April 9, 2020 Interview – Felicia Day
Growing up her own person, Felicia Day morphed her passion and fandom into a successful career for herself in entertainment. An actress, writer, and more, most outside the niche internet world recognize her for such roles as Vi in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Dr. Holly Marten in the Sci-Fi favorite Eureka, or as Charlie Bradbury on the popular, long-running Supernatural.
Whatever it may be, Day has a fanbase that runs deep, and that is why followers are going to want to check out her latest film, Pooka Lives!. The newest entry in the Hulu Into The Dark series, Pooka Lives! not only stars Day, but also features her talents as a co-producer, as well. Something she is extremely proud of, Day recently took the time to chat about her work on Pooka Lives!, her entrance into entertainment, her view on cyberspace today, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been working as an actress for two decades. Working both in television and film, you have also found success in the internet world creating compelling content. First, tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?
Felicia Day – Well, I’ve always been into theater. My aunt was actually a theater major who worked in New York for a while, and she’s the one who got me into children’s theater in Huntsville, Alabama. That’s where I got the bug. I loved being around people, and I was home-schooled most of my life, so being around people at the theater was really the biggest socialization I had. It made me feel this is where my family is.
I then went to college, got degrees in other things, but I always had it in mind that I wanted to go to Hollywood and be an actor because that is what I love. The business of Hollywood was nothing like what I knew was going to happen, though, so that was different. At the end of the day I do find amazing projects that do give me that feeling of family. Pooka Lives! is one that really did that for me, as well.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting to hear. You have an eclectic background – you are a musician and you have also excelled academically. Was there ever any chance you wanted to pursue a career in music or academia?
Felicia Day – I certainly love being on a college campus, and lately I’ve been thinking, “What can I do to go back to school?” I did play the violin and there was a very clear career path that I could have been a violinist. I’m the kind of person who takes a lot of leaps of faith and the safety net isn’t quite as important as it should be to me. Although, now that I’m a mom I’m a little more conservative, but I follow my gut instinct, and my gut instinct was I wanted to be a performer.
The great thing is every single thing I’ve done in the past comes into play when I’m an actor, writer, or producer. Whether it’s being a musician on-screen, giving notes on music, or accounting for my math; doing technical, scientific vocabulary when I’m playing a scientist. All those things really come into play when you’re an actor and I love that about my profession.
Cryptic Rock – That is great that you are able to explore all those facets of your being. Your most recent film, Pooka Lives!, came out on Friday, April 3rd via the Hulu Into The Dark series. A fun Horror flick, how did you become involved with the project?
Felicia Day – My producing partner Ryan Copple actually wrote this project. He presented it to me and I think he had written a part for me subtly. I came on-board very early in the process. I’m a producer on the film too, so I had a lot involved in the script development, casting, and had input in editing, as well. It was fun to have my voice heard in those aspects, plus being an actor on-screen.
Cryptic Rock – It’s an interesting Horror film. The first film, Pooka, came out in 2019.
Felicia Day – Yes, but it’s not a continuation – the cool thing about this is you don’t need to watch the first film. The vibe of the first film is much darker and more psychological horror – this one is a Horror Comedy. Vibe wise, it is almost like a Supernatural episode. That’s what I love, because I’ve been on Supernatural for many years and I was part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer early on in my career. The vibe is perfect for fans of what I do.
Cryptic Rock – There certainly is a fun vibe to it. Much of the central story of Pooka Lives! revolves around the darker side of the internet. Someone who has been very involved with and successful on the internet, was this something that attracted you to the script?
Felicia Day – Absolutely. I think the good and bad of the internet has driven my career for many years. I feel so blessed, because as a kid the internet allowed me to get in touch with people when I had no friends in real life. When I became a performer and artist I was able to release my stories online – this is where regular Hollywood wouldn’t have made my stories because they were too niche. I’ve been attacked on the internet, as well, but I’ve also created an incredible community on the internet.
I’ve experienced the good and bad of the internet for years. I love the fact that this film really has all aspects of the internet – the sense of community with the friendship of the characters, but also, the bad of the internet. The internet is all things, good and bad, just like real life.
Cryptic Rock – That is very true. You work alongside a great cast here including Malcolm Barrett. What was it like working with the other cast members?
Felicia Day – It was so much fun. I was so lucky, because a lot of the people are my friends; it was really like a family. The director, Alejandro Brugués, really emphasized the need for us to be friends on-screen and off. The great thing is several of us were already friends in real life. Afterwards, I think we are all friends in real life. We really had a comradery and that is one of those things that is very special on set; we wanted to hang out with each other even when we weren’t on film.
Cryptic Rock – That bleeds through on-screen. As mentioned, you are co-producer on this project, but you have done a lot of production throughout the years. How would you compare acting opposed to being behind the scenes?
Felicia Day – I love doing both because I love multitasking. I’ve produced a lot of web content at various budget levels. Also, I just really love the idea of being able to be involved in the script early on; I’m a writer myself, but I know how hard it is to write. I really appreciate giving input that won’t mess with the heart of the story.
I think Ryan Copple really came up with a great story for Pooka Lives! that is perfect for quarantine times, without even really knowing. It really is about how friendship gets you through hard times, and I think that’s what we’re all experiencing right now. I feel like I have a lot of skills that I don’t get to exercise, so being able to give input on casting and editing is very rewarding too.
Cryptic Rock – That is all a positive thing. As we mentioned, this film gives the view of the positive and negatives of the internet. What do you feel is different nowadays opposed to 20-25 years ago in the internet world?
Felicia Day – We’re all fully on the internet now; the world is represented in a 1 to 1 ratio. I think early on it was more geared to the nerdy people who were seeking refuge online, and that’s why nerd culture took the forefront, because nerds were in charge of what’s cool. Now I think everybody has an online life. I think right now we’re learning how to protect ourselves online. People can connect to us in a faceless way; I think we’re all learning behavior and protecting ourselves online. That’s really the important thing.
Pooka Lives! kind of represents how someone could have their life in a sense by the online world. The lack of empathy and understanding of what you’re doing to someone’s real life is very easy to forget online. It’s about bringing it back to be personal, and protecting yourself just like you would do in real life, and that is the key to the digital world. Our digital life is very analogous with our real life.
Cryptic Rock – That is very true, it is part of us. It is in the fabric of society now.
Felicia Day – Yes, so we have to be vigilant. We wouldn’t let someone come into our house and punch us in our face, right? We wouldn’t have people we don’t like in our lives. If someone’s really rude to us, we wouldn’t allow them to continue to be really rude to us. Early on there weren’t tools to block people and report them for abusing us. We’re all evolving together in making the world as enjoyable online as it is off. I think we are getting there slowly but surely.
Cryptic Rock – Agreed. Would you consider doing another Into The Dark episode on Hulu?
Felicia Day – 100% percent, I would love it. The budget level is low, but it makes me super comfortable because I’ve had no budget with a lot of the things I’ve made. I love to be able to be in front of the camera or behind the camera. I love the Blumhouse team, they take risks where a lot of people in Hollywood don’t. I felt very supported as an artist and I would love to participate in anything else they have.
Cryptic Rock – That would be fun to see happen. Last question. As a fan of Fantasy, Horror, and Sci-Fi, do you have any favorites?
Felicia Day – For Science Fiction, I have to go with the original Star Wars (1977). I also loved The Arrival (2016), I think it’s incredible and really underappreciated. I love Scream (1996), too. I love the more Horror Comedy. I’m not a huge hardcore Horror fan, I think I was traumatized by seeing a little too much of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) when I was young. (Laughs)
I’m more into psychological things. Anything Guillermo del Toro does is the perfect film to me. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) I think is one of the most perfect films because it crosses genres so beautifully. I think that’s my wheelhouse. That’s probably why I responded to Pooka Lives! because it is exactly what I would want to be in or want to watch.