An Interview with Amy Hesketh, Star and Producer of Dead But Dreaming
Your new movie Dead But Dreaming – in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
It’s a fantastical, crazy, sexy vampire film set in 10,000B.C., 1810, and the present day. It’s also a little bit of a Western.
My character is Moira, an Irish spy in Bolivia, who is caught and sentenced to being whipped publicly, and garroted. But she’s saved by a lovely vampire in the nick of time.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Amy Hesketh can we find in Moira?
Moira’s bravery and acceptance of her situation are a reflection of personality traits I possess. In creating her as a character, I did some research into events of the time and the role of women in the revolution in Bolivia. There were a few who stand out, incredibly brave women of different classes.
Later on, when Moira becomes a vampire, I spent some time imagining what that would actually be like, to know that you’re immortal, to have different cravings, to be at war with your own desires, not knowing which to give into and which to repress.
Dead But Dreaming features a few scenes that would be way out of the comfort zone of most actresses I know (and of course I’m especially referring to the public nude flogging here) – so what goes through your mind when shooting scenes like these, and how do you prepare for them mentally? And how do you feel watching yourself in them, actually?
In scenes like this, I’m thinking about my part, if everything looks right, and sometimes about the weather. It’s not easy to be out in the hot sun, or extreme cold, without clothes. My main concern is always that we get the shots we need for the film, that it looks believable, artistic, and amazing, the best it can be. I prepare for these scenes like I do any other, I arrive on set and get into character. Although, I also bring a bathrobe for the nude scenes. And my thermos. And sunscreen.
I have a hard time watching myself in these scenes, it’s a different experience than shooting. I tend to over-empathize with my character. In the premiere, you can see me in the back row, cringing.
How did the project fall together in the first place?
Jac wrote a script for a vampire film back in the early 90s, That script evolved, and we talked about my acting in it back in 2005, when we joined forces to make films together. A few years later, he re-wrote the script again, creating some new characters, expanding the plot, and we gave it the green light. It was the right time.
Dead But Dreaming is amazingly complex in scope, especially for a low budget movie. So from the producer’s point of view, what kind of a challenge was it to make this movie?
In terms of production, the majority of this film came together with the help of the city of La Paz, the museums, the Colegio Militar, and the Pedregal Stables. The city gave us permission to shoot in colonial streets for many of the exteriors, the Tambo Quirchincho was happy to lend us their patio, balconies, and the room for the jail cell. The Colegio Militar lent us cannons, authentic period weapons, and Beto Lopez’s costume, which is a museum piece, originally belonging to General Braun. And the Pedregal Stables lent us horses, and their stables for one of the scenes.
All of these things together were key in the film looking as spectacular as it does. That’s one of the reasons that I love working here in Bolivia, many people are open to sponsoring and collaboration.
What was your collaboration with your director and regular partner-in-crime Jac Avila like on this particular project?
This film was more ambitious in terms of production, so it was challenging to get everything together, to get the look of the characters and ambience just right. When working with a director (other than myself), I try my hardest to bring their vision to life.
Do talk about the shoot as such and the on-set atmosphere for a bit!
We all had fun making this film. The makeup, the fangs, the element of fantasy made it a really lighthearted set. There are some hard scenes, but we got through them with lots of jokes between takes.
What can you tell us about critical and audience reception of Dead But Dreaming?
More people keep discovering the film, and everyone is asking when the sequel will begin production!
The $64-question of course: Where is the movie available from?
Any future projects you’d like to share?
We recently released my fourth film as director, Olalla, a film about a family of genetic vampires, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story.
We’re in pre-production for my next film, Pygmalion, based on the George Bernard Shaw play, as well as Jac’s next film Justine, based on the novel by the Marquis de Sade.
We’re also in pre-production with Erix Antoine’s second film, an action movie this time.
Your/your movie’s website, Facebook, whatever else?
Thanks for the interview!