Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BadRonald Interview with Evalena Marie: Watch Those Eyes!

The first thing you notice about Evalena Marie is her eyes. Wide and bright, and telling a story.  They grow big with fear, and then smolder with fire.  Just a glimpse from her and your imagination runs wild.  

The second thing you notice is that she can kick your ass!  Holy crap is this girl rock solid killer!!!  She's Joan Jett, all leathered up and raging with hot punk grrl angst.  She's Milla Jovovich, sleek and long and battle tested.  She's Audry Hepburn sweet and smart.  She's Rooney Mara, recondite, and quiet beauty. She's the whole deal. 

Born and raised in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, Evalena had no aspirations for the acting life.  It was while studying architecture in Boston that she happened on fashion photographer Kim Kennedy and became the subject for his work.  Once in front of his camera, she began to fall in love with performing.  Her modeling quickly led her to her first acting role in Kevin James Barry's femme fatale feature Serena and the RATTS.  In 2010, she was awarded BEST ACTRESS at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood for her role as Desiree in the short film Asleep in Child's Park.  Since then, Evalena has been busy acting, producing, and writing.  Her most recent role as Tori in the film adaptation of Steve Niles' (30 Days of Night) graphic novel Remains is on the Chiller channel.   

Evalena has enjoyed playing many unusual characters, and with several exciting projects in development for 2012, Evalena is looking forward to even more challenging roles. I know I'm keeping an eye out for her.

BadRonald:  You can now be seen in Steve Niles' Remains on Chiller TV, and you are featured in a number of other genre films this past year, including Exhumed, with Debbie Rochon.  Are you a horror fan?  And what is it about horror you enjoy?

Evalena Marie:  I am a horror fan.  I am a sci-fi fan.  I am an action fan.  Fantasy, comedy, drama, romance, I'm just a movie fan period.  I love a great story and a fun ride, and I love getting that from a horror film because the characters and the circumstances are usually intense and visceral, and I just happen to really enjoy playing those types of characters in those types of extreme circumstances.  I love imaginative people doing their thing, finessing their craft, and the horror genre in an excellent playground for them to dream bigger and really flex their muscles.  Everyone gets to work together to create something maybe only previously known in dreams.  And of course, if doesn't hurt that I happen to love chainsaws and shotguns and prosthetic skin!

BadRonaldWhatever role you're playing, you have this vulnerability about you.  Of course it works well when you play a victim or a troubled soul, but it's most impressive when you're the tough tomboy ass-kicker.  Your performance in Serena and the RATTS, reminded me of what was so great in the performances in Le Femme Nikita, Run Lola Run, and the Lisbeth Salander movies.  Where does that vulnerability, juxtaposed with guts come from?

Evalena Marie:  First of all, wow.  Thank you for even mentioning me in the same sentence with those films.  That juxtaposition that comes through successfully is the result of a beautiful collaborative partnership between myself and a brilliant director, whether it be a photo shoot or a feature film.  It's that relationship between myself and my director that provides me sanctuary to approach and balance on the ledge with knowing I won't fall.  It's kind of like being able to fly while Superman is holding you up!

BadRonaldYou've now taken a role as producer.  What did you see in Serena and the RATTS that attracted you to the role, and how did you use your position as producer to pull it all together?

Evalena Marie:  Being a producer kind of just happened, but then again, so did being an actress.  I met Kevin James Barry (writer and director of Serena and the RATTS) on my first gig ever, playing a background concentration camp prisoner in Shutter Island just for fun.  He was a film student at the time, and thought it would be fun to make a skinheads short since he now had access to all these bald people, and he asked me if I wanted in on it.  Now, at the time I was studying architecture and had zero interest in acting, and was actually mortified by being on camera, but I would have agreed to anything to get to see him again, so I said sure!  We were waiting for the red line at South Station when he remembered his little script he had on the back burner, Serena.  We did some tests where he put me on camera in character, and then he offered me the role.  My first role, my dream role.  And producing the movie together was just a result of our partnership.  I promised him we would finish the movie, and producing the movie alongside him was the best way to ensure I kept that promise.  I never expected to fall in love with acting or producing but here I am, not able to imagine my life without it.

BadRonaldYour modeling work stands out, as well.  There are a couple pieces that are very striking.  The first is a photo I've come across online with you in a punk role, your head is shaved (by the way, you look amazing bald!), and with those big beautiful eyes just sort of staring back into the lens.  What's going on in that photo?

Evalena Marie:  I know the exact photo you're talking about, it's one of my favorites.  I loved being bald, so it's great that it actually worked since I plan to do it again as soon as I can.  The photographer Peter Martin and I had ventured out into the streets of Boston that day, spring was just starting to take its first breath of the season, and as we lost the sun that day, we ended up in a dark back alley somewhere in Beacon Hill.  I crouched down against that coarse brick wall and just soaked in my environment.  The atmosphere is the real star of that photo, it was so thick and undeniable.  I just ingested it and made it everything I was for that moment.  And that's what you see in the photo.

BadRonaldAnd the other is the rooftop photos with photographer Jackie Puwalski... there's some wild sci fi action girl costumes going on.  You have this feminine strength that breaks through, and it's not just from the sexiness of you and the wardrobe.  Many models demure to the camera, to try to seduce the viewer, but your shots are different.  There's a lot more going on.  You command attention from sheer will and strength, and your state of undress is as much a part of the wardrobe as the clothing.  You have a great confidence that comes through in these photos that's very engaging.  It seems to come natural to you.  How important is it to you to portray strength -- physical and emotional -- in your characters (whether in modeling or acting).

Evalena Marie:  I think strength comes in many forms and it is just compelling and engaging no matter how you serve it, so I believe strength is a crucial component for creating a fascinating and captivating character.  When I'm in the front of the camera (still or movie), the farthest things from my mind are trying to seduce or be pretty for the camera.  I mean, when I look in the mirror, I don't see pretty.  I see the same face I see every day; the same doofy, awkward girl I've always seen.  So when I'm on set, I'm just having a blast playing pretend.  I'm a super hero!  Or I'm a monster!  Or whatever sounds like fun at the time, just like playing Dungeons and Dragons or writing my stories.  I've always loved making new characters, long before I ever took on a role in a movie.  So that is still my favorite part. 

BadRonaldWhat, to you, defines strength in a woman?

Evalena Marie:  My confidence in my imagination and my willing surrender of inhibition is where my strength in front of the camera comes from.  However, strength might just be one of those things that cannot be tamed with a definition.  I don't know that it has boundaries and defined edges, I think it may be more of a fluid concept that will be different in every woman.  But maybe the common denominator you can anticipate would be confidence.  Confidence in whatever form.  Maybe she's confident of her sense of humor, and that gives her strength.  Maybe she's confident in her kindness, and that gives her strength.  I'd like to think that once you achieve true confidence, it cannot be taken away from you (a goal I'm still working to achieve myself!).

BadRonaldWhat are the films and art and artist that influenced you when you were young.  And who and what still make an impact?

Evalena Marie:  Most of my early artistic influences are actually musicians.  Harry Connick, Jr. is a huge influence.  Fiona Apple.  Stevie Wonder.  Otis Redding.  Without them I don't even want to think about how numb I would be to all the beauty that surrounds me.  Since falling in love with acting, two of my influences are Gary Oldman and Daniel Day Lewis.  Holy cow, if I ever become half the actors they are, I will blow my own mind.  My goal is someday to be completely unrecognizable in a role, that my own mother wouldn't even be able to see me.  But that's a long road ahead of me.  Got a lot of hard work to get to that point, and I cannot wait for the challenges that will help me grow to that level. 

The most influential person in my life, however, is not an actor or a filmmaker, but an artist of capturing moments of inconceivable beauty.  A photographer named Kim Kennedy.  Meeting Kim was a life long gift.  In front of Kim's camera, I felt beautiful in front of a lens for the first time.  And not because I felt pretty on the outside, but because he had the magical talent of really seeing me, making it safe for me to come out of my shell, and capturing that moment of emergence from deep underground.  Not only a huge source of inspiration and drive in my life, he was also a dear friend and creative partner.  Last May, he passed away from Lymphoma.  With an unmatched zest for life, he loved diving in the ocean, and wanted the Atlantic to be his final resting place.  Before we laid him to rest, I made a final promise to him that I would help him take care of his girls so he could enjoy the ride.  His best friend Tom Clancy set up a charity in his name, Everybody's Brother, to benefit his beautiful wife Marina and daughter Misha.  Anyone reading this can join me in helping him take care of his girls, helping me keep my promise to him, by making any amount of donation to www.everybodysbrother.com.  100% of the donations go straight to Marina and Misha and no donation is too small to make a difference.  Thank you, guys.

BadRonald:  You've made an impact in horror and genre films.  How do you see the role of women in horror and genre films growing, and what would you, as a producer and creator, like to do, or see done?

Evalena Marie:  I've had a lot of conversations with my friend and film director Mike Pecci about this actually.  We've talked about what we want to see in the modern heroine.  As a movie goer, actress, writer and producer, I look forward to seeing and portraying more female characters that are heroic without trying to be men.  There's certainly a charm to seeing a masculine chick kicking ass and taking names, but I'm really looking forward to seeing more roles where a woman is kicking ass and taking names as a woman; where the femininity is not only still intact but also remains valuable.


Evalena did a huge kindness for me by lending me some exclusive photographs from her latest photo shoot with Daniel Rosenthal.  If you thought you were having a good time on Oscar night, check out the wild time Evalena was having at the Beverly Hills Hilton... So nice.  So cool.  So smokin'.

Photography credit: Daniel Rosenthal
Makeup and hair credit: Keri Anne Shea
Cinematography credit: Kevin James Barry

Some behind the scenes footage of Evalena Marie's latest photo shoot!

EVALENA MARIE Oscar Night at the Beverly Hilton from Evalena Website on Vimeo.

If'n you're loving these photos as much as I know you are, here are some links to find out more about Evalena and about the fine work she'd done:



  1. Great article. It hits upon Evalena's strength which is her ability to look different 100x over and always look good, unique, and beautiful. This is a great quality for an actress (and for directors seeking something special). She is modest, works hard, writes as well as acts and she is destined for success. She might see "geeky" in the mirror, many see STAR...

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  2. Cool interview. Thanks for turning me on to this chick.

  3. Beautiful young lady, and very talented. I've seen a lot of her work. Hollywood needs to wake up and book its next rising star.

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