Now, if you ask me this same question about actors? That's a different story...
Q: How has life changed for you since the onslaught of COVID-19? And how has it affected the indie film-making scene in your perspective?
A: Well, fortunately, I have not lost a loved one to this dreadful virus. Yeah, I hate staying home, wearing the mask, not seeing friends in a year. If that's the sacrifice I need to make to keep them safe? More than willing to do so. I am thankful my mother is not here during this. Only seeing her through a window for a year? It would have killed us both. I know the filming will resume once safe for most. The wait, though hard, is something I can definitely appreciate. I know this virus has without a doubt put a damper in all filming. Being an empath, it's been tough observing all the death from it. Very scary, and very sad…
Q: Apart from acting, what passions do you have outside the entertainment industry?
A: I have many! I love working on my yard/garden. (Yes folks, you heard that right!) Digging in the earth, planting, growing, anything to do with horticulture is very grounding for me. I love cooking in my spare time (which I've had a lot of lately!!!!) lol I am really hoping to go back to my volunteer work soon. I really miss it. The two that I hold close to my heart are with the homeless, and hospice. Both are extremely rewarding to me. I love to travel, I really miss the South Pacific, a place I would visit often. So, out of all these activities, guess what? Can't travel, or do volunteer work due to Covid, can't garden due to the winter weather. Only cooking... and that equals a chubby Donna... Woohoo!
Q: What projects are on your slate throughout 2021? What opportunities are you on the lookout for now?
A: With Covid still out there and still slowing down the process of filmmaking, it's hard to know what the future will bring to our 2021. There are many films I have done that are now in post production, so hopefully some of those will be finished and released sometimes this year for people to see. There is Alien Wars, Loose Luck, Red VS Wolf, The Krampus Carol, Last American Horror Show: Volume 2, Stained Encounter… I recently did some voice over work for a movie called Pawn's Volition.
As for new projects, I have several films in pre-production, hopefully being done soon, such as Spleen, The Accident, From the Mind comes the Darkness… Let's all hope filmmaking gets easier as the year goes by. And I'm always excited to read scripts for possible projects, and always happy to get offered a possible part for amazing films.
Speaking of, stay in touch with me on Facebook, or on my website and don't hesitate to stay in touch, or just say hi!
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It's been a pleasure talking with you, Donna.
Thank you so much for the opportunity, and wishing all to stay safe, healthy, and happy!
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