SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Kelsi Mayne: My name is Kelsi Mayne. I am an actress, singer and songwriter, originally from Windsor, ON. However now I divide my time between Toronto and Nashville.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?
Kelsi Mayne: I guess I just never grew out of “playing pretend.” I’ve always liked acting but I never viewed it as an actual career choice for me until I started landing roles shortly after moving to Toronto in 2013.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Willa Dollar Baby film?
Kelsi Mayne: This started out as passion project with family and friends. My brother and visual effects artist, Corey Mayne, was looking to jump back into the director’s chair with a new project. His best friend and colleague Barbara Szeman also wanted to tackle another producer role. And I, myself along with Adrian Jaworski, have always loved horror movies and wanted to play more roles in the genre. Stephen King’s short story “Willa” came to Corey’s mind and he started adapting it for the screen. He showed me the script and I immediately fell in love with it. And of course the whole Stephen King thing didn’t hurt either 😉 .
I was cast as Willa but I also helped with preproduction any way that I could: handing out flyers on the street, digital marketing, searching for equipment and props, meeting with industry personnel, assisting with wardrobe, etc.
As I’ve learned over the years, when Corey and Barbara work together, A) they are unstoppable and B) it is going to be good— so I work with them any chance that I get. Apparently word spread like wildfire in the Toronto film industry and everyone adopted Willa as their passion project as well. Before we knew it, we had over 100 top crew and cast members from all over the GTA. I’m still dumbfounded.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Kelsi Mayne: The Stephen King and horror community is extremely supportive and enthusiastic which I think originally attracts people even before knowing the story. But people that know the story are drawn to it because it follows the characters as they enter an unknown realm while still remaining very real. Stephen King’s version leaves a few questions unanswered which works well on paper but wouldn’t translate directly to the screen. This film does a beautiful job weaving all the original elements of the story, while answering these questions and even adds an extra twist.
I think it’s that curiosity that seals the deal and interests people most.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Kelsi Mayne: I auditioned, however it felt as if it were written directly for me. The dialogue is very real, which made my job easy!
SKSM: You worked with Corey Mayne on this film, how was that?
Kelsi Mayne: I work with Corey quite a bit actually. He is my older brother so by the time I was four years old, I was starring in our first film “Curse of the Werewolf.” Being siblings helps as we often know what the other person is thinking and there’s also no concern about offending one another when offering a suggestion or critique. This makes for a very open, creative and productive work environment which has always resulted in an impressive final product.
Corey’s always been ahead of his time. He came up with his Stephen King adaptation long before the recent remake of “IT” came to rise. Now a new SK-based film or TV show is announced everyday. I guess great minds do think alike. However he’s never been one to jump on any bandwagons.
It amazes me how he sees all of his projects start to finish before it even begins. I may be biased, but I’ve never met anyone like him. Corey is one of those insanely talented and creative beings that just has “it” (no pun intended). He’s always stood out by thinking differently, pushing boundaries and bringing something new to the table. And his tireless work ethic and ability to communicate exactly what he sees, makes him the kind of director you’d want on every set.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Kelsi Mayne: We shot the opening scene at the end of two long and cold 16+ hour days. We were all a bit delirious and in this script called for us to open real cans of beer (curtesy of Rorschach Brewing Co.). This scene also took about thirty different takes from different angles. And being italian, it is a sin to let anything go to waste. So needless to say, there were a lot of very giggly, happy (19 years and over) people— which made it a very fun last scene to shoot.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Kelsi Mayne: Those two long and freezing night shoots created an atmosphere of extreme teamwork, passion and dedication that was shared with the entire cast and crew. It was the first time majority of us all worked together and we all came out of that experience with an incredible bond, respect and appreciation for one another. Although we may not speak every day, but if and when we do, it still feels like we’re family.
Barbara Szeman and Adrian Jaworski are getting married this spring and both Corey and I are standing in their wedding party.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Kelsi Mayne: Currently I am preparing for my tour, performing at country music festivals throughout the Ontario. I’m also recording and will soon be in pre-production on the accompanying music videos.
Corey, Barbara, and Adrian worked with me on my debut music video released in October last year called “Still Not Over You” and my upcoming video that will be released May 10th this year. Without them, these videos would not have been possible.
I’ll be auditioning for a few acting roles throughout the summer as well.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Kelsi Mayne: Yes! Besides Princess Bride, Misery was my favourite movie growing up. My parents would also play the audiobook of “Pet Cemetery” during any long car rides. I’ve been hooked ever since.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Kelsi Mayne: Well you know I’m a singer and songwriter already but I also have a nursing degree and a national, university bronze medal in 60m hurdles.
Which is probably why I’m naturally drawn to horror roles. They mainly involve physicality, medical knowledge and/or require a strong stomach!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Kelsi Mayne: I wanted to make a movie that I would go see myself. As a Stephen King fan, my main concern was preserving his story and doing it justice. I am extremely confident we did just that.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Kelsi Mayne: I’m so proud to be a part of this film and can’t wait to share it with you. Thank you for all of your support and interest. It means the world!