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Angela Bettis

Actress: "May", "The Toolbox Murders"
Interview by: 
Don't Feed the Dead

 During my final visit to the Chiller Theatre convention (as I’m moving far, far away) I was able to grab a hold of Angela Bettis, best known for her role as “May” (in the same titled movie) and star of the upcoming Lion’s Gate release, the Toolbox Murders. Fearing for the loss of body parts, I was a little reluctant to approach her, but after the tape started rolling I found out that Angela is a bit less psychotic than her onscreen character, and actually a really nice person!

The following is an excerpt (yes, just a small part!) of the interview I conducted with Angela on Sunday, January 9th 2005.

HV: Tell me a little about your character in the Toolbox Murders remake, Nell Barrow.

Nell is like a sleuth on estrogen. (Laughs)

(Laughs) How so?

She’s kinda having estrogen freak out. She’s kinda having problems in her life – so she’s kinda behaving like - you know, those sort of edgy, dominating types of women that are pissed off all the time. She’s kinda in that place.

So it’s a big difference from May.

Yeah, it’s a difference from May.

May’s a bit more withdrawn, more cautious.

Nell isn’t very timid. (Laughs)

I haven’t been able to watch the movie yet. I promised my girlfriend I’d wait till she got back from South Carolina. (DFTD has the German import of Toolbox Murders)

That’s fair, I just hope you like it.

I should, if it’s anything like Hooper’s earlier films.

It’s got this like gritty, sorta 70’s horror look. That’s one of my favorite things. I love horrors like that.

You think the remake will be as well received as the more mainstream remakes, like Texas Chainsaw and Dawn of the Dead?

I think, by the horror community it’ll probably be received well. But like the general public, it probably won’t make as much money as something like that [TCM, DOTD] because it’s not marketed that way.

Well, why didn’t Lion’s Gate market it that way?

Um…. Lion’s Gate, from what I understand, because I can’t really speak for Lion’s Gate, because I just can’t understand. Believe me, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. (Laughs) But, I think from what I understand, they [LGF] will only put out about maybe 2 a year?

Major releases?

As major releases, yeah. But yet they buy all kinds of other films as well.

Yeah, they’re getting pretty big in the market.

They’ll put those two out for the year, and the rest will go directly to video or really small release. Lion’s Gate works in a funny way. This is like for any company like them – they sit on a movie for like 2 years before they decide to do anything with it.

Toolbox received a theatrical overseas, right?

I think so. I’m not sure, but I think so. I know it’s been overseas for quite some time. It’s like “old hat” over there. 

Were you a fan of Tobe’s earlier works?

Yeah! That’s why I did it! [Toolbox] I wanted to work with Tobe Hooper.

Was it a good experience?

He is a genius! He has enough imagination for everyone at the Chiller convention. He’s got an amazing imagination that has never dwindled.

Your slated to be working with Tobe on another film, Brew.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with Brew. We were supposed to make it and it kinda fell through. There trying to pick it back up again. I think Bill Moseley is supposed to be in it.

And Nick Carter!

(Cringes) Uh-huh.

That’s scary!

(Laughs) It’s very scary!

Wouldn’t you want to act with a boy band superstar?

(Laughs) I wonder if that’s actually what will happen. When they were talking about that [Carter], I was like “Yeah, we’ll see.” They were talking about putting Paris Hilton in it, too.

If Paris Hilton gets signed on to that movie, I suggest you walk.

Yeah, I think that I would. (Laughs) I already have a problem about working with him [Carter] because I can’t imagine working with someone that has an entourage. (Laughs) What the hell is that? I don’t know if I could do that with them in it, but I told Tobe that. But they have to do what they have to do. The producers, the money men… they have the final say. We’ll see what happens with that. 

The movie is an interesting premise. 

The vampire brewery.

Yeah. With all the undead living in the cellar.

(Laughs) He [Hooper] could pull it off.

Oh, any future plans of working with Lucky McKee? 

Yeah! Me and Lucky are doing some stuff. On the website (?) we have some stuff with Lucky in it. It’s episodic, sort of like a demented Melrose Place. He’s acting in it. 


Yeah, he’s actually a phenomenal actor! We’re doing some where he’s acting and I’m directing. Kinda like we switch roles. I think we’re getting some money together for it.

Well, he’s got the Woods coming out this year.

Yeah, it’s coming out in March. Actually, I’m the voice of the Woods in the movie. Calling Agnes Bruckner (who plays “Heather”) into the woods. “Agnes, come into the woods……come.”

What about Jeremy Sisto?

Oh, Jeremy's off doing bigger and better things. He's really busy now.

Does it surprise you that May is still going strong even after being released for a few years now? I mean, sales have actually increased for the DVD every year after its initial release.

It's still going strong and it's actually really cool. It's amazing that of all the stuff I've done. I've been at this for almost 15 years, so I've done a lot of crap. I've done a lot of good stuff, and a lot of bad stuff - basically a lot of stuff. It's amazing that the one that's successful is the $200,000.00 budget one (May). 

I'm assuming the notoriety has opened up a lot of doors for you.

Most important, it's given me the ability to pick my roles. It's either find my roles, or I'm just not going to play anymore. I've become almost stubborn! Out there (Hollywood), you have to make a choice at some point in your career. Either you're about art, or commerce. To make the commerce choice, it's really difficult to get out of it because you're getting rich! It's like winning the lottery. Your head just wants more, like gambling, like an addiction. If you make the art choice, you probably always going to have money problems, but you do better for you, you know? I guess what I learned, about myself, is that in the end, I'm an art person. It makes me happier that way. I'm happier doing that then going after the mighty dollar.

What’s your most memorable moment from running cross country (track) at the State level?

Wow! How do you know that I did that?!

It’s all about the research.

Memorable moment? It’s all about winning, man! Getting the gold! It’s all about the gold! At least it was for me, anyway. Dude, I was actually pretty good at that….. competing on a State level. I was one of the best runners in the state. It was also about getting into that “great zone” after reaching a mile. It’s like better than drugs. That was one of the “high” points of cross country.

Well, I want to thank you for giving me the time to do this interview. It’s been a hell of a good time!

Yes it has! Thank you and I hope you like Toolbox!