Marissa Skell is an up and coming actress who has been booking roles consistently since she appeared in three episodes of VH1’s Scream Queens in 2008. She has appeared on lots of drama/thriller type shows such as The Mentalist and Criminal Minds, and even the horrorific Dexter. But, she is very versatile and has appeared in other shows like General Hospital, as well as a couple web-series and short films. More importantly, being that this is a horror film site, she has two movies that are horror related coming out soon. The first is Sorority Party Massacre and the second is Slumber Party Slaughter, now titled Low Places. Take some time to read this article and learn more about Marissa before she graces our movie theatres and DVDs once again.
Most people will remember you from the hit VH1 reality show, Scream Queens. How would you describe your time on the show?
In general, I just remember Scream Queens as a confusing blur. I was going through a lot already at that time with my move to California (I’d spent my whole life in NY and hardly had enough time to unpack my car before they picked me up for the final selection for the show) and I felt honored to be one of the girls chosen out of the hundreds they’d auditioned across the country, but I really had no idea what I was getting into. They described it as being like acting class where I’d get to work with professionals and put together some great footage for my reel, but in reality they hardly let you work with John Homa or James Gunn and you weren’t even allowed to speak to them or ask a question if the camera was off.
Funny story, though. When we signed onto the show they hadn’t announced what the “prize” was yet. So the scene where the producer announced that the prize was a role in Saw VI had to be announced 5 times since my reaction shot wasn’t what they wanted. I thought he kept saying “Sussex” instead of “Saw Six“. I had no idea they’d ever made a third Saw movie, much less five of them!
I recently interviewed another scream queen, Sierra Holmes, who you shared an episode of Reality Hell with. I’ve never caught the show, so can you tell me what the premise of the episode is and maybe a little about what happened?
I still have the clips available on my Vimeo profile, actually, at http://www.vimeo.com/user2769688 along with footage from General Hospital and The Mentalist. It’s always a work in progress, so check back on that site for more videos later on. Reality Hell was kind of like “Punk’d” meets “Saturday Night Live”. One person thinks they’re really on a reality tv show and everyone else is a paid actor who’s put there to make the person’s life “hell” for the day, and each episode is a spoof of a different type of reality show. They had some episodes that spoofed Top Model, Top Chef, Making the Band, and in my episode, I played the “emotional train wreck” on a dating show where ‘the hunk’ turns out to be gay. We had to be in character all day so that the ‘mark’ wouldn’t know it was all a hoax. It was kind of like being a spy… but in a funny way. I even had a speaker in my ear where the producers could whisper things to me like “ok, get her to make fun of the other girl now” or “start crying again!”
Reality TV aside, you also have an impressive resume of television shows you’ve appeared in. I don’t watch a lot of crime type shows, but I do vividly remember your episode of The Mentalist. As an actress, how did you manage to convey those emotions when the kidnapper/killer has you record the video message?
That’s just the power of make-believe. When we’re all kids we have that ability and we lose it when we get older… I also keep up with a lot of acting classes, too, so there’s a lot of work I do that never ends up on camera every week. It’s what makes actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, etc, so incredible to watch. They believe every second of it, and they worked hard to get to that point, too.
Criminal Minds is another show you appeared in where you were captured once again in the episode, “Remembrance of Things Past.” How does playing a “helpless victim” relate to your real personality? Are you more kick ass, or a little shy and timid?
Pshhh… I wasn’t a helpless victim in that episode. I told the killer to go F*** himself, lol! I’m a ball buster in life, and I definitely see that bleed into my acting. I’m definitely looking forward to having Sorority Party Massacre come out since I do a lot more fighting back in that movie.
I see that you appeared in a few episodes of General Hospital. Fans are up in arms about the cancellation of two other soap operas. Care to weigh in on the debate?
I really hope to work on a soap again since it was such a good challenge. They give you one take to shoot the scene and one rehearsal with the director just to tell you where you’re entering, exiting, etc… so it reminded me a lot of doing improv or something where you just have to wing it. But TV is changing, I think, for the better. I’m excited to see shows like “The Big C” or “Shameless” or “Walking Dead” breaking new ground and making television rival film, but I imagine the flip side of the coin is that we’ll lose some of the old favorites along the way.
You will star in a new horror film coming out called Slumber Party Slaughter. The film also stars Tom Sizemore and Oscar nominated Ryan O’Neal. We don’t know anything about this film besides the cast. Can you shed some light on the film, any little bits of info?
The director of Slumber Party Slaughter, now titled Low Places, is still keeping the movie on the DL. What I will say is that you’ll hardly recognize me in the movie.
Glancing over your skills section of your website, and animal handling kind of pops out to me. How did you get trained and what animals have you handled?
My mom is a bio-conservationist and I spent a lot of my childhood on a non-profit refuge on Long Island. So, some of the weirder animals I’ve handled were owls and bats. But I mainly put that on there so people know I’m not scared of dogs, cats, horses, or whatever if it called for it in a script. I have a really funny scene in an indie film I shot where I’m
petting a chicken like it’s a small dog.
A lot of actresses I interview side step into modeling as well as acting. You’ve obviously a very attractive woman. Do you ever think you’ll do the same in the future?
Aww. You’re sweet. Probably not. I’m barely 5’2″. So, unless GQ decides they want to downsize their entire runway line, I’m out of luck.
Finally, where do you see your career going for the rest of 2011? Where can Marissa Skell fans look for you next?
You can actually catch me right now on this incredible internet series called “Anyone But Me” written by Susan Miller & Tina Cesa Ward. [www.anyonebutmeseries.com] They already have their own huge fan following all over the world (and rightfully so, it’s a really cool show that won a Writer’s Guild Award last year.) So, I was super honored to be brought onto the team recently as Carey, Aster’s new love in LA. I’m in episodes 2-5 of this season and next Tuesday is the premiere of Episode 5, the season three finale. I would be so grateful if everybody tuned in and fought to keep this show going. This last season was funded entirely by their fan base, and it’s awesome when independent shows like ABM can thrive without a network.
Otherwise, stay tuned on my sites to get updates on when I’ll be appearing next on TV.
IMDb lists my episodes when they re-run. 1000 Ways to Die on Spike TV has re-run probably five million times by now, lol! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3163491/ If you like my facebook fan page you’ll automatically get updates when I add new behind the scenes photos or update about my next appearance:
http://www.facebook.com/marissa-skell/#!/pages/Marissa-Skell/9455323439 , or I’m pretty good about tweeting when there’s stuff coming up: http://twitter.com/marissaskell/ And, of course, there’s my home base at[www.marissaskell.com] where I have a blog with updates, tons of pics and vids, and a guestbook.
I can’t wait to see both Sorority Party Massacre and Slumber Party Slaughter (Low Places). I’ve read online that Sorority Party Massacre should be out by the end of the summer.
Thank you for your time, Marissa.