When it comes to scream queens, Danielle Harris reigns over them all in the 21st Century. She started out as Michael Myers’ niece in Halloween’s IV and V, and even appeared as a different character in Rob Zombie’s two films as well. Growing up she also starred in Free Willy, The Last Boy Scout and in episodes of Roseanne, while today she’s in demand as both an actor in The Victim and, with Among Friends, a first time director.
It’s no surprise that Danielle is crazy busy at this time of year, but she was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to talk about her role in The Victim, look back on the Halloween films she was a part of and much, much more. Check out the trailer for The Victim below and then hit the jump for our exclusive interview with Danielle.
Andy Burns: Congrats on The Victim. I really enjoyed the film and what everyone brought to it. Could you tell us what you thought when you first read the script and your initial impressions of your character, Mary?
Danielle Harris: I thought “OMG! How fun!! I get to be a cokehead stripper opposite one of my best friends and be directed by Michael Biehn!” I just had to do it!!
Andy Burns: Your character and Jennifer Blanc’s, Annie, have a real close relationship that we see mainly during flashbacks. Did you and Jennifer do anything to prepare together – was there any pre-filming hang-outs to get to know one another more?
Danielle Harris: Jen and I have been friends for years through the industry, but we became close when she came to my house years ago and I was just finishing teaching a pole dancing class, so she wanted to watch me dance 🙂 She signed up for classes with me and we became instant friends!
Andy Burns: One of the things that impressed me most of The Victim was the fact that it’s Michael Biehn’s first film as a director. From an audience perspective, I think he nailed it. What was he like as a director?
Danielle Harris: Crazy. Wonderful. Passionate. He wore many hats and as a first time director as well as starring in almost every scene, I agree that he nailed it too!
Andy Burns: Does an actor turned director offer you a different perspective on your work?
Danielle Harris: My favorite directors are usually actors and editors. There’s no fucking around because they know exactly what they want and how to get it.
Andy Burns: Along with The Victim out now on DVD, Anchor Bay has released Halloween IV and V. Rewatching them, I’m really blown away by how much was riding on your performance, and you really deliver. Looking back, did you feel any pressure at all when you were filming those movies?
Danielle Harris: I was just having fun, actually. I had no idea how much was riding on my shoulders until I watch the movies now as an adult. I was just excited to be in a movie.
Andy Burns: Those films are some of the most violent and creepy in the entire series – I’m wondering if you can recall what the vibe was like when you were filming? I’m guessing not nearly as scary on set as what shows up in the films?
Danielle Harris: Haha. Not scary at all. Especially being so young, everyone on set went out of their way to make sure that I wasn’t scared and knew that it was all make believe.
Andy Burns: Since ’tis the season, I also went back and rewatched Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I think it’s a great film, and continues to get better on repeat viewings (I’m a huge RZ fan). What was it like for you, returning to the world of Halloween after all those years?
Danielle Harris: It was pretty surreal. I wish I had had bigger part in the first one, but I told Scout Compton that I was gonna pass the torch on to her. It was a hell of a lot harder on me emotionally and physically than when I was little though. I think because Michael never actually got Jamie, but he went to town on Annie!
Andy Burns: You’ve done so many horror and suspense films, I’m wondering, is there any movie in the genre that you watch every year around Halloween? Or even just generally, a favourite horror film?
Danielle Harris: I still will watch the original “Halloween” if it comes on TV. I’m usually traveling or working around this time of year so I don’t get to watch that many movies unfortunately.
Andy Burns: Do you have any projects you’re currently working on you can tell us about?
Danielle Harris: I have recently completed my directorial debut, “Among Friends” so I’ve been traveling the world promoting the film at film festivals. It was just time for me to step behind the camera and do what I know best, which is horror. It was an amazing experience and I’m now on the hunt for my next directing gig. Actually, Jennifer Blanc is the producer and one of the stars as well. There’s an awesome cameo by Michael Biehn. I mean, after the opening scene in “The Victim” I think he owed me at least a cameo;)
Andy Burns: Final question – have you seen any films or are you reading/listening to anything right now that Biff Bam Pop readers should check out?
Danielle Harris: I’d say just go back and watch the classics. Horror was much better when it was fun and scary at the same time. Most genre films I’ve been seeing lately take themselves so seriously and are full of CGI. That kind of stuff takes me right out of the movie, so I prefer the oldies. I like to watch what effects could be done in the 80’s just to see how far technology has come. Nothing like a double feature of “Poltergeist” and “Gremlins” for me!
Thanks to Danielle Harris for talking to Biff Bam Pop! You can follow her on Twitter at @halloweengal and get updates on her directorial debut on Twitter at @Among_Friends. The Victim, Halloween IV and V are all available now from Anchor Bay.