Still rather new to Los Angeles, I arrive early. If it is an area I have not been at before, I have to assume parking could be a nightmare and public bathrooms are equally scarce. I get my coffee at the coffee shop, snag the one available table and head to the bathroom.
Locked – so I wait there in the back and tap away at my cellphone. I was all set to interview actor Victoria De Mare. She may be best known for her performance as “Batty Boop” in the Killjoy Horror/Comedy movie series.
But in my preparation for the meeting I learned there is much more to her than that. Victoria is also a vocalist/songwriter with several albums available, made along with Michael Sean Colin. But she is also a model, has a background in Dance and-
And there she is. I look up from my phone and her presence is felt immediately. Victoria De Mare has vibrant red hair, emerald green eyes and tattoos running up her arms.
I do not need to go to the bathroom anymore, I maybe even do not need to finish my coffee. Now it is time to sit down and interview this Renaissance Woman.
Curt Wiser: What inspired you to go into acting?
Victoria De Mare: Stories. I love stories and creating characters. Like when you read a novel, short story or screenplay, I love the process of what goes on in one’s head. Then to bring that to life. Stories are like a journey into someone else’s life. That fascinates me.
Curt Wiser: I noticed that you started with a BA in Theatrical Arts and Broadcast Journalism from New York University. Tell me about your transition from New York to Los Angeles.
Victoria De Mare: I studied theatre but mostly Broadcast Journalism, I had a real interest in radio and TV journalism. I started as a dance major at New York University, and after my first semester I was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet. So that was an extraordinary opportunity, especially being such a young kid.
My dance schedule conflicted with my rehearsals at Joffrey Ballet. So I decided to change my major because I had so many other interests, I also was so interested in Journalism.
So I just threw myself into [Journalism]. Upon graduation I got a job at WCBS Newsradio88 in New York City, which I really loved. I remember friends and family saying, that’s so great, in five years you’ll be a producer at a desk.
I said yeah you’re right, but I wasn’t pursuing Journalism as a one and only career. I thought, I’m not going to be doing just this for five years because I have so many other interests.
I had gotten an audition for a horror feature film here in Los Angeles, it was Held For Ransom starring Dennis Hopper. So I decided to make the transition. I did the audition and they’re like “We’ll call ya.”
(Actors can guess what happens next….. they did not call.)
I was like… I had spent all my money, living in a hotel with two cats and all my stuff in my car. So I was homeless for about two months. And that was the time of make or break, should I just go home?
I decided to stay, I got other gigs. I would find casting notices in Backstage West, I had my head shots, resume and a stapler in my car, and I used a payphone if I got a call for an audition.
20 years later…. here I am, as an action figure, two comic books and over a hundred-thirty-three film and TV projects and counting. From homeless to action figure.
(Victoria and I share a laugh at this moment.)
CW: Will that be the title of your Biography?
VDM: That’s it, that’s the title.
CW: I would read that one!
VDM: It’s been a journey, its been a journey from hell but I’m glad I stuck it out.
(Wait, did she just look down at my notebook with my questions written on it? That would be a first. I can totally appreciate that from her perspective. Life is wildly unpredictable enough, it’s nice to know what’s coming if you can.)
CW: What was the most challenging moment you have had as an actor?
VDM: Playing the character that was created with me in mind called “Batty Boop”. It was written by a filmmaker, John Lechago, who is a colleague of mine. He had seen me in another film playing this really sassy, domineering college girl. This was for the Killjoy series of movies, John was brought on to write and direct Killjoy 3.
So he wrote this character, a sexy, demon, killer clown that Killjoy creates himself, and poof Batty Boop appears. It was really challenging because it felt like an overwhelming opportunity. You don’t want to let that person down.
He said we’ll have to paint you a certain way. So the makeup will take about five and a half hours to get into. I created a whole language system for Batty Boop, switching vowels, so that if I got to play that character again, I could duplicate that voice and sound.
[Beacuse of the body paint make-up] I could only sit down at lunch. I worked a 12 hour day and it was 2 and a half hours to get out of it. So I was working a 19 hour day, in production.
So that was the challenge as an actor, can I do this, can I pull this off? I was in three of those Killjoy films, and that’s the character that was made as an action figure, and comic books, T-shirts and all this merchandise.
CW: I’m not too surprised to hear how long the make-up took. I’m sure they shot around you. So given that, to use Killjoy 3 as an example, how many days did they shoot with you as Batty for that movie?
VDM: I think it was 8 days maybe. And I think we had a total of a 9 day schedule. What most people don’t know, is that that performance in all three Killjoy films was mostly one take. Because it took so long to get me ready, and get me in there. I came prepared, I had the whole script memorized.
(All this talk about Victoria’s iconic Batty Boop character causes me to glace again at the tattoo depicting this character on her left arm. This gives me an idea for an unplanned question.)
CW: I noticed that Batty Boop tattoo on your arm. What’s the story behind that?
VDM: It was after the action figure. Part of my agreement to do the fifth film, was to do the doll and to have my name on the box. It was really important to me to have that element, because I’m not a household name.
When the action figure happened I had an out of body experience when I was sitting in the Full Moon studios, because I couldn’t believe what I was holding.
So after the doll, a friend of mine, as a gift, said if you get a Batty tattoo, I’ll pay for it. It was a birthday present. A wonderful gift.
(That is what we live for isn’t it? The rare and wonderful gifts that can sometimes present itself.)
CW: If you could only pick one thing, what did you do to make the Batty Boop character your own?
VDM: The preparation. I would listen to the Natural Born Killers soundtrack in my dressing room, 20 minutes before I was called to set. So I would turn it up really loud and SCREAM. That helped me not just be this cute thing, but also a character you could be terrified of.
CW: You and Trent Haaga, who plays Killjoy, have such a great on screen chemistry. Describe how you work together.
VDM: Thank you. I think Trent’s an incredible actor. He played Killjoy from the second film, to the last film, the fifth film. We did not do any rehearsal together before hand, I didn’t even want to see him before I got there. We only interacted as Batty Boop and Killjoy.
He was also really good at staying verbatim from the script, because I really believe in that. It’s my job to make those words on that page three-dimensional, because there’s a reason it was written this way.
There just aren’t any other two people who could play those two characters on Earth, and I’m not the only one who thinks that way. The filmmaker and the CEO of Full Moon Features feel the same way.
CW: What is it like being considered a horror icon, the conventions, action figures, comic books?
VDM: It’s beyond a dream come true. When I was a little girl, I really loved the original Star Wars action figures. Now I’m doing for a living, what I used to play with in my bedroom as a little girl.
Anyone who considers Batty, or my work in general as iconic, or horror heartthrob I have been referred to as, I’m beyond grateful, I thank everyone who chooses those words.
CW: Well sure, it’s a permanence, it’s forever. That is what artists strive for right?
VDM: Yes. Some fans come up to me and say, “Oh my God, you’re Batty Boop” and “I think that’s some of the best character work of all time.”
CW: Is there a type of character, or project you’re dying to work on?
VDM: Yes. I’ve dedicated my life to my career. So, I’m always looking for something creative that pushes the boundaries. I’m really interested in playing characters that have disorders or disability, in my work as a character actor I play a lot of those characters.
Projects that really push the envelope, anything controversial, I love that. Whether they love it or hate it passionately, I’m all about that. Something that challenges me.
CW: Any stories about working with Charles Band, how is he as a Producer?
VDM: He’s awesome, he’s a legend in his own time, for a reason. Full Moon Features has had a world wide following for decades. When he’s on set, everyone’s on their A-game.
You feel his presence on set. He’s very direct, he doesn’t play any games, and I like that, someone who is completely honest with me, right to my face. He makes you earn your paycheck.
CW: Sounds like Roger Corman.
VDM: Yes. And I like those paychecks, I’ll continue to earn them Charlie, don’t worry.
CW: You have also branched out into a music career, tell us more about that.
VDM: Songwriting is one of my ultimate passions. I’ve had a career in music for 10 years. Going in that studio, and creating notes and melodies, music that hits you, that can help people, can inspire people, can save people.
If I could never record any more music…. I would say take me out right here Curt, because I couldn’t live, without creating music.
Music touches everyone, Music is the only way to bring us all together. I believe that is how we can change the world, is by bringing people together through Music.
CW: Musically, you describe yourself as a vocalist, please tell us the distinction between that and a singer.
VDM: A singer can only really sound good singing in one tone. They only really sound one way and one way only. A vocalist can manipulate their vocal cords so they can sound any tone, can sound great in any key.
CW: What’s the one question you always wish you were asked in these interviews, now’s your chance to answer it.
VDM: Nobody ever asks me if I have any regrets? My answer would be, I regret early on in my career listening to other people trying to tell me how to do things that they have never done, and don’t know how to do, or can’t do.
The first three or four years I was listening to other people trying to tell me how to do things. Why am I asking someone how to get somewhere, who has never been there? Make those mistakes yourself, don’t listen to other people.
CW: Well because I’m such a good interviewer, I have to ask…. Victoria, do you have any regrets?
(We shared another laugh, and with that the interview came to an end, but the work of Victoria De Mare continues.)