Actress/Producer Q&A Maria Olsen

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

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DCP:
When did your love/enjoyment for acting begin?
 

Maria Olsen:
As far back as I can remember, I've wanted to perform and be on stage. I distinctly remember being about six years old in a dance show and clowning around on stage like the fact that I was being watched by hundreds of people just didn't mean anything to me. I never felt nervous or anxious when I was on stage - except in that one piano recital, but that's another story! - so I've always found performing and acting to be both relaxing and something I really enjoyed. My parents both performed too, so I guess I just took after them!


DCP:
What are some acting performances in film, and just films in general, that have left a last impression on you?


MO:
The film that, by far, has left the greatest impression on me is The Lovely Bones. I've watched thousands of films, but none of them have affected me the way this one did. I can't say whether it was the brilliance of the acting - Saoirse Ronan is just perfect as Susie Salmon - or the masterful way in which director Peter Jackson tells the story but somehow, by some miracle, this film just touched my soul in ways I'm still discovering. 

 

DCP:
Thus far in your career, what has been the most challenging role you've taken on to date, and why?

 

MO:
For some reason, I find I'm more challenged by the physical aspects of acting than by the emotional. When I believe in a character's emotional path - when I can make it real to me - I can make it real to others. And, although I'm a very physical actor, and I've done almost all of my own stunts, there are certain aspects that I find very difficult to deal with. In Starry Eyes, for instance, I wore a pair of blue high heels for every scene, and I had huge difficult walking in them (so much so that I nearly called "cut" in one scene, and that's NEVER done!). In I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu, I took my army boots off every opportunity I got as they were ankle-breakers, and in Gore Orphanage, I wore my sneakers instead of my period shoes at every opportunity. I'm fine with jumping off 15' scaffoldings, swimming underwater, crawling through mud at night and so on, but don't give me shoes my ankles don't like!!


DCP:
Who or what inspires you?


MO:
Great performers who are my contemporaries or who have come before me inspire me to keep on when the going's tough. Vivien Leigh battled bipolar disorder but still walked on stage every night, Maria Callas couldn't even see the orchestra pit clearly as she was so short-sighted, but still sang every night and, of course, Janis Joplin battled her own personal demons until they won, but she left an unforgettable impression on everyone who ever watched her perform.


DCP:
Can you talk about The Remains and the character you play?


MO:
In the flashback scenes, I play Madame Addison, a medium who specializes in contacting the spirits of those who have passed on before us. This sort of thing was extremely popular in the late 1800s, and many families were fooled out of their fortunes by scammers who could manipulate the situation to make their victims think they were speaking to their deceased loved ones. Whether or not Madame Addison is a fake is for you to decide...but one thing's for sure, she's not going to leave you alone!


DCP:
Was there anything especially alluring or interesting about the role that made you want to take it?


MO:
The script was extremely well written, the role of Madame Addison was interesting, and even though Thomas Della Bella was a first time filmmaker, I could see that the production was going to be very professional. This coupled with the fact that I enjoy playing period pieces sold the project to me, and I haven't regretted it for one minute!


DCP:
Are there any actors or actresses you dream to work with someday?


MO:
I think I would just absolutely die if I ever got to work with Meryl Streep!!!!


Not only is she SUCH a talent, she's also a wonderful person, and I had the honor of hearing her speak in person at a screening I attended in Hollywood several years ago.


I would also have loved to have worked with Alan Rickman, but, unfortunately, that will now never happen.


DCP:
Can you tell us of any upcoming projects you may be working on or being released in the near future?


MO:
I've actually had an awesome run since April 2016 in that, including The Remains, I've had five horror features released: The Conduit, The Mark of the Witch, The Levenger Tapes and Consumption (which I also co-produced).


Upcoming releases include Fear. Inc, which is presently on the festival circuit, Wolf Mother, Marrtown and 60 Seconds to Die.


Deserving a very special mention is, of course, Meir Zarchi's I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu, which is the official sequel to the original 1978 ISOYG and which also stars the original Jennifer Hills, Camille Keaton. Written and directed by Meir Zarchi, who also helmed the 1978 original, this film is presently in post-production and festival / distribution plans should be finalized by the end of this year.

 

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