Devin Sidell is a talented actress that horror fans will recognize from her role as Georgina Victor in Rob Zombie’s 31. Devin also lends her voice starring in Shudder’s new original horror-thriller podcast, Video Palace. I was fortunate enough to share a Q&A with her about becoming involved with the project, challenges she faced, preparation for the role and much more.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, Devin! How did you get involved with Video Palace?
DEVIN: The audition came through my manager, but I have worked with Ben Rock (writer/director) and Bob DeRosa (writer) previously on their internationally award-winning web series 20 Seconds to Live. Originally, I was called in to read for the role of Cat (she premieres in episode 4), but a guy who came in to read for the role of Mark needed a female to read the Tamra role in his audition scene. The casting director Leah Mangum asked me to step into the role to help them out. Ultimately, that read was sent to the executives at Shudder, and they were interested in me for Tamra!
How did you prepare for the role?
DEVIN: I am an avid true crime podcast listener, so I think that the hours I’ve spent enjoying the genre definitely prepared me for the role of Tamra. The goal of all of the actors on this project was to sound like real people following and reacting to a real investigation as it unfolded. Much of my free time (and driving time) for years has been spent listening to people doing exactly that. Those podcasts were the best acting studies for this role.
What challenges did you face working on Video Palace?
DEVIN: We recorded all of Tamra’s scenes in three days—and the full arc of Tamra’s and Mark’s relationship in just one day—so the pace was extremely fast. When you shoot a film, you usually get through around five pages a day; we were recording about five pages an hour. I had to be on my toes and adapt quickly and fully to any notes from our director or script changes from our writers. Personally, I love that kind of challenge, so I enjoyed my time working on this project immensely.
What was it like working with everyone?
DEVIN: In a very simple word: fun. It was a bit strange at first being the only woman in a studio full of men, but I actually had a bit of separation anxiety after I wrapped. I missed my playmates! Chase Williamson who plays Mark is so much fun as an acting partner in terms of connecting and improvising. We were called in to do a chemistry read, and after we practiced the first scene together in the waiting room, I think I said something to him like “you’re fun!” We worked really well together, and I think that ease is reflected in the very grounded and honest relationship between Mark and Tamra in the show.
You've worked on a vast variety of projects, from television shows to horror films (Rob Zombie's 31) and now this Shudder scripted podcast. How do the experiences vary and do think you'll do another horror film?
DEVIN: Every project is different depending on the director, cast, timeline for shooting, and many other variables. Working on this audio-only project was extremely freeing in that makeup and costumes were not factors. We did not have to worry about what we looked like or about exactly where our bodies were while we were performing; we just got to act in the most natural, honest way we could.
I would love to do another horror film. As an actor, getting the opportunity to play a character who is put in such extreme situations (and, ya know, covered in blood and special effects makeup) is an absolute thrill. Plus, horror fans are THE BEST!
What projects are in your future?
DEVIN: I recently appeared in the Halloween episode of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and my episode of 20 Seconds to Live should be released soon. On a personal level, I have been quite open about my journey as a carrier of the BRCA-1 gene mutation with a family history of ovarian and breast cancers. In 2017, I decided to undergo both a preventative double mastectomy and a preventative hysterectomy/oophorectomy and am currently working with Steven Sears, writer of the Slamdance Audience Award winning horror-comedy Dave Made a Maze, to create a dark comedy feature film about my experience.
What's your dream project as an actress?
DEVIN: I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan—I have even traveled to New Zealand to visit many of the shoot locations—so, without a doubt, my dream role would be playing an elf in Middle Earth. I usually dress up in Arwen-eque outfits whenever I have the chance to wear a costume. And, of course, I have my own Evenstar necklace.
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