Recently, HorrorGeekLife had the opportunity to interview the original A Nightmare on Elm Street actress Amanda Wyss. She’s had an amazing career, dabbling in different genre films and television series throughout the years. Read our interview to discover how she got involved in the film industry, what it was like to work with Wes Craven, her new psychological thriller, The Id, and more!
HorrorGeekLife – Thanks for taking the time to do the interview with us, Amanda! I know you have a busy schedule today so let’s jump right into it. What inspired you to become an actress?
Amanda Wyss – When I was very young up until I was about 11, I wanted to be a lawyer. I have no idea why, but when anyone asked me that’s what I told them I wanted to do. Then I got cast in a play in Los Angeles called “The Innocence.” I loved it and it ran for a couple of months. The following year I got cast at the same theater in a play called “The Bad Seed” and I loved it and that just changed everything. I started being in school plays after that and after I graduated high school I went to drama school. I fell in love with that creative and that make believe and challenge in finding truth in characters. I just found it at a very young age, I found the desire to pursue it at a very young age.
HorrorGeekLife – That’s great a way to get involved in the film industry. What was your first role ever?
Amanda Wyss – The first things I did were commercials. As a young teen my very first role was in a Pepsi commercial then I did Starburst candy, and I was a Stridex Medicated Pad girl. (laughs) So I did a lot of teen commercial campaigns. My first acting role was an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and I played this little wood nymph and I think my lines were I repeated constantly, “I love you, Buck Rogers.” I did that as a teenager. When I did the second play, “The Bad Seed” playing Rhoda, an agent had come and saw that and from there I got the commercial agent and theatrical agent. When I turned 18, I start pursuing more of the theatrical.
HorrorGeekLife – Speaking of the early days, one of your best-known roles is Tina in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. What was it like to be one of Freddy’s first victims?
Amanda Wyss – I was sent the script and it was so scary… I had never seen a horror film until that point. I read horror and was obsessed with reading scary novels. When I read the script I was like this is amazing, this is the scariest book I’ve ever read. So when I met with Wes we chatted about that. At that point, everyone was reading for Nancy and on the call back I was switched to Tina. I literally read once for Wes and then when I got called back, I read with Heather as Nancy and he had us do improv on the couch and he just cast us. He brought in the boys and mixed and matched. It’s like he knew exactly what he wanted and when we came in it’s like he already decided, I think. Heather and I are still best friends and had chemistry. Actually, all of us had great chemistry.
HorrorGeekLife – That’s great to hear. What was it like to work with Wes Craven?
Amanda Wyss – It was a really interesting experience for me because, like I said, I had never seen a horror film. It was a very physical role. Wes was so specific and clear about what he wanted, such a good captain of a ship. He was very respectful, funny and smart. We were all so young making that movie, I think we were the near the same ages as his children at the time, and he was just so good with us, kind, supportive, and nurturing. I found it to be a really thrilling experience because got to do all these new things that I never learned in drama school- like having buckets of blood thrown at me. (laughs) Wes was great because every day he’d be like “Guess what you’re doing today?! Today you’re going to be in a body bag! Today you’re going deal with worms! Today you’re going to stand in a bag of eels.” (laughs) It was crazy.
HorrorGeekLife – That’s pretty much what everyone always says about him- that he was kind and supportive, and I love hearing that. Especially since I grew up loving his work and the franchise. If given the opportunity, would you work in any future Nightmare on Elm Street movies?
Amanda Wyss – I would actually, it would depend on the script and who else they would be putting in the film, but it would be fun. It would be fun to play the mayor of the town or the police chief. I was actually really lucky to be a part of this iconic franchise and that my role is so iconic. By the way, these are things that never entered my consciousness. For one I was so young, and two I had no idea and did not predict the future for that movie. I’m so grateful for it and honored. I mean there’s crazy things like that role have been shown on the Oscars multiple times and also Wes and I were hanging in their director’s guild, that big poster of us for years. Things like that I’m honored and flabbergasted by. It’s fantastic and I’m very thankful because so much of my career flowed from that. It’s still mind-boggling to me!
It just struck a cord and I think people have tried to figure out why it did and have often tried to create it. It was chemistry meets timing meets a great script meets a great director meets excellent practical effects, and good casting- working with really good actors. Sometimes all the right ingredients pour into the correct cake and it comes out perfect.
HorrorGeekLife – Exactly, and you got work with Johnny Depp, just saying. (laughs)
Amanda Wyss – Oh, I know. What an interesting and lovely human being!
HorrorGeekLife – More recently, you branched into the horror genre again with the psychological thriller “The Id.” How did you get involved in this film?
Amanda Wyss – Sean Stewart wrote this beautiful script based on the idea that Thommy Hutson, the director had. They sent me the script and I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. I called Thommy right back and said, this role scares the hell out of me, it’s going to be a great challenge, and I have to do it- don’t look anywhere else, I want this!”
HorrorGeekLife – Sounds like you were really passionate about this film! How did you prepare for the role of Meredith?
Amanda Wyss – Thommy and I had a lot of discussions about the movie itself and the story that he wanted to tell. We talked a lot about Meredith like what was her history there that isn’t shown on the film. What was her father like? So I just did a lot of journaling work about what her history was like, what was her childhood like, what was her mother lik – who we only mentioned in the movie. I had some time before the film, thankfully, to really sink my teeth into her history and her motivations for things, and her world. I really wanted to know what it was like to walk in her shoes and I had the time and luxury of that rehearsal so it was really nice.
HorrorGeekLife – That’s great. Can you relate to Meredith at all at any point in the film?
Amanda Wyss – I mean obviously not her situation… (laughs) I think people are just now starting to see the movie and hopefully, they will like it or relate to it in some way. I think the relatable part is the familiar relationships and taking care of ailing parents. Those are some of the things I can relate too. I think there’s a universal age and that’s part of the connection that people feel before it gets too crazy. I related to her sense of loss and I think she had regret, so just things like that as a human that I was able to find a connection to her with. I mean, how she chose to deal with them I didn’t relate too, but I could see how it could happen if you were living in her circumstances, with her upbringing and her reality. I was able to take the little pieces that I could find reality in and connect with that and the rest you kind of just use your imagination. You know, if all these bad things happened, could I react that way?
HorrorGeekLife – I tried putting myself in that situation as well when watching the film. Psychological thrillers like The Id have a way of staying with me way longer than any other types of horror films.
Amanda Wyss – I think you’re right, the terrors in our mind are much scarier than something that we watch. Don’t you think?
HorrorGeekLife – Most definitely. I found myself thinking about The Id even after the film was over. It is very reality-based compared to over-the-top slashers and such. On that note, what do you want the audiences to take from this film?
Amanda Wyss – Gosh, that’s such a good question. I want someone who sees this movie to talk about it afterward. To ask what it meant, what are our limits as a human beings and what are we obligated to do for family. I think it would be amazing if it opened up a dialogue with your friends after seeing the movie. I think it would be a neat takeaway.
HorrorGeekLife – Before moving on to my next question, I do need to say that your performance in the film was absolutely amazing.
Amanda Wyss – Thank you so much. I have to tell you, with all genuineness, that means so much to me. Thank you for saying so!
HorrorGeekLife – Of course! That performance blew me away. Speaking of your films, you’ve done several over the years, if you could work with anyone who would it be?
Amanda Wyss – Right now I would love to work with Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and John Carpenter. I would also love to work with some of these amazing young filmmakers coming out now that are just raw and gritty and smart. I think it would be thrilling, challenging and great.
HorrorGeekLife – Well, you definitely can’t go wrong with those names! Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
Amanda Wyss – Yes in a new movie called, The Capture, which is a paranormal Syfy movie that’s wonderful. I’m in a movie coming out called The Watcher of Park Ave, and it’s a thriller. I have a virtual reality-mersive horror short that just got released on Samsung called 360 Degrees of Hell. There will be a series of them and it’s very scary. It was really interesting because I had never done a virtual reality film, very exciting! I also have another horror short that’s winning a lot of awards called October 23rd. Next month I film a horror movie called Sleep Study.
HorrorGeekLife – You’re doing so much horror, we love to hear that! I’ll have to check some of those out soon and possibly review them.
Amanda Wyss – Yes, lots and lots of horror! The October 23rd one, I was nominated for best actress at one film festival and won at another one. I was proud, beyond excited and flabbergasted. Even if you don’t review them, I would love for you to email me and let me know what you think about them. I think you’ll get a kick out of 360 Degrees of Hell because there really hasn’t been many narrative virtual reality movies, so it’s kind of exciting!
HorrorGeekLife – I will definitely be checking them out. Thank you again, Amanda, for taking the time to do this, it’s truly been an honor!
We hope you enjoyed our interview with the amazing Amanda Wyss! If you have any comments for her, please leave them below or on social media!
You can also check out The Id on Blu-ray, available on Amazon now! VOD will be available Tuesday, November 15th.