After I had screened Hunter Johnson’s 2016 film 2Jennifer, I knew right away that a star had been born in Lara Jean Mummert! I knew I had to get an interview with her. She was kind enough to talk with me and we had a great conversation. Not only is she a great actress, but she’s a sweetheart, too! Check out the interview to learn more about Lara Jean and her upcoming projects!
PopHorror.Com: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! I know how busy you have been lately!
Lara Jean Mummert: Yes! It has been probably the busiest 3 months of my life. Which is a good thing! I finished filming my next feature film, “Payday”, just signed on with Director Nick Hunt for “Safe Place”, and “Anomaly” has just been released on iTunes and Amazon. If you asked me last year if I thought I would be where I am at now, I would tell you no.
PopHorror.Com: That’s so fun! Now I’m even more curious as to how you got into film as well as the horror genre.
Lara Jean Mummert: I always loved being someone else more than being myself. There is this rush I get when I start to research a character, finding the little nuances that really make that character come to life. I found a love for the art of performing at a very young age. From the age of 4, I was training in ballet and when I was 13 I got into the American Conservatory Theatre for Acting. I immediately fell in love. I continued to dance but my heart always loved the theater and speaking out with my words and making a difference to one’s outlook on life. To feel and see audiences real life reaction and dedication to a story you truly believed in were very fulfilling to me.
Every time I would leave the stage, I found myself wanting more. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City at 16 where I truly fell in love with the art of acting for film, the real beauty, and vulnerability of it and how real you can be in front of the camera. In the end, what really brought me to film full time was the passing of my fiance, Miguel Zapata. He was the one that showed me what is really important in this world, and that is to always follow our hearts.
It wasn’t until recent years that I started to act in the horror genre. I was picked up by James Cullen Bressack, Christian Ackerman, and Hunter Johnson, through a monologue that I had performed for them and they immediately brought me into their film family – making my debut horror performance as Jennifer in Hunter Johnson’s 2 Jennifer. If it was not for them, I would not be where I am at today in the horror industry. I am now currently working on a few projects, some of which include Aaron Mento’s Ugly Sweater Party, Nick Hunt’s Safe Place, and Hunter Johnson’s Serena Waits and Anomaly that you can now rent on iTunes or Amazon.
PopHorror.Com: Can you tell me more about your latest film Anomaly?
Lara Jean Mummert: Working on the set of Anomaly, as an actor was so fun. All of us actors and the director Webster Batista, actually lived in the house we filmed in for the whole 12 days of shooting. We were really able to immerse ourselves into the world of the Film. During the last scene, when the room is raining inside, the crew actually made their own rain rig, and had the whole ceiling lined with pipes. We had to wait to shoot that scene on the very last day due too getting the whole set drenched in water. I always love it when film makers really dive deep and try to do everything themselves. That is how I love to work. I love doing all my own stunts and really diving deep in the grit of it. In the end it is always the most rewarding.
PopHorror.com: I am so excited for all of those especial Anomaly! How do you get yourself into a character that makes you so relatable on many levels?
Lara Jean Mummert: Aw! Thank you so much! One thing that helps is working with directors that trust you, and can just let you play. A perfect example would be how Hunter Johnson and myself work together. He would put the camera on and be like, “Let’s just see what happens” and I always jump right in with, “Yes, let’s do it!”. So I’ve been very fortunate to work with directors that let their actors become so free and vulnerable. I think that’s why it comes off so authentic. Of course I spend a lot of time preparing my mind and body for the character, putting myself in the mindset of whom I am portraying, and taking the time to organize my thoughts to how that character would potentially think. So in the end, that mixed with an amazing working environment, allows be to really dive deep into my performance.
PopHorror.Com: That’s awesome! I have to know since we are talking about Hunter here, did you know the ending of 2Jennifer before it happened?
Lara Jean Mummert: (Laughs) I wanna say there were like 3 or 4 endings or possible endings to that film and it changed a little bit back and forth near the final day. Finally, he was like, “What do you think of this?” I was like, “What the heck! Let’s just do it!” The whole film itself I would consider to be a slow burn. One of my fave scenes is after the party when they get into the fight. I just love the way he shot that and the dash shot from him slashing James Cullen Bresseck’s throat back to the dash shot. It was just so great. So when the ending came, we decided to just go crazy with it.
A fun fact that a lot of people don’t know is that the lipstick that he is using in the film is actually mine and I still use it to this day. I remember telling him not to ruin the tip of the lipstick, please me gentle with it. I mean, I love this color! (both laugh). We only shot it in one take so it turned it that well!
PopHorror.Com: What is your favorite horror movie?
Lara Jean Mummert: One of my favorite horror films is Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery with the lovely Kathy Bates and James Caan. This film functions on more than one level psychologically, and Kathy Bates, being so elegantly creepy, became my inspiration for who I am as an actor today.
PopHorror.Com: How do you like living in California?
Lara Jean Mummert: I really do love it! Even though New York City will always remain a big part of my life, I definitely love what California has been giving me so far. I have been here for over a year now and people are always asking me what are the hottest places to go and I’m like, “Oh no! I never go out!” So I have no idea. However, if you ever go to New York, I could recommend all the best places! (laughs) Interesting story about my grandfather – he actually worked on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! And my parents, San Francisco natives. They met in highschool at 15 and have been together ever since. Talk about your real life Notebook story. (Laughs) That’s them. Love you mom and dad!!!
PopHorror.Com: That is so sweet and if I ever go to New York, I’ll have to have you make me a list! One movie that I’m really excited to see of yours is Aaron Mento’s Ugly Sweater Party. Can you tell me anything about it?
Lara Jean Mummert: Oh, my! It was so much fun! My character, Hannah, is unlike anything I have ever played before. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say I totally felt like a bad ass with my cross bow. Aaron, Sean, Hunter, and Felissa Rose were so great to work with. This movie was a blast and I hope everyone else enjoys it.
PopHorror.Com: What would you say has been your most challenging role?
Lara Jean Mummert: Oh, good question. It’s really hard to say. I co-star with my great friend Charles Chudabala in Serena Waits, and let’s just say I get to let out my inner Annie Wilkes, which was just so much fun and I don’t think people will expect it from me!
PopHorror.Com: All of your upcoming films sound fantastic! Final question… What advice do you have for actors or actresses wanting to get into the industry?
Lara Jean Mummert: One thing I would say to any actors out there wanting to break into the industry is to just get yourself out there. Do as many projects as you can to expand your experience. Make sure to do your homework, study your character, and perform like no one is watching. In the end, do not think about how someone else will perform a character, show them how you will perform the character. Yes, this industry is hard. You will definitely hear more nos than yeses. But in the end, don’t give up. I know I am not going to. What is life without the things we love and the passions we seek? I also want to give a huge shout out to Pophorror.com! It is the people like you and the fans that make this all possible. I am so grateful for everything and very excited for what the future brings.
Be sure to check out Lara Jean in her latest film, Anomaly, now available on iTunes and Amazon and stay tuned to PopHorror for all the news on Lara’s latest projects!