Dark Side Magazine at FrightFest 2022 – James Whittington catches up with Kimberly Laferriere, star of Do Not Disturb
Kimberly Laferriere is one of the most exciting actresses around and her latest role in Do Not Disturb proves this. We had a quick chat with her about this acclaimed thriller.
DS: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actress and was there one person who inspired you?
KL: I enjoyed performing from a young age for sure. Madonna and Michael Jackson were a big influence growing up but my “Ha ha” moment for acting happened while watching Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliette for the millionth time. I would act out all of Claire Dane’s scenes and suddenly I realised: “Wait a minute… Claire wasn’t born doing this… she became an actor … this is a job… I could this!”. And the adventure began…
DS: You’ve got an incredibly full acting CV; do you prefer working in TV or film?
KL: I love both equally. What I really enjoy about working in film and television is the collaboration. Talented, inspired people come together to create something, to tell a story, and everyone must be on their A game to get one shot. It still humbles me to this day. I also love, love, love the stage and miss it terribly.
DS: What attracts you to the parts you play?
KL: There was a time in my career when I would have taken anything just to get the experience but nowadays, it must be a full body yes. I need to be excited about a project, it has to bring me joy. That’s my number one priority.
DS: Do you get nervous when you walk onto a set for the first time?
KL: All the time. And I think that’s a good thing. It’s like a first day at school or a first day on a new job… But I try to flip the script and be excited instead. Anything can happen… I could forget all my lines … but that’s ok. I remind myself that it’s just a life experience, I’m always learning and that’s interesting.
DS: How did you get the role of Chloe and how did you prepare to play such a vulnerable character?
KL: I got the part by auditioning. I was in Montreal at the time, working on another project, my agent sent me the script and I self-taped. Taping into Chloe’s vulnerability wasn’t hard for me. Many of us have been in toxic relationships, I’ve been cheated on before, I know that pain … so I was able to draw from my personal experience. Chloe’s transformation however was a little trickier. To prepare for that I read ethnobotany articles and listened to a fascinating pod cast called Plants of the Gods by Dr. Mark Plotkin. I learned how powerful medicinal plants can be, how they can affect people positively and negatively and how important it is to use them with respect, always with the guidance of a Shaman or a master. I started asking myself a lot of “what ifs”… what if a powerful plant like peyote unleashed all of Chloe’s anger, resentment, and animalistic impulses … what if she’s not equipped to handle all of it, she’s been hiding from her true self for so long and she doesn’t have a guide to help her through it… That was the beginning my work to play Chloe.
DS: There are many levels to the story such as toxic relationships, regret and resentment, how hard was it to ensure these themes were not overshadowed by the gorier moments?
KL: That was all John … I just had to stay true to my character’s journey and the master did the rest.
DS: Talking of the gore, what’s it like on set when completing such scenes?
KL: Fun, sometimes gross and very sticky … When you’re covered in fake blood for hours, everything sticks to you, hair, dust, crumbs… Technically those scenes require a lot of concentration. If you don’t get the shot on the first take, you have to clean everything up before you can shoot again. We tried to avoid that as much as possible.
DS: You and Rogan Christopher who plays your partner Jack have a natural on-screen chemistry; you really do feel for their situation. Did you have much time to rehearse your lines together?
KL: Rogan and I connected over facetime before the shoot. We talked a lot about our characters journeys and back stories. We also met for coffee every morning before call time, no matter how early, and went over the scenes for that day.
DS: The scenery is stunning; did you shoot it all on location?
KL: All the exteriors were shot in Miami. It was so beautiful and fun to shoot there. I even saw dolphins on the day we shot the jet ski scenes.
DS: This is truly a narcotic nightmare; do you think it may put people off “experimenting drug wise?
KL: No. But I hope people see DND as a cautionary tell regarding drugs. Especially medicinal, hallucinogenic plants.
DS: Have you had any holiday horrors?
KL: Do bed bugs count? I think that qualifies as nightmarish and frightening.
DS: So, what are you up to at the moment?
KL: Going to festivals with DND, I’m writing a television series and preparing for my next part but the last two are all hush hush… more to come on that in time.
DS: Kimberly Laferriere, thank you very much.