I recently had the chance to ask actress Jenny Wright a few questions about her career... We know each other through Actor Stefan Arngrim so Jenny felt comfortable with me asking her a bit about herself... Jenny wowed audiences in the early 80's and continued doing great work when she suddenly decided to quit acting.. Her last role was in the Movie "Enchanted in 1998. It seem as though Jenny had vanished from the planet... Until recently.... when she decided to become involved with various Sci Fi events.... I was lucky enough to get to ask her a few questions.... I hope you all enjoy my interview with her. I am starting the interview with her bio from IMDb...
The talented, unpredictable, opinionated, and uniquely beautiful Jenny Wright was born March 23, 1963 in New York City. Her father was an artist and her mother was a teacher. They instilled a love of the arts and a strong devotion to self education in Jenny at an early age. Her parents later separated, and Jenny moved to Cambridge, New York to live with her mother and two sisters. After her sisters left for college, Jenny and her mother moved back to New York City. Once back home, Jenny decided to pursue acting, and enrolled herself in the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. There, she immediately captured the attention of modeling and casting agents. At the age of 16, Jenny modeled for artists Antonio Lopez and Salvador Dalí. She then went on to act on stage, in an off Broadway play, "Album", with Kevin Bacon. And in 1981, Jenny made a brief appearance in the TV film, Rape & Marriage (1991) with Mickey Rourke. She continued to act on stage, even garnering rave reviews for her portrayal of Dorcus Fray in Joseph Papp's Broadway production of "Plenty". In 1982, Jenny was cast in The World According to Garp (1982), after impressing director George Roy Hill with her blend of sensuality and innocence. Jenny then arrived in London for "Pink Floyd: The Wall", where she played an abused groupie. She then quickly followed up with four months in Utah for the TV documentary/drama, "The Executioner's Song," which proved to be a more substantial role. Jenny returned to New York afterwards, and back to the stage and took a break from films. She went back to films in 1984, for "The Wild Life" with Eric Stoltz and Chris Penn. Jenny also made appearances in films such as "St. Elmo's Fire" (1984) and "Out of Bounds" (1986).
Jenny with Rob Lowe in St. Elmo's Fire
By appearing in films with actors such as Rob Lowe and Anthony Michael Hall, Jenny was put in the 'Brat Pack' category. It was something she found to be uncomfortable, and wanted to shake off. Thus, Jenny's film choices became edgier, starting with "Near Dark" in 1987. With her girl next door look, large soulful eyes, and sensuality, Jenny made the role of sweet yet dangerous Mae her most memorable part of her career. She credits director Kathryn Bigelow with creating the film's mood and atmosphere, which makes "Near Dark" a stand-out film in the vampire genre. While "Near Dark" didn't fair too well at the box office, it did receive cult status, bringing Jenny independent,'left of center' film roles. Finally, Jenny successfully rid herself of the 'Brat Pack' label. She went on to teen roles in the critically acclaimed film The Chocolate War (1988) and in the off-beat "Twister" (1988). Those roles then gave way to conventional parts in the mainstream films "Young Guns II" (1990)and "The Lawnmower Man" (1992). After that, Jenny quit the film business. Her last film appearance was a small role in "Enchanted" (1998).
Punk Globe: Tell us a little bit about yourself Jenny?
Jenny Wright: I was living in N.Y.C. (home) and was working on a soap opera, that nobody will remember, called 'The Doctors'. I had already, with my first jobs, been established as the sexy blonde from the wrong side of the tracks...or lost, with no past.. it was different back then or maybe it was just me and being willing to take risks and jump from stage to television to film.
I was living in a cute studio apt, in the West Village and was out every night, going to clubs, parties and lots of music. So, I was "burning it at both ends" as they say. I was deep into the punk rock scene, which if you recall was really going on in N.Y.. late 70's early 80's.. When I lived was living there I was totally a part of that scene. I was 17,18, 19 running around N.Y. seeing Patti Smith, Blondie, Sex Pistols, Slits,etc.. It was too much fun and I refused to compromise.
Punk Globe: How about filming "The Wall" with Pink Floyd and Bob Geldof?
Jenny Wright: I got a call from my manager that film director Allen Parker wanted to see me for a possible role in a Pink Floyd movie. I wasn't all that excited about it because, basically, I was just exhausted from partying all night and being on the soap opera set by 5:00 am. I was very naive in a certain way, totally unafraid of life but not aware of all the details, as we are when we are young. I had done a music video for a band called 'Yellow' or 'Yello'..don't remember..so long ago. but knew a little a bout music/film mix.
So, in between and in order of importance, drinking, acting on stage in a hit off Broadway show called Album (w/ Kevin Bacon) acting on the off, off T.V. soap "The Doctors", I auditioned for Allen Parker's rock opera "The Wall". Now, rumor has it that he likes girls with pointy tits, which isn't really the best description of mine but I do think he hired me for my attributes as well as his famously intuitive sense to sniff out talent. Besides, let's give me a little credit, I was a working professional in a biz where only 1% work at all. And wasn't a child actor w/ actor parents or coaches. I was a city kid with a bit of a drinking problem and alot of desire to create magic. stage, T.V. or movie..no matter.
So, while waiting for filming to begin in England my life took a turn. I was fired off The Doctors, for repeat offense of falling asleep on the set. And I moved on from "Album", the hottest Off Broadway show of the year, to move on to a bigger role in a bigger place, at Joseph Papp's Royal Shakespeare Theater. Which put me in place for my first and only Broadway show "Plenty". oh, yes then 'The Wall'
So, I flew to London in cold seasonally wet weather and was put up at the St. Georges Hotel which was small and wonderful alot like some of the better hotels in Hollywood.. Or maybe just more notorious. The movie was shot entirely at Pinewood studios, not too far outside the city of London. I went into that experience with no fear..and was welcomed warmly by Mr. Roger Waters himself and the rest of "the guys". Bob Geldorff was tall and sort of..really sexy in a brooding, lanky kind of way. I saw his girlfriend out of the corner of my eye, across the room. She was lovely, thin with shocking white hair. Loved it!
My sequences were to be filmed together over the next few days? Weeks? I don't remember, there was alot of fun packed into that trip...running around London at night, attending 'The Alternative Miss Universe Contest'. And dining w/ interestingly estranged royalty. And of course, the local talent..of whom were very talented. It really was a blast 18 years old running wild, but working legit. Fuck Yea!
My role as 'The American Groupie' was really sort of trashy and fun. The scene where all five of us ladies come walking through the lights of the open gateway to get into the show was fucking great! The song 'Dirty Women' was blasting on the P.A. and I was so suddenly freed by the whole experience of being wild and filmed at the same time! Yum! Nothing like it, really..it's like being given permission to be really naughty, without being pornographic, and getting a paycheck for it. Turns out it was right up my alley, although I didn't realize it at the time, of course.
The scene in the Roadie's 18 Wheeler was all improvised..as was, I have to admit, my entire performance in 'The Wall'. I mean hell I was an 18 year old punk rocker from N.Y.C., I knew how these things went. So, it just kinda rolled into what it was, ending up in Pink's hotel room.
I had no idea the chaos that would take place on that set, in that room. I mean shit, I was almost crushed by a table thrown at the wall directly over my head. And being chased around a room by a 6'6 raging maniac was just a little more then I had bargained for. English people... Directors, I have found, minimize altogether too much. I was really scared shitless and was for sure that Geldoff was out of control.
And the beginning of that scene I was so nice...Pink really was an asshole! But only the character, Bob Geldoff was recently Knighted by the Queen for his efforts with "Live Aid' and other music oriented special cause efforts. He was a gentleman with me when out of character and off the set. We had a few drinks and a laugh. I found out, boy, does that man love to talk.
Punk Globe: Have you seen any of "The Twilight" Movies and do you see any comparisons to Near Dark? You and Adrian Pasdar had such a chemistry...
Jenny Wright: Oddly enough I haven't seen any of the Twilight movies. I read the first book and was convinced that it wasn't for me. Honestly, I've always hated high school movies...Even though I've done a few. There are rare exceptions...and I am not saying that the films I did were that, but I have never been interested in High School movies. I am a jaded, New York City,' latch key' kid with an 9th grade education. Please.
So, I can only tell you very little....and going on book number 1 only. There was absolutely no comparison between them. Totally unalike. In "Near Dark " the cast of "Vampires" are nomadic night creatures....that have been around for so many centuries that they are, for the most part , jaded and restless, looking always for the next thrill or kill ( barroom scene).
So, It's not a fair question or maybe just that I can't give a very good answer because I don't really know the material just the gist. From all the press, etc....it appears that "Twilight" is a love story primarily. And Near Dark was also that but much more. Unfortunately the press didn't "get" our movie. My character Mae longed for companionship in eternity, love. And in the end she nearly destroys herself to save a human..very unvampirerick.. The ending was controversial but I believe in my heart that Katheryn Bigelow could not bear to see Mae destroyed along with the rest. Or wandering heart broken through eternity. Too sad. So it doesn't really work either way. I believe the director made the right choice. So, I haven't really answered your question. I did the best I could with no information about the "Twlight" movies.
Punk Globe: Any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on to actors
looking to break into show business?
Jenny Wright: I have found my self bound by the oath of celibacy, when it came to 'the director's couch' or' the male lead'. It is just better to not cross currents of purpose. I was always alright taking off my clothes on screen (if it was relevant) but after the day of shooting was over, I went home alone. Good Mojo.
So, what I'd do to become really famous and have a shot at the quality scripts, if your talking "Hollywood", is to allow myself the permission to be myself, as I 'try on' the character in relevance and to stretch it a little if it doesn't fit right, But don't humiliate yourself and others by occupying space that doesn't rightfully and honestly 'belong' to you. It is those few films that I did that fit me that I am remembered for, the others fade to black. So,what we've learned here is to; be remembered and wear your characters well!
Thanks so very much for the interview Jenny... We hope that perhaps you will return to acting... We here at Punk Globe will be rooting you on girl...
You Rawk Sister Friend......