July 17, 2008 ESplatter interviews the star of "American Pie: Band Camp" and the "Girl with the Golden Breasts" segment of the just-released anthology horror movie "Trapped Ashes."
Rachel Veltri scored the title role in the "Golden Breasts" segment, directed by legendary art and horror moviemaker Ken Russell. "Trapped Ashes" (review here) also has a wraparound story directed by Joe Dante, which also features Veltri, so she got to star in a movie helmed by two legendary filmmakers at once. The actress is probably best known for her appearance in "American Pie: Band Camp". But she's due to appear in another horror movie -- "Pray for Morning," co-starring Udo Kier -- which is complete but awaiting a release date.
How did you get this role in Trapped Ashes?
I auditioned for it and then met with the writer and producers.
What was your reaction when you saw the title of the episode?
It actually doesnít seem very fitting to me. But I think that was a title that the writer always wanted to use for something. He must have a thing for "Golden Breasts".
It sounds like the kind of thing Ken Russell would direct. Had you seen Ken Russell's works before?
Yes, heís amazing to work with. When I first booked the role, everyone in my acting class started naming all his works so I figured Iíd better go out and rent them. He was so creatively brilliant. The first day I got to set, I was kind of intimidated but we actually worked very well together and got along quite well.
He's obviously worked with some of biggest actors ever -- Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, etc. Did you learn a lot from him?
I did learn a lot from him. Like I said, we worked together very well. He taught me about camera angles and about the need to move very slowly on very close shots. I just had to trust him and he made it look amazing. I consider myself very lucky to have worked with one of the greats.
How did he compare to some of the other directors you've worked with?
He basically let me know what he wanted out of the scene and then he just let me go and experiment. He loves creativity so I definitely used some of my ideas in the movie.
Do you expect to work with him again?
I would love to work with him again, but no plans for anything as of yet.
What was it like working with two legendary directors in one movie -- Russell and Joe Dante?
Ken is very particular about what he wants and very creative. Joe is more laid back. He was funny because after a few takes heíd say, ďOk, thatís enough of that. Letís move on.Ē LOL!!! [laughs] Joe was just such a nice guy. I loved working with both of them. They are both very different and very good in there own ways.
Did Ken Russell talk at all about the status of his banned movie, "The Devils"?
No, actually he did not.
Which is your preferred version of the segment, the version in the movie or the director's cut?
No offense to Ken, but I actually like the movie segment better than the directorís cut. I feel that the directorís cut is a bit longer than necessary.
It took years for this film to get released. And that seems pretty typical. Is it frustrating for actors to wait so many years for their work to hit screens?
I think we all expect it after working as an actor for a few years. It is pretty typical. My 'American Pie Band Camp' movie took a year to be released. I guess Iím just used to it so I donít even bother getting frustrated with the process.
As an actress, how true to life was your character? Do you have to go through a lot of heartbreak getting roles?
I liked this role because as insane and ďout thereĒ the situation is in the movie, there is still the underlying truth about the ugly effects Hollywood can have on young actressís self esteem and self worth. This industry starts consuming you, making you second guess everything from your acting ability to your age to looks. Itís such a shame too because most of the time, the reason an actress doesnít get the role is simply because she wasnít EXACTLY what the director wanted for the part. I think in my own life Iíve just come to grips with the fact that as long as I go into the audition and perform to the best of my ability, then I try to let it go and move on to the next audition instead of second guessing every creative choice I made in that particular audition.
Do a lot of people recognize you from the American Pie movie?
Yes, every now and then I have people coming up to me saying things like, ďI really liked your movie American Pie, it was really funny. You were that hot camp counselor. I wish you could have been my camp counselor.Ē I just laugh and say thanks.
Are you aspiring to be a scream queen?
I donít know if anyone every actually aspires to be a scream queen. I think most actors/actress want to have a variety of acting works on their resume. It helps you learn to be a versatile actor.
The role was pretty explicit? Is it uncomfortable to do roles like that?
I truly loved this role. It was a stretch for me. The nudity didnít bother me much because it made sense for the character. And there is actually only one scene of my actual breasts in the movie. Everything else is just prosthetics. Oh and the ďbeforeĒ surgery scene is a body double because they needed to use a girl with smaller breast to portray my ďpre-surgeryĒ breasts. The real stretch for me was all the emotion that I had to put into the character. For example, the crying scene when I am looking at my breasts in the mirror was really hard for me because I had to do the first part of the scene, and then they had to bring the body double in and shoot her for about 40 minutes and then they had to put me back in the scene. Therefore, I had to get tears back again for the second part of that scene. That was a very emotionally draining day for me.
What are some projects you are working on right now? Any future horror films?
Iím not working on a project right now. I am just auditioning periodically. Actually, I am back in school finishing my bachelorís degree in Kinesiology. Yes, I know itís a far cry from acting, but I have wanted to finish my bachelorís degree for a long time but Iíve never found the time. I will be graduating this December. I think itís good to have other interests and things you are working on when youíre an actor. Otherwise, Hollywood can become too consuming and itís good to remember that there is a world outside of it.
What is the status of 'Pray for Morning'? it doesn't have a release date. Is it a good movie?
It is actually a really good horror movie but sometimes the release of movies has nothing to do with the quality of them. Sometimes it just has to do with budget or Hollywood politics. I hope it comes out sometime soon. It has quite a few up and coming actors in it and I think itís a movie that people will enjoy.