Interviews: Actress Jamie Bernadette Talks About Her Action Revenge Thriller Killing Joan

Jamie Bernadette wants her revenge this April!

Joan Butler is an implacable spirit out to bring down the mobsters that left her for dead in writer/director Todd Bartoo’s highly-anticipated and unique unification of The Crow and Death Wish, Killing Joan – released this April from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Joan (Jamie Bernadette, All Girl’s Weekend, I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu) is an enforcer known for her ruthless tactics and wild abandon. After she is double crossed by her boss and left for dead, she becomes a vengeful spirit and is doomed to wander the Earth until she is able to take down the men that attacked her.

With eye-popping visual effects by Paul Lada (Prometheus, Harry Potter, Pacific Rim Uprising) and a superlative support cast including Teo Celigo, Erik Aude, David Carey Foster, Katarina Leigh Waters, Erin O’Brien and Daniel Gardner, Killing Joan is the film to die for this April.

Available on Digital 4/3 and DVD 7/10. We had the chance to talk to Jamie about the movie and some of her other upcoming projects.

TMS: First off, can you provide us with a little bit of background information. Did you always want to act?

JB: I did always want to act since I was a child. I would act out scenes in films starting from about age 5.

TMS: Did you have a lot of support when you decided to get into acting?

JB: I had emotional support from my family, but I have never had financial support from anyone. I grew up in a very poor family. I drove out to Los Angeles with $600 in my pocket and a dilapidated car with only 2 friends in the city.

TMS: What’s up with Killing Joan? Where can people see it? And what do you want them to know about the movie?

JB: They can see it on Video on Demand April 3rd and it will be available on DVD in July. The film is an artistic, dark film that is very much like a graphic novel and the characters have a comic book feel at times. It’s a stylistic, art film I would say, and is a supernatural revenge film.

TMS: What attracted you to the project? How did you end up being cast? Did you go through an audition process?

JB: I had an audition and then a callback audition that lasted for hours. I really loved the character, Joan. She is such an explosive, violent person and the transition she goes through when she enters into the afterlife is really very beautiful. She is still hot-tempered but she is more open about her emotions, her pain, and becomes quite vulnerable.

TMS: What type of preparation and research did you undertake for this role?

JB: I worked a lot with the stunt coordinator, Erik Aude, on the physical aspect of the character. To be honest, I filmed in this 3 years ago, so I don’t really recall the research that I did for the emotional side of the role.

TMS: How was the shoot? Was it tougher than other films that you've worked on?

JB: No it was not tougher. Some of the stunts made me really sore but it was great fun. I love doing fight choreography and stunts. The toughest film that I have ever worked on was All Girls Weekend (in the U.K. the film is called Dark Mountain). It was freezing cold. One day we were zip lining for 2 hours high up in the trees and it was pouring down ice rain and 17 degrees without wind chill. My feet were soaking wet. That was by far the most difficult thing I have had to do on any film. Other nights it was just so cold and my character wasn’t dressed for the weather because she was too cool for that. But it was all worth it because I really love that film and I still had a great time and made lifelong friends.

TMS: How was your experience working with director Todd Bartoo?

JB: Todd is fantastic. He is calm and kind and takes his time talking over the scenes with the actors before he shoots them. I appreciate that.

TMS: Low budget film productions have been historically known for being difficult and demanding. How was this production on the cast and crew? Any challenges or funny stories?

JB: We were treated really well. The most challenging part on this and a lot of independent films are the number of takes that you get as an actor. Independent films are usually shot very fast and so we get usually 1-3 takes. So we don’t have much room to play and let a scene evolve. What a lot of people don’t realize is that big studio films will do sometimes 1/3 of a page in a 12-15 hour day and independent films will often do 10 pages in a 12 hour day. So, an actor in a big studio production will get to do the same lines 50-75 times while an independent film actor gets to do them 1-3 times. We don’t get much room for error and we don’t have time to get more creative with a scene than the one vision that we have to start with.

TMS: You are also starring in the upcoming I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, the 5th film in the series. What can you tell us about the film and your experience working on it?

JB: It’s the only sequel of the 1978 original film and Meir Zarchi returns to direct and write and the lead, Camille Keaton, returns to play my mother. I lead the film as “Christy Hills”. The film is in the final stages of post-production and will release this year to commemorate the 40th year anniversary of the original film.

It was surreal to work on this film because I loved the original. It was an amazing experience—one that I will never forget. Everyone who worked on the film with me is like family. We are all really close.

TMS: Can you tell us anything about the other projects that you are working on or planning on working on? Or, anything else that you would like to plug?

JB: I have 8 films coming out this year, so it’s difficult to talk about all of them, but fans can follow my updates on my social media because I am good about releasing details about the movies I have coming out.

I am about to begin filming as the leading role in a movie called The Furnace, being directed by the Oscar-Nominated director, Darrell Roodt. His film Yesterday was nominated in 2004 for Best Foreign Feature Film at the Oscars. He is a phenomenal director and I am so excited to work with him. His latest film The Lullaby is an absolutely gorgeous film and has received all rave reviews.

I filmed in Backseat, starring Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, and Steve Carell. I can’t talk much about it due to confidentiality, but I can say that I have a wonderful scene with one of the stars of the film. I’m hoping it makes the final cut of the film, as sometimes smaller scenes will get cut out due to time or other factors, but so far it is looking like my scene will make the film, so I’m really excited about that.

The film I produced, co-wrote, and star in The 6th Friend is definitely coming out this year. I am really proud of this one. Audiences at the film festivals have loved it, so I have high hopes that fans will enjoy it as well. We won a lot of awards at the festivals, so it has been very well-received.

I just finished filming in a horror film called Cerberus, directed by Sean Cain. I play a villain and that was a lot of fun! Sean gets his movies out pretty fast so we may even see that this year.

In the Fall, I am filming as the leading role in Harvest Moon with Robert Englund, who of course played Freddy Krueger, my childhood obsession. Also acting in the film is one of my best friends, Maria Olsen, who also acts with me in I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà Vu. I can’t wait to film in this.