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Up-and-comer Stefanie Estes has the lead in Bethany, a James Cullen Bressack spookfest about a woman whose imaginary friend from childhood begins haunting her memories.
How did you get the gig in “Bethany”?
I filmed an initial audition on my own and sent it to the casting director. They had me come in to read for James Cullen Bressack, the director, and some of the film’s producers. We did the scenes a couple of times and talked about the character and the film. Later that day, they called and said they wanted me for the part.
How close to the character in “Bethany” are you?
Nothing close! I’m much more stable than Claire, my character in ‘Bethany.’ But she definitely has certain qualities and quirks that I can relate to.
Is there a character in your past that you could relate to more? Who has been the closest to you?
I try to find a way to make every character I play emotionally resonate for me as an actor. So even if I don’t mirror them in my own life, I’m able to relate to them when I play them. I think the character of Theresa in ‘When Harry Tries To Marry’ is the most like me. She’s happy-go-lucky and carefree, and I’m a naturally lighthearted and laid-back person.
Does the film resemble that very first draft of the script you read?
Very much so! James was very specific in the shooting of the movie. He knew exactly what he wanted and was able to translate that from page to screen wonderfully.
Where did you film? Did it require you to relocate?
We filmed in LA, thank goodness. So no relocation for this project. Although sometimes relocating for a shoot can be fun, and can really immerse you in a different world.
How long of a journey has this been for you – from script to release?
I think we shot the film about a year and a half ago. So, it has been long. But not terribly long in terms of the timelines of independent films. And there was a lot of VFX work to be done on ‘Bethany,’ so that made the post-production process longer.
What do you hope audiences get out of the movie?
I hope that it scares them! And I hope that it touches them emotionally—there’s a twist at the end that is heart-wrenching.
Is there a message in the movie?
Well, from Claire’s perspective, I think it would be: You cannot let your past define you.
What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Sure! I have I have a few other indies coming out later this year. “Identity’ is a sci-fi thriller that has a sort of Hitchcock feel – it’s going to be really cool. ‘Nothing Like The Sun’ is a drama set in the 1950s about a lesbian at odds with the conservative world around her – it has strong female characters and a compelling story that I hope will resonate with audiences.
I’m also shooting ‘A Place Apart,’ a film exploring the universal themes of fear and complacency, and which also features a complex female protagonist – so I’m excited about that!