The plus side of watching so many films especially horror, throughout the year is that you’re introduced to new talent. Some of them you’ll never see again, while others appear to be rising stars. Joy Shatz is a talented actress that I believe we will see great things from.
Joy recently starred in the horror sequel, Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel. I loved the first one and the sequel was equally as intriguing and I loved Joy’s character, Molly.
I was happy to get a chance to talk with Joy about what inspired her to be actress, her first films, how she got the role for Hell House LLC II, her character, and more.
PopHorror – It’s so great to finally talk with you Joy. I’m a huge fan of your work. So, my first question is how long have you wanted to be an actress?
Joy Shatz – Thank you so much! I’m so excited to be chatting with you. Acting is truly the only thing I ever wanted to do. As a kid, I grew up singing and dancing and found my way onto the stage whenever possible. I was working in New York theater when I was 19 and doing regional theater by 20. After college, I studied at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York and have been regularly doing theater and film since then and had my first TV job last year.
PopHorror – Acting must be in your blood. How did you get involved in the film industry?
Joy Shatz – I booked my first film while I was still in acting school and absolutely fell in love with being on a film set.
PopHorror – Beyond acting you’ve dabbled in a few other things including directing. Is that something you would like to do more in the future or do you prefer acting?
Joy Shatz – Acting will always be number one for me, but a few years ago after several projects I was cast in fell apart, I took a big risk to step behind the camera and make my own short film. I wrote, directed, produced and played multiple characters in a short mockumentary comedy called Wild Woman and that turned out to be a very good career move. Wild Woman had a successful film festival run for a couple of years and even today I’m still getting opportunities because of it. Actors in general spend a lot of time auditioning and hustling, hoping for that right role and so much of that is out of our control. By stepping behind the camera, I’ve gotten to write characters I want to play and create stories I want to see.
PopHorror – That’s so wonderful. It’s great to hear that you created an opportunity for yourself that opened many doors. What was the first film you were ever in?
Joy Shatz – The first film I was ever in was an international short film called Freud’s Magic Powder where I played the little sister of a young Sigmund Freud.
PopHorror – Sounds interesting! You were in the recent film, Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel. How did that part come about for you?
Joy Shatz – Yes! Being part of Hell House LLC II is definitely a highlight of my career! I found it by responding to a casting notice and then was brought in for several auditions to ultimately book the role of Molly. I feel very lucky to be part of such a popular film, not to mention how much fun it was working with writer/director Stephen Cognetti and our cast and crew.
PopHorror – Were you fan of the first film?
Joy Shatz – I was! I watched the first film before my audition and I was very impressed (and scared!). I knew this was a production group I would love to work with.
PopHorror – Glad you loved it – so did I! Your character’s name is Molly. Could you relate to her at all? What is the thing you like most about her or least about her?
Joy Shatz – I really enjoyed playing Molly! I love that she is conscientious and hardworking. It was very interesting to me as an actress to take on a character who is so sweet, wholesome and a bit naïve and bring her to life in the dark, fast-moving, gritty world of horror.
PopHorror – You played her perfectly! Were there any scenes that were harder to do than others?
Joy Shatz – I would say overall the challenge in playing a character who is frightened is bringing nuanced levels of reaction and emotion that build throughout. Every single moment, every single scare has to be its own unique experience. Hell House LLC II, like most films, was shot out of sequence so it was important for me to always be keeping track of what Molly has just seen or experienced even if that particular scene was shot days before or wouldn’t be filmed until the following week.
PopHorror – Oh, that makes sense! Any fun behind the scene moments that you’d like to share?
Joy Shatz – I do NOT like clowns. I can’t really explain it, they just freak me out! So, if you know the Hell House LLC series, then you know – there’s a clown! Gosh, I never got used to that thing! Without giving away any spoilers, we took advantage of my clown fear/dislike/whatever you want to call it, and didn’t rehearse a particularly intense scene so the camera captured my legitimate reaction to the clown. Stephen Cognetti and our whole production team were great sports to let me have that very real moment!
PopHorror – Real reactions are the best and I don’t blame you for having a fear of clowns. They’re freaky. Was this your first horror film? And do you enjoy the horror genre in general?
Joy Shatz – Yes, this was my first horror film. I do enjoy the horror genre, and I’ve gotten into it more since doing Hell House LLC II. And I have to say, horror fans are awesome!
PopHorror – Yes, yes we are. (Haha) I know I speak for everyone in the community when I say we can’t wait to see more of you in the horror genre! Who are your inspirations in the film industry?
Joy Shatz – I really enjoy actors who give straightforward, simple, honest performances. Some of my favorites are J.K. Simmons, Cate Blanchett, and Judi Dench.
PopHorror – All wonderful actors/actresses just like you! Do you have any upcoming films that you’d like to talk about?
Joy Shatz – I’m really excited about a short film coming out soon called Karen which I play the lead in. It’s a very intense thriller based loosely on a real life crime story and it’ll be coming to film festivals this season. I also have a few upcoming projects, including a short comedy called Sunday which I wrote with my writing partner. We won a couple of awards from film festivals for the script and are looking forward to going into production on it this spring.
PopHorror – That’s so awesome! I’ll be on the lookout for those in the future. Good luck in all your adventures and thanks for doing this interview!