Actress Joy McElveen Talks About Her Role in the Female-Driven Film ‘Quarries’

During the month of February – also know as Women in Horror Month – we reviewed the female-driven film Quarries and loved everything about it. Starting this week and continuing throughout the month of April, we will be interviewing some of the ladies who starred in this brutal, kickass story. We begin by chatting with the lovely Joy McElveen about her love for the film industry, her role in Quarries, and more!

Joy McElveen

PopHorror: Thanks for talking with us, Joy! To start things off, how long have you wanted to work in the film industry?

Joy McElveen: I knew growing up that I always had a love for storytelling and entertaining. I would always be the girl at the family functions making everyone laugh and enjoying life. I knew how to take a story and make it the best story you ever heard. (Laughs)

However, I knew I was serious about pursuing it when I got to college and after my first semester, I decided that I no longer wanted to play basketball. My minor was theater and I had this professor who really believed in me and pushed me. I am forever grateful for Professor Dewey-Scott Wiley.

PopHorror: I’m glad that you had someone who motivated you to follow your dreams. What was your first film?

Joy McElveen: The very first film I ever did was this comedy short Roach LAPD. I played the owner of a restaurant who was being investigated by this detective that clearly didn’t know his job very well. It was funny and I got to laugh and play. It was also my first film that allowed me to join the union.

PopHorror: I’ll have to see if I can look that one up! How did your new film Quarries come about?

Joy McElveen: I was taking an acting class with the lead actress Nicole Johnson and she and I became very close. She told me, “I am going to make a film one day and I would love for you to be a part of it.” Two years later, she contacted me and said, “You remember when I told you I was doing a film? Well, I would love for you to be a part of it.” She also told me that the character’s name was Joy which I loved. So I went into the audition and, as the saying goes… the rest is history.

PopHorror: That’s fantastic. I can see where the women empowerment came from already! Speaking of your character Joy, could you relate to her at all?

Joy McElveen: Joy was a strong character with an ex-military background. I remember when I first read the script, I immediately thought of my mother. I was raised by a single parent who did 37 years in the military and she went on to retire as a 1st Sargent. So I was like okay, I can relate to this very well because I grew up watching my mother be the strong one and the protector for many soldiers. She was a sweet lady but she didn’t take no mess from anyone and she was a fighter. I knew that the character Joy had those same qualities. Joy is courageous, daring, independent and wanted it her way. Personally, that is how I move in the world. I am truly my name!

PopHorror: I couldn’t agree more – I don’t think I’ve ever met someone whose name truly reflects who they are! Your character was strong even when she was fighting for her life. What was it like to be one of the first females to die in the film?

Joy McElveen: (Laughs) *Being one of the first females to die in a film!* When I found out the script was a horror film, I immediately asked, “Okay, at what second does the black girl die?” It is a stereotype and I knew that going into the project. However, I immediately went to the director and said, “Okay, let’s talk about this. If Joy is ex-military and even though she is not the first to die in the movie, she is the first female one, then you have to give her something. I have to have a bad fight scene and we have to make it seem like she was not going to be taken out lightly.” As you can see, we got that! (Laughs) I gave it all I had. It was a very physical role and we did all our own stunts, which made me so proud. I loved the action and getting dirty. I am a country southern girl from South Carolina that grew up playing in the woods and with all my male cousins.

PopHorror: I’m glad you stood your ground on that because it was a great scene! What was it like to be a part of such a powerful female-driven story?

Joy McElveen: Being a part of a powerful female-driven story was incredible. I love how women are standing tall and telling their stories. With everything that is happening in the world, women are coming together beautifully and I am so happy to be a part of the movement. We are giving our perspectives and demanding respect. No longer will we be silenced or voiceless. We are strong badasses that can give men a run for their money. I remember the first time I saw the final edit of Quarries, I left feeling so empowered and moved and grateful.

PopHorror: That makes me so happy to hear! Would you do more horror/thrillers in the future if they came up?

Joy McElveen – Absolutely… under one condition – that I am not the first female to die. (Laughs)

PopHorror: (Laughs) You’re a force to be reckoned with! Anyone would be lucky to have you in their film. Speaking of, are there any other projects you’d like to talk about?

Joy McElveen: I am a part of a new amazing digital series by James Bland called Giants which is executively produced by HBO’s Insecure Issa Rae and Empire’s Jussie Smollett. You can check it out at Issa Rae’s youtube page. I’m also currently creating and developing my own one woman show called  The Other Side Of Joy. You can follow me on Instagram @joysmcelveen and Twitter @joyous1017 to stay updated on what I’m doing and when!

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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