A couple of weeks ago I watched Quarantine 2: Terminal On Demand. Reviews from fans at HorrorSociety had been fairly positive. So, I thought about who I could try to interview from the film? The director? The main character Jenny played by Mercedes Masohn? But, then I realized – there was someone who made the film much more enjoyable for me as a viewer. Actress Noree Victoria played the lead role of Shilah in Quarantine 2. Shilah is, hands down, my favorite character in the entire film. Luckily, I was able to contact Noree Victoria and she answered a couple of questions for me. You can read the interview to below to find out about her life and career before, during, and after Quarantine 2 was released. She has a lot of insightful things to say about life as well as some funny bits about the horror film.
You’re very attractive and a great actress, but you’re also very smart. I see that you have Bachelors Degrees in Creative Writing and Biology, as well as a Masters Degree in Information Technology. What made you go from those professions to acting?
Thank you. I’ve always been an uber-curious human being. Like, insanely curious, about everything. I have all these random facts in my head about everything from Greek mythology, to how many times we fart in a day, to the solar system. My mother calls me a “professional student” and my friends call me “Encyclopedia Brown”, because anything that I’m interested in, I’ll take a class or go to school for it. And as an actor, I feel like these things never really leave me.
Acting is a recreation of natural human behavior, and what better way to indulge than to know as much as possible about the world in which we live? The more diverse your experiences and knowledge as a human in general, the better your characters will be. You’ll have so very much from which to pull. As far as actually WORKING in these fields, I can’t sit still long enough to do so, and I was miserable trying. Acting is the perfect outlet for me – I love doing something completely different every day, and popping into different lives. Like, who gets to sit on a plane with blood-thirsty, human-eating creatures and lives to tell about it?
You’ve still managed to put your degree with writing to good use. One of the projects you produced was screened at the San Francisco Black Film Festival. Can you tell us a little about that?
I’ve co-produced a martial arts film by the name of Champion Road Arena which actually received international distribution. I also helped produce the short film you mentioned, This Time, which has screened in several film festivals and just recently aired on ABC in the Chicago and Los Angeles markets. I didn’t write those, I worked on the productions. I like getting behind the scenes as well because you learn so much, detailed knowledge about the filmmaking process that you don’t get solely from acting. As far as my own writing, I have a project in development right now – my biggest one to date. Quality scripted content development for actors is something that’s SO very important to me in this day and age of unrelenting reality television. Stay tuned, my friends.
Being that this is a horror film website; the basis for reaching out to you is because of your lead role in Quarantine 2: Terminal. Have you ever seen or heard of the first film in America or the originals in Spain?
Yes! I saw both the first Quarantine and REC, years ago. It’s always wild when you view the first movies in a franchise, and then are contacted years later to participate in that legacy. It’s an honor. You get the call and you just think to yourself, “Oh wow, I’ve watched these films and remember being genuinely excited about them.” I’ve always loved horror and apocalyptic film, and I had even watched a lot of John Pogue’s (our director and writer) previous work. Here I am with the DVD’s on my shelf, and now get an opportunity to work with these same people. It’s amazing.
I’m not sure how the audition process went, but the first time you read for the part or glanced over the script, was there something that popped out at you that made you want to play the role of Shilah?
I loved Shilah the first time I laid eyes on the audition material. I read the character breakdown and sides, and just said “this is me”. I loved that she was so brave and fearless and willing to “take one for the team”. I also loved that she was an Army Medic, not your typical role for an African-American female. I appreciated that she was written the way she was, and I really wanted the role, so I spent HOURS on the material.
It was several weeks before my agent called with the news, and she gets me with this EVERY time – she’ll call my phone and ask for the character. So she said, “Can I speak to Shilah?”, and my split second reaction is to say “wrong number”, EVERY time, even though I know her voice. But then it registered, she just asked for SHILAH. And I screamed my face off. I still get excited about every role I book. I never want to lose that feeling. I never want this to feel like just a job. I love it. I love what I do.
How did you feel spending most of your time surrounded by zombie-like crazy people who wanted to kill you?
LOL. Well those zombie-like people became like family to me, especially after spending so much time together in a small town. It’s like having a family member who always scratches their butt in front of company, you just accept them for who they are. For me, all was well until lunch time. I admit that it was a bit difficult eating and looking at everyone’s open wounds, with guts and eyeballs and such hanging out. Plus it was 104 degrees in a rather stuffy warehouse, so with the film blood, we all smelled like sweaty corn syrup.
Can you recall a story from the set of Quarantine 2 that was funny or interesting that you’d like to share with readers?
Oh man, I got a kick out of John Pogue directing me on how to pronounce “Mother Fucker” in my last scene. He kept saying, “It’s Moth-ahhh Fuck-aaah. Fuck-aaah.” (can you print this? lol) *Yes, we can!* Anywho, I love that man.
You are kicking ass in 2011. I see you’ve booked roles on Army Wives, Single Ladies, Necessary Roughness, and Locked Up Abroad. How has the major success you’ve seen so far affected you in a positive way?
It’s just been an amazing ride. It’s funny as an actor – we’ll work at this thing for years and years – auditioning, pounding the pavement, doing free projects, etc.; and then one year, all of a sudden everything will just pop! That’s how this past year has been for me. I feel incredibly grateful for it. It catches me off guard when I walk into a store and someone shouts out one of the characters I’ve been. I appreciate all the fans, all the love. People seem genuinely surprised when I stop and have a conversation with them. I’m surprised when they’re surprised.
Is there anything else you want to share with readers in terms of future appearances, anything about Quarantine 2, etc?
We’ve had an interesting ride with the release of Quarantine 2. John Pogue and our producers fought really hard for us to have a theatrical release, and no one really knew if it would happen. We all got the news from Sony two weeks beforehand, and were super excited! So we flew out to have a screening on the Sony lot which was lots of fun. I hadn’t seen most of my cast in about a year. It was one big reunion and we partied all weekend in LA! The film also had a really cool opening in London in the midst of the recent riots. Hundreds of people showed up dressed as zombies in Leicester Square! I’m happy that our film could spark a bit of light-hearted entertainment in the middle of so much destruction and pain.
Quarantine 2: Terminal is currently out on DVD. Go pick it up to see this amazing actress at work! Also, make sure you check out her official website here, follow her on twitter here, and visit her IMDB page here to increase her star-o-meter.
Thank you for your time, Noree.