TEN Cast Interview: Molly Carlisle

Time for another cast interview! Today, say hello to Molly Carlisle, who will be playing a zealot in TEN. Molly grew up in Cayuga, New York, a rural town outside of Ithaca, and went to college at Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts, where she majored in studio arts.

Photos by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

What’s your acting background? I did school plays and that sort of thing but stopped in probably ninth grade when I became more inclined to do sports, so I didn’t really act until I taught in a summer arts program after graduating from college. I was the printmaking teacher, and a friend of mine was the video counselor. He would put together these projects, but he would have to give visual examples for the kids, so I started acting in these little shorts merely because I was the person on hand. At the time he was a college student at RISD – he was a film major there – so I acted in some of his thesis projects, and just this past summer I acted in a feature-length film that he had done, which was a lot of fun.

Was it a horror film? It was not horror. It was more of a dramedy, if you will. It was definitely fun. I haven’t really had that much experience in the horror department.

Do you like horror films? I do, I do. But I’m such a ninny, so I can only really take the mild kind of things – no torture.

What’s your favorite? The Shining. Is that cliche? But I love it. It’s so pretty, and I love Shelley Duvall.

What have you been doing since graduating college? What haven’t I been doing since then? [Laughs.] I have acted in a few things this past summer and a thesis project which was years ago, it seems. An eon. I’ve been doing a lot of freelance illustrative work, and I’ve been traveling a bit to the West Coast, which is really nice. My dad is a recently retired soil scientist, and he likes to go on adventures. I’m the baby of the family, so now it’s my turn to go with him, and we’ve been following these topographical maps into the desert. It’s nice. I’ve also been painting, drawing, that sort of thing.

What got you interested in TEN? Well, I work at Oona’s Outpost; it’s a vintage clothing store in Inman Square. A friend knew that I had done a movie project in the summer, and she was walking by Oona’s, where I’m always dressed up sort of in a 1970s look. She came in and was like, I just got wind of this horror film. There’s this couple that won the Brattle Theatre contest, bla bla bla, and you should check it out. She gave me a link without too much information about it, and I just checked it out and was like oh, I’ve never done an audition for something like this before, so why not?

What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge for you during this project? Learning the rather epic monologues that I have that are just of biblical proportion – I think that’s going to be challenging. They sort of fall into a pattern that I think I might get the hang of, but it’ll be tough. I think they’re hoping that one of those scenes will be in as few shots as possible, so…yikes.

Do you have a special memorization technique that works well for you? Just repetition is what it really comes down to. There are no techniques – I’m a novice. Just trying any which way.

What are you most looking forward to? I don’t know, it just seems like such an adventure. We’re going on a ferry just to get to this place. I think it’ll be interesting. Sorry, that answer was terrible.

[Sophia: We’re not actually going on a ferry, but keep that in there.]

We’re not going on a ferry?!?! [Laugter turns into a coughing fit.]

[Sophia: I shouldn’t have interrupted. Keep it in there. It’s great!]

We’re just going to be trapped in a mansion for a week. We get might get snowed in. It’s the middle of December. People might actually die. I was reading the waiver – the first paragraph mentions death. I was like, Jesus Christ.

[Sophia: I don’t want your boyfriend suing me if I kill you.]

But it seems like fun, you know, meeting new people. Working on some sort of creative, collaborative project always grabs me.

How are you preparing for your role aside from memorizing lines? Watching any kind of movie that has some kind of religious fanatic involved. Carrie. Children of the Corn. You know. Gleaning my inspiration from these religious fanatics on the big screen.

What has been your favorite moment performing? In third grade, I auditioned for Rumplestiltskin. I wanted to be the princess so badly, and of course I got Rumplestiltskin. But I had this epic moment where I’m having a sort of tantrum, and I was like, this is the best. Why would I want to be anything else? I was thrashing around and screaming and foaming at the mouth. It was what I wanted to do the entire time. I didn’t want to be the princess. I wanted to be Rumplestiltskin.

What has been your most challenging moment performing? I think we have yet to see that. I think it’s going to be really tough trying to memorize the lines and maintain this hardcore character.

Do you have a favorite pig in literature or history? Oh my God, what are those sweet little pigs from Beatrix Potter? What’s that story about the pigs? They’re so cute. I may have to come back to you on that one. Also, I have nephews, and I used to read them Toot & Puddle, which are these sweet little books about two little pigs who live in the woods, and the illustrations are wonderful. My ideas of the pig is very quaint and sweet.

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