Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself?
AP: Hi! I’m Ashley Palmer, originally from the Midwest (Chicago and Cincinnati suburbs) and then lived in New York City doing theatre for a few years. Now I live in Los Angeles, working primarily in TV & Film and finishing a book.
MW: How and why did you get into the entertainment industry?
AP: I had the lead in my first play when I was 5 years old and absolutely loved it. From then on I did everything I could to perform, from school and church plays, choir concerts, dance recitals, modeling, and took lots of classes. When I was 16 I did my first professional play, and I went to college for musical theatre where I was cast in my first film. I’ve been plugging away at it for a long time! My goal was always just to make a living doing what I love, which I think is the only way to tolerate the ups and downs of the industry. I’ve never been after fame, only the joy that acting brings.
MW: What has been your favorite TV show to do?
AP: That’s hard to answer, I love the show I’ve been most recently working on but I’m not allowed to talk about it yet! One of my favorite experiences was working on the show Love Bites with Greg Grunberg because he is hilarious and I adored our director, Timothy Busfield, it was a shame that the show didn’t last. I also really enjoyed working with Bradley Cooper in Kitchen Confidential, for obvious reasons. Probably favorite audition of all time was for Matthew Gray Gubler on Criminal Minds, he is not only a great director but as an actor he understands so well what we are going through and you really feel him rooting for you.
MW: How did you get the role of Diane in Paranormal Activity?
AP: I saw the audition breakdown on a popular website called LA Casting, though they didn’t have a title or even character names yet, and submitted my picture and resume. They were looking for actors who could improvise for a horror film and it was right up my alley because I had always wanted to do a horror film and I was obsessed with improv, having done classes and shows at Upright Citizens Brigade. I initially auditioned for the role that ended up being called Katie and had a great callback too, so when he cast someone else in the main role Oren Peli, the creator, wrote another little part for me.
MW: Did you think the movie would have been as big as it is?
AP: Absolutely not! We thought it was very good but it was such a tiny movie with next to no budget, so we just hoped that it would get accepted into Sundance (it didn’t) and that some people would see it. There was no precedence for how huge it got, so even dreamers like us couldn’t have imagined it could become the #1 movie in the country or the most profitable film in history, both of which happened at one point. The film was around for quite a while before it was released so we saw it going to festivals and having screenings and it gradually changed, my role used to be bigger, there were a few characters that got cut altogether, and of course there were several reshoots and new endings. The hype kept building and building and the versions kept improving but there was still no way to know just how well it would be received, it was a wonderful surprise.
MW: Do you have a lot of fans of the movie reach out to you?
AP: I do, it’s awesome. Horror fans are amazing, so loyal, dedicated and enthusiastic. I have gone to a few conventions and it’s such a thrill to meet the people that made this movie a hit, because so much of our success came from the fans demanding that it play in their town and spreading the word.
MW: What do you remember about doing Paranormal Activity?
AP: Probably the most memorable part of shooting for me was actually how gross it was. We were doing these gory effects on no budget so our makeup artist had to be very creative. For the exorcism scene I ended up covered with cinnamon flavored fake blood, my shirt was smeared with tomato sauce and chicken skin was glued all over my arm. These are not exactly complementary scents, I was sticky and smelly but it was fun- filmmaking isn’t always glamorous!
MW: What did you do in Water For Elephants?
AP: I played a dancer in the speakeasy scene of Water For Elephants.
MW: So give me a story from the set?
AP: I have always wanted to do a movie musical but this one scene is as close as I’ve gotten thus far. Doing choreography on a film set was an absolute blast, and I completely loved the amazing 1930s costumes! I have so much respect for the performers in dance movies now. We only had a few 15-hour days foxtrotting in dance shoes, and it was exhausting, but I hope to do a film with many more musical numbers in the future.
MW: What can we expect from you the rest of the year?
AP: I have a supporting role in the indie film A Strange Brand of Happy coming out on September 13th and will be shooting a short and a feature film this summer. I’m also completing my book and occasionally guest co-hosting at Combat Radio.
MW: What conventions will you be signing at this year?
AP: I plan to be at Comic Con for the 3rd time this year but everything else is up in the air (dependant on my filming schedule), so definitely come see me there!
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
AP: Thanks so much for taking the time to get to know me! Find out what I’m up to next at www.Facebook.com/AshleyPalmerActress and follow me at www.Twitter.com/TheAshleyPalmer