I've always had a process that I do before I even get to set or go to the location. I work privately, and it almost feels like therapy between me and who I'm playing. So I have this inner life that's there and it gives me a confidence, too, that when I'm playing the role I know every question.
When people nowadays say that Elvis was the first white guy to sound black, I have to shake my head; what can you do? At the time of 'That's My Desire' 1947 they were saying that I was the only white guy around who sounded black.
Everyone has the opportunity to do a horror film. There's something great about it as an actor. You have to go to places you'd normally never go and be put in situations you would never be put into. You don't get the opportunity in a lot of films to have this kind of acting. It's an interesting challenge.
As a kid, we had one television channel and a sad little roller rink. And there was not much else to do. So I used my imagination all of the time growing up. That's the main way I played. When we moved and I went to high school, I did my first play, and I was completely addicted to theatre. It felt like home; it felt natural.
My first paying gig was a play called 'The Voice of the Prairie' at a theater that no longer exists in Chicago called Wisdom Bridge. I played a fast-talking radio huckster - a salesman of crystal sets in the 1920s - and I actually won an award. Look at that! And then promptly didn't get hired for a year.
There was a little of this, 'Oh, you're such a sweet girl!' That's a wonderful thing to have in life; I don't mind it at all for life. But I remember, the first role I was ever cast in as a not-so-sweet-girl, I was so happy.
So one day, in a fit of trying to do something different, I just dyed my hair dark brown and got my first role a week later, after which I thought: 'People are closed-minded, man! Like a different hair colour changes everything!'
My very first role was the character of Barbara Winslow in the movie 'Marmaduke.' Up until that point, I had only done commercials. I had never done a guest star role or a series, and yet they cast me!
I started acting in second grade - my first role was in the Thanksgiving play. I was the Indian chasing the turkey. All the other mom's encouraged my mom to get me into acting after that. Also, when I saw 'The Sound of Music' at Music Circus, I knew I wanted to act.
The first role that I played as a musical - I was 14 years old, and I played Birdie in 'Bye Bye Birdie.' That was an awakening of, 'Wow, I'm good at that. People are responding.' And I hardly knew what I was doing back then, but there was something that people were seeing.
My first role was in the George Gershwin musical 'Crazy for You' at the Orlando Repertory Theatre when I was 11 - I grew up in Florida - and I wasn't old enough to be in it, but they let me anyway. I was just this little shrimp in a leotard.