May 16, 2016 Interview – Dale Dickey
Diversity is something an actor strives to achieve in the body of their career. Fortunately for the talented actress Dale Dickey, she has built an impressive resume in television, theater, and film dating back over two decades now. Winning the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female for her performance as Merab in the 2010’s Winter’s Bone, Dickey’s career has been filled with highlights including roles in 2001’s The Pledge, a role in AMC’s Breaking Bad, as well as HBO’s True Blood, just to name a few. Always up for a challenge, she recently had the opportunity to work with acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar, along with a cast that included Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson, in the Psychological Thriller Regression. A film where reality and fantasy are weave into one, Regression is a compelling story where Dickey has a chance to do something vastly different with the role of Rose. Recently we caught up with the busy actress to talk about her career in the Arts, her work on Regression, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been working in entertainment for over twenty years now. First, tell us, what inspired you to be involved in entertainment and remain involved all these years later?
Dale Dickey – I grew up in East Tennessee in Knoxville. The university there had a very terrific Theater department. I got started as a child at nine doing theater at the university and continued to study there. I started as a theater actress in New York for twelve years, then I started to do some film and television when relocating to Los Angeles. It is something I have done all my life and I love it. I hope I keep working until the day I die, which will hopefully be a long time from now (laughs).
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely. Your roles have been very diverse throughout your career in television and film. You more recently starred as Rose Gray in the film Regression. How did this role come about for you?
Dale Dickey – Well, I got a call from my agent that Alejandro Amenábar had seen my work and was interested for me in a role in his new film. Of course I was jumping for joy! I met with him and we had a lovely evening. I was a huge fan of his, particularly 2001’s The Others and 2004’s The Sea Inside. I read the script, I love Suspense Thrillers. I knew the cast that was involved, and I jumped at the chance to particularly work with him. I also wanted to do an Investigative Mystery movie, which I don’t often get to do.
CrypticRock.com – This is quite a compelling film with a very eerie story. The film keeps the viewer guessing what is reality and fiction the entire way through. What was your experience like during the production?
Dale Dickey – I remember when I first read the script, I was confused, thinking, “Who is involved?” I was sure that this was something coming from the church and there was this evil thing underlined. All the characters are so beautifully developed David Dencik is my son, Devin Bostick is my grandson, and Emma Watson, my granddaughter. You get a chance to meet all of them, and every person has their own story. You don’t know what is true and what is not. It makes you want to find out. The whole idea that the mind plays tricks on us. Regressive Therapy is very intriguing in terms of humanity and how we are lead to believe certain things or not.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, it is very intriguing. The film does really play with the audience’s mind; you do not know what is real and what is not. Your character is sort of mysterious. Since the truth of the situation is rather concealed, what back-story did you give Rose Gray in order to bring her character to life?
Dale Dickey – Yes, we had the luxury of being up there about a week prior to filming. We were able to sit down as a cast with Alejandro to discuss the script. You do not always get that on a set. The challenge of playing Rose is you don’t want to give anything away. There is the fine line of her character, which needs to be kind of menacing because she is accused of being involved. In her heart, she knows she is not, but she is lead to believe she is. It is constantly screwing your mind, thinking, “What is going on.”
I did quite a bit of research of mass hysteria in the ’80s with satanic cults. I watched a lot of Alejandro’s other films to get an idea of his filmmaking. Emma and the other cast members were so professional. It was a joy to be with all of them. Everyone kept asking questions and were curious. They wanted to explore every possible situation.
CrypticRock.com – The chemistry was there. The cast did an excellent job and you worked with a long list of great actors. As mentioned, you worked with Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke, among others. What was it like working with those two in particular?
Dale Dickey – I have been a fan of both of theirs. They are both just lovely people. Ethan was great on set and made everyone feel comfortable. He worked well with Alejandro in terms of helping create the scenes, he had a lot of ideas. I know with Emma, it was a stressful time with her. She was coming in and out and coming from other projects for a very difficult role. She was so sweet and lovely. Having her play my granddaughter who turns against me was difficult. We all would go to dinner together and get to set the next day to jump into our characters.
Rose was living with that family since their mother died. She is a very loving and caring woman, but she is a alcoholic and very disturbed. She is thrown over the edge mentally of what occurs to her character throughout the film. Then the horror of being accused of something and not knowing the truth.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, the story does leave it very open that there may be evil involved. There is the saying, the best trick the devil can play on you is he does not exists. That is a spin on Regression as well.
Dale Dickey – Yes, I think so too. The way we can be stumped in by the media and that mass hysteria that can whipped up into a frenzy. When you end up telling lies to yourself and changing opinions in your head. I hope that makes sense.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it makes sense. The film is almost a reenactment of a modern day witch hunt.
Dale Dickey – Absolutely. I thought of it as a witch hunt as well. Accusing people right and left and here and there when you do not really know. Assuming things. The whole idea of Regressive Therapy is very intriguing to me though. I do think there is a some truth to it and importance to it. I also think there can be a lot of things that cab be placed in our minds subtlety when we are not even aware of it. That can become a reality and really mess with your head. That is what I love about Regression. I was scared when I saw it and I love scary movies. Fear to me is the unknown and mystery. What is real and what is not real, that to me is scary.
CrypticRock.com – Agreed, completely, that unknown is the most frightening thing. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. What are some of your favorite Horror films.
Dale Dickey – I love Science Fiction. I love Star Trek and Dark Shadows series. I always have been really afraid of vampires; I thought they were real when I was a kid. I guess most kids do. The Others, which is one of Alejandro’s wonderful films, that film just captivates you. I loved Signs (2002) as well. I loved The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976), good and evil is terrifying to me. Silence of the Lambs (1991) is another one too.
I do prefer more Psychological Thrillers opposed to the Slashers because they really scare me. With those, I sometimes have to watch my husband’s hand and cannot really watch them (laughs). I liked more recently The Babadook (2014). The Shining (1980) is also a good one I’ve always enjoyed. As far as Science Fiction, I love The Twilight Zone series. We do not know what is out there, there is so much we do not know. Our brains are so tiny really, who knows what will come in the future of what we think is real now opposed to what we will find out.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, that is right. We just do not know. The unknown is what makes life interesting.
Dale Dickey – It is. We have to keep being curious. We have to ask questions to get to the truth, rather than jump to assumptions. It will mess with your head.