By Matt Schantz (@Schantzman87)
Amber Coney is a young LA based actress who has her fingers in many pots. Coney moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California’s BFA Acting program. Coney, who is also a writer, was approached by frequent collaborator, James Franco, to pen a revamped version of the cult classic “Mother May I Sleep With Danger”, which premiers this month (June 2016 on Lifetime).
Coney has multiple projects coming out this upcoming year. We got lucky enough to discuss some of them with her!
Tell us a little bit about your new series, “Dead of Summer”, which debuts on June 28th on Freeform?
Dead of Summer is a new horror/thriller series that comes from the incredibly creative talents of the Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis and Ian Goldberg. The series takes place during the summertime of 1989 at Camp Stillwater, a Midwestern summer camp. The camp counselors (former campers) who reunite to work at the camp for the season, arrive at Stillwater full of pleasant nostalgia and excitement for what’s to come. But when each counselor begins to encounter mysterious and horrifying instances of darkness, we slowly realize that there is more to the camp that meets the eye, and that the ominous undercurrents of the camp have been awakened.
Did you have any creative input on your character, Carolina ‘Cricket’ Diaz?
Well, as with any character that I’m not writing myself but simply taking on based off someone else’s vision, the creative input I have on Cricket is whatever I bring to the scenes based on the psychological, emotional, and physical work I have done prior to coming to set. This role was actually quite bizarrely right for me, and when I started to work on it more in-depth, it weirdly felt like the part was written for me. Obviously, I didn’t know the creators prior to booking the series, but even Eddy Kistis, one of the minds behind the series, told me while we were shooting the pilot that the moment they saw me test, they knew that I was Cricket, without question. I’ve never had something like that happen before, so it was pretty awesome!
Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?
I haven’t actually seen too many horror films or TV shows, which might be surprising since I’m super into the show I’m working on now. Honestly, the reason for this is because I am, and have always been, really affected whenever I watch horror pieces, so I try not to voluntarily put myself through the fear and sleepless nights that I have afterwards. I think after having worked on Dead of Summer and being a part of the process of creating content of that kind, I’ll be more open to braving more good films and television of that sort in the future.
If so, do you have any favorite series?
The one series I do watch and love in the horror vein is American Horror Story. It’s so well done, and is actually one of my favorite TV shows.
Knowing that you are also a writer, what was it like when James Franco approached you to pen Lifetime’s “Mother May I Sleep with Danger”?
When James called me and told me about the project, I was beyond intrigued. After describing the plot of the original movie, he proceeded to tell me about his complete revamp of the project. In his rendition, he intended to alter the character dynamics, add a same-sex story line, and bring vampires into the mix. It was perfectly odd and interesting to me, so I was definitely on board to work on it. He needed his concept to be transformed into a script very quickly, so I wrote the first draft of the teleplay in less than a week.
Can you tell us a little about your vision with the cult classic?
My vision stemmed off of the concept and outline that James provided me with, so I took what he had conceived of and grew the piece from there. I knew the remake would be extremely different from the original, so I gave myself permission to be creatively free and to not be afraid to be a little ‘out there’ in my writing. There is a certain self-awareness to the project, which I think adds even more to the strangeness of its nature, and hopefully will make it as fun to watch as it was to put it together.
You also have upcoming films that include “L.A. Series”, “Kill The Czar”, and “Actors Anonymous”. Can you tell us a little about each film and when they come out?
LA Series and Kill The Czar are both projects that are in the post-production phase, and similarly to Actor’s Anonymous, they are under the umbrella of Rabbit Bandini, James Franco’s production company. Actor’s Anonymous was an adaptation of James’ novel through his feature production class at USC, so it has already had it’s debut through the university earlier this year. I have small roles in both that and in LA Series. I’m really looking forward to Kill the Czar when it’s finished, which I shot in Dallas alongside amazing talent like Scott Haze and Coral Amiga. In that project, I play an aspiring actress named Pia, who is the secret lover of a badass female DJ named Remi (Amiga). In the story, I get taken hostage after this director that I’ve been seeing (Haze) finds out about Remi and my intimate relationship. Working with that cast and crew was an incredible experience, so I hope I get to see that one on-screen very soon!
Who inspires you when you act? Do you have a specific actor or moment or film that you turn to?
When I act, I am really inspired by the creative forces that surround me, as well as whoever I am telling the story for. I always want to do the story lines that I am given justice, not only due to the fact that it is my responsibility, but also because I know how powerful an honest, strong performance can be. Some of my favorite actors are Michelle Williams, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson… and now that I’m starting to list them, I’m realizing that there are too many to name!