Actress Helene Udy
Helene Udy is an actress and director. Best known for her work in horror films in the 1980′s like The Dead Zone, My Bloody Valentine and The Incubus. She was ranked the #30 Top Horror Actors by www.toptenreviews.com. She appeared on As The World Turns in 1983. She was also a regular as Myra on the series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Star
Trek fans might recognize her from the episode Rules of Acquisition where she had a brief role as Pel. She has directed films like Naked In The Cold Sun and Nowhere Land. Helene recently won a Hollywood Fringe Festival award for directing the new play, Rehab! The Musical. The documentary 3 Billion And Counting which she produced should be hitting the theaters early this year.
Q: What led you to become an actress?
A: I think of film, theater and tv as a canvas to lay your thoughts on. It impressed me that you could be in communion with a very large group of people while acting. I wanted to participate in a continuing world conversation about what it is to be human. What it is to feel hurt and love and joy and pain and fear and explore why we do what we do.
Q: When you first began your career did you ever think you’d be ranked the 30th horror actor of all time? (Not sure why it is just actor) Do you consider that an honor?
A: I still can’t believe that. That’s a pretty impressive claim to fame. I had no idea until I read it just now.
Q: What was the best advice anyone has ever gave you and who was it?
A: Someone read my palm when I was a kid and said I had no luck at all.That I would have to work really hard to get whatever I wanted in life, because I just was not going to be lucky. It’s the best thing anyone ever said to me. I was so freaked out, from that moment on I put in double time on anything I wanted and worked my arse off. It’s hard work, but its good work.
Q: Are you a fan of horror and sci fi yourself? Why do you think people enjoy those genres so much?
A: I find it far less scary to act in Horror movies than to watch them. I have said, screaming in a movie you have a part in is acting. Screaming while sitting in a movie theater while being scared to death is real. I’d rather do the acting. I think maybe people love the experience of an adrenaline rush. We all do. Expressing fear can be very cathartic. I
think we all like that moment where we can let go and just succumb to screaming our butts off. It’s also nice to clutch a good strong arm for protection or bury your head on a good strong shoulder. Who doesn’t love to clutch each other giddy with horror? I have absolutely no idea why the whole thing is so much fun.
Q: Which of the horror films you have appeared in did you enjoy working in most?
A: I really enjoyed My Bloody Valentine and have remained life time friends with most of the cast. We just became buddies and the bond never broke. Dead Zone was a thrill because although I didn’t act with Chris Walken. I got to sit in the make up trailer beside him. I was thrilled.He didn’t notice me at all. But hey, a girl can dream. But Pin was a very complicated psychological movie and I really enjoyed working with the director and the cast to make it come to life. I find it to be a really really really creepy movie. I’m very proud of it. It’s the kind of scary movie I’d like to direct one day. Katie Bird Certifiable Crazy Person was just that. Crazy. But a truly memorable adventure unto itself. The character I played was absolutely bonkers. The director was a bonkers genius. The whole thing was banzaied into a couple of weeks of 14 hour days. It was much like a horror movie itself in real life terms. But it was thrilling. I was dating a fairly nasty character in life at the time it’s funny how life can imitate art. We shot at a friend of the director’s house , but the friend was moving out and left a beautiful live bunny rabbit alone in a cage in the yard. I gave the rabbit to my sister. The bunny was later eaten by a coyote.(Really upsetting real life horror.)So it goes. But it was a fun movie.
Q: Are you a fan of Star Trek? What is it like to be a character on a show that is so iconic?
A: I used to watch reruns of the first star trek every night with my boyfriend for years. I really most prefer the original with Captain Kirk and Spock. But it was a total thrill to play a Ferengi on the Deep Space Nine version. Four hours of make up, Piranha teeth and all. I really loved the character. I found her to be very virtuous and also very funny. Lots of fun to play.
Q: What was it like to play a prostitute on Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman? Do you enjoy western themes? Did you have fun doing that? What was it like to work with Jane Seymour? What is she like as a person?
A: When I was a child, my sister Claudia and I used to play act that we were in a western. I was mostly the cowboy and she was mostly the damsel in distress. But we both got to ride the broom horses. As we got older, we used to piggy back ride around the neighborhood pretending we were horses in a western, using tooth brushes with strings attached as bits so the rider could really steer the horse by pulling on the tooth brush bit, and it made it feel really authentic. I guess being the horse was the most fun. And I’ve always been fond of long dresses and southern accents. So maybe a western came normally to me. It was lovely to play the role of Myra in Dr. Quinn. She was sweet, naive and well meaning. It was a gift to be able to sink into her world for a while. Jane Seymour is a consummate pro. She cared a great deal about the show and it was impossible not to have respect for her. She puts 150% of herself into everything she does. Someone must have also told her that in life, she would only get things through hard work. She does not leave things up to chance.
Q: Of all the roles you have played which is your favorite?
A: For a while I seemed to be playing roles that being with s, Sylvia,Suzie, Suzette, Sally. I loved them all. And then came Myra in Dr. Quinn. Myra has likely been my greatest mouthpiece.
Q: How has the industry changed most over the years do you think?
A: I think like Francis Ford Coppola predicted it is now affordable for any Joe Schmo that as something to say to go out and make a movie. A lot of good has come from that. Making film making more accessible. Katie Bird certifiable crazy person is the work of a mad genius with very little money. But it’s a brilliant movie.
Q: What was Rehab! The Musical like? Can you tell our readers a little about the show?
A: My friend Patrick Gelinas had this idea rumbling around in his brain for many years. And with a little encouragement he got it down in a musical format. He’s a genius talent as a musician and a wonderfully imaginative writer as well. Rehab! The Musical is very very loosely drawn on his experiences in rehab. And the story is this: Billy, a down and out stock broker and Michele, a street tramp, encounter a variety of individuals who help and hinder them on their way, in their quest for a better life. And in the end we find, the glorious sun does shine on those who try. The music is very raw and kind of Tom Waits like, and the whole play has an old creaky carnival like feeling to it. If you saw the tv show Carnivale, you would really like this Musical. I am trying to get it to the next level right now. Our goal is to play it on Broadway. It takes time, but we’ll get there.
Q: Why did you decide to try your hand at directing? How does that differ from working in front of the camera?Which do you prefer most?
A: I like directing because you are the story teller. You weave the story for the audience to see. You have the paint brush for all the characters. You chose the color tones off the project and slowly hand them out to your cast and crew. As an actor you are a puppet, just in charge of your little portion of the story with the set of colors the director gives
you. Acting is telling a story using yourself. Directing is telling a story using many people, a set, scenery, music,and sound effects. You just have a lot more tools to be effective. Also being an actor is using emotion which is totally draining(any one of you who have experienced a crying jag know what I’m talking about),but a director directs the
emotion of others to the advantage of the piece. At the end of the day though both are satisfying. Directing leaves me uplifted, whereas acting can sometimes leave me really super drained.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Act direct, write and produce. But I go to the gym every day anyway.
Q: What little known fact about yourself would the people closest to you be surprised to learn?
A: I am not an animal, I am a human bean.
Q: What projects are you working on now? Where can your fans go for the latest on your career?