Chills and Thrills
With a long list of screen credits already to her name, Jodelle Ferland is best known for her roles in creepy thrillers and horror actioners. But as we find out, that’s fine by her.
"I guess I get typecast quite a bit but it's alright because I honestly do like doing horror movies," 16-year-old actress Jodelle Ferland tells us. "I really do enjoy it. If I didn't, then I wouldn't be doing it. There's so much action in horror movies, it's a lot of fun."
Indeed, the resume of Ferland - who began acting at age two! - is etched with roles in thrillers and horror films - with the actress playing everything from psychotic daughters to newborn vampires. Her first big screen role came with a star turn in Terry Gilliam's gorgeously shot but harrowing fantasy flick, Tideland, where a ten-year-old Ferland starred as a young girl stranded in the eerie countryside. The role saw Ferland act alongside Jeff Bridges but the actress confesses she was too young to recall anything specific that she took away from that experience. "I guess there were a lot of little things I learnt but nothing I would exactly remember right now. Acting is what I've been doing for my entire life. That's really all I know and I do learn along the way."
Following Tideland, the actress starred in the horror survival flick Silent Hill, the supernatural suspense kicker The Messengers and the thriller Case 39. She mentions the latter as one of her favourite working experiences. "I've worked with so many amazing people but one of my favourites was Renee Zellweger. I was so amazed when I found out I got to do a whole movie with her and I had an amazing time with her."
With such film credits under her belt, it seemed like an obvious choice when Ferland was cast as newborn vampire, Bree Tanner, in last year's blockbuster The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. "It's something I really wanted to do and I did absolutely the best I could in my audition," the actress recalls. Ferland says she anticipated, and was ready, for the hysteria and craziness which accompanied a role in the hit franchise. "Twilight had already come out and I knew how big it was. It wasn't like I had gotten a role in the first movie. I was already prepared. I was so excited about it and the cast were so amazing."
Ferland had actually previously met Kristen Stewart on the set of The Messengers - but only briefly. "I had met her but I didn't know her very well because I didn't have very many scenes with her. I play a boy in The Messengers so I wasn't really very well recognised," she laughs. When Ferland re-met the actress on the Twilight set, she found Stewart - as well as the rest of the cast - to be extremely welcoming. "I immediately felt like they were friends and they were really sweet. I was never made to feel like I was the ‘new person.'"
Working alongside Twilight: Eclipse director David Slade is an experience that remains fresh in the actress' mind. "He's an absolutely amazing director!" she enthuses. "He always has the storyboards all laid out and he knows exactly how he wants every scene to be. He's really great about making everything just perfect. Some directors are really into improvising, but he knows what he wants, and he's really good at making that come across on screen."
Mixing things up, Ferland has also starred in a handful of television series (all supernatural of course!) including Stargate Atlantis, Dark Angel, Smallville and Supernatural. While some may presume the actress is more focused on her film career, Ferland very much enjoys working in television. "The thing is, with film, you do the movie and then it's over and you don't always see those people again, but with a TV series, you can get to know everybody, make a lot of new friends and grow comfortable." For a young actress who has been homeschooled and spent much of her life on the move, is the rootless lifestyle something you ever grow accustomed to? "I'm used to it but it's still not something that I would exactly say I enjoy," she muses.
Stretching her dramatic skills, Ferland recently wrapped the drama Mighty Fine. "It has Chazz Palminteri and Andie MacDowell in it, and that's actually not a horror film. So definitely watch out for that one if you want to see me do something different!" True to form though, the actress also recently wrapped the mystery thriller, The Tall Man, which stars Jessica Biel; and the eerily titled horror film, The Cabin in the Woods, which was co-written by Joss Whedon and stars Richard Jenkins and Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth.
FILMINK's curious to know whether Ferland finds all these dark and slightly disturbing characters difficult to shake once a movie wraps? "I'm not really the type of person who gets so into character that I completely forget who I am," Ferland says. "It's not that hard for me to let it go. Once I've finished the movie, in fact once I've finished the scene, I'm myself again."
Ferland - who has never visited Australia before - will be in the country later this month as a guest at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Brisbane (April 1-3) and Melbourne (April 9-10). For more information, go here.