On the Rise with the Bloody Delightful Ashlie Rhey. Interview by Brian Kirst
Serious actress. Scream Queen. B-Movie Legend. Since her beginning days in films such as The Summoned (Demon Lover), Witchcraft 7, Bikini Drive-In and Midnight Tease, the fantastic Ashlie Rhey has commanded all these titles and more. Now with her powerful work as the flesh hungry Janet in Cannibal Taboo and her own situation comedy available on YouTube, she can add Major Horror Film Villain and entrepreneurial comedienne to her resume, also. After years of being thrilled by her vivacious (and often bloody) performances, it is truly a joy to watch Rhey grow into such a powerful business personality. So, after spending some time with Rhey in the fascinating interview, below, make sure to take a moment and cast your vote for the enjoyable Predicted by Andy at www.youtube.com/predictedbyandy. If you don’t, the delightful Rhey may just go all “Cannibal Janet” on you and wind up chewing on a leg or two!
Brian: Ashlie, can you start by telling us who were your first performing influences?
Ashlie: For me it was not as much who but what influenced me: it was the shows, stories and feelings I experienced watching television as a child. My all time favorites were the sitcoms I watched when I was a kid. I would also stay up late and watch Night Gallery and be too scared to turn off the TV when the show ended, literally petrified with fear! It has always been about the feelings evoked in me that have been my biggest influence as an actor.
Brian: In one of your first film roles in The Summoned you worked with genre legends Robert Z’Dar, Michelle Bauer and Joe Estevez. Do you have any special reflections about working on this spooky project?
Ashlie: Oh yes, it was my first lead role and I was this novice working with these established actors. They were so gracious and I thought, wow I want to be like them when I ‘grow up’ – so to speak – as I was already grown up, but was just starting out in my acting career. – Especially Michelle Bauer! She was so down to earth and just a really genuine and nice person. FYI, this project was re-titled as Demon Lover.
Brian: Is there a major difference in working on a television show such as Renegade and a film like Boiler Room (another Joe Estevez co-project)?
Ashlie: It’s kind of like the difference between holiday dinners at different family’s homes. There is always the ‘holiday’ vibe but the homes/sets, menus/scripts and families/crews are unique. That is how it feels to me on each new production set, like I am a guest at someone’s family holiday dinner because the whole day is a big event and there is this wonderful dysfunctional family with everyone doing their job to create the end result.
Brian: Cool! You forever have earned your Golden Horror Queen star for appearing in part of the Witchcraft series! I bow before you! Do you have any quirky remembrances (or otherwise) about working on Witchcraft 7: Judgment Hour?
Ashlie: The most memorable thing about that shoot was when they had me jog around the neighborhood in a hospital gown and they shot me from the backside with my butt showing!
Brian: You provide such a beautifully natural energy to Bikini Drive-In – one of your best known films. Do you have a particular way of approaching each role or does it all depend on the circumstances involved?
Ashlie: Each role for me comes from my heart; I just accept the character and whatever it is they are doing in their life while I hit the marks and remember everything I have to do so they can get the action and dialog recorded properly. It’s kind of like falling in love only you never have to worry if they won’t love you back because you know they aren’t real. You know its temporary and it’s all just for the joy of it. Now, all of that is regarding playing ‘characters’. When I play something really close to just being myself it still requires fully accepting myself. That is probably the best thing I got out of this work, just learning to accept myself without critiques or judgments.
Brian: One of your latest projects is the awesome Cannibal Taboo. How enjoyable was it for you to slip into the skin of “Cannibal” Janet?
Ashlie: That was my first lead role in a feature length film as a ‘bad girl’. It was a lot of fun to do something different than typical nice girl, i.e. Kim in “Bikini Drive In”, that I have been cast as more often.
Brian: Do you have any particular remembrances about playing the exotically named “Mantra” in the slasher-mystery effort Midnight Tease?
Ashlie: Playing a stripper was fun: costumes, attitude, music, dancing and dragging Lisa Boyle around the stage on a leash! What I remember the most though, was when I was playing dead, very early in the morning. We had to get the shot before the sun came up and I was lying on cold concrete with my FX makeup on and had to just stay there while they were covering the conversation between the cops. I was cold, tired, and really hungry. They brought in some breakfast but I could not get up and have any because I had to stay where I was so they could get the shots before sunrise. I got to experience a little bit of suffering for art.
Brian: You have always appeared to be a strong, confident woman. It now seems like with your website (and other projects) that you are truly take charge of your career. So, do you have any final words of advice or future projects that you’d like to discuss? And thanks! It’s been an honor and a thrill!
Ashlie: Thank you! Here’s what I’ve been up to recently. I started producing my very own sitcom: Predicted By Andy, www.predictedbyandy.com . Of everything I’ve had the opportunity to experience as a performer I always most wanted to be in a sitcom, and now I am! Of course I want a major network or cable station to pick it up so I need everyone to go to the show’s YouTube channel and subscribe to the show, leave comments, click 5 stars on the ratings on the ‘webisodes’, add it to your favorites and tell all of your friends about it! Thank you so much for your support to help me reach my goal!