Amanda Jelks is about to make horror fans criminally insane as she prepares to step into the role of Ethel in Brian Dorton’s “Crazy Fat Ethel”. It will truly be an instant cult classic. Bank it. Some of you out there in fa-la land may be wondering who Miss Amanda Jelks is so I am about to tell you who the “F” she is! Chances are when I finish this next few sentences you will know who I am talking about. She played Frederika in “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break”. A killer sequel that I found very little flaw with. It is a great Ti West picture and one of the few movies that made me squirm the entire time. An awesome film to say the list and Amanda Jelks character left an impression. I mean how many out there can say they made out with hot guy while loosing their virginity in a pool on Prom Night! So what if there was that nasty little detail of dying from a flesh eating, body rotting virus. So yeah Amanda Jelks is an actress on the brink of stardom. I had the lovely opportunity to speak with the young actress as she waits for production to begin on “Crazy Fat Ethel”, me in my Kentucky home and her in her Atlanta, GA home. Isn’t the internet just neat-O!
Amanda Jelks was born and raised in New Orleans where she caught her first acting bug at the tender age of 9. That grew into a passion which eventually gained her a full scholarship into New Orleans Center of the Creative Arts. She then moved to Atlanta, Ga in 2008 where she now lives with her husband and their son. She told me that even though she loves Atlanta with all it’s culture and entertainment she makes sure to get back to her roots at least twice a year to see her family. A family whom are very proud to see one of their owns star rising. For not only is she getting ready to do a remake of a cult classic with one of today's top Indie directors she also has a role in the movie “Untouched” which has wrapped and waiting for a release date. In that film she plays a street tough, misunderstood teen mother accused of killing her baby. Here is what all we had to talk about in our wonderful southern chat.
ASouthernLife: How are you this evening?
Amanda Jelks: Doing well! How are you?
ASouthernLife: Good.I have been so excited about talking to you I re-watched Cabin Fever 2 , read your bio and tried to find info on Untouched! lol
Amanda Jelks: That's so sweet! Untouched hasn't been released yet, but the producers made an announcement a few days ago that some news is coming out about it soon. It's going to be a great film!
ASouthernLife: So how are you enjoying Atlanta.That is my original stomping ground.
Amanda Jelks: I love Atlanta, I have been here since 2008. I'm from Louisiana, so the only difference is there's a lot more to do and a lot more traffic. lol.
ASouthernLife: Traffic is horrible but there is something about that place just makes everything feel electric. Favorite places to hang out in the city?
Amanda Jelks: That's how I feel about New Orleans, when it's the place you were born and raised it stays in your blood and it never leaves. New Orleans will always have a special place in my heart and be "home". In Atlanta, I love going to dueling pianos at Red Sky Tapas in Marietta, the Aquarium, Piedmont Park, Centennial Park, Marietta Square(I love their Farmer's Market on Saturdays and Brown Bag Concerts), The Atlanta Zoo, and Botanical Gardens.
ASouthernLife: So you still miss New Orleans? Do you ever get back to visit family these days, did the storms miss their area this past month?
Amanda Jelks: I try to visit once or twice a year, most of my family is there. The storm caused minor damage for my family, they are very fortunate.
ASouthernLife: That is good to hear.Now you got your start acting in theater in N.O. before college, plans to go back to theater in the future?
Amanda Jelks: I love theater acting, if an opportunity came along for a comedy or drama that I was passionate about I would jump at the opportunity to perform on stage. However, film acting is my priority for career choice. Theater is more for fun and a hobby.
ASouthernLife: So how does a Louisiana girl find her way on the set of Cabin Fever 2 in North Carolina?
Amanda Jelks: My agent is based in South Carolina and she emailed me about the part in Cabin Fever 2. I submitted a video audition and acted the entire pool scene(solo lol) for my audition in my living room. A few weeks later, I got a call back and had to drive to Wilmington to meet Ti and the producers. They confirmed that I was comfortable with the part and nudity and started special effects prep on me the next day!
ASouthernLife: So did you get naked in your living room?
Amanda Jelks: I didn't, but I pretended to get undressed, lose my virginity, and drown! I told them I was comfortable with the nudity as long as it was tasteful and I didn't have to show all my goodies. lol.
ASouthernLife: lol. well it is the first icon scene in the film that sets the film off! well the guy hit by bus but your death scene although sad, sets a tone for the film. How did it really feel when the camera was on you and standing in front of Ti West? Any nerves?
Amanda Jelks: I felt so comfortable on set, everyone was wonderful! My wardrobe team was waiting for me with towels and robes, the set was closed so there was only a few people there. Ti is a really nice guy with a quirky sense of humor, I think it is impossible to feel uncomfortable around him!
ASouthernLife: Had you seen his work before Cabin Fever 2? Is Horror a genre you like, as a fan?
Amanda Jelks: LOL that's actually what is funny, I LOVE scary movies but I am the girl with her hands over her face peeking through my fingers! My mom and I watched The Roost after I auditioned.
ASouthernLife: That was a fun movie! So what ever happened with the Frederika prop?
or was that you floating in the pool in makeup?
Amanda Jelks: The special effects team was so proud of it, they said they were going to keep it in their studio to show off. I had to have a body mold and cast put on over my entire head, shoulders, chest, and upper back for them to make it. The only thing that wasn't covered were my nostrils. I had a bad cold and had to keep using Afrin to breathe, it ended up taking 4 times to get the mold right!
ASouthernLife: lol.You did let them know to get in touch with you if they ever decided to part with it right? it was a good effects job. So how was it making out with Thomas Blake?
Amanda Jelks: I did, it was awesome! I have pictures of it I put on my fan page. Thomas is a sweet guy and really cute, all the ladies were drooling over him! We became good friends during filming. It felt like making out with my brother. lol.
ASouthernLife: I will have to swipe one for the article...lol. Can you talk about Untouched?
Amanda Jelks: You can use any pictures from my fan page that you need. I would love to talk about Untouched.
ASouthernLife: Awesome. So tell me about your character Jacquelyn Turner.
Amanda Jelks: Jacquelyn is a high school student in jail, whose accused of murdering her baby
ASouthernLife: Harsh role to play as a mother I am sure, was it hard to relate to the character?
Amanda Jelks: It wasn't because she was prejudged by the way she looked and being overweight all of my life I can easily identify with Jacquelyn. Being a mom definitely added a lot of emotions into the role, a younger mom at that. I could never imagine my child dying or murdering him for that matter.
ASouthernLife: So where you bullied as a kid or do you still deal with it? did this role help ease it some? I was, as a gay kid in 80's school system in the South.
Amanda Jelks: There was some bullying, but my mom has always taught me to roll with the punches and not let it get to me. There are always people that you meet though that will judge you because you are different.
ASouthernLife: Exactly.Take that negativity and let it motivate you and empower you!
Amanda Jelks: I'm sorry you were bullied, my sister is gay and a lot of my friends from school are gay. People are so misguided, but I am glad that more people are starting to support the gay community
I love the way you put that
ASouthernLife: Wish more kids today would see it that way...too many suicides
Amanda Jelks: It is awful, my mom just finished a research assignment on suicides in the GLTB community and found that it is twice as high as in the heterosexual teen community. You are who you are and everyone should accept each other for the beauty of their own being
ASouthernLife: It is i just don't see anything changing that will make these kids safe enough we have to change the way they feel about them selves so they can deal with the negative stuff in life better. for some reason they are not learning that from either home or peer members. How does Jacquelyn's character relate to the other cast members in Untouched.
Amanda Jelks: I can't go into too much detail, but Jacquelyn affects most of the main characters in the movie.
ASouthernLife: Sounds like she is a trouble maker.
Amanda Jelks: She is not a trouble maker, just very misunderstood
ASouthernLife: Okay before I let you go I have to talk about "Crazy Fat Ethel"! How did you meet Brian Dorton?
Amanda Jelks: I saw the Crazy Fat Ethel 2012 Facebook Page and asked if they were auditioning and Brian contacted me about Ethel
ASouthernLife: When he posted your pic as his most likely choice, I felt you was perfect! Have you seen the original "Criminally Insane"
Amanda Jelks: Thank you! I have seen the original, I love the comedic moments in it. "I want that key!"
ASouthernLife: So have you seen any of the script yet or is it still in early stages?
Amanda Jelks: I haven't seen it yet! Brian has given me a few teaser bits, but doesn't want me to see the finished product yet. Based on what he has told me, it is going to be Brian's vision of Crazy Fat Ethel, but will definitely do justice to the original.
ASouthernLife: So how long have you been married and will that cute child of yours go to the shoot with you?
Amanda Jelks: I have been with Tony for 5 years, but we have only been married for a little over a year. My cute kid would probably make the set a true horror scene, so he will not be on set! He usually travels with me and hangs out with family at the hotel and around town. Thank you for saying he is cute!
I took him to my headshot session last week and he was hamming it up for the camera and wanted his "cheese" lol... he could be a future actor
ASouthernLife: They start early ... sign him with an agent now!
One last question What is your favorite Prom movie of all time, favorite slasher film, and favorite actress you most admire?
Amanda Jelks: Carrie is my favorite prom movie, Slasher is Child's Play, Actresses I love are Meryl Streep because she is so versatile and completely molds herself into her characters, and I admire Kathy Bates and Melissa McCarthy because they have opened the door for plus sized actresses to play the parts that are usually give to "normal sized women".
So after nearly two hours of me hoarding Amanda Jelks time which she was so cordial and lovely about, so pleasant to chat with, our interview ended. Now you all know who the “F” she is. Amanda Jelks is a fabulous actress and wonderful person. She can get freaky with the crazy on the screen and still step away with a southern charm that would make Blanche Devereux proud. “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break” is a great Prom horror flick and smooth sequel to the original. It is one of my favorite sequels mostly because it picks up almost immediately where the first film leaves off allowing a true continuation of the story but is still fresh and entertaining. Hopefully word will come out shortly as to “Untouched” release date and get your asses ready for hell of an entertaining and crazy instant classic “Crazy Fat Ethel”. And thank you Amanda Jelks for proving not all virgins survive horror flicks and for giving me a fun interview!