A Conversation with the Anti-Stepford Wife, Jenny Stead

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with the Creator and a lot of the cast of SyFy’s Grindhouse Epic, Blood Drive. This interview is no different. Jenny Stead is a brilliant actress and is one of the best parts of the show. If you haven’t seen the episode “Booby Traps” yet, then please get caught up. You can catch Blood Drive on SyFy every Wednesday night at 10:00 PM Est.
HMF: Our first question never changes. What is your favorite horror movie?

JS: That’s a tough question and I feel bad admitting this to you but I’m not a huge horror fan. I have a highly active imagination! So the word ‘favourite’ is tricky. Which horror movies left a lasting impact and ruined the dark and alone time for me forever? That’s easier. The Exorcist should crack no. 1. my dad’s a preacher, so I grew up in a very religious family and that film freaked the shit out of me. (on the plus side it left me with an enduring adoration for Ellen Burstyn).

Don’t look now, Nightmare on Elm Street, Let the right one in (the Swedish version), Psycho and Rosemary’s baby are probably my ‘favourites’ and then I have to give an honorable mention to Pet Sematary. When my kids first started climbing out of their beds in the early hours of the morning, I’d hear their clumsy, toddler footsteps trundling towards me and, I kid you not,  for a second my heart would stop and I’d panic that they’d have a knife in their hands. Pet cemetery ruined a lot of morning cuddles for me. 

HMF: What was it that gave you the acting bug?

JS: I went to university planning to study psychology. I added drama as one of my subjects just to check it out.  By my second year I had been cast as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s dream. By my third year I had dropped Psych and Drama was my major. So I guess it was my exceptional lecturers and the seduction of the stage.

HMF: Who were your biggest influences for getting into acting?

JS: As a kid, I always dreamed of being a singer/songwriter. I was in a band and I wrote a lot of music. My mom was the one who thought I should pursue acting. I was always quite a dramatic child. When I was 5 or 6 I used to put on her vinyl recording of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, listen to it and cry and cry. (weirdo!)

HMF: How has acting on Blood Drive been different from other shows and films you’ve worked on?

JS: I’ve worked hard at a fairly prolific and successful theatrical career but I haven’t done that much film work. I really love the medium though and getting to be a recurring guest was awesome because I got to build on my character and watch her evolve. Blood Drive had THE most amazing cast, crew, directors and producers. Everyone was so kind, so generous and so funny. I also found it deeply satisfying having my own trailer and chair!

HMF: You play Domi on Blood Drive, one half of the duo Domi and Cliff. What was it that attracted you to this role?

JS: I loved the audition scenes with Cliff. James Roland wrote them with such honesty and familiarity, it was quite poignant. This married couple who are in a rut, getting on each other’s nerves all the time and coming to a crossroads about whether to stay together or just call it a day. The fact that they both like to torture and kill people and hold on to pieces of their victims (next level romance) makes them at once horrifying and completely hilarious. Who wouldn’t want to play these two?

HMF: Domi is probably the most disarming characters on the show as far as appearances go. She looks so sweet and happy, yet there is this almost devilish side that we see a lot of in the episode Booby Traps. How do you prepare for such a wild role?

6. I swear there were times on set when all the extras at the Mayhem party’s thought that Craig (Jackson) and I were a lost couple who’d stumbled onto set. We were dressed so differently to everyone Else’s steam punk vibe. Our wardrobe and makeup designer (Danielle Knox and Kerry Skelton) were genius. Just being in these bizarro, not quite Stepford wifey outfits with my hair all curled, bright lipstick and crazy long nails made me carry myself in a different way.

I also had the most amazing dialect coach (Claire Berlein) who became like a dialect/acting coach/spiritual guide. The fact that I got partnered with Craig Jackson who made me die laughing every day was also just an absolute gift. But really, it was all on the page. Roland and our extraordinary writers had created these fully realized characters, so it wasn’t hard.
I did listen to a lot of music which became like Cliff and Domi theme songs for me the top three probably being Inside out by the Chainsmokers, Tony by Diamanda Galás and Move bitch by Ludacris.
HMF: What was it about the role of Domi that pulled you in?

JS: Who doesn’t want to play a psychotic killer? Especially one that can kick ass while wearing a towel!
HMF: What has the fan reaction to Domi and yourself been like?
JS: The Blood Drive fans #Bleeders are the best. We’ve had fan art sent to us, one especially creative lady made an homage video to Domi and Cliff but my favourite insanity has been people asking me to be their mother. I like the idea of being the mother of bleeders! haha.
HMF: What can we expect out of Domi as the show continues?

JS: Expect nothing! Just keep watching because the crazy knows no limit.

HMF: What’s next for you after Blood Drive?

JS: I’ve just finished a run of playing Wendy in Peter Pan (polar opposite,  I know!) and next I’ll be on stage playing a washed up, Trump loving porn star in a play called The Visit. Hopefully I’ll get to do some more film work and sit drinking bottled water and snapchatting from my trailer again (good times).

Though we don’t know what the future holds for Cliff and Domi, I certainly hope to see them survive the Blood Drive and if we get a Season 2, they’ll return for more Mayhem.
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