Chanel Ryan – Bigger Than The Beatles
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects you are working on?
A) I have a few films that recently came out; Circus of the Dead is an unapologetically brutal and gory horror film not for the faint of heart! I am the female lead opposite genre legend Bill Oberst, Jr. who is fantastic as “Papa Corn” and one of my absolute favorite human beings Parrish Randall who plays my husband. I can’t tell you much more than the circus comes to town and beware the clowns! I have a small but fun part in romantic comedy Love Addict, which is about a womanizing attorney who goes to a hypnotherapist to quit smoking and things go horribly wrong!
I have few films soon to be released. I have smaller roles in the comedy Hypnotized, which has a great cast including Kevin Pollack, Vinnie Jones and John Delacie and the drama Woman on the Edge starring Rumer Willis is in post and believe is going to be on the Lifetime network. Also, I have comedy/horror Hells Kitty, which follows a Hollywood writer named Nick and Angel, his possessed and possessive pussycat! It was originally shot as a web series. Each episode features actors who are iconic in the horror genre. I am in the finale episode. Long story short it was edited into a feature film which will be out soon!
Excited to be doing lead roles in a four upcoming indie films. I can tell you about a couple of them. Mayday from director Max Cerchi has two different endings a horror and a sci-fi. The whole film takes place on an airplane. I am playing a stewardess. Not sure how much I am allowed to tell except that Michael Pare is set to play the Air Marshall and shortly after takeoff mysterious things start to happen!
I love working with the same directors. Don Richardson and I worked together on a pilot for Funny Or Die called “Busted Reality” a few years back and last summer he called me to work on his new comedy/horror called Attack of the B.I.M.B.O.S! Without giving to much away, it’s about a race of Aliens disguised as “Bimbos” who want to take over earth! I play the “Leader of The Bimbos!” That makes me the HBIC!
I also just shot the first episode of a fun new web series called “Countdown.” Basically, the world is coming to an end in 6 hours. The first episode establishes all the players and each episode after follow different people and how they spend the remaining time. Stay tuned to see what happens! I don’t even know yet and won’t until we shoot next…
Q) Please tell us the premise for the film Bigger Than The Beatles.
A) Bigger Than The Beatles centers around Charles Manson’s relationship with Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys. The film is based on a true story. At the time, Charlie was a singer/songwriter who wrote a couple songs for The Beach Boys. I have a cameo as Candice Bergen who was living with music manager Terry Melcher at the time. It turns out they had recently moved out of the house Sharon Tate was murdered in.
Q) What made you want to be a part of the film?
A) I had actually just finished filming Dead Sea with fellow actor Ryan Kiser. We were shooting in Big Bear and both flew into Ontario airport and were in the same car going up the Mountain. It’s an hour or so drive so we got to know each other a bit on the ride up and became friends. He is one of the producers on Bigger Than The Beatles and reached out to me to play Candice Bergen! Of course, I said yes! Thank you Ryan!
Q) Did you do any research into Candice Bergen’s life in order to portray her during that time?
A) I am a huge Candice Bergen fan so I just watched old films and interviews of hers during the time period. It was actually challenging to find as much info as I would have liked. Remember this takes place during the late 60’s and social media and the internet were not around like they are now so it was not easy to find footage from that era. From the few video interviews I was able to find I tried to speak in a similar pattern. We tried to match the look of the time as well with wardrobe and hair & make-up.
Q) What did you find challenging about the role?
A) It is a bit intimidating to play a real person. It was difficult to really find interviews, etc. that gave a real sense of what she was like during this period so as with any role you try to be as true to the person you think they are and then just go for it. Vaughn, the director, just advised me to do my version of it and commit.
Q) Was there instant cast chemistry when you and the cast began working together or did it take some time to develop?
A) When I arrived on set the director Vaughn Juares was in the middle of filming with David Cole, who plays Terry Melcher and Joseph Andrew Schneider, who plays Dennis Wilson. It was my first time meeting everyone and we were on a tight schedule so there wasn’t really any time to get to know anyone. Often times you arrive on set and are thrown together in front of the camera very quickly after meeting. In this instance there was tension between my character and the other actors in the scene so it worked out very well and helped feed the circumstances that were going on during the scene.
Q) What was it like working with director Vaughn Juares?
A) Vaughn was great to work with and was actually one of the reasons I wanted to be involved with the project. The film is developed from a short called Lie, which is so well done. Vaughn is so talented. Everything was all shot really beautifully and in black and white! I was really impressed after watching it and wanted to work with him!
Q) What are some of your most memorable moments from filming?
A) Vaughn did such a fantastic job of really creating an environment on set that made me feel like I was transported back in time. I had a sense of what it must have been like to have been Candice Bergen dating Terry Melcher back in the day.
Q) What do you hope viewers take away from watching Bigger Than The Beatles?
A) I think it gives another glimpse into the life of Charles Manson and the destruction and craziness that surrounded him. After reading the script I learned so much about that time period and the people involved that I didn’t know before. Anyone interested in The Beach Boys, Charles Manson or the 60’s will enjoy the film!
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way to interact with fans?
A) Yes, some days I am better than others at social media! As someone in the entertainment industry it is expected of us – almost another facet of our jobs. Social media is a great way to reach a huge number of people by quickly posting. Over the years I have done different convention appearances and made friends along the way. I have some really amazing fans and it is a fun way to stay in touch!
Q) You are a very active and loyal voice for animals. Why is that such an important cause for you?
A) I am a huge animal lover and activist and like to end all of my interviews with a shout out to my animal friends. We are their voices. Animals are defenseless and need us to protect them. It starts with something as simple as spaying and neutering your pets. Most people don’t understand how important this simple thing is and the long term impact it has on helping to end homeless animals. There are all sorts of programs that offer low cost spay and neuter so there are no excuses! If you pet has a liter or kittens or puppies it costs much more in the long run. Also, please adopt don’t shop…There are wonderful shelters and animal rescues in every city. Rescues make the best pets! Be part of the solution and help end the suffering for animals everywhere.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I consider myself so lucky that I have such amazing fans! Thank you for sticking by me all these years! In a way I have grown up with a lot of you! Starting with my early days modeling, to my years doing my calendars and then switching my focus to acting full time. I consider myself so lucky that I am able to go out and do different appearances and conventions and meet a lot of you in person! I know I say it all the time, but I so appreciate all the support! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!