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Exclusive Interview:
Amanda Wyss

The sheer mention of Amanda Wyss and a horror fan will instantly think about her as Tina in the iconic A Nightmare on Elm Street suspended to a ceiling and being cut to bits as her hapless boyfriend looks on. Or what about the body bag school scene from the same movie complete with caterpillar slipping out of her mouth as she utters the words ‘‘Nancy’’?

Whilst Wyss gave an amazing performance in the 1984 slasher there is so much more to the acclaimed actress who has gone on to continue in films as well as some of the best loved prime time television shows.

Wyss’s career goes as far back as 1980 and she has starred alongside some of cinema’s greats including Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kevin Costner, Kevin Cline, Danny Glover and Jonny Depp, the list is endless.

As ever she’s a busy gal and her latest movie the critically acclaimed The Id has just made it on home media. To celebrate this we recently got the chance to sit down and have a few words with Amanda.

HMS: The Id is out on Blu- ray and this comes on the back of some justifiably great reviews. How did you get the role of Meridith and what made you decide to take it?

Amanda Wyss: I got the role of Meridith because Thommy Hutson, the director, a good friend of mine, asked me to read the script written by Sean Stewart,​with the role of Meridith in mind. It was so raw and relentless and challenging. I was moved and disturbed by the story. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I knew I had to play the role. I'm so happy that the reviews have been favourable. Some of them mind-blowingly so! The movie was a real labour of love so I'm excited for people to see it.

HMS: There are many intense scenes with your character and your father played by Patrick Peduto. How did you prepare for these scenes and what was Patrick like to work with?

AW: It seems like all of the scenes were intense in one way or another from beginning to end. I had time before the movie to really explore Meridith and her life. By the time we started filming I was ready to go down the rabbit hole and step into her world for a while. ​Our set was supportive and friendly, and very much focussed. We had a lot to shoot in a very short time. Patrick, who plays my father, is sweet. We had a great working relationship on set. We leapt into our characters as father and daughter, and respected each other’s processes. Each scene felt like a shootout at the OK Corral.

HMS: Though he has worked on some wonderful documentaries The Id marked Thommy Hutson's first feature movie behind the lens, how was your relationship like with him?

AW: Because we were friends we had a nice short hand with each other. Before we started filming Thommy gave me some films to watch for tone and mood. We talked a lot about Meridith and the movie in general. We were very much on the same page. He and the crew created a safe place wherein I could go to the places I had to go to bring Meridith to life. ​He's smart and talented and a good person. I look forward to working with him again.

HMS: There is an undeniable theme of the dangers of living in the past in The Id, especially with Meridith's character. In your opinion how important is that line between happily looking back in a nostalgic sense, but always ready to move forward?

AW: That's an interesting question for me because I'm asked to walk that line all of the time in my career. Some of what I'm known for are iconic films from the past. I'm in awe and grateful that the fans still love them. ​People want to talk about them. Interviewers want to talk about them. Indie filmmakers want me to do "Oh look its Tina or Beth" cameos I've ​done a few of those and I regret it. Some of the best roles I've had are because directors were fans of those movies. For me personally, I prefer the here and now. With a grateful nod to the past, ​ I think the best time is in the present. As for Meridith, she feels trapped in her life, in her house, in her caretaker relationship with her father. She's watched year after year slip by. She has romanticized her past and dreams about those glory days. Maybe in her case it was a way to hang on to her sanity. But in the end it destroys her.

HMS: You've starred in some of the best known television shows, everything from Dexter to ER. What are the main differences between acting in a show and a movie and which medium do you prefer.

AW: The thing is; a great role is a great role, whether it's in TV show or in film. Often some of the best roles for women are in TV. At least that's been my experience. I've had some great recurring roles on series that run the gamut from developmentally disabled, (Pru on St. Elsewhere) to serial killer, Tina on CSI, and everything in between.


It used to be that TV shooting schedules moved much faster than a feature. So I had less time to explore a character. But now with so many independent films being made on tiny budgets, TV often has a more luxurious schedule. I'm intrigued and excited by the filmmakers that create fully explored character roles for women. The Id and the role of Meridith came from young filmmakers taking a chance.

HMS: I know we've talked about nostalgia but I don't think that many people would have known that you starred in back to back episodes of Cheers. What was this experience like working on one of the all-time prime time sitcoms as Woody's girlfriend?

AW: I've played a few Beth’s-like in Better off Dead. Beth’s, Tina’s and Lisa’s. It's crazy. Anyway, Cheers was so much fun. I was Woody's ex-girlfriend from Indiana. In the past we had both been obese because we ate instead of having sex. It was a very funny premise. It was amazing to work with so many talented actors and directors. We had a lot of fun. I loved it.

HMS: Let’s talk a little about A Nightmare on Elm Street. 32 years later and the movie has not lost its impact. Why do you think the original has stood the test of time?

AW: I don't really know. I didn't see it coming. The same with Better off Dead, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Silverado and Powwow Highway. They all definitely struck a chord. Is it timing? Is it chemistry? Is it some sort of factor? As for Nightmare on Elm Street, it was an interesting story with a good script and good actors. It was Wes Craven. Some say, it was a reinvention of the genre. Something about these movies still speak to people.

HMS: Do you have a behind the scenes story you can share with us on your time in A Nightmare on Elm Street?

AW: We were filming in the alley behind Tina's house, in Venice, in the middle of the night. The scene called for Tina to step out into the alley and pick up a trashcan lid covered in worms, then run from Freddy. So I walked down the glass covered, needle infested alley, barefoot. The crew tried to pick up as much of the detritus that they could. I was freezing, grossed out, and afraid that I would cut my feet open or worse. When I started running and screaming the neighbours started yelling at me to shut up! It was insane.

HMS: If there was to be another reboot/remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street would you be willing to come back as another character?

AW: It's my understanding that they don't want anyone from the original to be involved in their remakes. ​But, if they did it would depend upon the role. We will see.

HMS: Onwards and upwards and it seems you have a very busy time ahead of you, which one of your future projects are you looking the most forward to getting a release date?

AW: I'm reading scripts and looking for a follow up to The Id. The challenge is to find another great role to dive into. The Id and Meridith set the bar high. Right now I'm starring in a horror narrative virtual reality short that's available on Samsung called 360 Degrees of Hell. My first foray into VR and it was really fun. I hope to be a part of more immersive projects. Also, I'm in the award winning Horror short Oct 23rd, available on Vimeo. Definitely looking forward to filming Catch a Fallen Star next year. It stars Dee Wallace, Robert Craighead and me. It's a great script and role that I'm excited about.

Check out the VR horror short, 360 Degrees of Hell below:

David Bronstein, HMS

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