Interview with Actress Kerry Wieder [Women in Horror Month 2021]

Please introduce yourself.
Hi there, my name is Kerry Wieder, (spelled “i” before “e”, and pronounced “Weeder”), and I am an actress, director, and writer. I am a passionate storyteller, who also loves taking pictures of plants, gardening, and playing the ukulele and singing. I am also a blood platelet and plasma donor. Okay, wait a minute, this is starting to sound like a dating app profile, so let’s get to my credits.

As an actress, I’ve worked in the theatre, and in front of the camera in every type of on-camera work that exists, except maybe porn. I’m also the creator of two rarely seen, but much talked about web series: Catspiration and Lunch Break Star Wars. (They are both on Youtube for your viewing pleasure, but alas, are still rarely seen).

In the last year, I voiced the lead role in the horror fiction podcast In Another Room, and I voiced another main character in a soon-to-be-released horror podcast The Gloom. I didn’t appear in Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning film Get Out, but I did appear in the music video for the title track of that film, as an evil psychiatric hospital nurse. I wish that song had been a hit, because it was a catchy tune, and also because I looked really scary in the music video, but I digress…

I was asked to introduce myself a little here, and I’m already on my fourth paragraph, so I’ll conclude by saying that I have worked on many film projects with the controversial artist Paul McCarthy (not the Beatle), and that I have performed in many immersive theatre projects in Los Angeles. If you don’t know what immersive theatre is don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was either, until I accidentally started doing it. I’ll expand on that in my next answer.

What is it that attracts you to the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
I got involved in the horror genre inadvertently when my friend, Shirley Jordan, who played Tanya in the We’re Alive podcast, asked me to fill in for her in a play called In Another Room. It was an immersive theatre piece that was performed in a house, and I had to recite intense, fervent monologues while interacting with the three audience members, (yes, just three audience members), and lead them around the old, dimly lit house. The show was about an hour long, and we performed the same show, in back-to-back performances for five or six hours in a row. Later, when that show’s creative team, E3W Productions, made In Another Room into a narrative horror podcast, Shirley was slated to play Wendy Morrow, the lead role that she had originated. However, when Shirley wasn’t able to take on the role, I got a chance to play Wendy again. Fun fact: I also replaced Shirley in another immersive show by E3W called All of Them Witches, which we performed at the 2019 Overlook Film Festival. As you can see, Shirley Jordan, and the beloved team at E3W, are a big reason that I am immersed in the horror genre now.

Another immersive piece I appeared in that had ties to the horror genre, was The Lust Experience, because it was created by Darren Lynn Bousman, the director of several films in The Saw franchise. Coincidentally, my next horror podcast, The Gloom, which will be released in the late spring by Violet Hour Media, has several scenes with me acting opposite of Tobin Bell, who is also known from The Saw films.

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
In my work, I am inspired by people who are dedicated storytellers, and who take risks. I like entertainment that makes me think, or even projects that confuse me. I like projects that leave unanswered questions, and that keep me guessing. I gravitate to directors that tell stories in their own way, and in their own time.

In my life, I’m inspired by people who are kind, thoughtful, hardworking, and who work to help others. Wait a minute, this is sounding like I’m filling out my profile for a dating app again. [Reader’s note: I am not on any online dating apps].

Women in horror have made great strides, but it’s clear that a lot of work is still needed to make it a most inclusive genre. To you, what is the importance of a movement like Women in Horror Month?
The importance of a movement like Women in Horror Month is to shine a light on people who are so frequently overlooked, and undermined in the entertainment industry: women. Women make up approximately 50% of the world’s population, but are greatly underrepresented in front of the camera, and behind the camera. Female characters are not only outnumbered by male characters in a majority of films and TV shows, they are frequently cast as secondary characters to the male leads. Take a look at TV and movie posters and billboards, and count the number of female characters in relation to male characters. Also, pay attention to which gender is featured more prominently on those same posters and billboards: it’s usually the males, and of course, it’s usually the white males.

Regarding the representation of women behind the camera in horror films, I sadly have to confess that I don’t know of a single female horror director. As I mentioned before, I have gotten involved in the horror world accidentally, so I’m not well-versed in the horror genre, but I can still name several male horror directors. I wish I had a clever statement to put here, to end this answer in a positive way, but the lack of gender and racial diversity in film and TV is no laughing matter.

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a women as something that makes it so much more difficult at times?
I would tell all up-and-coming, female-identifying creatives that we need their voices, we need their visions, we need their perspectives, and we need their stories. If we want to make any progress in eliminating sexism and misogyny in society, we have to show that women’s stories, and therefore, women’s lives are just as important as men’s.

Working in the entertainment industry is challenging for everyone, but the great news for female-identifying creatives is that there are many directors, producers and organizations that are making a space for women in film. For instance, Debbie Allen frequently mentors female directors, and Ava Duvernay has not only reserved all of the directing slots on her show Queen Sugar for women, she also just launched Array Crew, a database of women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups working behind the camera. There are also resources out there like Women in Film to provide communal and professional support to female filmmakers.

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
Something that recently resonated with me about the business was an interview I saw with Billy Porter. He was a Tony and Grammy award winner who was having trouble gaining traction in TV and film. He thought about who was working in the industry that he would want to work with, and that would “get him”. When he realized it was Ryan Murphy, he manifested his energy into working with Ryan Murphy. Of course, Billy Porter went on to win an Emmy for working with Ryan Murphy in Pose, so his manifestation became his reality.

I am not currently a Tony or Grammy award winner; however, I am currently manifesting my energy into working with my favorite screenwriter/director/showrunner/executive producer/composer, Steve Conrad, who I am convinced will “get me”.

In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror?
I wish I had an answer to this question! I perform in horror projects, but I’m not very knowledgeable about the horror genre. I know that the ladies from the Whores Talk Horror podcast have been posting about Women in Horror month on their social media pages, so I’d check out what they have to say. You can also listen to a recent episode of their podcast where they had me partake in their Horroriffic Challenge: I had to watch five classic horror movies, and give my feedback on their show. Watching those five horror films really forced me to ask some hard questions about myself. But, the main question I’m asking myself right now is: why haven’t I done any research about creative ladies in horror, or gotten to know their work?

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
I have a narrative horror podcast coming out in the late spring called The Gloom which is produced by Violet Hour Media. Tobin Bell and I play doctors in the youth ward of a psychiatric hospital, and you’ll have to listen to find out if we are good doctors, or evil ones. [Cue the creepy music here].

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