We got the opportunity to chat with the lovely Channing Pickett, the star of the horror film Dementia 13 (read our review – here). This is a remake of Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature film from 1963. We talked about what inspired her to become an actress, how she got the role of Rose, what her character is like, favorite scenes, and more! Dementia 13 is available now on VOD and Digital HD.
PopHorror – Hi, Channing! Thanks for taking the time to chat with PopHorror. How long have you wanted to be an actress and what inspired you to get into the business?
Channing Pickett – I’ve wanted to be a performer for my entire life. I have very vivid memories of being 4 and layering on every costume in my little play chest to put on a “show” on the dining room table for my parent’s amusement. From age three-ish and all the way through high school, I found every opportunity to perform. I competed in dance and was in drama club, spirit line, dance team, choir, and every school show, as well as a part of a community theater. Being an actor and performer has never really seemed like a choice, more like something that was inevitable. What really inspired me to get real about getting into the business though was when I discovered that art and theater can be used to inspire change in all mediums and in any genre. A movie – even a horror movie – can change someone’s mood, day, and possibly even life, and once I realized that, that was really it for me.
PopHorror – I completely understand and can totally relate to that. What was the first film you were ever in?
Channing Pickett – The first film I was ever in was a little student short film called Little Drifter. It was about New York college students and we shot in upstate New York. That weekend shooting really made me realize that I’m on the right path for me. I loved the ensemble feel of a set, all the working parts, everyone coming together to create this one little shot in this one little short film. It reminds me of everything I love about theater, just in a more technical way.
PopHorror – Sounds beautiful. How did the casting process come about for your new film Dementia 13?
Channing Pickett – The casting process was pretty hilarious, actually. Because it was a Coppola remake, it was all very hush-hush, and I actually had no idea what I was auditioning for. All I was given were two scenes to read and a character description. No backstory, no idea who I would be talking to in the scene, and just the knowledge that this Rose chick comes from money and is a little controlling.
In the audition room, the first scene went well, was pretty standard sass toward the other character I was talking to which is pretty easy for me to lay down. Rich, the director, said it was great and we moved on to the second scene. My lines were, “We have to go, we have to leave now!” So I said the line with the amount of attitude and snark I used to give my mom when she used to drive me to school in the morning. Afterwards, there was a pause and Rich said, “Great. This time, can you try it again and know that someone just chased you with an ax.” And that’s how I found out I had just auditioned for my first horror movie…
PopHorror – That’s so fun! Plus it makes the experience even better. Tell us about your character, Rose. Can you relate to her at all?
Channing Pickett – Rose is the glue that holds the family together. At least that’s what she thinks. That’s something that I really relate to in the character. For her entire life, she’s lived under the dark cloud of her dead sister and having to live with the fact that she’ll never live up to her mother’s precious Kathleen, even long after her death. But Rose will do anything to try and get her mother’s approval and gain her love.
PopHorror – It’s definitely a heavy burden to live with. What was your favorite scene in the film?
Channing Pickett – My favorite scene in the film is when we were all at breakfast. The family dynamic is so apparent and it was a blast to play with.
PopHorror – Great choice! If you could have played any other character in the film, who would it have been and why?
Channing Pickett – If I could have been another character in the film, it would have been the house. Let’s be real. The house is epic and was scary as hell and I loved to be in it while shooting. Lots of scary things happened on set thanks to that beauty, and it would be great to inflict the fear in the others the way that house inflicted it on us. We were on edge for the entire shooting process.
PopHorror – It truly is an amazing house! Had you seen the original Dementia 13 (1963) before filming the new one?
Channing Pickett – Once I was cast in the film, I watched it! I’m a lover of Coppola as well as old Hollywood films, and I am so thrilled to be a part of the remake. I hope we did it proud.
PopHorror – Well, if my opinion accounts, I think you did! I loved you in this role. Do you think you’ll do any more horror films in the future?
Channing Pickett – Thank you very much! It was my first big feature film and I’m so glad it was this film. It was a dream crew and cast and the experience I had while shooting, I wouldn’t trade for the world. Making a horror film was also a blast. It’s super technical, which was really fulfilling. The running and screaming and dragging and crying was a perfect first experience and I’d love to work on more! Bring on the screams.
PopHorror – That’s so great to hear. Along with Dementia 13, do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
Channing Pickett – Other than Dementia 13, I worked on a couple other projects this year that will be popping up sometime soon. One is a little horror short where I get to be possessed and creepy… a fun project to tackle!