Filmmaker Q&A Jessica Sonneborn

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

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DCP:
I always like to start from the beginning - When did your love for movies/acting begin and how did you get started?

 

Jessica Sonneborn:
I grew up with a Dad who is a film historian, so my love and interest started with watching older movies with him.  He still loves to show me classics and talk about film.  I always remember dreaming of being on stage and in movies, and after feeling unfulfilled in my first job as a teacher, I started auditioning for indie movies.  Pretty soon after that, I left Boston for Los Angeles to pursue my dream full time.


DCP:
What do you find most alluring about acting and ultimately making films?


JS:
When I'm acting, I love becoming someone that is far from who I am in real life.  It's so fun for me to play a complicated, damaged and messed up person, when in real life, I'm pretty square. As for inspiration as a filmmaker, I love evoking emotion from an audience and making people think.  

 

DCP:
What films and acting performances have left a lasting impression on you as an actress and filmmaker, and why?


JS:
So many people and films have inspired me.  I'm really drawn to intense, scary and psychological movies, so movies like The Shining, Pans Labyrinth, The 6th Sense, The Orphanage, Vertigo and most recently the series Stranger Things.  Performances that have inspired me, oh my gosh there are so many.  The first one that comes to mind is Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.  It was one of the first roles I dreamed of emulating.  I loved how raw and tough she was in that movie and I'm always chasing after roles like that.  More recently I've been blown away by Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things, this young girl inspires me so much!  She just has it.  She's shaved bald and wearing sweats and all I want to do is watch her character.  That's a gift.  And also Alicia Vikander in both The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, she's breathtaking. 


DCP:
Who and/or what inspires you?


JS:
I'm inspired by great stories that make me think.  If I watch a movie and I can't stop thinking about a performance or an outcome, that's inspirational. 


DCP:
I thought The Haunting of Alice D was fantastic - Where did the story come from or what inspired it? 


JS:
Thank you.  We had a blast making the movie, and I'm so proud of the performances and hard work from our cast and crew.  I wrote an original draft several years before production and then changed it quite a bit in the year before filming.  I wanted to make a "cabin in the woods" style movie with a major twist and a lot of the inspiration came from the movies I'm so influenced by, The Shining, The Orphanage, etc.

 

DCP:
With Alice D being your directorial debut, what lessons did you learn about directing? 


JS:
I learned so much and had such a great time doing it.  The biggest lesson I learned is that the director is only as good as the team they assemble.  I'm grateful I worked so hard to get the best group of talented cast and crew that I could. 


DCP:
If you could work with anyone in business, who would it be and why? 


JS:
The Duffer Brothers.  I am incredibly excited and inspired by Stranger Things.  When you watch Stranger Things you have this feeling that it is both fresh and new, and also so very familiar.  These guys are really are doing it right with their series, and I would love to be on set with them and see how they work.


DCP:
Can you tell us anything about any upcoming projects you may be working on? 


JS:
Yes! Aside from writing and developing two features,  I have several movies as an actress in Post Production that will be coming out soon.  All info on them will be updated on my website: www.jessicasonneborn.com  I'm currently filming a lead role in the horror remake: Psycho a go go, just finished filming Oscar winning SFX artist Barney Burman's directorial debut, "Wild Boar" and go into filming Michael Merino's "Widow Creek" next month.  I also got to work with Nicholas Cage in the movie, Dog Eat Dog last fall, and after closing the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, I expect it will have a release sometime late this year or early next.  

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