Six years ago, actor Erin Kelly
was sitting in the audience at a play, minding her own business, when filmmaker
Katherine Brooks walked up to her and said, “Please tell me you’re an
Luckily for Brooks, the answer was
“yes.” Four years later, Kelly was starring in her first feature film,
playing a self-possessed and passionate Catholic schoolgirl in love with a female teacher
twice her age in Brooks’ smoldering tale of taboo attraction, Loving Annabelle.
If loving Annabelle was wrong,
droves of fans didn’t want to be right.
This fall, Kelly inhabits the role
of a seductive, yet disturbed mental patient in the new Brooks film, Waking Madison, which stars Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Roemer (Disturbia, The Grudge 2) and Taryn Manning (Cold Mountain, Hustle & Flow).
Kelly sat down with AfterEllen.com
recently to talk about meeting and forming a lasting friendship with Brooks, the
unsexiness of shooting sex scenes, and what she loves about her lesbian fan
Katherine Brooks said you’re her muse. How much does being a muse pay these
Erin Kelly: [laughs] Not nearly enough.
AE: In Waking Madison, your third project with Katherine, you play a character named Grace.
Who is Grace?
EK: Grace is one of the patients Madison
meets at a mental institution. And Grace is there because she’s a sex addict
and a drug addict; she has an addictive personality.
AE: Sounds like Grace
has some issues. Does she indulge her addictions with anyone on the ward?
EK: [She] seduces orderlies, but none of the other patients.
AE: Does Grace
connect with the patients in other ways?
EK: Yeah, all of the girls. In the story, there’s a community room where we
all connect and [develop] relationships with each other. There’s the bully, Margaret,
played by Taryn Manning, and Imogen Poots as Alexis, the wounded girl who’s tormented
by Margaret. And I’m the character between the two of them.
AE: You were
originally going to play the wounded one, Alexis.
EK: Right. I was. But I ended up playing Grace, which, in the end, worked
out. I thought the role of Grace was much more interesting for me, as an actor.
Erin Kelly as Grace in
AE: Your role was switched because,
according to Katherine, you’re so good at playing a “focused, promiscuous
seducer.” Do you agree?
EK: [sarcastically] Oh, no. I’ve never had any experience in that area. [laughs] No, it’s all just pulling
from my imagination.
AE: Oh, really now?
EK: [laughs] No, nothing.
AE: Come on.
EK: [laughs] I’m no fun.
AE: I don’t believe
that. Tell me one story.
EK: Well, I wasn’t promiscuous or anything like that. [long pause] OK. When
I was 16, my dad caught me selling “beverages” out of the trunk of my
AE: How did you buy “beverages”
at 16 years old?
EK: I stood outside the store and I was somehow
able to get college guys to buy it for me.