10 THINGS with Danielle Bisutti
RM: The last time we spoke with you, you were wrapping up Nickelodeon’s True Jackson VP. How have you been since then?
DB: It’s strange because sometimes it feels like my TJVP experience was so long ago and then in other moments it feels like it was just yesterday. Since then, I have experienced a range of emotions but the primary feeling has been one of amazement and gratitude! I have been fortunate to recur on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, CBS’ “CSI Miami” and ABC’s “Last Man Standing”. I’ve also guest starred on some of the best shows on TV: “Grey’s Anatomy”, “NCIS”, “Castle”, “CSI”, “Anger Management”, “Hot in Cleveland”, “Private Practice”. Perhaps the most exciting (and unexpected) projects that I’ve been involved with have been the three feature films that recently premiered within a few months of each other: James Wan’s mega box office hit “Insidious Chapter 2”, Don Mancini’s ‘return to horror’ 6th episode in the franchise “Curse of Chucky” and Michael Rosenbaum’s writing, producing, starring, directorial debut of the ensemble comedy “Back in the Day”, coming to theaters in January 2014. So, I’ve been busy and I love it.
RM: Your roles went from light to dark with some recent projects. Let’s first talk about Insidious: Chapter 2. What initially drew you to the role of Parker Crane’s mother?
DB: Yes, I have certainly been exploring my ‘shadow’ side in these last few projects which is a contradiction wrapped in a conundrum for a good little Christian girl from Simi Valley. But I always DID like a good challenge. When the audition for “Insidious Chapter 2” came in, it was a Friday. I was shooting a show on the east side of town when my manager asked me if I could make it to the west side for a read with director James Wan, to which I said “I’m lying on a hospital bed having just given birth on “Grey’s Anatomy” so I don’t think I’m gonna make it.” To make a long story short, he arranged it so that I could put myself on tape on Saturday morning and it went to James that afternoon. By Monday afternoon I booked the part of “Parker Crane’s Mother” (AKA “The Mother of Death”). You can imagine the delight of my parents when I called to tell them the good news. Other than having the incredible opportunity to work with the incomparable James Wan, what drew me to this role, and I think what ultimately won me the part, was my sense of this woman’s excruciating, emotional pain. The physical, mental and emotional abuse she laid upon her young son, Parker, was specifically tied into the fact that she so desperately wanted him to be a little girl, to the point, where she made him wear a dress and blonde wig demanding that he call himself “Marilyn”. But like I said, I love a good challenge. And under the tutelage of the masterful James Wan, I think we captured something pretty remarkable.
RM: You also did the Curse of Chucky. What was your experience like with this particular film?
DB: Working with creator, writer, director Don Mancini and the entire cast of “Curse of Chucky” was a total dream! First of all, that two foot, redheaded, murderous doll messed up my childhood along with every other kid from my generation in the first “Child’s Play”. Secondly, I have always had a peculiar ‘one degree of separation’ from that fair freckled character. My uncle, Tony Thomopoulos, produced the first “Child’s Play” with United Artists. By the time “Child’s Play 3” came out, my father Richard Bisutti, was working on the crew as a set dresser, and brought me out to a location where they were shooting the carnival scene. My dad introduced me to Don Mancini on that creepily, fortuitous night and told him I wanted to be an actress one day. Little did either of us know that 20 years later he would make that dream a reality. So of course, by the time I got the audition for “Curse of Chucky”, I knew the time had come for me to finally face off with my ginger haired childhood nemesis. Don is a brilliant visionary an incredibly clever director and emotionally connected writer, and working with such a talented cast and crew made the experience so enjoyable. The role I play, Barb, is a total piece of work. Audiences love to hate her because she’s a self obsessed, control freak with a vulnerable, flawed side, which ads some comedy relief. You know, the kind of woman who walks into any situation unannounced and tells you how to fix your life without you even asking. You’re welcome. Plus, she’s brimming with naughty surprises, which I adore.
RM: You’re actually going to Comic Con to promote this film. What do you expect to see from the fans?
DB: I expect to see a bunch of geeks and nerds bouncing around dressed up as their favorite characters and I am going to fall in love every single one of them. I am a bit of a Sci-fi/ Comic Book Hero geek at heart. The truth is, I have always dreamt of going to Comic Con, and now that I have the honor of attending while tethered to two horror legacy’s (‘Chucky’ & ‘Insidious’) I couldn’t be more ecstatic!
RM: When the Chucky films first came out years ago, it built quite a large fan base. Do you feel that this film stays authentic to what the fans are used to?
DB: I think “Curse of Chucky” is a return to the terrifying horror, suspenseful origins that fans experienced and loved in the first two Child’s Play movies. Plus it’s chock full of unexpected cameos and other salacious surprises. ‘Curse’ seems to be winning the hearts of every reviewer and fan blogger who can’t seem to sing it’s praises enough. ‘Chucky’s’ legacy of celebrity has been predicated on his insatiable joyfulness for killing and the expectancy of the irreverent delivery of his zany one-liners. It’s what fans have come to expect. Where as “Bride” and “Seed” of Chucky explored more of that slapstick humorous side of the doll’s narrative, “Curse” returns him into that ominous, shadowy aesthetic, an unexpected thrill ride beckoning involuntary screams from the audience while reigniting the terrifying probability that this murderous inanimate object could, not only really exist, but could actually get away with his macabre crimes without ever being stopped.
RM: What does a typical day look like for you?
DB: Upon waking up, I say a prayer in my bed and recognize several things that I am grateful for to start off my day on a positive note. Next, I drink a lot of liquids: water, juice, green tea and take my vitamins. It’s a fun little ritual reminding me of the importance and blessing of good health. Everyday I engage in some sort of physical activity: dance class, gym, hike, yoga, pilates, biking, walking etc. To help maintain my “TV figure”, I rely on Firm Body Evolution to help with toning, slimming and detoxing through it’s revolutionary machines, dietary plan and it’s signature 10-20-30 workout method. FBE has made all the difference in the world! I spend most of my time focusing my efforts into my acting career by way of emails, nurturing relationships, acting class, PEOPLE WATCHING, engaging with fans on social media, shameless self promotion, touching base with my incredible managers at Generate LA, reading scripts and preparing for or going on auditions. Of course, if I booked a job, then I get the luxury of doing what I love all day on set: there’s no place like home. I also have a very active life with my family and friends and stay very connected to them at all times. When I’m not working on my acting career, I find fulfillment in writing with my writing partners, working on a painting, playing piano, writing or recording a song in the studio and cooking.
RM: When you’re not working on set, what do you for relaxation?
DB: There are the quiet moments where I actually stop to journal and/or meditate. I am working on making those moments more frequent: stopping my brain, clearing it from the clutter so that new found inspiration can flow in. Yoga is also very helpful in my efforts to relax. So is going to church and praying. Listening to classical music is a must during rush hour traffic and curling up to read a book or to watch one of my many TV show obsessions I find to be extremely relaxing. Of course, with the influential assistance of the glass of red wine in my hand.
RM: Do you have any guilty pleasures that we don’t already know?
DB: Shopping, high heeled shoes, red wine and eating pasta are my most guilty pleasures. Also watching my favorite TV shows in succession on my couch until the wee hours of the morning is one of my favorite things to do. Did I mention shoes?
RM: We’ve just seen NY Fashion Week. Paris Fashion Week is wrapping up and LA Fashion Week is about to begin. Have you seen anything on the runway that makes you want to hit the red carpet?
DB: I am loving all of the leather details this season! In fact, At NYC Comic Con I will be wearing Cynthia Steffe’s red and black panel dress with black leather detail and a Parker black leather dress with sheer layering that makes me look like a futuristic femme bot. I’m also a fan of this season’s bold prints, metallic sheen and the romantic return of lace. There’s a lovely blend of vintage femininity meets powerful warrior woman with the textiles and new silhouettes. Some of my favorite designers on the runways have been: Chanel, Bottega Venta, Diane Von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, Isabel Marant, Oscar de la Renta, 3.1 Philip Lim, BCBG, Donna Karan, and Prabal Gurung. I am very much looking forward to fashion week here in L.A.
RM: What other projects can we look forward to?
DB: January 2014 denotes my theatrical departure from newly crowned “Scream Queen” to funny gal in an ensemble comedy with Michael Rosenbaum’s starring, producing, writing and directorial debut “Back in the Day”. The film is steeped with well loved funny people: Harland Williams, Nick Swarsdon, Jay R. Ferguson, Sarah Colona, Liz Carey and stars Michael Rosenbaum and Homeland’s Morena Baccarin. I’m in talks with “Red Machine” sci-fi/ horror genre writer, producer Jack Reher to co-star in one of his many upcoming film projects for 2014 and 2015. I am set to co-star in Harland William’s post-apocalyptic web series called “The Australian” about a guy who survives a virus that wipes out most of the human race, coming out in November 2013. The tag line is “If you’re one of the last humans alive, do you start the human race again, or end it?” Pretty evocative and profound question.
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