Wednesday 28 May 2014

interview: Eileen Daly (1997)

This interview with the always effusive Eileen Daly was conducted on the set of Elisar Cabrera's feature Witchcraft X: Mistress of the Craft, in 1997.
  • Other Eileen Daly interviews: 1998
"What was that other thing we met on? I know I played Miki."

Archangel Thunderbird.
"That was it!"

You don't even know what they're called!
"Yeah, yeah, yeah! I just about have time to look at the script, let alone know what they're called! It was a little while ago and I've done so much since."

Didn't Elisar discover you as an actress?
"He says that. I don't think he did. As a feature film actress, yes he did. He put me in his first feature film. As an actress, no, because I'd already done quite a lot. I'd done a lot of theatre and I'd also done adverts and corporate videos for companies. But my first feature film was Demonsoul. Actually I met Elisar when I was doing a student film and I had to do a nude scene with this dreamboy character. Elisar was on the pay- roll, doing the boom or something, and came up afterwards and said, 'Eileen, I've got a project...' It was about a year and a half, two years after, but we kept in contact because I like him, he's a nice man, and then I did Demonsoul. So it was quite a while from when I first met him to when I actually did Demonsoul."

You're becoming almost a regular on the low-budget horror scene.
"I think it's great, I really do, I love it. I love low-budget. I've never done a big budget really, so I don't know what it's like doing one. Obviously I've done bit parts on big film productions, but I've never had a main lead or a supporting lead. So I don't know what it would be like, but I'm sure it would be brilliant!"

Tell me about your character in this.
"Ah, Raven. Raven is looking for Hyde. Hyde is the warlock. Hyde has been captured and Raven captures him back to do this Spell of Mashenka. She needs this spell to make her all-powerful - she wants to conquer the whole world and then get rid of Hyde. But Hyde's got other plans. He wants to do the spell - but I've got the book - and he wants to then get rid of me and conquer the whole world. But we've just got one little bad penny, and that's Celeste, the good witch, who's trying to stop us both from using the spell to take over the planet. I get killed in the end. Celeste actually kills me, she rips my heart out. Hyde betrays me. It's all fun and games really.

"I got the script about two weeks ago. Read it, liked it. Even if I didn't like it, really, I like working. With Elisar and with a lot of young directors you can always put your two-pence-worth in and say, 'Well, I don't think this works quite well. Could I actually possibly say it this way?' or do something in another way. They're a lot more easy going, so it's more of a family atmosphere that everyone can contribute a little bit if it's going towards making a better film. Whereas I'm sure in a big budget movie, you just get your lines and just do it. There's no question of anything:. 'Excuse me, sir, do you think I should...?' 'No, just do it that way.' Of course there's a lot more money involved. As you know, I do a lot for Redemption..."

Are you still doing the video covers for them?
"Yes, still doing the covers. Actually Redemption's going to make a movie, a Redemption movie, so the character actually comes to life. Nigel's working on it at the moment."

You did those little intros for Bravo.
"Yes, but that's nothing to do with it, that's for Bravo. Now Nigel's working on the movie which is a similar character but it's obviously going to be different costumes. Something you can walk around in! And he's going to mix it in with the millenium. So that should be good. The Bravo things are coming up in November again. Other than that, I've got this and Pervirella and Razor Blade Smile. Razor Blade Smile hasn't been finished yet - it will be finished in Spring next year. Manga's taken it up, and they've invested a lot of money.

"And, I heard through the grapevine - actually through Jake West over the telephone! - that they might put up the money for a sequel. Because Lilith Silver carries on. That was great to work on. And this is great to work on. Much better than Demonsoul because it's more professional and there's been more money put into it. Everyone's been fantastic; we've got some wonderful actors - and Hyde is just a real cheesy one! He's a very kind man and I love working with him."

Have you got any fight scenes with him?
"Actually, no. I've got a love scene with him. I don't actually fight him. He's kind of a big man to fight, so I'd have to have super-super-human strength to pin him down. Because he's a wrestler in real life! But I don't know when this is going to come out. Forbidden Planet have asked me to do some signings near Christmas, so that should be really good. I'll be signing T-shirts, posters, anything really!"

You're becoming Britain's home-grown scream queen now.
"Oh how exciting! I'd love that! I'd like to go on doing this as long as I can. It's just entertainment and I love it."

Would you like to work in America or are you happy here?
"I think both. I'm happy here, I love it, this is my home. But if they invite me over there to do one, of course I'd fly over there because it would be new, it would be different. I'd be meeting new people, working in a different way on different scripts. I'd learn a lot and still entertain. Actually, it's quite interesting really because when I met Hyde and we were sitting there chatting, he's bringing out his new skin-care range. Did he tell you that? And he said he would like me to fly over there and do a video for him. Skin care for vamps! Everything is great. For about three years I didn't work as an actress at all. I was just getting tiny little bit parts. BBC wouldn't touch me with a bargepole. My agent would send my CV in, and my showreel, but I was too glam. Then there was a loophole. Actually I think I developed my own loophole. I worked so hard in trying to get things and I don't know what I did but it came together and created a gap."

Have you got any ambitions to become a serious actress?
"Oh yes, I'd love to."

Do you think the horror work might be holding you back on that?
"Of course not. I don't think so. I am a serious actress. I did Shakespeare last year; I played Lady Anne for Richard III, which was a film. So I do do serious stuff. I do anything, you know! I won't touch pornography and I won't do anything that would ruin what I've built up. But I'll do anything - just give me a script! So yes, I'd love to be a serious actress, I'd love to over to America, but I'll never be a Michelle Pfeiffer and I'll never be a Cher or anything like that. I'm happy to plod along if I never make it and carry on doing this. I don't want to end up, though, as one of those old scream queens. I'd be so sad! I would say 'Shoot me'!

"Do you know what? I was in the post office the other day and I saw Christopher Lee in the queue. I noticed him straight away, but it didn't register. I thought, 'What a good-looking chap that man is.' Then as I looked, I thought, 'Oh my God, that's Christopher Lee! Oh my God!' I was blushing! What a handsome-looking man, and how old is he? Seventy?"

He's so dignified and powerful.
"Yes. As he walked past, he looked - well, most probably he just looked because I've got big tits! - but I smiled. But what a nice-looking man he is. So I'd grow old gracefully and still do films. I love horror, though. I love sci-fi and horror. I'd love to be in Star Trek! I wish we'd make an English one - and I'd be Captain!"

I spoke with Alice Krige about playing the Borg Queen and she said she loved doing it. And she said they tested all the make-up to see if she was allergic to any of it.
"I bet she did. She looked fantastic in that - beautiful! She came down on wires. But that's what a big budget does. They can do that. On little low-budget ones, they put something on your face and you can come up in a rash but you still have to work through it. They haven't got the budget. They've got about 120 quid to spend! Or they use somebody as an extra who they just met in a pub and they're using the same lip-brush, so if that guy or that girl's got herpes on their lips... That is where low-budget and big features are different."

I met Sherilyn Fenn a couple of weeks ago and she had brought her own make-up person with her.
"So she'd know the contours of her face and know exactly what make her look good."

She started off in low-budget things like Zombie High.
"Well maybe this will be a stepping stone to something bigger. I'm terribly terribly proud of everything I've done, it's all close to my heart. The only thing I'm not really proud of - is Demonsoul. Every time I watch it I go... - not that I put it on every night! When people say they've seen it, I go, 'Oh, you poor sod.' But you've got to learn your trade, because you can't learn it in school. You can go to acting school till you're blue in the face. You've got to come out and actually be able to do it. You've got to have screen presence, there's loads of bits. It's all got to go like a big cake and gell in. If it doesn't gell in, you could be the most fantastic actress in the world, but you don't work on screen."

How did you get involved in Tony Luke's project?
"I was doing - what was I doing? - it was - you're going to say, 'Oh Eileen, you do rabbit!' Oh, I know! I was sitting there saying 'Ten Saturns' for the Sci-Fi Channel: 'Ten Saturns I give that film.' And that's how I met Steve. I reviewed a couple of feature films. And Tony went to him with this idea. He said, 'I'm really looking for Miki', so he said, 'Why don't you get Eileen Daly in? She'll be a good Miki for you.'"

'She'll do any old rubbish'. Or rather: 'she's a diverse actress'.
"Of many talents. So Tony got in touch with me and said, 'Do you want to do it?' 'Yeah!' It was quite good, because I met Doug Bradley. He's a nice bloke. I often thought of him as quite gothic, but he's just a normal man, isn't he?"


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