SHANLEY CASWELL is the very fetching Star of groundbreaking “Detention” which transcends being just a smart teen horror film and stands on its own two feet as a genre-bending master class. If it created a huge buzz at SXSW this year as well as constantly receiving rave reviews on the internet, the intelligent slasher is expected to shine at the SIFF Film Festival 2011 as will it’s endearing female lead SHANLEY. I’m enraptured with her kindness for doing this interview at such short notice, a reflection of her appealing accessibility that’s truly charming. Already being praised as a female version of John Cusack and spoken highly of as the stirring centerpiece of “Detention”, admiration for her is rapidly growing.
In the throes of the psychedelic pace, pop culture references and riveting sci-fi cum slasher elements of “Detention”, SHANLEY is a standout as RILEY, the human touch amid the chaos. She captures the trepidation of youth, the foreboding of terror and the thrilling face offs with the movie’s villain impeccably. Even at 18, SHANLEY has shown she is adept at delivering a solidly authentic performance which could prove to be her launchpad as a Teen Idol.
Have a good read as SHANLEY lets us in on what’s it like being the female lead of a fascinating horror film, her grueling yet fun moments during the making of “Detention” and why she has the hots for Simon Baker after working with him on “The Mentalist”.
SHANLEY CASWELL TAKES A STAB AT THE QUESTIONS
1. Hi Shanley.You’re possibly the Final Girl in “Detention”. What’s it like being the leading lady of the slasher and playing a character that’s an outsider going through teen angst?
A: At first signing on to do Detention was exhilarating. The script was so interesting and like nothing I had ever heard about that I had to do it. Riley is a character that is a lot like any normal teenage girl: pop culture oriented, embarrassed, tormented, self centered, and opinionated.
I’ve been through all of these things growing up, like most teenagers, so it was easy to relate to her “my life is ruined” mentality. Now on the note of being the leading lady; that scared the crap out of me. Especially with working with Dane Cook, Josh Hutcherson, and Joseph Kahn all people whom I highly admire.
2. Inevitable comparisons are going to be drawn between “Detention” and the “Scream” Franchise. Can you tell us how different is your heroine Riley as opposed to Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott?
A: Detention has a different feel than Scream. It’s more fun and relatable to people my age in my generation. Scream was the old generations meta comedy-horror, Detention will appeal to teenagers now-a-days. That goes for Riley’s character too.
3. There’s a scene in “Detention”, reminiscent of “The Breakfast Club” (the film that made a tremendous impact) albeit more in line with the reality of youth today. As a teenager yourself, what do you think are the movie/movies that define your generation?
A: “Superbad”, “The Hangover” and “The Social Network” are three that come to my mind. “Superbad” and “The Hangover” are ones that we see everywhere today with quotes and clothing. “The Social Network” is one that will never be forgotten because of the event that it’s about. Facebook and social networking have defined our generation.
4. You do a lot of running trying your utmost to escape from the serial killer. How physically demanding were those scenes and what were your favorite moments from the film?
A: I actually trained before we started filming for the stunt work and the dance scenes. I had to fall a lot so I was taught how to fall properly without getting hurt. The hanging scene was the hardest because I was in a harness for about 6 to 8 hours and hanging for about 4 to 5.
I had bruises from the straps and had motion sickness by wrap time. My favorite scene to film was probably the skateboarding scene. They set up this cool contraption where the skateboard was connected to the camera so we could actually skate and and do the scene. Those were fun.
5. Just read that your first major role was on Hallmark in “Mending Fences” as a gothic teen with a sarcastic side, a complete opposite to your bubbly disposition. Why do you think actresses much prefer essaying the darker roles?
A: I think there’s a lot more complexity to playing darker roles. I’ve definitely played my fair share of bubbly roles though. I would do it more often but unfortunately some people don’t think that I have a very “bubbly” face all the time. And I……I’m also very sarcastic which turns some people off.
6. There’s plenty of haters out there unlike me of course who shows the love for actresses on a daily basis…:):) How do you deal with the critics even at your tender age?
A: I’ve been very lucky so far to not have any critics. If I did I’m pretty good at taking things in thinking about them logically, then forgetting about them later.
7.From “Bones” and “The Mentalist to “The Middle”, you’ve been gracing quite a number of TV Shows. Who has been your favorite actor and why?
A: To work with? Simon Baker form The Mentalist. He is so cool and suave. He’s got a way of making everyone smile and feel special. Plus he’s got an Australian accent! How could I not be in love with him.
8. You once said the uncertainty of the acting industry gives you a thrill. What would be your dream role?
A: My dream role is always changing. At the moment I’d love to be some badass assassin or something. I’m really into stunt heavy movies right now. I feed off of adrenaline on set, the more adrenaline I have the more focused I am and the more work I get done.
9. In Tinseltown, teen actresses are regularly in demand more so this past year so what’s next for Shanley Caswell?
A: I have no idea what’s next. The thrill of this industry is why I love it. I’m not working on anything right now but next month I could be in France filming a miniseries. You have to learn to go with the flow. Right now I’m focusing on school and studying Kinesiology.
10. Tell us the one thing that nobody will ever guess about you.
A: I love rock climbing and bungee jumping.
Thanks again for the support and the awesome questions!