SXSW Exclusive: Interviews: Seychelle Gabriel Talks Blood Fest

Seychelle Gabriel talks to us about her new horror film Blood Fest.

TMS: I'm betting you guys are pretty busy today, right?
SG: Yeah, it's a busier press day than yesterday, but yesterday was the premiere, so that was something also.
TMS: They’re always fun. So, I had a chance to watch Blood Fest last night and I absolutely loved it. 
SG: Great!
TMS: I'm a huge fan of Cabin in the Woods and a lot of the meta horror stuff that's going on right now. How are general audiences reacting to the movie?
SG: It's been pretty good. I mean, last night people seemed to be really enjoying it and, you know, finding funny moments throughout. Today I was looking at stuff on Twitter and there were some people who liked it, and some people who had some criticisms because it's, you know, it's a piece of art and people are always going to feel different ways. But I think, for the most part, there's been a good response to the humor and light heartedness of it and the meta aspect, so that's been cool.
TMS: So, you've done basically everything. You've done TV. You've done movies.You've done big. You've done small. Of the things you've done, and you've done animation, voice over work and stuff like that, what do you prefer to do the most?
SG: I think I've always kind of preferred doing a movie as opposed to television. I mean, they're different. But I like a movie in the sense that it's kind of like a play, you know, you get the whole kind of thing right there at the top so you can just keep going back to it and back to it and going deeper and deeper. You know, sometimes with movies, you get a little more rehearsal time than you do with television, and I appreciate that, also. But I do like doing, between Sleight and Blood Fest, my last two films, I like doing independent stuff where a lot of people are kind of there because they want to be, out of love, and it's really a work of love from everybody and it's different, it's a different energy, it's nice. 

TMS: Being that there's a ton of humor in the movie, what was the interaction on set like with this, versus the weightiness of something like Falling Skies? Is it different doing something horror based versus something heavier like Falling Skies?
SG: You know, not too much. On Falling Skies, we had a lot of goofing around. I think on any set, I mean, you hear about Tom Hanks being a goof ball and then turning around and doing an Oscar worthy dramatic scene. But, I mean, definitely there's a little more weight to a show like Falling Skies. This is a very young cast too, on Falling Skies you see, sometimes with older actors who, kind of without saying, demand this kind of respect, or more serious energy, I guess. With really emotional scenes, and in Blood Fest, too, you know with Robbie's kind of break down towards the end, you still are actors and you have to honor each other's space emotionally, and so even in a comedy movie, that still exists. 
TMS: So, do you think it's harder to do horror then, or no?
SG: Harder than drama? I...for me, personally, maybe yes. I don’t have as much experience in comedy or in horror, and horror takes a very physical type of stamina whereas drama sometimes is kind of just emotional stamina. Horror is very in your face, right there. 
TMS: Yeah. So, was this your first time spending any time under that much makeup? And is it harder to act that way under makeup, or is it that much more visceral for you?
SG: No, this wasn't the most makeup I've ever had. When I did The Last Airbender, I had purple contacts and a wig that took like two hours to apply, which was a weight on my head and a blur in my eyes. So that was difficult, but this one, it's like you just feel sticky and sweaty all the time and so it's kind of just getting used to that and not being distracted by it or conscious of It, everybody's in it, so. It's kind of nice that everyone is sweaty and sticky and bloody.

TMS: You're down at SXSW now, have you been there before, and what's it like being there for this massive event?
SG: I hadn't been to the festival before. We shot this in Austin last August, so I spent a month in Austin, but it's cool. It reminds me of Comic-Con, but way more chill, which is so nice. But I like the whole multifaceted nature of it, I mean, you've got music and film and you don't know what anybody is really here for until you ask. I love Austin, I think the festival and the city compliment each other very well. 
TMS: Awesome. What other movies, besides your movie, are you looking forward to the most down there? Are there any?
SG: I'm not staying for too long, unfortunately. One of the guys in our movie, Nick Rutherford, has a movie that just premiered a couple of hours ago, Unicorn, and I really want to see that, it looks really, really good. Oh, and A Quiet Place? I've heard good things. 
TMS: Yeah, A Quiet Place looks really, really good. But yeah, we're not coming down until Wednesday, just because of family things and work stuff, so we're missing a lot of it, but at least we're coming for half a week, still. So, I myself was a Falling Skies fan, I watched it every week, I know the end got a little funny, and I know you guys noticed that too, but all in all, how do you think that TV show effected your career?

SG: Oh, I mean, hugely, and also, thank you so much for keeping up with it the whole time.
TMS: I was a loyalist.
SG: That show was a huge part of my life. Right out of high school, I got into it and spent four years on it, it was like college for me. I learned a lot about acting and just being a human. But, in terms of my career, a lot of just, for television, a lot of like, kind of boring things like, learning how to hit your mark and find your light and not block someone else's light and do a long shot, or a one shot, shooting outside in really freezing weather and keeping yourself focused. A lot of practical acting things like that. In a big ensemble cast like that you learn different methods and techniques for acting, which is really lovely and you get to build your own kind of soup of stuff to take with you. 
TMS: I'm a huge science fiction fan and I love horror too. They're my two favorite genres, and there was a lot of horror in that show, crossed with sci-fi, it just made me sad. I felt like those first seasons were awesome, seasons one through three, I was locked in, and towards the end, not to rip on the show or anything like that, it just felt like, rushed at the end. It felt like, we have to come up with some kind of construct that will get us out of this story, and it kind of made me sad. 
SG: You know, I think a lot of us kind of shared that sentiment. Lourdes, the way that her story took that curve ball at the end, was challenging to justify. 
TMS: Yeah, it kind of was a curveball, like, wait what happened now? What’s going on? But whatever, that's behind us now. We discussed that this is a meta-horror hybrid, what would you consider your favorite genre film, from horror?
SG: My favorite horror film?
TMS: Yeah.
SG: I think Alien, the original, with Sigourney Weaver is my favorite. Yeah, the sets are really cool and the villain is like beautifully terrifying and the cast and the cat and it all just makes me happy.
TMS: It's a perfect movie. If you could go back and pick any science fiction or horror movie to star in, would you have one that you'd want to do? 
SG: Ooh, this is a cool question I need time for, I don't know, maybe that movie, honestly, or like Star Wars, or The Birds would be kind of fun.
TMS: Yeah, I know they tried to remake that at one point. Females are coming more into the mainstream now. There's more female heroines. We're seeing females in more powerful roles in movies. With today's current political climate, with everything that's going on, how much more important is that right now?
SG: It's extremely important. If you just look at statistical research, and gender and racial representation, on all parts of the board, you know, acting, directing, producing, all of it. I think it's really, really significant and important. You know, A Wrinkle in Time, the casting of that is awesome and yeah, it's a great thing. And Frances McDormand's speech at the Oscar's kind of sums up exactly the same thing. That women have stories to tell and they’re not just support for pushing along a man's plot. Like Jessica Chastain mentioned at Cannes. She was kind of shocked at how many women existed in movies to support the male's story line. I think it's good that people are at least aware of that and acknowledging it, because that's the first step in shifting it. 
TMS: And film franchises like Star Wars now are moving from male centric casts to a more female focused hero aspect, and I love it. 
SG: And in Black Panther, the king was always surrounded by all those women, and that was my favorite part of the movie, these women are the king's strength.
TMS: They're his support system and it's awesome. When you were growing up, what actresses did you look up to the most?
SG: Natalie Portman, you know? I've really liked Greta Gerwig the last two years. I don't know if that's considered growing up. Helena Bonham Carter, I always admired her.

TMS: She's always unique, that's what I like about her, she never repeats the same thing a second time. 
SG: Yeah, that's a true shape-shifter and chameleon and actor to me. 
TMS: So, continuing on that, what female characters have you found inspiring?
SG: My favorite movie is Amelie, the French film, like 2001 or something? I love a character like that, that's fleshed out and imperfect, but kind of like okay with that, with not being super social, or whatever. Even Rey in the new Star Wars, I think is so cool, she's just a bad ass and her whole backstory and strength, I love. 
TMS: And she doesn’t take shit from anybody, She's like, I'm one of the boys, but I'm better than you. And she's just so strong. With the social media age, how do you connect best to your fans?
SG: Usually my Twitter or Instagram, I'm getting a little more Instagram heavy now, but yeah, Twitter and Instagram as of now. 
TMS: Instagram is great because it's not negative like Facebook, so. I guess that'll wrap it up, hope the movie does well and enjoy your time down there!
SG: Thank you!

TMS thanks Seychelle for taking the time out to talk to us! Make sure to check out our review of Blood Fest!