Crimson Celluloid: Were you aware of the films of Frank Henenlotter before you took the role in Bad Biology?
Eleonore Hendricks: Sorry to say I found out about legendary Frank Henenlotter when I was introduced to the project Bad Biology. I wish I were so cool as to have seen these films when I was growing up. Its funny actually, Frankenhooker was filmed just down the block from where I grew up in NYC. I wish I was awake or around at the time to have seen exploding prostitute limbs, a little nine year old me would have been quite impressed. When I was about that age I used to beg my parents to take me down the streets in the me at-packing district where all the transvestites and prostitutes hung out, I just loved it. RA the Rugged man brought me into this project, I had known him from around and when he told me about Frank I immediately went to the video store and checked out some of his epic work. I watched Basket Case and Frankenhooker– classic! I was an instant fan and knew what a unique opportunity I had before me.
CC: What memories do you have of him as a director?
EH: I was only on set of Bad Biology for one day but when I came to an audition at his home I was amazed at his collection of horror and cult tapes and DVDs. His living room is lined with shelves packed to the brim- a serious collection. We had fun while shooting but Frank is a serious director and in a sense a traditionalist and he as a real passion for his work- we shot on 35mm film and so each take was incredibly valuable. For this scene where I’m digging relentlessly for my lost jimmy jig and arguing with my boyfriend played by Rude Jude- Frank knew he wanted high intensity and whacked-out fucked-up-ness he encouraged me to push my limits- and whatever he did definitely worked. Several months later I asked Frank to present a screening of his film Basket Case at the video shop I worked at he’s a trooper, and came out to the midnight screening, answered questions and recounted some old stories about the making of that film.
CC: Even people who don’t like the film have often cited your performance as the best thing in it, you really do steal the film in the few minutes you’re in it. How did you prepare for the role?
EH: Aw, shucks, thanks and what a compliment- amongst all of those incredible never ending orgasm scenes-that takes pure skill to fake those! There was a true cast of characters in this film, and I’m really very proud to be amongst such a motley group of performers. In preparing for the role I didn’t do any first hand research, no. And besides my usual worrying and running lines though my head- I don’t know I must have just honed all my nerves, negative synapses, and pent up aggression- and when the character needed to come out, she was there- I’m glad it worked out- I’m pretty proud of this role. Another help is I grew up in NYC- and I know crack when I see it, it’s a nasty nasty drug and it turns people into aggressive zombies. Its terrible- but in spite of that kind of behaviour being caused by a drug- that character was in me somewhere- we all have demons inside- that was a peek at what mine looks like. Also I’m usually just like that in the mornings- I hate waking up.
CC: Was it hard being in a scene where you have to start at and maintain such a high level of intensity?
EH: Like I said it was all just pent up inside me somewhere and I just dug it out because I knew that’s what was called for- I also felt quite comfortable being so insane for Frank, he made it an OK thing. I was definitely beat and voiceless by the end of filming that scene, I think any more takes and you could have seen my larynx and vocal chords on the floor- I’m not really trained for that high potency of hysteria.
CC:Pardon my French but what the fuck were you looking for in that scene? What the hell is your “Jimmy jig” ???
EH: Ah, yes the Jimmy jig, this was an ingenious creation thought up by Mr. Hennenlotter, he’ll tell you the story better, but he knew he needed a word to describe an object and he wanted it to be made up yet believable-something a junky would freak out over and after some consideration, he came up with this. When I read the word I sort of thought I knew what it was, but really its made up. That’s the beauty of the scene- its up to whomever is watching my absurdly relentless hunt to imagine what the fuck the Jimmy Jig could possibly be.
CC: You appear in the same scene as Rude Jude from the Jenny Jones show, what was he like to work with? Was much of the dialogue improvised? His line “your underwear is dusty as fuck” sounds like classic Rude Jude.
EH: Rude Jude was great, we had fun, again I didn’t know him from before, but I soon found out about his infamy. I think he was a little surprised and taken aback by what I became in that scene. I’m pretty soft spoken most of the time- I liked Jude a lot and I wanted to sort of prove my rudeness to him. I can’t remember if that line “your underwear is dusty as fuck” was in the script or not- but he took creative license with that dialogue, made it his own. He was great- I loved when he’s strangling me and I have my hands in his mouth. It got ugly between us.
CC: Was there any part of you that read the script and thought “I don’t know if I should be in a film which features a severed penis breaking through walls and raping girls” and the like?
EH: Frank and RA were very secretive about the script, they only showed me a selection of scenes from the script. I was told a synopsis of the movie, I knew it was about mutant genitalia and RA would emphasis how sick of a story it was- but I really never knew the extent of it until I saw the movie for myself. I was grossed out and shocked and very pleased that Frank and RA took it so far.
CC: It must be cool to have the credit “crackwhore” on your resume?
EH: A dream come true.
CC: Are you a horror movie fan? If so, what are some of your favourite films?
EH: I appreciate horror films but haven’t indulged into the core of horror, Night of the Living Dead, Driller Killer, Repulsion, The Shining, The Fog, Suspiria, Frankenhooker.
CC: You co-wrote the screenplay for the film The Pleasure of Being Robbed, what can you tell us about this film?
EH: This was a bit of an accident, it was meant to be a short film, but the director (my boyfriend) sort of high jacked the production and we ended up making a feature film which was honoured into the Directors Fortnight selection at Cannes and picked up by IFC films. It’s a very special haunting film about a curious and lost young woman who steals for the sake of an adventure in search of her own identity.
CC: You are becoming quite the darling of the indie movie scene, what are your goals and aspirations as an actress? Who inspires you?
EH: This is a tough question, I’m not clear on what my goals are as an actress, I’m not sure I’ll be doing this for very long, it’s a tough trade and I don’t know if I have the stamina and courage for a long career. So far its been an adventure and its still very exciting. I love movies and I love watching actors- its been a treat to be part of movies that move people that’s what its about for me. There are many actors who inspire me, it would be tough to go through the list but I’ll give you a sampling: Gena Rowlands, Barbara Loden, James Dean, River Phoenix, Julietta Messina, Warren Oates, Linda Manz, Nastassja Kinski, Al Pacino, Natalie Wood, Patricia Neal, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Morreau, Monica Vitti, oh it goes on. That’s just actors, then there are directors who inspire, and films, the names are endless.
CC: Thanks for your time, and we all hope you found your jimmy jig
EH: Some might argue its still missing.