Jennifer Lynn Warren | AYLA

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

Jennifer Lynn Warren is somebody rapidly making a name for herself in the world of horror and beyond. Likely best known for 2011’s brilliant Creature and for her turn alongside Kathy Bates in American Horror Story: Coven, the talented Pennsylvania-born actress is soon set to start shooting on Elias’ Ayla, a tense horror that looks at what happens when a long-dead sister is brought back to life years later. We were lucky enough to catch up with Jennifer to discuss Ayla, the role of women in horror, working with the legendary Kathy Bates, and a whole host more.

STARBURST: You’re set to start shooting on Ayla in March with Tristan Risk and Bill Oberst Jr. How did you end up involved in this project?

Jennifer Lynn Warren: Elias reached out to me on Facebook. Sometimes the best way to reach an actor is through social media. Our agents are sometimes too good at trying to weed out projects and an actor may miss out on something they would love to do

What can you tell us about your role of Alex?

Alex is this bohemian, new age kind of girl who dates a man who is obsessed with the death of his four-year-old sister, who has lost a brother herself, so she can relate to the lead character, Elton. Then they have to deal with the consequences of being careful what you wish for.

From what you’ve seen of the script so far, is there anything that Ayla is comparable to?

Maybe Pet Cemetery, but not at all, meets Ghost, but not at all like that either. It’s not really like anything I’ve read.

What was it about the story of Ayla that appealed to you?

It’s tender and terrifying and unique. I don’t like doing anything that I feel has been done before.

Were you familiar with director Elias’ work before landing the gig or have you gone back and watched some of his previous stuff ahead of the Ayla shoot?

I was not familiar, but he was gracious enough to give me a copy of Gut, and I am looking forward to watching Dark.

We know that somebody like Tristan Risk was a huge horror fan way before getting involved in the genre, but is this the same for yourself? Were you always a fan of the dark and sinister world of horror?

Oh yes. I remember my first grade teacher being so angry at me for reading The Tommyknockers by Stephen King during my down time in class. It never scared me, I just always thought the stories were cool.

What were your particular favourite horror efforts when you were growing up and were there any horror subgenres that you found yourself indulging in more than others?

My mom and I loved watching the Poltergeist films together. Anything that had a haunting involved I was into.

And following that, to you, which is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen, the one the has always stood out and stuck with you?

House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price.

With February being Women in Horror Month, how do you feel the role of women in the horror genre has changed over the last decade or so?

It’s changed, but not enough. We’re not so much the helpless damsels in distress all the time now, but even when you’re a “final girl” it can still be highly sexualized.

Names like Little Miss Risk, Jill Sixx, the Soskas, and Gigi Saul Guerrero are all making some major waves in horror these days. Obviously seeing the role of women in horror ever-growing is great, but why do you think women are finally now being given some form of control within the genre?

Women are being seen as the creative beings that we are. The female perspective is fresh, and I think we’ll see new brands of horror from these women coming out and giving us their point of view in their writing and directing. I’m really excited.

To many, they’ll recognise you for being one of the daughters of Madame LaLaurie in American Horror Story: Coven. How fun was it to be involved in that whole process and to get a zombie makeover?

Are you kidding?! I would have stayed there forever if they had let me!

And, of course we have to task, how great was it to work with the legendary Kathy Bates on Coven?

I started calling her “Mama Bates” in my head. She was so lovely and generous. It added a layer to my character where I was able to feel loved as a daughter, yet terrified of her at the same time.

From what we understand, your schedule’s starting to look mighty packed going forward. What future projects can we look forward to seeing you in or are things still at the TBA stage right now?

It’s been a crazy start to pilot season! Lots of NDAs signed and schedules rearranged.  Nothing I am allowed to talk about yet though…

Elias’ Ayla, starring Jennifer Lynn Warren, Tristan Risk and Bill Oberst Jr. starts shooting in March, with a release to follow later this year. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with Jennifer and her upcoming projects by following her on Twitter.


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