I’m seriously spoiled because I’ve now gotten to talk to actress Felicia Day three separate times. Each time I’ve been truly inspired, because Day is a modern day heroine. And not just in the parts that she plays.
For those of you not aware of who Felicia Day is, her list of projects includes Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, The Guild and now the Syfy original movie Red: Werewolf Hunter. Her roles have included singing, slaying, hunting, geeking and gaming. Not in that order, and not all are mutually exclusive.
She is a modern pioneer for “geek girls” and “gamer girls” – a niche where most of the inhabitants hide in anonymity and are afraid to express the joy they get from playing a video game all night long, rather than putting in hair extensions and heading out to the clubs. She likes to read (her GoodReads list is miles long – meaning now I’m going to be super busy with these new book suggestions to my own mile-long book list of what I want to read) and you can find her on Twitter talking about anything from the Project Runway finale to the new Dragon Age 2 trailer.
A heroine that doesn’t need blonde hair and a push-up bra to be cool, Felicia represents much more than an alternative role-model for like-minded gamer’s or geeks. She is symbolic of “doing your thang” and being proud of whatever it is you love. (Basically, they should put her face on inspirational flags!)
Cut from a cloth much like Tina Fey‘s, she is an authentic girl-next-door who is grounded and you would have wanted at every single sleepover. Felicia Day is naturally funny, innovative, wildly intelligent, considerate, tech-savvy, sweet and genuine. This is why I was so psyched to talk to her about her new project, and why there’s no way I will miss her latest Syfy original movie Red: Werewolf Hunter. (And actually, I got to watch a screener already! She has some kickass moves as Virginia, especially in the last half hour of the movie.) This is the perfect pre-Halloween movie to watch.
Read the full interview after the jump!
On what drew her to the part of Virginia in Red: Werewolf Hunter:
Felicia Day: So I got the script in around February or March of this year and I was in the middle of writing Guild Season 4 so I actually wasn’t even taking auditions at that time because I was so busy. But they sent it over and I read it and I really felt like it was such a different role for me that I never played before and I really felt attracted to that as well as I’m a huge fairytale fan.
I actually took several folklore classes in college and I tried to minor in it but my dad said that was ridiculous and he stopped that. But I always actually had the idea myself that it would be fun to update some fairytales and so it was kind of like one of those projects that I thought was kind of tailored to what I was looking for at the time.
It’s much more dramatic than the things that I usually do and it’s slightly – it has a lot of horror overtones as well. So I thought it could be a really fun challenge and it was just such a privilege to be considered for a lead in one of the Syfy movies. I just thought that was really flattering so I carved out my schedule and it was just a really – I had such a good time making it.
On whether she’d re-visit this character again:
Felicia Day: Yeah it was really fun. It was definitely something that was a lot different from what I usually play. It was such a relief almost since I produce and write and act and everything that I do to just be an actor on the set and be able to really concentrate on, doing all the physical challenges as well as the more horror aspects. It was definitely something that would be fun to do again.
On how the family business works in the movie:
Felicia Day: Yeah it’s a secret so really the whole movie pivots around the idea that I’ve been – I’ve left my family to sort of find myself outside of the obligation of werewolf hunting. And I’m bringing my fiancé back to introduce to my family hoping that I will be able to get permission to tell him this secret part of my life which is something that I inherited in a sense.
So really it’s kind of a struggle between family and my obligation that is – that was handed to me versus chosen and the idea that I could have a happy life outside of that with my fiancé. And, he gets bitten and it’s sort of a struggle to try to save everything I want would love in the movie. So, it’s a lot of drama and a lot of blood which is fun too.
On the possibility of seeing the origin of Little Red Riding Hood in the movie:
Felicia Day: There’s a brief moment of flashbacks but really the main thrust of the movie is in the modern times dealing with the family and the local, sort of localized conflict between the werewolves and that specific clan. So yeah, it does have some – a couple of flashback moments though.
On the biggest challenge in making a horror film:
Felicia Day: I guess the biggest challenge for me was, I mean, there were a lot of physical challenges on this. I did definitely work out and like train a lot for this role just because it required a little more toughness and more grounded attitude. I guess the role that is most close to what I’ve done in the past is the role that I did on Dollhouse in Epitaph 1 and Epitaph 2 when I played Mag.
She was definitely more – the most similar to this character in that there is not as much humor and it’s certainly a person who’s living in high state as well as using a gun properly.
I actually had my dad take me to the shooting range for the first time. He’s been bugging me like a decade to go shooting with him because we’re from Texas. And when I called him up he was like oh this is the best father-daughter moment I could ask for.
On whether she enjoys acting or producing/directing more?
Felicia Day: I don’t actually direct. I do write everything on The Guild and I do produce it creatively. I definitely work a lot with the director on all the creative that gets on the screen. It’s really two sides of the coin.
I really do love acting. I love having – to be able to inhabit a different character and also train. I love the fact that I said I did the guns and I did a lot of fighting here. It’s always fun to actually have something very specific for a character that I get to learn about that’s sort of the R&D side of acting I love. But I can’t ever see myself completely giving up the producing and the writing because I find it so fulfilling.
And really my whole past that led to having a big role in a Syfy movie was not because of as much, you know, just being an actor but it’s because you’re kind of forging a path with The Guild and participating in Dr. Horrible, things that are outside the box. So it feels like a big reward in a sense to end up doing this movie.
On whether the movie would be set in a fantasy world or just the modern day world – with werewolfs:
Felicia Day: Yeah I know, I see your point. I think the paranormal sort of – it’s a bit of big resurgence in paranormal fiction and entertainment. And it hasn’t, other than Twilight, hasn’t crept over into a movie like this before which I think is another reason why I wanted to do it because I’m a huge fan of paranormal fiction and romance, paranormal romance and all that stuff. So that was really attractive to me.
This setting is definitely set in modern times like the real world, the everyday world and the werewolves are actually something that our family is tasked keeping from the real world.
So that’s a big pivot – a big thing the movie rides on is having the conflict between revealing that they’re actually werewolves to my fiancé is a big deal with my family and it sort of snowballs from there. So yeah, we’re not in a fantastical world necessarily although there’s fantastical creatures in the real world.
On whether it’s difficult to play a less comedic role:
Felicia Day: I mean, it definitely is a switch in gear. It was definitely a little more, I mean, I definitely took it seriously to be serious. The movie is very dramatic in tone and definitely like I said has a lot of horror elements to it.
But, if you see in the trailer I’m shooting a harpoon at werewolves. So there is some fun to be had in that sort of aspect of the movie that, there is – it is a little – there are certain things that are over the top in a really fun way.
So definitely it’s not the same tone as all the recent Syfy movies but I think it definitely balances all those things perfectly. And to air right before Halloween is kind of the perfect place to watch it.
On whether she’d like to play “the kind of girl you wouldn’t want to take home to Mom” aka a bad girl:
Felicia Day: I don’t know about the leather, I mean, I am – I do have several leather coats. But, actually I have been thinking, I am – as a person am very good-hearted and I feel like that’s kind of an aspect that sort of shines through when I act. And I bring that with me because kindness, it’s funny that the Internet is my place and I hope to spread kindness there because sometimes it’s lacking. But it also has a lot of the fandom and things are the other side of that coin.
To be honest with you, it would be really fun to play a villain. I would love to play an evil villain even if it’s a comedy, a comedy villain, that would be really fun. And that’s actually one of the things that I put on my list like dream roles.
And if I don’t get to them, if somebody doesn’t like the part for me or offer it or I get to audition for it, it’s on my list to write for myself in the future. Because, being empowered and being able to make opportunities for me, it’s like the thing that I’m most proud of in my career.
So yeah, I cross fingers somebody else would think of me for a villain part but if they don’t I definitely down the road would love to just kind of sink my teeth into something a little more edgy and not so nice.
On her upcoming character on Eureka:
Felicia Day: I play a scientist that has come to Eureka to work on a secret project. Her name is Dr. Holly Martin and I have a very antagonistic relationship with Fargo, Douglas Fargo played by Neil Grayston and Dr. Isaac Parrish who is played by Wil Wheaton is a factor in that. My attraction to him creates a lot of conflict.
And I guess I’m in eight episodes. I have to go back up and finish the finale this week. And I’ve got to tell you that not only are the scripts fantastic but just working on the set is just an amazing opportunity. I feel like that show is really run by geeks in a sense so they know their science and they really – you could see the passion in the scripts and they’re just so funny.
I’ve been a show, I mean, a fan of the show in years past so when they called me to be on it I was just ecstatic. And I have to say that this season has definitely raised the bar over all the other seasons. They’re really innovating and doing some just really fun things with the characters and with the dialog and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.
On whether she might return to Eureka:
Felicia Day: I have no information on that. I just take it one episode at a time. If they keep calling – they kept calling me back and I was just happy to be there.
On the filming location of Red: Werewolf Hunter:
Felicia Day: It was shot in Toronto in March so every scene of the film I’m wearing at least four pairs of tights underneath my jeans because I was so cold.
Had she worked with these actors and actresses before?
Felicia Day: No I hadn’t. I believe all the other actors were Canadian. But the funny thing is that I’m working with Kavan Smith on Eureka so we’re on the same set because he plays the robot, the Android. So that’s – it was really funny to walk on the set and see him there. It’s the other side of Canada and I was like whoa, we’re working together again.
But it was really fun because we definitely, you know, it was a very small cast so we worked together and we were kind of on location an hour away from town every day so we really did work well together. And it’s always – it always means a lot to create a little family when you shoot something. So the little Red family was definitely a very supportive, fun group to play with.
On the house they filmed, and if she knew the history of it:
Felicia Day: Yeah it was actually – it was a very old house that had been recently renovated and in fact half the house had not been renovated so most of the rooms were not – were in the process of being renovated. So the kitchen was done, the dining room was done, the living room was done but other rooms were just gutted.
And the – it went on forever. And if you – a couple of scenes that take place on the roof which is like above the third floor and then as far as the last, some of the fight scenes completely utilized all the architecture inside that house.
Is she a gamer?
Felicia Day: Am I a gamer? Yes I’m definitely a gamer. I would define myself solely as a gamer if you had to tell me I had to pick an adjective. Yeah, I actually – that’s my first love.
The Guild, my Web show is about gamers and online gamers and I wrote it because of my past has always been online gaming and interacting with people online even when it was – before the Internet was the Internet really like on Prodigy and Compuserve.
I would dial up when I was six years old to get Kings Quest tips and things like that. So I feel like I was definitely weaned on the Internet and gaming is the thing that I do in my past time.
It’s just – it’s been a huge privilege to be a part of some of these games that I’ve done the voices with. I did Rock of the Dead with Neil Patrick Harris and Fallout which I played for eight hours yesterday and finally recruited myself which is a really – that was very odd to recruit myself and have myself talk to myself to me who is a player but play with my character. But my character is so good in that game I have a pneumatic gauntlet and I was – I one shot – have you played the game?
(“No, but I’ve watched it. I know what you’re talking about.”)
Felicia Day: Yeah, she’s completely overpowered in a wonderful way and she has great one-liners. The writers told me that they definitely were inspired by Joss Whedon when they wrote the character so I have the best clips in the game, I have to say not modestly.
Does she see Red: Werewolf Hunter as getting a massive fan following?
Felicia Day: I would hope so. I can’t predict what fans, I mean, that’s what I think that I come from a background of the fans are doing me a favor. Their support is completely voluntary and what sparks with them sparks with them. And I don’t come from the idea that I try to make people like something.
So I feel like I did a lot of really good work and I feel like the movie is really fun so I can only hope but you never know how people receive things. So I know that I really enjoy it and I would be a fan of this or I wouldn’t have done the project.
About wanting Red to outdo the other Syfy movie Sharktopus and posting about it on her blog:
Felicia Day: I mean, that was kind of a teasing thing. I’m not going to do a campaign about it. But yeah, it would be nice to at least equal Sharktopus because Sharktopus, they’re definitely two different kinds of movies and I think that’s cool that Syfy is doing different genres of this kind of movie.
Like I said, Red is much more dramatic and horror based. But at the same time you could definitely have fun with it when there’s just some over the top things. And we were talking about werewolves too so I feel like the same sort of that guise is underneath it all.
And if I could beat Sharktopus – I feel like I could probably stab Sharktopus myself because I trained really hard. So if we were in a tussle together, I don’t want to bet but at least I’d put up a good fight.
On the differences of Toronto vs. Vancouver:
Felicia Day: That’s interesting. Well first of all I shot in Toronto in the winter so it was extremely cold. And from what I understand Vancouver doesn’t actually get that cold so that was – it was kind of an interesting contrast. I had never been to Canada before I went to Toronto so it was definitely an eye opening experience.
I felt like the crews in both places are very friendly and supportive and I like the idea that the actors kind of interact with the crew on a more work level basis. Everybody is just there to do their work. I felt like that was kind of a commonality between working in Vancouver and working in Toronto. There’s less separation between the actors and the crew which I kind of thought was really nice.
The Red crew was much smaller because even though there was lots of actions and stunts it was just I guess a lower budget and a smaller production. So we were moving as fast on Red as we were ever on The Guild really. It was a whirlwind. And being able to do the stunts, you get one take and we’d move on. And at the end of the day we’d just be always – it’s always the film making mantra is you never have enough time to do what you want.
But, there were some really cool locations we shot on versus in Vancouver we’re shooting mostly on the stages. That – if you see some of the stills there is like an old shanty town that where we walk through and that town actually just exists. It’s an old set that just kind of deteriorated which really provided awesome production value to I think what – to Red.
Will there be a season 5 of The Guild? And could there be a sequel to Red?
Felicia Day: We don’t know. Season 4 just wrapped up just like two weeks ago so we’re still between seasons. Whether we’re going to get picked up by Microsoft and Sprint again, I would hope so. If you saw the cliffhanger I definitely at least know a little bit of what is going to go on next season so cross fingers about that. We should hear around the beginning of the year probably.
And, you never know with projects whether they’re going to have – go on to have a further life. It would definitely be fun to put my knives back on.
Would Season 5 of The Guild will pick up at the convention?
Felicia Day: I can’t – I’m not going to confirm or deny that. I don’t want to promise something before I have sat down to, you know, I’m actually in the middle of writing the comic books. I’m doing five more issues with Dark Horse so (Bork) is coming out at the end of December and I just turned in the script for (Tink) and then I’m moving on to Blades that I’m co-writing with The Guild director Sean Becker which will be very cool.
And, Dark Horse has lined up some amazing cover artists for this sequence so I’m very excited for people to see them and also to enjoy kind of a little more back story with the characters we don’t know quite as much about.
On whether she got to do things for Red that she hadn’t done before:
Felicia Day: Absolutely. Like I said, I really was on a short availability window during this period when we shot Red. And I had turned down a bunch of other – a couple of other things just because I was so busy, because writing takes up so much of my time and it’s very important to me to get my script really, really refined before I produce it.
So this was something that just kind of – it came out of left field but it definitely was an opportunity to stretch my acting legs and also just focus on being an actor for once. It was definitely something that I felt like was an interesting challenge.
I always look at a project and am I going to learn from this and am I going to learn a new skill from this and is it something that I don’t think I’ll get the opportunity to do again in the future? And this project definitely was check, check, check on all those levels because I’m not the stereotypical action star. So just the opportunity to be able to do that was just – it’s very flattering and just a great experience.
On whether she’d be up for another Syfy movie:
Felicia Day: Yeah absolutely. I just – it would just depend on the role and the timing but I – obviously Syfy likes what I do which I feel is very flattering and we’re in the same worlds in a sense. And it feels good to know that this is all kind of the result of all the hard work that I do on my Web show every day. It definitely is one of those true Hollywood stories in that hard work does get – beget work. So I really love that.
On a possible love triangle in Eureka with Wil Wheaton’s character and Colin Ferguson’s character (and on a funny tweet about nudity in an episode):
Felicia Day: No no, the – my primary storyline is between Fargo and Wil Wheaton although I do have the privilege of working with the other actors in many, many different scenes throughout the season.
Yeah, that was just a coincidental situation where somebody was unclothed in a scene that I was in and brandishing his bicep weapons at me. And I couldn’t stop giggling even if we were rolling so that was – he was just harassing me.
“Is Fargo the third leg of that triangle”
Felicia Day: Yes he is.
Oh my goodness, I’m so glad that Fargo is getting, you know, some action.
Felicia Day: Yeah, no I’m sure he – yeah no, it’s very funny. It’s a tumultuous situation. It’s definitely a lot of tension between the three that I can’t tell you where it culminates.
“But in your episodes does Stan Lee also guest star in the same episodes?”
Felicia Day: I was in the – yes I was acting in the episode that Stan Lee was in, yes. So that was exciting because I know him from the conventions, just meeting him there. So I had actually seen him the weekend before at a convention and it was like a reunion with him. He is one of the most charming, nice people I have ever met and just a sweetheart.
I’ve never seen actually anybody on a set more – people – the crew who are just usually kind of not really excited about actors because that’s the job. They were fan girling and fan boying out over him getting pictures with him. And he was so gracious, he posed for probably like 60 photos just for the crew. I mean, just a class act.
What would she say to encourage kids not to be afraid of being intelligent?
Felicia Day: I think it’s very complicated and nothing that – I don’t think there’s one thing that could change all children to love math and science.
But I do feel like the thing that made me as a child want to be good at math and want to know science and math was that my parents were both scientists. My dad was a doctor, my mom was a microbiologist, my grandfather is a nuclear physicist. So in our family there was no question whether you would be educated in that area, it would just be which topic and how good are you.
So there was a big motivation and I think it all comes down to mentors. And, those are things that we in the public eye, I think that it’s interesting. Geeks are a little bit chic but it’s more underground.
Like if you think of just the typical woman that a 12 year old girl would emulate and admire right now, I don’t know that it’s going to be a woman who’s necessarily known for her brains or for her scientific acumen or any of that. Not to insult anybody but I’m just – it’s more about looks and about what purse you have and more reality TV based. And I feel like the thing that you can do as a creator is to create roles that are not stereotypical like that, that just don’t base on looks.
And, one of the things that’s a byproduct of what I do on the Internet that’s the thing that I’m most proud of is that girls are much more proud of saying that they’re gamers or sort of coming out of the closet as gamers. Because they were there the whole time but it was just considered weird or unless you look like some kind of really, really hot over the top stereotypical “gamer girl” that you shouldn’t say that you’re a gamer.
So to me it’s all about mentors and making it acceptable and having people that you want to emulate and admire who are interested in those things. So, I mean, I don’t know what the quick solution is but it’s just encouraging mentors in a sense will make people, that’s really what people and kids want to drive themselves toward achieving in.
About working on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:
Felicia Day: I mean, there’s a lot to talk about. It was an amazing experience. I don’t think that I’ll ever have a job to top my experience on that set. Really, it was about working with fantastic people but every single person was really there for the love of the project.
It wasn’t really a job because clearly it was done on such a low budget and nobody was really getting paid an advance for it like a normal TV show or movie. But everybody knew that – there was like a crackling creativity on set that everybody knew that they were making the best thing they possibly could with no interference and their vision was going directly to the screen without having the typical steps that you do when you develop something.
So, it definitely was just an amazing experience and clearly lives on. I hope that in the future they re-explore the universe of it whether, you know, I don’t know if I would be involved or not but I could only hope.
Who would she want to work with in the future (a dream list)?
Felicia Day: Wow, there’s some fantastic directors I would love to work with, Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson and, I could go down the list of directors that I would love to work with. I’d love to work with Ron Moore and Bryan Fuller. There are certain people that just really make me, you know, Simon Pegg, I would love to act with Simon Pegg.
I definitely have a little dream list of my own going on. Who knows if that would ever happen but those are the people that definitely make me squeal if I ever was even in a room with them. I think I saw the back of Tina Fey’s head once and I almost fainted.
Would she ever direct?
Felicia Day: I’ve never directed anything and I think that my experience writing comic books made me appreciate it on a different level. I agreed to do the comics with Dark Horse for The Guild without really thinking through what a comic book writer really, I mean, I appreciated it but unless you do it you don’t appreciate what a comic book writer really does.
And a comic book writer is the function of what is on screen that a director would do, a DP would do, a writer, and production designer really. I mean, you really do – are the master of that domain in a world – in a way that I didn’t really appreciate before I started.
So training myself to think visually in order to write the comics was definitely a training wheels experience. But I feel like that is definitely something that would contribute to my interest to direct in the future. Right now I’m really concentrating on developing the ideas that I want. I’m working on a couple other Web series right now to do between Guild seasons and as a creator I’m really driven to get the stories I want to out there.
But I definitely won’t rule out the idea of trying to direct in the future. Everything I have always tried to do it just raises my appreciation for what those people – the experts in that field do.
(And here was our section:)
Jessica Rae of SmallScreenScoop.com: Hey Felicia, I love that you mentioned King’s Quest because I haven’t thought of that in forever. How are you feeling today?
Felicia Day: I’m good. You can actually download King’s Quest on gog.com, g-o-g.com. It’s a site that I just got this little alien wire notebook and I’ve been downloading all these old games that I played as a kid like Masquerade Vampire and all the King’s Quest and Space Quest and Planescape Torment and all the old – yeah so they have a great list of old games they have adapted for modern use and I’ve just been wasting a lot of time on that.
Jessica Rae: Well that’s very cool. I’m going to check that out, because how can you not?
Felicia Day: Yeah it’s a great Website and it’s only like $6 for them so it’s like a total deal.
Jessica Rae: That is a deal, cool. So, from the trailer, your character seems very tough, very gritty. Can you talk about how you relate to Virginia’s personality?
Felicia Day: Yeah, it was definitely something that I worked on a lot to be able to ground her. And, it’s hard – you can see somebody sometimes acting tough and I wanted to make sure that it was something organic.
I have a perception of myself as being tougher in my head than I know that I look so that was definitely something that I had to work on. And, as an actor I just worked to ground her and try to find some traits that we had in common.
She’s a character that really cares deeply about everybody and is torn and really wants to make everything work. And I definitely feel that in myself that not only do I get together, but people to put together a Web show and almost no money.
So I feel like there is a commonality in that, and I always love bringing out the best in people. That’s something that really I realize makes me happy in life and I feel like that’s sort of a commonality in this character. She’s definitely thinking of other people before herself in a sense.
Jessica Rae: Well that sounds very much like the you that we’ve come to know so that’s very cool. And I love that this is airing before Halloween. Will you be watching this with friends live on Syfy as it airs or anything?
Felicia Day: Yeah absolutely. I think the producer has a screening planned for Saturday and I think I’m getting back into town from Eureka just on Saturday morning. So I’ll be tired but I definitely will be watching. I think it’s just so cool. I didn’t know that it was supposed to air so on this date and when I heard it I just thought, it’s a perfect time to air it because who doesn’t want to kill werewolves on a Halloween weekend?
Jessica Rae: And will you tell us what you’re going to do for Halloween?
Felicia Day: I actually have no plans. I actually specialize in the complaining about having no costume at the last minute even though I should have planned ahead.
A friend of mine actually gives out – has a really big Halloween party every weekend so – or every year so this Sunday I’ll be at her house handing out candy because I like to not give candy to kids who don’t have a costume on. I’m sort of the candy administrator of the block so that’s pretty fun.
And somebody on Twitter actually this morning gave me a really good idea for a costume. They suggested that I dress as my Fallout character Veronica the scribe and I thought that’s kind of fun. If I could just get a pneumatic glove though before Sunday I’ll be there.
Jessica Rae: Or you could be the – do something for the candy administrator like a button and some kind of hat, I don’t know.
Felicia Day: It’s true. Maybe a mustache.
Jessica Rae: Yes that would be awesome. Anyways, thank you so much. Talking to you is a pleasure as always.
Felicia Day: Oh thank you so much.
On her character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Vi) who was chosen, and if Virginia in Red is also a natural:
Felicia Day: I think it’s interesting because in Buffy, Vi was chosen to be a slayer and kind of found herself in being chosen and I think it’s actually almost the opposite. It’s taking that idea of being chosen and showing the dark side of it really in this movie because my character Red does not feel settled with the idea of being trapped by destiny in a sense.
She was chosen before birth because the family is obligated to fight werewolves but it’s not something that she definitely – she wanted for herself. She didn’t want that to be her only aspect or to trap her into not living her life fully. And really that’s the core of the conflict, trying to fight fate in a sense.
So yeah, I feel like it’s almost the opposite of Vi. I mean, like I said, I think that the role that most closely, you know, performance wise and just personality wise that I have played before, the most similar would be my role in Dollhouse when I played Mag because she was sort of out of her element in a sense and fighting, tired of the world breaking down in a sense and feeling helpless and just trying to get day to day.
What advice would she give to other people setting out to make a web series?
Felicia Day: I would just say that, shooting it, it’s like every film, really shooting it and getting it made is only like 20% of the work. The work with the Web series is being smart about how you find your audience, about how you interact with your audience, and how you retain your audience.
We are very privileged to have very loyal fans that carry us through with no advertising whatsoever. Microsoft puts us on their portals but we don’t have billboards, we don’t have ads, we don’t have anything really to publicize this and yet we still have millions and millions of views, we sell a DVD in stores, we have – so it’s completely word of mouth.
And I think that you always have to operate – at the end of the day you always have to do the work yourself so any extra help you get from your distributor or the places you upload, it’s only going to – you always have to rely only on yourself and everything else is kind of bonus.
I guess also I would say please make sure that you take time with the script. I know a lot of people who have written a first draft of a script and they think that’s writing but really I discovered that the first draft is merely a roadmap and you have to really, really work so hard in order to make the script go.
Because if you have a great script it doesn’t matter how much you pay your actors or how nice a camera you have or if you have money to do special effects. Like if you have a good story it will definitely shine through and the problem is that some people are a little hasty and think that just having a script equals let’s just go shoot it.
I think being careful about what you present is the most important thing because the Web, you know, you can find an audience for anything. So if you make sure your story is something that just a small segment of the population will like you’ll find an audience and that’s the beautiful thing about the Web.
Would she ever play a role on Doctor Who if it was offered, and who would she be?
Felicia Day: Oh wow. I mean, yeah, I mean, I could definitely see myself doing that. I mean, like I said earlier, like it would be fantastic to play somebody evil to be honest with you. That would be kind of a treat for me. But, there are certain iconic franchises like Doctor Who that, I mean, honestly just a walk-on part would just thrill me to the bone.
Did she know Stephen McHattie prior to this project?
Felicia Day: Yeah, well I think he’s one of those actors that you don’t know that you know him until you see his face and then you’re like oh my gosh, that’s that guy. He is – yes, what a great actor, like really just immerses himself really in the part. Sometimes I didn’t know if he was in character or not off the set. He is just – he is definitely inspirational in that he took what was on the page and just kind of made it his own in a way that you could never have scripted honestly.
So he’s definitely an icon and working, I found in the past that you definitely – there are certain actors that raise the bar for the other actors and definitely make them better at what they do. And he is one of those guys that you never see the actor in him, you just see the truth of the character. So he was actually pretty frightening to be honest with you.
What activities or type of work feeds her the most, which does she wake up the most excited to do that day?
Felicia Day: I think that I’m a little ADD in the sense that I love everything I do. I love the waking up to write something, I love working on a new project, I love actually giving notes. I’m producing a couple of Web series with my co-producer and we’re developing the scripts and just being able to help people on their scripts is really fun for me. I love being on set, I mean, I love taking around the craft service tray to make sure that everybody has a carrot or a cupcake.
So to me the collaborative nature of film making is something that I love so no matter what role I’m playing I really enjoy it and I feel like I’m really doing something that is fulfilling in life.
Even waking up and spreading the word about a new episode, like that is kind of a thrill. That’s something I would never want to give up being able to release stuff into the wild onto the Web and see all the feedback good and bad. That’s just what goes with the territory when you have millions of people at your fingertips. So it definitely toughens you up but it definitely makes me – it keeps me going.
“So are you one of those folks that can go on like four hours a night? It sounds like you just have full days.”
Felicia Day: No no, I’m a big sleeper so I trade sleeping for social life mostly.
Is she getting more into dramatic roles, or are there more web-series goodies that she has coming out?
Felicia Day: I can’t really say anything but I would say a couple of each. I am working on something a little more dramatic but we’ll see. It’s a long development process. Like I say, I will not take one step forward unless I think the script is good enough to step forward on. It’s just a – as long as there’s no deadline I will spend as long as I need to make sure that I’m proud of every word that comes off the page.
The Guild often has very memorable holiday videos, will there be one this year?
Felicia Day: No not for the remainder of the year because there are some production conflicts with some people. But I do – I am looking toward early next year to see what holidays are there in the first quarter or couple of quarters of the year to definitely do one. We’re going to release our Halloween video that was only on the DVD perhaps to YouTube this year. So that would be a good idea I think. But nothing for Christmas because we did Christmas last year, I don’t want to ever do the same thing.
About the physical demands and stunts:
Felicia Day: Yeah, I did a lot of stunts. They did have a stunt double there to do some of the things but I definitely – I requested to go up early just to be able to train with some things. And I definitely got in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life for this. I worked out every single day. And it makes me admire the other mainstream actresses who are known for their physicality.
Like it’s a full time job just to stay in shape for things like this because you’re working 12 hours a day. You have to find time to physically stay in it as well as this character is a little more mature and also Kavan, I wanted to make sure that the back story with Kavan and I was believable. So, the way I did my hair, the way that I dressed, it was all things that I got to collaborate on with the director and the producers.
It definitely was one of those things where I would really just wake up and go to set and go to bed. And by the end of the week we had like 7:00 pm calls so I didn’t – my body had no idea what day it was. I would go out to brunch and they were like it’s Monday, you can’t have brunch because we were working on 18 hour days.
So yeah, it was very physically demanding and made me appreciate working on Buffy with Sarah Michelle Gellar, working all day every day, being first in, last out. It definitely seems glamorous on the outside but somebody like Colin on Eureka even, he’s working every single day all day in every scene and it’s a lot of hard work. It’s definitely something to admire.
What got her into acting and writing? Had she always been following that path?
Felicia Day: No no, not at all actually. When I decided to film The Guild and put it online, I was terrified. When I sat down to write a script for the first time ever and actually complete it, it was kind of a terrifying experience.
And I think that sort of inhibits a lot of people from actually following through with something they think they’d like to do but they’re afraid, they’re afraid that it’s not going to be good, they’re afraid that it’s going to be too hard, they’re afraid that nobody will watch it. There are just all these fears that I think prevent people from creating.
And, the best – the most rewarding things that I’ve gotten out of this whole journey in the last three years is that setting your fears aside and just plowing ahead no matter what will happen reaps the most rewarding and gratifying things in life.
So yeah, I just – it was a situation where I was just frustrated with the roles that I was getting. I was being typecast more and more as kind of this quirky secretary role who would just have a walk-on. And it just got very frustrating and I didn’t think that was all that I had to offer and I didn’t see any other option other than to quit and do something else with my life or just really forge ahead and try to invent something myself.
Not to say that I have this grand vision, I just was trying to be creatively fulfilled and just doing that and getting talented people to work with me, we all made this every single day for no money, and this has come out of it.
It really is gratifying that hard work, and it is very hard work. I’m on the Internet all day every day doing what I do. But it does pay off in a sense that I’ve opened the door to do something like Red where I’m in the lead and I’m not behind a desk being a secretary.
Had she always wanted to be an actress?
Felicia Day: I mean, when I was growing up yeah, my aunt was the one who encouraged me. She actually had a theater degree and she encouraged me to start acting when I was like 8. I did community theater, I did Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.
But, I was primarily a violinist. I had been playing the violin since I was 3 and it was really sort of – I went to college early, I was 16, I got a full scholarship and I did a bunch of competitions, I did solo work, and I won all these things and I performed in front of orchestras.
So, really the plan was to be a violinist but when I got into college when I realized what the options were with that, I didn’t really necessarily want to play in an orchestra for the rest of my life. So I knew that being a performer, being creative would always be part of my life and acting, it sort of as I went through college became the thing that I definitely wanted to try to do. And I moved to LA right after I graduated.
How was it working with Kavan Smith on both Red and Eureka?
Felicia Day: Yeah, it’s so funny when I walked on the set and I saw him there. It was really funny. We worked together several times during the season and it’s just like a homecoming being able to work with actors. It’s a very small, tight group and it seems like especially when you go to conventions you know everybody there and you learn to know everybody through that.
So I had – it’s just a great time being able to reunite with him in a completely different role. We don’t have to have the chemistry necessarily on Eureka that we had to have on Red.
“If you were to press Shuffle on your IPod right now what would be the most embarrassing song that would play?”
Felicia Day: Oh boy, like that new shoe song. I mean, honestly I listen to really bad stuff. I mean, it’s the worst 80s music the better. There’s probably some, Cool Sunglasses, what is that one? That’s a terrible one. Duran Duran.
Duran Duran’s not bad.
Felicia Day: It’s not bad but, I mean, there are levels of bad. I love – personally I love Roxette. I’m a big Roxette defender.
Felicia Day: People put them – yes, The Look is right here. I’m looking at it right now. It sounds like somebody is playing somebody in the background there. Is it Hall & Oates?
“No, right now it’s Lee Ann Rimes’ I Need You.“
Felicia Day: Oh okay, that’s pretty embarrassing but good.
(Christina Copar): A little bit. Well thank you.
What paranormal romances does she like?
Felicia Day: Oh all of them. If you check my goodreads.com account/feliciaday I have hundreds of books on the vaginal fantasy and vaginal urban fantasy shelves.
I really love, I mean, I’m a huge fan of Ilona Andrews and Richelle Mead and Rachel Caine and Lisa Shearin. I mean, I literally probably have read all of them. I’m not kidding. There are some others that I’m getting to. I’m reading like a really cool Steampunk novel right now by Meljean Brooks, Meljean Brooks.
And I guess – oh there’s a great urban fantasy series that I just discovered that I’m obsessed with by (Caroline Kane) which is Doubleblind. It’s fantastic. It’s like a neurotic superhero urban fantasy. It’s like my favorite thing going on right now.
“And I don’t know if you’ve ever read what was it called, Sunshine by Robin McKinley.”
Felicia Day: Yeah, I love that book. It’s actually one of my top favorite books. I wish she’d do a sequel but I guess that would not really work out but I love the world that she created, that’s for sure.
“Yeah I had talked to Charlaine Harris who did the True Blood inspired books and she has even requested a sequel for that and it’s just not going to happen.”
Felicia Day: Why? Oh that’s so weird.
“Well it’s because Robin McKinley is very, you know, she’s like that’s a contained book.”
Felicia Day: Yeah I love her work. I’ve read all her other fantasy stuff, I love it.
Felicia Day: I always make sure that it’s all listed on Good Reads.
On who is sexier: vampires or werewolves?
Felicia Day: Well from a dating standpoint definitely I think vampires because the whole hair thing doesn’t work for me.
“You like them less hairy.”
Felicia Day: Yeah I like the genteel vampire is definitely one that I’m a fan of. I definitely am a fan of Jean Claude from the early I Need a Break novels. I feel like he was kind of the paragon of that in the early ones like 1 through 5.
The early ones, right. It gets a little dicey later on.
Felicia Day: Yeah.
Did she get any injuries during stunts?
Felicia Day: I had bruises all over my body all the time but no injuries because I did work out a lot. I think the worst thing you can do is go and do something really physical and not be in shape. So I went to my gym and I took like old lady weightlifting classes and like little cheerleader girls would go Lift and Lift and they would play like Pump It Up. And you know what, it got me in shape so I can’t complain about it.
What weapons did she use in the movie:
Felicia Day: I mean, there are a lot and I think that’s where the fun comes in. This is a very serious movie but you can definitely laugh with it on some of the parts that it takes very seriously but where I have a harpoon in my hands. I feel like there is that sort of element that it’s a little over the top which I think is fantastic. It definitely infuses a fun spirit underneath a lot of drama and horror.
So I use an array of weapons. I have knives and various – some of the other cast members have some great like cyberpunk Tommy gun looking things. So yeah, there’s some really fun things. It’s definitely something you can have fun with looking in the background at all the things that are on the wall.
“At the end of the Grimm version of Little Red Riding Hood, Riding Hood and her grandmother do actually set a trap for another opportunistic wolf and, you know, as they have learned from their first experience. Does Red take that and kind of progress it to a werewolf kind of hunting modernization of the story”
Felicia Day: I think that was definitely the inspiration from it. Like I think the fairytale itself was only like a jumping off point about the idea that if the first Red Riding Hood killed the first wolf then what if they felt like the responsibility was to kill all wolves forever and keep them away from the world.
So, I mean, it’s not so much a literal I think interpretation as just a jumping off point of the idea that you have werewolves joined with that fairytale which I think is kind of a clever thing.
“Are you more of a werewolf person or a vampire person? Because I know that usually people are one or the other.”
Felicia Day: Yeah, I mean, I think there has been really fun stuff on both ends as far as literature. I love Mercedes Thompson or Mercy Thompson. Those books are fantastic ones that made me love werewolves in a way that I didn’t like before.
So I have to say that vampires are definitely my preference but there are certain books that bring werewolves to life really, really well and hopefully that will kind of continue into Red be a sort of humanization or anthropomorphize them, is that the word?
What was the most fun she had in that role?
Felicia Day: It was fun like at the – I love doing the fights things, I really did. Being able to run and jump on people and like slash and learning how to use a gun. Like I said, I actually went and trained and went to a shooting range and shot real guns to do that because I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know how to handle a firearm which was really fun.
Those are the fun things in acting when you can learn something new and you take that through. It changes you. Those things just add to who you are and what you know how to do.
“Excellent. Well I can’t watch – can’t wait to watch Red when it comes out this weekend. And you are a huge inspiration for geek girls everywhere so thank you very much and we love you.”
Felicia Day: Oh thank you so much for saying that. It means – it really does mean a lot to me.
“I was reading your book list. You’ve read a lot of books.”
Felicia Day: Oh yeah, that’s not even all of them. Somebody – I just – some of them I don’t have listed so yeah, I read a lot. I love my Kindle, I read a lot.
“Well I suggest Nina Banks for paranormal romance. That’s who I like”
Felicia Day: Oh I’ve never picked her up because of her name but I guess I’ll try it.
“Yeah actually they’re really good. They’re funny and got the romance so I like it. So I was going to ask really quick, can you talk about maybe your favorite scene in Red the film without, you know, giving too much away?”
Felicia Day: Yeah I don’t know if I can give a lot away. I do – I feel like there are some dramatic things when I’m – I think the more – the scenes – there are a couple of scenes if you take one where I’m very dis-empowered. It’s sort of – that would be with the bad guy Steve McHattie.
And there’s definitely a scene there that has a lot of subtext and I think was kind of dramatically shot and it was just really fun to be able to act like that. And then of course the ending, the finale, I don’t want to give anything away but there’s some really fun things that happen in that and there was a lot to coordinate.
But I can’t wait to see it. I haven’t actually seen some of the final, final wolves so it was always something where it was what do the werewolves look like and it was always oh they’re going to look like this. And to see them come to life now in the post phase was kind of a thrill for me.
What superpower would she like?
Felicia Day: I always thought – I’ve been playing Fallout and the pleasure that I get stealing things from people, I think that I would want to be invisible because then I could sneak around and eavesdrop and steal things. I have to say that’s probably what I would do.
… Yeah those are my favorite video games where I get to steal stuff out of drawers.
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Get amped: Red: Werewolf Hunter Trailers
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