If you regularly rent horror movies you've probably seen one of Robin Sydney's movies this past year, whether it be the "Masters of Horror" episode RIGHT TO DIE or the highly entertaining BIG BAD WOLF.
She is a versatile actress to keep an eye on and I'm sure we'll be seeing her in a lot more movies in the next few years.
I recently had a chance to chat with Robin about her life and her roles...
Q: You're originally from Boulder, Colorado, and you've been acting since you were eight years old. What prompted you to move to Los Angeles?
I had done plays, I started in theater, and I moved into film when I was fourteen years old. I booked everything, I did everything there was to do in Colorado. I did sexual education videos, commercials. And so when I was a senior in high school I had gotten an agent in LA and they wanted me to come out, so I decided to go out there and start, though I graduated from my same school, because there's more opportunity in California. My mom came out with me.
Q: You had that support.
Absolutely. Very important. I think when a lot of actors come out here and they don't have that support it's a lot more difficult.
Q: It sounds like you did it the right way.
It was really great and I had such support from my family. Which is really important.
Q: You've done a lot more tv than movies.
It's about the same. I did eight or nine movies and about the same tv.
Q: I guess that's true... was looking at your credits on imdb.com. So what do you prefer.
Both are different and both have different elements. With tv you definitely have to be on your feet because it's really fast paced, there's a lot going on. And movies it's great because you get to develop an entire character within the same period of time, building depth of a character from start to finish. Both are different and both are just as enjoyable to do. It's very different though.
Q: How did you get involved with Full Moon?
I got an audition for GINGERDEAD MAN. My agent sent me. And I got it-and it was my first movie in L.A. I in fact booked THE LOST first but in the process had two months preparation for the LOST and then a week before we were shooting the LOST I did THE GINGERDEAD MAN, so it kind of a challenge for me as an actress because my role in GINGERDEAD MAN was such an innocent character to Katherine in the LOST who is such a badass character.
Q: Any Charlie Band stories?
Definitely. Consistently Charlie Band is such an unbelievable director. He makes the set calm and relaxed. He makes it really enjoyable. As an actress he makes it great because he gives you a space to work. He opens it up and lets you play in the space so you're really going to create the character for yourself. It's not like "stand here do this, stand here do this". There are so many stories...
One is he always gets into his characters so if there's a monster he always..if you watch him he'll always be the character. For example, I just visited his set on his newest movie he's shooting, DANGEROUS WORRYBELLS. SO you watch him and he makes this sound effect, almost like the character is inside of him and it's great. And
Also, there was a scene in GINGERDEAD MAN where I was supposed to be running from The Gingerdead Man and I'm really scared because I put myself in the situation of this cookie running after me and Charlie through this cup and I totally thought it was the Gingerdead man and I dropped to the floor. And, I don't know. Every shoot is different. He's a fun person to work with
Q: Like a big kid.
He is, exactly. That's a perfect example.
Q: Is it generally one set? Like EVIL BONG?
Evil Bong was one set as was Dead Man's Hand.
Q: I would imagine it would make shooting fairly quickly.
Evil Bong was one week.
Q: How was it working on THE LOST?
It was such an amazing experience. First, having the book, as detail oriented as it is, was like having the undertones for my character so I could read "What is this character thinking" and then I could experience it. So, in preparation on the movie it was such a gift. He (the author) actually came to the set-and he's in the movie-Jack Ketchum. And we talked. It was amazing to be able to have that experience with a character that was on paper, what she is thinking.
What I loved about my character is that there's so much going on. So on the surface, while she's trying to be tough there's this little kid inside of her that's fighting and all this anger with her mom and her being a paranoid schizophrenic-and just struggling through life. So it's a really fun character in that sense, to build the badass side of me with that and also my innocent side, too.
Chris (the director) was good. He did something neat and different. He would tell us secrets. He would tell the person you were working with a secret and tell you a secret and whatever it was really got you in the moment and in that scene you were really living that secret. It was a really interesting approach to directing and it was really fun.
I just loved my character. In preparation I went around town and I lived the character and I went to the Beverly Hills Hotel and I sat with all the people and I ate lunch and I thought "what would it be like if my mom was there and threw this cup?" And I was there with my acting coach and my acting coach said "If you look around this room who do you think would be the perfect person to play your Mom?" So I looked around the room and I see this girl and I said "That's the girl". And we started talking with her. And it turned out they hadn't cast the actress to play my mom and she ended up playing my mom in the movie.
It was just so magical to have two months of preparation and the whole cast is good friends to this day.
Q: You have a wide range as an actor. I saw GINGERDEAD MAN and RIGHT TO DIE in the same week and didn't realize it was you in both-
I really love to get into the character. In RIGHT TO DIE I went to Canada and I decided for the whole week to be the character. You live the character so that when you get on set it isn't like you are acting, you're just continuing to be who you are at the time.
Q: So you're much more of a Method type actor?
Yeah, exactly. I'm a method type actresss.
Q: How was it working opposite Martin Donovan (DEAD ZONE, GHOST WHISPERER) in RIGHT TO DIE?
He was great, he was so fantastic. He was the sweetest guy and acting with him was great because he had so much going on, you had to figure him out. We had many sexual scenes we had to work on together and he was so nervous but respectful. He was a great person to work with.
Q: How was working with the director of that episode of MASTERS OF HORROR?
Matt Schmidt, he was amazing. He would describe the scenes in terms of how they're seen on the camera so he would say "This is a wide shot", so he wants you to fill the screen with your emotion, and then "Now, we're going to be very close, so have it come from the inside". It was all about space. It was an interesting approach. I had a lot of fun working on that character.
The effects are amazing because they skin me in the movie. I had to be in a wet suit all day and you could see the bones.. It was so gross and when you looked down at it you thought you were dying. It looked so real, right next to your face.
To get into that role (dental assistant) I didn't know anything about laughing gas so I went to a dentist's office and talked to the people about how to do laughing gas and they taught me all about it and the whole process. And they told me that some people laugh, that some go out and some people this and some people that... it was fascinating.
Q: So you really go all out for your roles.
Yeah, I think it's important to really understand them.
Q: In BIG BAD WOLF your character is somewhat similar to the one in RIGHT TO DIE and EVIL BONG...
It's a little more innocent kind of bad-ass scenario in BIG BAD WOLF. But that was really fun. It was a great cast and group of people. We filmed a lot outside and it was so spooky. I had so many nightmares when we were filming, about these wolves attacking us and stuff. It was hilarious.
It's always amazing when you have to go into a scene where you're going to be attacked by something that really scares you-so it takes a lot in your mind-because your body doesn't want to do it, "I'm so afraid". So you have to think to yourself "It'll be okay, it's going to be over". So in that moment you have to go there it's so scary.
Q: How was acting with Richard Tyson?
I actually never worked with him in a scene. The werewolf was in my scene but it was a stunt double. But he was there the same day I was shooting so I got to talk to him and he was so in character. You would look at him and he'd be so scary-you didn't want to be around him. He's a Method actor, I'm sure.
Q: I'm assuming you're a horror fan, as you've been in quite a few horror movies lately. What horror movies do you like best?
When I was growing up I was so afraid of horror movies. I watched THE EXCORCIST and for two months I had nightmares. So I was so scared of them I didn't want to watch them at all. But this one time I had to be on the couch for a week because of surgery and I watched twenty horror movies in a row and after that I got over my fear of horror films.
I do love horror. There's so many layers, so much going on with the scenarios.
Q: Yeah, there's more extreme things going on in a horror movie, the emotions are heightened.
Q: What would be your favorite dream role?
My favorite roles in general are those that have a lot of depth to them so on the surface they are one thing but they are hiding all these other crazy things going on in their life so in different moments they'll pop up and as the character changes they go to the top.
My dream role would be someone who has a disability to overcome, mental or physical. And that they succeed. That's the ultimate of layers going on.
Q: You just finished shooting WICKED LAKE. How was that experience?
It was a total blast and everyone on set was magically connected which created a very creative environment for everyone. I really think this is going to be a magic film. It was produced by Chris Sivertson (dir. The Lost) and I got to work again with Marc Center (The Lost) again, only this time our characters where different. I played a hippy and he plays a shy, scared kid. I can't wait for everyone to see The Lost and then see Wicked Lake. The Four girls were amazing to work with. Zack Passero did an amazing job of directing this movie. He made the set an open slate for creativity.
There was this one scene that Marc's Character Caleb hands me a picture that he drew of a Unicorn and it resonated so much in me. I asked Zack if I could carry this picture through the movie and I did and through each scene, it became more meaningful and more powerful. This was the first movie for me that if I look back I only remember being in my trailer and with the crew and cast, I don't remember any of the scenes the only way for me to remember the scenes is to back into character, then I remember what I did. It is really exciting as an artist to get to a place like that. This character was really fun for me to work on because I studied a lot of animals in preparation and was able to play them out in the film. It is really exciting.
Q: What is Zorbitz?
It's my Mom's and my company. We started it about four years ago and we do luck charms and karma beads and have had a lot of celebrities wear them. It's been amazing. We're in ten countries and we've supported charities. We just opened a Zorbitz global foundation so we're doing something called PINK UNITED this year, supporting Breast Cancer. Last year we did "Good Karma" week and every year we do a big charity thing. We've donated over $40,000 to charities so far. And we've sold over a million products. It's amazing. It's the simple things that give people luck and hope and give people a smile every day.
Q: Is that why you started Zorbitz, for that reason?
Yeah. My Mom and me have always been very close but she was always "the Mom", the wind behind everybody's wings. So we found this rock on the beach one day and the next day started this business. Through this business my Mom discovered who she was and we became really close and have grown together. And it's grown into this amazing thing and we've changed so many people's lives. It's just incredible.
And it's really neat being able to do acting and my business together. It's such a gift. From the time I was little I always wanted to help people and change people's lives and I was always giving half my allowance to charities and charity events. My ultimate goal is to make a really big difference.
Q: It sounds like you're doing exactly what you want.
Our website is www.zorbitz.net. Our best product are our karma bracelets. They're fun. Basically, if you work hard an dare a good person then everything comes your way.
Q: Any words for the horror fans out there?
Just that anything you dream of, you can do and anything you want in life you can do. If you enjoy horror and that's something you want to be a part of keep going and you can do it. And thanks so much for watching my movies and supporting me. I really appreciate it. You can Myspace me if you want.
Just keep going and dream big. You have one life. Do what you want in your lifetime and just put your mind to it and just go and enjoy and live the life that you dream of.