ED- The Eerie Digest is very excited to introduce actress Ellen Dubin to our readers. Ellen, You are presently starring in the show ‘The Resolve’, but before we get into this, I’d like to ask you about your role in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’. Please tell us about it.
Ellen- Ah the fabulous ‘Napoleon Dynamite’! I have to say that how I got the role is a fascinating process. You never know where people will end up! I have quite a following in the sci fi genre. One of the producers of Napoleon Dynamite was a big fan of my work and had seen this wacky off beat show, LEXX that I did on the Sci fi channel. Before ‘Napoleon Dynamite’, he was a reporter for a major science fiction magazine and had interviewed me about my various roles on that show. He loved my portrayal of the wild characters on ‘Lexx’ so much that when he ended up being one of the producers on ‘Napoleon’, he phoned and offered me the part of Ilene. I thought what the hell why not- how thoughtful of him to remember me and so off I went to shoot this little indie film and the rest is movie history. How rewarding to be part of a film that speaks to a generation and a movie that is one of the biggest comedy films of all times. Ilene was so much fun – a Tupperware obsessed gal who just wanted her daughter to hook up with Napoleon. Laughed my head off the whole time making this movie with the fabulous cast and crew.
I love the fact that there were no huge A list stars in the movie- that this underdog film influenced so many kids and became a huge box office smash! I am proud to be a part of movie history!
ED- Tell us about your early years, and how you got started in acting.
Ellen- I never wanted to be an actress. My dream was to be a ballet dancer. I was a very shy awkward child with flat feet and bad posture. My parents put me in dance class so I could gain confidence and stand up straight. At the end of the year, there was a recital on stage. I fell in love with being in front of a live audience. When I would play a dying swan, I would wave my arms an extra few beats; when I did a comedy ballet, I would wait for the laughs. My ballet teacher, who was very blunt, said you will be an actress – you are not a great technician. So because of being a painfully shy child, I became an actress.
After a knee injury, I went on and took other forms of dance and singing and did all kinds of musicals all over Canada. I then ended up doing a wide variety of theater- all across Canada and the United States- from Eugene O’Neill to Shakespeare to British farce! I always strive to do more and started auditioning for film and TV. I moved to LA and continue to learn and love my craft and work as an actress all over the world.
Ellen- Good acting is good acting. But the beauty of working in live theater is that you can gage how you are doing. The audience is right there so you can see feel immediately what is going on and take in their reactions. You have more control over your performance on stage. You don’t have an editor as you do in film and tv to shape your performance. You are the master of what goes on. Also if you make a mistake, you can’t go back and do another take. Live means live, but boy is it thrilling to feel that rush when an audience is right along with you for that ride. In film and tv, your performance is smaller and more focused. The camera comes to you – all is seen through your eyes. In theater, you reach out to your audience. Love both!
ED- You’ve also had starring roles in the films ‘The Tunnel’, ‘Never Too Late’, ‘The Donor’, and ‘Tammy & The T-Rex’. Tell us about these.
Ellen- I have been very lucky to play a wide variety of roles. ‘Tammy and the T Rex’ is a huge cult film and the first feature I shot in Los Angeles. I played a nymphomaniac nurse opposite Terry Kiser (remember the dead guy in ‘Weekend at Bernies’?) Also in that film was Denise Richards and Paul Walker. It was just so great to be working because it was all of our first films. ‘The Tunnel’ was a unique experience because we shot that movie on a moving train – I played Daniel Baldwin’s lawyer. In ‘The Donor’, I got to play my first love scene which was bizarre in front of a group of people. You feel like there are a bunch of voyeurs invading your sex life. In this film, I seduced this young man so I could steal his body parts and sell them on the black market. Not a nice gal! ‘Never too Late’, I was so lucky to work opposite Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis as her daughter. So I went from an oversexed nurse to a very straightforward attorney to a young college gal stealing body parts to a sweet nurturing daughter. Ah the life of a chameleon like actress!
ED- Besides film, you have had many television roles that you performed. You had the series lead in such well known shows as ‘The Collector’ and ‘Blood Ties’. What brought you to television, and what other shows were you in?
Ellen- I loved working as a series regular on the supernatural drama ‘The Collector’ for almost three years. It is about a man who collects souls for the devil and has a lot of universal themes. What would you do if someone offered you years of absolute success, wealth and bliss. After ten years, if you accepted the deal with the devil, the collector comes to collect. It is a fascinating study in human behavior. Will people run, will they face it dead on? The devil is played by a different actor every week because he/she comes in many forms. I play a passionate journalist Jeri Slate who is a single mother of an autistic child who may be the son of the devil. One of my favorite roles – great to be a apart of the series process.
The show is near and dear to my heart because I was nominated for a Gemini Award which is the equivalent of a US television Emmy. It is currently showing in 65 countries. I have a big fan base in China, Russia and Bulgaria because of “The Collector”! How rewarding!
Blood Ties was supposed to be a recurring role but unfortunately the show got cancelled. I played this wonderful role of a shape shifter who can turn into a jaguar. I got to work with an actual jaguar in the show. What a powerful animal. But don’t get too close!
The other series regular role I had was in Lexx. It started out as two two hour movies of the week and it then because a series. I got to play four different roles on that show even though I died each time and also had the distinction of being the first female Pope in sci fi history. Lexx put me on the map in the sci fi genre and I am so grateful to have fans that remember that show.
Ellen- I am so fortunate to be a part of this innovative new web series by Russ Cootey. I play the male lead – Russ’s love interest. I am a young determined psychologist who is not aware that my new boyfriend is a serial killer. It is a very intriguing show and I am thrilled to be a part of something from the beginning stages.
I want your readers to stay tuned to the show, so I am not going to reveal too much. The show can be seen at theresolveseries.com.
ED- Can you let our readers know more about the show and the cast and company who perform in it?
Ellen-The show is created by Russ Cootey and Alex Ballar.. Both have their hands in producing it. Russ is also the male lead and Alex plays his psychologist. Kristina Hughes, Eileen Gruba, Holt Boggs, Les Brandt, Craig Zucchero are all a part of this wonderful cast. It has a Hitchcock element to it – the way it is shot is very mysterious and really grabs the attention of the viewer.
ED- What are your hopes for this show, and where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Ellen- I am impressed with Russ and the fact he got something off the ground in this day and age. I really hope it gets a wide audience on the web and word of mouth spreads about how great the show is. That is the beauty of doing things for the internet -your fan base can grow very quickly. Because the show is mysterious intriguing and sexy, I think viewers are going to tune in and love The Resolve. I give Alex and Russ a lot of credit for putting their heart and soul into this new show!
I would like to produce my own film in the near future with some of my amazing actor friends. I naturally like to put people together so it seems to be the next logical step.
I would also like to just keep on working and doing unique roles that challenge me in comedy and drama and stay healthy active and enjoy every minute of my life with family and friends and keep on laughing!
ED- Ellen, you are a very talented and beautiful woman. It has been a real pleasure to introduce you to our legions of readers. We wish you the best of luck and ask that you consider another interview with The Eerie Digest in the near future. Many thanks again!
Ellen- Thanks to you Eerie Digest and reaching so many interesting readers. I love the Eerie Digest and I look forward to talking to you in the near future. And if you readers want to catch up with me in the meantime, they can go to www.ellendubin.com.