This week ECHG writer Adam Holtzapfel had a chance to chat with actress Tiffany Arnold. You can catch her in Bong of the Living Dead and She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake, both are premiering at the upcoming Nightmares Film Festival.
Adam Holtzapfel – You’ve worked on Til Death, I Owe You, and Born Again with Jason Tostevin, what were those experiences like?
Tiffany Arnold – If Jason extends an offer to work with him, the answer should always be yes. He is
so passionate about filmmaking, and he surrounds himself with people he believes in fiercely. He wants to see them succeed, and he works hard to make sure their work is seen and appreciated. That’s an attitude that results in fun on-set experiences and great films. I’m proud to have been a part of all three of those.
AH – What was the auditioning process for She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake like compared to other projects you’ve worked on?
TA – Jason Tostevin was actually the one who suggested I audition for director Brooklyn Ewing. I hadn’t met her, but I’d heard of She Was So Pretty and the recognition it was getting, including Brooklyn’s best director award at last year’s Nightmares Film Festival. I made arrangements with her to submit a video audition, but in
addition to reading the sides for Hope, Brooklyn also wanted me to show some emotional reactions: having my mouth taped, being tied up, etc. But, the weekend I needed to shoot and submit the audition, my boyfriend’s daughter, who was 7 at the time, was staying with us. This kid had nightmares about Slimer from Ghostbusters, so I knew that if I performed these emotional scenes even halfway decently, she might be upset or disturbed. I messaged Brooklyn about it, and she
was super cool and understanding, and we were able to make arrangements to get it submitted without potentially scarring anyone for life. I was grateful to her for that, and it showed me that she’d be the kind of person I’d want to work with.
AH – That kind of leads to my next question, how did you prepare for your role as Hope, versus other projects you’ve worked on?
TA – What Hope experiences in the film is so unexpected and jarring for her, so I wanted to make sure my reactions happened organically in the moment. I try not to over-prepare for any role anyway so things can happen naturally and I don’t get locked into certain vocal inflections or facial expressions, but especially for Hope, I wanted to go with the flow and let the energy of the other actors dictate my reactions. And the actors I worked with—Jerry Larew, Corey Rutter, and Aaron Whited—all gave me awesome stuff to work with.
AH – You’re also in Bong of the Living Dead filmed by Max Groah, also premiering at Nightmares Film Festival. How did you get involved in that project?
TA – Max was already talking about Bong of the Living Dead when I met him back in 2007, and I’m pretty sure he and his fellow producer/writer Tim Mayo had written the earliest draft of the script long before that. As we started hanging out together more and becoming friends, I remember him telling me that he and Tim were writing a “sweet part” for me in the film. We worked on other films together in the interim, and I eventually became part of Max and Tim’s production company Backward Slate Productions, so I started helping them on the production side as well as in front of the camera. After making some short films we were proud of, we eventually felt we had the confidence and resources to move on to the feature Max and Tim had been dreaming of for a decade plus. So in 2013, I finally got to play that “sweet part” in Bong, and I was an executive producer on it as well.
AH – Any stories from filming She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake or Bong of the Living Dead that you’re able to share?
TA – We shot Bong for 20-ish days, and it really felt like a summer camp. I had major withdrawal afterwards, missing everyone and the experience. Features are so much fun because not only do actors get a chance to really explore a character arc, but you also have so much more opportunity to bond as a group. The last night of shooting had a very “let’s all promise that in ten years from today, we’ll meet again, and we’ll see what kind of people we’ve blossomed into” kind of vibe. (We quoted
Wet Hot American Summer quite a bit on that shoot.)
I went into She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake a little nervous because I knew they were a tight-knit group, and I’m a bit of an introvert, but Brooklyn and her crew couldn’t have been more welcoming and awesome to work with. I was especially amused by how sweet and considerate Jerry Larew was, despite being so
convincing on screen as a deranged killer. He was incredibly dedicated to embodying Alfie when the camera was rolling, but he was a genuine sweetheart when it wasn’t. I’d work with Brooklyn again in a heartbeat.
AH – Do you have any future projects planned?
TA – I don’t have anything lined up at the moment, so if you know any nice directors in need of an actor, feel free to play matchmaker.