House of Horrors – 2008

Jonathan Stryker interviews Emily Perkins

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Emily Perkins was born 31 years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She began acting by the age of ten and has amassed an impressive filmography that includes numerous roles in TV movies such as ANYTHING TO SURVIVE, the Stephen King miniseries IT, and MIRACLE ON INTERSTATE 880 which dramatized the events following the Loma Prieta earthquake which hit the San Francisco Bay Area on October 17, 1989 during rush hour.

Emily is perhaps best known for her role as Brigitte in the GINGER SNAPS films, and is currently appearing in a small role as an abortion clinic receptionist in the Oscar-nominated JUNO, a comedy/drama about a pregnant teen who loves Dario Argento films and decides to keep her baby. This year she will be appearing in BLOOD: A BUTCHER’S TALE and ANOTHER CINDERELLA STORY.

House of caught up with Emily to discuss her career.

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Jonathan Stryker: How did you get into acting?

Emily Perkins: I began at the age of ten at the Vancouver Youth Theater. The woman who was the artistic theater director at the time was also an agent. She asked me to join her agency, and I did. I sort of fell into the business that way, and I began going on auditions.

Jonathan Stryker: Had you acted in school prior to going to the Youth Theater?

Emily Perkins: No, I had not, but I had seen a touring production of A THOUSAND CRANES and I told my mother that I wanted to be an actress because I loved it so much. It took about a year before she caved in to pressure from me and said that she would sign me up for acting classes.

Jonathan Stryker: Would you say that you fell into acting, or was it something that you pursued from an early age?

Emily Perkins: I started wanting to do it when I was ten. Later as I got older I had a lot of other interests as well. I studied women’s studies and psychology at the University; that is what I received my degree in. I am also interested in the academic side of film, too, and fine arts as well. I can see myself having many other careers in my life.

Jonathan Stryker: Are you partial to the horror film genre?

Emily Perkins: Sure. I love the Tim Burton films. Even when they come on cable and I have seen them many times, I still say, “I’m just going to watch that one more time.” (laughs) I really liked THE SHINING. Like in GINGER SNAPS, there are so many metaphors in it. Other horror films have that, too, you know? I think that it is fascinating to know what scare people. Usually it is about whatever threatens the mainstream and our culture, the things that we hold near and dear to us. I love other genres, also. I would love to do a comedy.

Jonathan Stryker: Prior to making Stephen King’s IT, were you familiar with King’s work?

Emily Perkins: No, I was thirteen when I made IT. My mother never bought me any of those books! (laughs) But, after I was cast in the movie, my mother bought me the book and said that I should probably read it. I don’t think that she had any idea what it was about!

Jonathan Stryker: How were you snapped up for GINGER SNAPS?

Emily Perkins: My agent got a call that the producers were looking for a particular girl for this role. So, Katy and I (Katherine Isabelle who plays Ginger) made our first audition tape together and we sent that to the producers. The producer and the director liked both of us. We ended up going to Toronto together to audition again, and then we were both cast.

Jonathan Stryker: You taught an acting class at Aberystwyth University in Wales. Was there a difference in their method of acting as opposed to here in the States?

Emily Perkins: Yes, it was really different. Because I was teaching theater classes versus film, so automatically there was a difference right there. But I also found that the style over there is also quite a bit broader than it is over here. Method Acting is very popular over here. In Wales, where I taught, they wanted to use more of (Constantin) Stanslavski’s method, which is the father of Method Acting, but it is a little bit different. I guess that it is a bit more conceptual in a way.

Jonathan Stryker: Did you ever meet (acting teachers) Stella Adler or Uta Hagen?

Emily Perkins: No, but I did read their books! (laughs) I love their books, they are such…genius. I mean, I can read them over and over again, they are so rich. I can reflect on my past experiences.

Jonathan Stryker: You end up seeing things that you hadn’t thought of the first time.

Emily Perkins: Yes! Absolutely.

Jonathan Stryker: What are some of your favorite movies?

Emily Perkins: Peter Jackson’s HEAVENLY CREATURES is a fav-

Jonathan Stryker: Oh, my God, I love that film! Sorry, I just-

Emily Perkins: I know! It’s a great movie.

Jonathan Stryker: To me, that’s his best film.

Emily Perkins: I agree, completely.

Jonathan Stryker: His LORD OF THE RINGS films, for me, while technically superb, and I know I am going to get flack for this – those three films do not hold a candle to HEAVENLY CREATURES.

Emily Perkins: Oh, for me, too, definitely.

Jonathan Stryker: I don’t think that Kate Winslet has ever been better. Such an emotionally-charged performance.

Emily Perkins: Oh, I know! I know. She is absolutely brilliant in that movie.

Jonathan Stryker: (imitating Kate Winslet) “It’s all so frightfully romantic!”

Emily Perkins: That’s great! I also loved WINGS OF DESIRE. So poetic. I love Woody Allen, he is my favorite comedic director.

Jonathan Stryker: Yes, so if Woody is reading this…

Emily Perkins: (laughing) Yeah, right! Like he knows who I am!

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