Action, Actress, Axelle Carolyn, Cameron Cloutier, Centurion, Director, Doomsday, England, Fangoria, Fantasy, Film, Filmmaker, Horror, Horse, IGN, Interview, Movie, Neil Marshall, Riding, Sci Fi, SFX, The Halloween Kid, Writer
My interview with actress and filmmaker, Axelle Carolyn (“Doomsday” and “Centurion”).
Cameron: While growing up in Belgium, how did acting come to you? Did you seek it or did it find you?
Axelle Carolyn: My interest in horror started when I was very little. I can’t remember ever wanting to act or direct or doing anything specific when I was a kid, but I loved to write little stories of ghosts and skeletons. It’s only when I was a teenager that I decided I wanted to work in movies, but I didn’t know in what capacity. I was still writing, but it didn’t feel like being a screenwriter would be fully satisfying. I was interested in being on set as well. I moved to the UK and started out as a film reporter, for Fangoria, IGN, SFX and others. I also did a brief stint as a publicist, and in film financing. Then I wrote a book on horror movies in the new millennium (It Lives Again!, from Telos Publishing, available on Amazon.) And I started acting around the same time. Acting is fantastic, and I wish to pursue it, but my true passion is storytelling. I kept writing and this year directed two short films, from my own scripts.
Cameron: What was the first part you had when you realized, “If I am to do this right, I need to think about it and prepare?”
Axelle Carolyn: The first one I played, I guess. I’m really into physical acting — expressing myself through movement and expression rather than words — and there’s that misconception that since there’s no lines to learn, you can pretty much just show up on set and act. It’s false, of course. A lot of thinking goes into finding a character’s physicality.
Cameron: You’ve worked with (husband) Neil Marshall a few times. How does he work with the actors? Is he an actor’s director? (Based off the performances in his films, he seems like a really hands on filmmaker, but I could be wrong.)
Axelle Carolyn: Neil is great at casting, that’s where his strength really lies. He finds the right person for the part. If the actor he ends up casting is a bit different from what he’d envisioned, he adapts the character. From there he can leave actors a lot of freedom to just go and do their thing.
Cameron: Between acting roles, how do you keep yourself creative?
Axelle Carolyn: I write, mostly. These days acting has actually become the thing I do to remain creative between two directing jobs.
Cameron: What was the hardest role (so far) you’ve had? Why?
Axelle Carolyn: Centurion was tough. It was great fun: horseback riding, archery, stage fighting are all things I love. But it was so cold. And also, being the director’s wife puts immense pressure on you. I didn’t want anyone to believe I got the part solely because of who I’m married to, so I made sure I could really sell the part beyond any doubt. Thankfully I’m a pretty confident rider…
Cameron: Can you talk about the importance of having supportive people in your life (family, friends, significant other) through the good/bad times of the business?
Axelle Carolyn: I’m very lucky to have a supportive and understanding husband. He’s been where I am, so he knows how much time and effort it takes to launch a career as a filmmaker. He’s edited both my short films, and he’s helping me produce my first feature. We got very close to shooting earlier this year, but financing collapsed a few days before we were due to start filming. In moments like that, you feel really blessed to have supportive people around you…
Cameron: What are some of the ways you decompress after a long day of shooting (in order to get centered again)?
Axelle Carolyn: I read a LOT. And when I get the chance, horse riding is awesome.
Cameron: Can you talk about some of your upcoming roles/films?
Axelle Carolyn: At the moment I’m promoting my short film The Last Post, starring Jean Marsh (Willow) and Kimberley Nixon (Black Death), which is currently touring festivals. I’m putting finishing touches to another short, Hooked, with RA Mihailoff (Leatherface) and Clare Grant. At the same time, I’m trying to get the feature, The Haunted, back on track, and developing another feature script…
Cameron: If you could play any role in a book/play/film, what would you challenge yourself with?
Axelle Carolyn: I would have loved to play Jeff Goldblum’s part in The Fly…
Cameron: I think you just found you and your husband’s next collaboration. Thanks, Axelle, for taking the time to talk with me today.