The Movie Waffler Interview - WHAT DEATH LEAVES BEHIND Star Erin O'Brien | The Movie Waffler

Interview - WHAT DEATH LEAVES BEHIND Star Erin O'Brien

erin o'brien interview
The busy genre star discusses her new supernatural thriller.

Genre staple Erin O’Brien, seen recently in Clinton Road and Killing Joan, gives us the 411 on her new project – the deeply disturbing What Death Leaves Behind, the true account of a murderer who believes he’s experiencing visions of his donor’s grisly murder.

erin o'brien interview

How long have you been in the biz for now, Erin?

It’s been a while now, I’ve been in Los Angeles for eight years but started out in New York.

And you’d always wanted to be an actor?

Yes. Always. I’ve always been a huge movie fan. Especially indie film. Indie films always seem to push the envelope and I love that. 

Do you remember a movie, or a performance, that spurred you to pursue the craft?

Not one movie in particular. But there are a slew of films that fuelled me for sure. Some of my favourite movies growing up were American Beauty (Annette Bening was amazing), The Ice Storm, Magnolia and Natural Born Killers (I love Juliette Lewis). I love character driven films. I love a good story but watching a good actor is everything. So I guess you can say I’ve been fuelled by not one film but lots of films.


Would you say you’re best known for a certain type of film, or for playing a certain type of role?

I would say I get cast as edgy or tough often. I also do a lot of horror films. I really enjoy both, but am anxious to explore more types of film and TV roles as well as different characters.

And how different is the character in What Death Leaves Behind from others you’ve played?

This is for sure one of my favourite characters I’ve ever played. She’s strong but very vulnerable. She’s layered and interesting. I think she has more depth than any other character I’ve played.
erin o'brien interview

Where does she end and Erin begin?

Well we definitely have some similarities. She’s been through some hard things and haven’t we all, right? I think we are both emotionally open and sensitive, but she is extremely emotionally scarred. She’s kind of stuck in a dark place, and that’s where we differ. I am lucky to have a lot of light and love in my life. She’s alone and isolated, and that’s where we also differ.

How did you psyche yourself up for such an emotionally-taxing part?

It was a lot of emotional preparation and I drew anything I could from my own experiences. I created a back story for the character and it all really felt like it came together when I got in my wardrobe and makeup and fake tattoos. Once I got on set with my scene partner Johnny Alonso, it all worked.

And any tips from your director on how you should approach the performance?

I was given tons of freedom actually and I just ran with the character. I really appreciated that freedom to just go for it.

[ READ MORE: Interview - Opus Zero Director Daniel Graham ]

The film’s concept is very frightening – it’s based on a true story, I believe?

Yes, it’s based on true events that happened to our producer's cousin. He was very involved with the script and filming process.

After such a heavy movie, did you go and do a light comedy or musical?

Haha, no but I should have! I just took some time to relax. That worked.

What Death Leaves Behind will premiere in Los Angeles on September 11th, followed by a US release. A UK release has yet to be announced.