A few things that I enjoy about this “work” is when really cool material comes to my attention or when I get to talk to really cool people about the things they’ve worked on or are currently working on, and all of that was the case with Jacqui Holland. You might have seen the stunning beauty in one of her appearances in popular shows such as How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives, and Conan, or you might have seen her in one of the many movies she’s been in like Hollywood Sex Wars and My Bestfriend’s Girl. And even though she won Best Actress in a Feature Film at the Hoboken International Film Festival in 2013, she has a lot on her plate this year because in addition to acting, writing, and directing in some upcoming projects she now has her own production company called MNDFCK. And since I love comedies, there are a couple that she’s in that I’m really looking forward to seeing. A beautiful, intelligent woman with a great sense of humor…what else is needed to show she’s the real deal?
Me: I’m really big on supporting indie work in many formats and there’s a special place in my heart for indies. After going through all your projects it seems to me that you’re basically a Jill-of-all-trades with all the different roles (director, writer, actor) you’ve been in and the upcoming Indie projects you’re involved in. Which role do you enjoy the most?
Jacqui: I definitely think acting is my true passion, mainly because I like to pretend that I’m someone else. That’s really fun for me but all aspects of it are really exciting. I just love the whole process of filmmaking.
Me: You started your own production company, MNDFCK, what was your motivation to start it and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
Jacqui: Well we had originally made a film called Two Faced, which will be out in 2014, and it’s a horror/thriller with some dark comedy in it. And after we were done with it, 2 of the producers, Ken Tayloe and Ben Rotast, (and I) met with some other people and they all wanted to do this sort of movie and we talked about what we want to do next. And the 3 of us were like, no, we just want to make movies like Two Faced (and) are dark, twisted and fuck your mind up. But then at the same time they actually have a real story that’s high concept and you can get your sex, your violence and your blood and everything in it. So that’s kind of what MNDFCK is all about.
Me: So it’s about getting all the good things you want in the movie without being limited to what you can put in it.
Jacqui: Right! And I feel there are a lot of low-budget movies right now that are out that are made for the same amount of money or maybe a little bit less, but they lack story. They lack that high concept, smart script that’s thought-provoking because they’re giving you a lot of blood and a lot of sex and we want to do more than that.
Me: And with the different formats available, such as VOD, you can reach your audience directly. Did that play a large role in you forming your own production company?
Jacqui: Totally. It totally does. Of course I want my movies to go to theater, who doesn’t? But in this market with theatrical releases a lot of them are losing money so to be able to do a VOD and having all the outlets for it, you can definitely be successful with it. And I feel like even the big studios are leaning towards the VOD market now.
Me: In your experience, since you know how the sausage is made, so-to-speak, do you feel serving in one role helps you understand and perform better in another?
Jacqui: I feel that understanding everything is helpful. Even just recently I learned about lenses and I’m learning what’s close up and what’s far away so you even know when you’re on camera as an actor. It’s just learning the production inside and out. I’m like oh it’s gonna be up close, where’s the make-up artist. So yeah it’s definitely good. As a producer I worked on this film this past week that I was telling you about yesterday, but even on that one I know we missed a shot. And I was able to tell the AD, we didn’t get my coverage on that. And he was like oh shit, yeah we need to get that. And I feel that it just makes you more aware as an actor.
Me: Now I don’t want to leave out your acting credentials, and the first time I saw you was in Hollywood Sex Wars, and you had a role in my Best Friend’s Girl. But you recently won Best Actress in a Feature Film at the Hoboken International Film Festival for your role in Silent But Deadly. Tell me about your character in this movie and what made that character different from your previous movies.
Jacqui: The character’s name is Kitty and she’s the Activities Director in a retirement home. And what I really like about the character is she’s a lot of fun, she’s kind of dumb as a rock. She’s also one of the leads of the film and she does have a conniving side to her as well. One of my favorite things is when she’s directing in the retirement home she likes to sing, and she treats them like they’re kindergarteners. So it’s definitely a funny role.
Me: So when you signed on for that role did you have any idea you might win an award for it or did you just go with it?
Jacqui: I actually had no idea. That was one of the scripts I produced and co-wrote with Jason Lockhart, who was the director. So we wrote it for me and, no, I had no idea. To be honest with you when I was at the Hoboken Film Festival, I knew the film was up for something and I didn’t even know I was up for best actress and when it happened I was just in pure shock.
Me: That’s a great surprise especially considering the film was nominated in a few categories. When it comes to feature films you’ve had notable roles in comedies. What is it about the genre that draws you to it, and do you have any upcoming roles in other genres?
Jacqui: I say this a lot, but I feel like I’m the product of a dirty old man and a kindergarten teacher. I had really funny parents growing up. My dad is hilarious. And I feel like it kind of rubbed off on me so I always had pretty good comedic timing. And I did stand-up for a little bit and turns out I like acting much better. But it’s good because you’re in front of people telling jokes and stuff. It comes very naturally to me. But I do have a bunch of upcoming films, and I’ve actually been trying to lean away from the comedy and get more into the horror/thriller leading lady roles. I have an action film called God of Thunder, it’s a Thor action film and that will be coming out in March. And then I have another film that’s a horror psychological thriller that will be coming out in 2014 called Dead Ringer. And there’s Two Faced. It’s kind of like I just can’t get away from comedy to be honest with you. I just shot a zomcom spoof here in Texas and that was really fun because I like combining the horror and comedy together.
Me: Now that upcoming movie that you just mentioned is something that I’m very interested in, The Walking Dead spoof. I’m a big fan of the show and when I read the synopsis it made me laugh. It’s hilarious with the character waking up from a coma and they have to convince other people that he’s not brain-dead, he’s just a little slow. I see all types of potential in that script. Tell me about the character you’ll be playing in that movie.
Jacqui: I play a hippie farm girl and I smoke a lot of marijuana. It was the first movie that I ever worked on where I didn’t spend hours in hair and make-up. I would only take 5 minutes. They just put my hair in a braid and some foundation. So I don’t even know how that’s gonna end up.
Me: It’ll end up very well because you’re a natural beauty so I’m sure of that.
Jacqui: Thank you. Thank you, I was like are we done? And she was like yep.
Me: You mentioned you did stand-up comedy for a while and that surprised me. I wouldn’t expect that and that’s a mistake on my part, but do you have any issues with being typecast in certain roles because of how you look?
Jacqui: Totally. I feel like really early in my career like around the time of My Best Friend’s Girl, I did a lot of strippers, hookers, porn stars, drunken sorority girls sort of roles so I’ve been working the last 2 years to really reshape my image into a leading lady and not a trashy stripper. Although trashy strippers are always fun to play (laughs). I continue to play them but I would love to do it on a larger scale. You know, like a big role that’s all about a trashy stripper would be great.
Me: Well you do have your own production company now so…
Jacqui: (laughs) I know right. I don’t think my management would be very happy about that.
Me: So what would be your ideal role whether it’s in a particular series or a particular character type?
Jacqui: I’m in love with this season of American Horror Story so any of those characters, (they’re) just brilliant. I would love to do something like that. I really like witches. That’s my thing. I love the supernatural, psychological thrillers, and that show is just so smart.
Me: You have a role as a detective in an upcoming movie called the Ritual. What can you share with me about that?
Jacqui: The writer of it is one of my Facebook friends and I posted something and he was like are you interested in reading our script. And I read it and I loved it because it’s a role that no one would normally cast me in. She’s a detective and she’s obsessed with her work, and she has a fiancée and everything but she’s not ready to be married. She’s just obsessed with being a detective. And I feel like it’s very similar to me, not being a detective, but being a filmmaker and being an actor and so engrossed in my work that I kind of forget about real life sometimes. And I feel like I can relate to that character and I never played a detective before and I think that will be a challenging role. And she carries about 70% of the film so I’m excited.
Me: Anything else on your plate for this year or for your production company?
Jacqui: Yeah we’re definitely working on getting a few more films made by the end of 2014. And they probably won’t be out in 2014 but getting them shot in 2014. And then the first film that MNDFCK is Two Faced and that will be out this year. So that’s the big thing that we’re looking forward to.
If you want to know more about Jacqui, and you should, check out her official website. And Silent But Deadly will be premiering on VOD and DVD on 2/25/14