Women in Horror Month is such a special time for me. As a woman in horror myself, I feel proud to be a part of such an amazing community and to know so many talented women, especially in the indie horror community. Actress/filmmaker Cindy Maples is, hands down, one of my favorites and I simply adore her!
Recently, I got a chance to talk with Cindy about her career, her inspirations, upcoming projects, and more. Check it out!
PopHorror – I’m so happy to finally sit down and talk with you about your life and career, Cindy! How did you get involved in the industry?
Cindy Maples – By accident. Really. I wasn’t looking to do independent films. I was just busy living my life and enjoyed acting in local theater productions occasionally. Even though I’d been acting since 6th grade and always dreamed of being a movie star when I was young, I just never thought I would actually get the opportunity. Then, while working on a play, the guest director told me about a production company in Madisonville, KY, that was getting ready to hold auditions for a couple of horror movies. He said that he thought I’d be great at that, and that I should go audition. All I could think was, “Where’s Madisonville, Kentucky?” And, I do LOVE horror movies.
PopHorror – Gotta love us small town girls. You pretty much do it all – acting, producing, directing – which one is your favorite?
Cindy Maples – Acting, always acting! The producing, directing and writing all came from there, and most of the time, leads back to there. It was and is my first and true passion. When it’s been awhile since I’ve acted, I get a little lost and melancholy. It’s like breathing… I have to do it.
PopHorror – As you should! You’re always radiant on the screen. What was the first project you ever worked on?
Cindy Maples – My first film was Widow. I had eventually found Madisonville, KY, and waiting for me there was Big Biting Pig Productions, and owners Steve Hudgins and PJ Woodside. I auditioned for both of their upcoming films, Widow and Goatsucker, and was thrilled to be cast as the lead in Widow. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, having never acted for a camera before. But luckily for me, they were still pretty new at making independent films, so we all learned together. Now they have made 10 feature films, and I’ve had the honor of being in 4 of those.
PopHorror – That’s amazing! We’ve seen a few of their productions and we’re big fans. How did you get involved with P.J. Starks and Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories?
Cindy Maples – I’ve known P.J. for about 5 or 6 years now, and I can’t even remember how we initially met. We live in a rather small community of independent filmmakers, so we all know each other in various ways. P.J. and I have talked on and off over the years about various projects he had written and that he would like to cast me in, but they just never worked out. When he was getting ready to do the first VOB, he contacted me again to be a part of that anthology. Unfortunately, I was working on 2 other projects during the time he was going to be shooting VOB and I couldn’t fit it into my schedule. Then when he was in pre-production on VOB: Horror Stories, he contacted me, and we were finally able to make it work.
Cindy Maples – Thank you! Cathy was a great character. It was wonderful to work on Rocky’s debut film! Your first film is always so important to you. It’s the one you always look back on as the start of everything. And I was so honored that Justin Seaman reached out to work with me again. I really enjoyed working with Justin and Zane Hershberger on VOBHS and absolutely fell in love with their film, The Barn. And you saw the amazing location we had to shoot in for The Old Hag. Who wouldn’t love to spend some time there making a horror movie? I’ve become a huge fan of all three of those guys, and can’t wait to see what they do next. And they all know they can contact me anytime, and I’ll come running to help.
PopHorror – I can only imagine – what an amazing experience! Speaking of characters, you’ve played a lot of unique and interesting characters over the years. Which one is your favorite thus far?
Cindy Maples – That’s always the hardest question for me to answer. I’ve loved them all for some reason, or I would never have done the role. There are some that hold a special place in my heart though. Vivian Potts from Widow will always be the most challenging role I’ve ever played. She was very complicated. First, because she was my first film role. Second, she was in almost every single scene of the film. And finally, because I was playing a woman with multiple personality disorder. So essentially, I was playing two completely different characters in one movie. The other role that I tend to look back on fondly is Mama Crowe from Bloody Hooker Bang Bang. She was just so much fun. Totally insane and had some of the best lines I’ve ever gotten to say. How can you not love a character that says things like, “Tonight we feast on hooker flesh”?
PopHorror – You make an excellent point there! One of your newest projects is E-Bowla. Tell us about the project.
Cindy Maples – E-Bowla has been such a labor of love for me. It started out as this fun little project based on characters that my husband, Rusty James, and his friend, Leo Kempf, created while bowling one night. They had jokingly named their little team “E-Bowla,” and after I heard that name and a few other things that went on that night, the story just kind of wrote itself. This will be my first time making a horror/comedy, and I just can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s completely different from anything else I’ve ever done, and I’ve really just fallen in love with it. We had one great thing after another happen for us on this project, starting with Jim Dougherty (House of Cards, Chicago PD) asking to shoot and edit it and ending with Will Chase (Nashville, Stranger Things) and Ingrid Michaelson both agreeing to be in it. I can’t give a lot of details about the plot without giving everything away, but I can say it’s about four married men that, when given the opportunity to be on their own for the evening, make really bad choices.
PopHorror – Do you have a release date yet?
Cindy Maples – We hope to finish E-Bowla by April and start submitting it to film festivals. And, of course, we will be sending it out for review to our favorite sites.
PopHorror – Woohoo! I can’t wait! February is Women in Horror Month. Which women in this industry inspire you?
Cindy Maples – I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of amazing females in my career. Widow was directed by a woman, P.J. Woodside, and I’ve learned a lot from her over the years. I’m really inspired by Brooklyn Ewing (She Was So Pretty, She Was So Pretty: Be Good for Goodness Sake) of Dirt Candy Productions. I was at the first year of Nightmare Film Festival when she won for Best Director and her personality, spirit and love for the genre were so exhilarating. And most recently I’ve become a huge fan of Chelsea Casanova, who shot and edited Moving In for me. She has so much talent that she hasn’t even begun to tap into yet, and I just can’t wait to see what she does next!
PopHorror – I agree! All of those ladies are incredibly talented. What’s your favorite film with a female leading role?
Cindy Maples – We have to go way back to 1973 for that one. I’ve always loved Ellen Burstyn’s character, Chris MacNeil, in The Exorcist. She made that character so human, motherly, terrified and strong, all at the same time. The scenes with Regan in the hospital are some of the fiercest female acting I’ve ever seen. Her pain when Regan is getting the spinal tap is what sells that scene, and I absolutely love when she goes off on the doctors for not having a clue about what’s wrong with her daughter. There isn’t a mother out there that can watch those scenes and not think that they would act the exact same way.
PopHorror – Any other projects you’d like to talk about or anything else you’d like to share?
Cindy Maples – I’m currently in pre-production for my 5th short film. It’s called 98.6%. It’s a script I’ve had in my possession since 2015. It was written by my good friend and sometimes crew member, Randy Murray. He approached my husband and I to play the two characters in this short back when we were working on Random. We kept checking in with each other about this project but just couldn’t seem to work it out. Then while working on E-Bowla, Randy asked if I would be interested in acting and directing this short. I’ve always loved the script, so I agreed, and we hope to start shooting in the next month or so. I have another feature that I will be acting in in the next few months. It’s a great part and it will pair me back up with one of my favorite directors. I’m not able to talk about that yet, but this character will take me into very dark and mysterious territory and I can’t wait!