Actor Dee Wallace has been a stalwart of genre cinema for over four decades, from The Hills Have Eyes to The Howling to Cujo to Popcorn to The Frighteners. Her recent roles in the likes of Ti West's The House of the Devil and Rob Zombie's Halloween remake have introduced her to a whole new generation of fans, as well as introducing longtime fans to new talent. It's that latter kind of role she plays in the debut film from director Fulvio Sestito, Beyond the Sky, which he co-wrote with Rebecca Berrih, Marc Porterfield and Rob Warren Thomas.
In the film, Wallace plays a pivotal role in the story of Chris Norton, who - when he sets out “to disprove the alien abduction phenomenon once and for all [...] attends a UFO convention to meet alleged abductees and reveal the truth behind their experiences,” only to discover that he might be very, very wrong. Lucille, the part played by Wallace, is a woman who begins to reveal the mysteries which lurk in the small desert town Norton is in.
We spoke with Wallace earlier this month about Beyond the Sky, extraterrestrials, and her work with emerging filmmakers.
STARBURST: It seems like you've gotten to do all of these interesting drop-in roles for films like The House of the Devil and Beyond the Sky over the last few years. Is it fun to do these parts where you get to add a touch of something to the movie?
Dee Wallace: Yeah - you know, I think it's important. I enjoy helping new filmmakers. Sometimes, my name helps them secure their financing or get a better distribution. If I think they're talented, and I think the script is nice, I like to give back that way.
I really liked this script, and they all seemed to have their act together and I love - really love - the two leads. I think Jordan [Hinson] and Ryan [Strong] are just really strong actors - very strong in this. And, I liked the part! She was kind of spunky and a little bit of a different flavor than I get to play a lot of time, so I enjoyed doing that. It allows me to help and it allows me to work in some stuff for me, so everyone wins, right?
What's been really fun to see in your career is that you've gotten to play both sides - the character with teeth, and the one which gets the teeth put to them, if that makes sense?
I play everything from the most vulnerable to murderer, and The Frighteners summed that all up in one movie. It doesn't get any better for an actor than that, but in the horror genre, you often get to start out as happy or vulnerable or sweet, and then play this big arc from a victim who then becomes the strong antagonist that's toward the monster - whether it's a monster in monster form, or a monster in person form. There's nothing better than the horror genre to allow you to play all kinds of emotional ups and downs. It's the best genre to give you the best ride.
Beyond the Sky has aspects of horror, sci-fi, and found footage, and really runs the gamut. What attracted you to the script when you first read it?
The message, because I absolutely know within myself that there are extraterrestrials - that they are here to guide us, to help us - but they can't intervene in our decision-making, so ultimately, it's up to us to create ourselves how we want to be created.
I think E.T. got it really right. [laughs] I hate to see the projects that make [extraterrestrials] the bad guys, because I also have a huge spiritual and healing practice, and I know that the more you expand your consciousness, the more you know that love is the answer to everything. They're higher beings, their consciousness is more expanded than ours, and so to portray them as more base, angry, vindictive beings doesn't make any sense to me at all.
When you were in E.T., did you have the same views on extraterrestrials you do now?
Yes, because it never made sense to me that they weren't kind. They may look scary, because they look different than us - if they do. But there's a lot theories that there's a lot of extraterrestrials here on Earth that look just like us. I'm totally open to that. But, I know from working with Dolores Cannon, who's the leading past life regressionist - until she dies a couple of years ago - she's written so many books about her regressions with people who were abducted.
We had many discussions about it and she said, “You know, Dee - they're kind and they're here to help us, but they cannot intervene in our decision making.”
RLJE Films releases Beyond the Sky in the US via On Demand and Digital HD on September 21st. No UK date is known as yet.