We chatted to Jacqi Vené about starring in Fear Street Part Two, working with director Leigh Janiak and why she wanted to act, as well as so much more.
Originally from a small farm in Reno, Nevada, Jacqi Vené is making her mark in the acting industry. Moving to Tucson, Arizona at 10 years of age, she became interested in writing and performing theatre. In particular, Commedia Del’Arte which involves writing, directing and starring in your own shows.
Jacqi moved to Los Angeles at 18 years old, where she landed a slew of major roles namely “Persephone” in The Wonderful World of Hunter Wood, “Joan” in Netflix’s Fear Street Part Two: 1978. As well as this, Jacqi plays the lead Annabel in The Surprise Visit, which will be in theaters and VOD on January 14th.
In this interview, we discuss Jacqi’s recent projects, how theatre and on-screen work are connected and her goals for 2022, as well as so much more.
You had an early interest in theatre and wrote/directed your own shows. How intertwined are theatre acting and screen acting, in your opinion?
JV: I would say they’re closely linked in the idea of storytelling. The actors and the way of portraying emotion can be quite different. Not always. Usually, it comes from the same place of heart. The emotion and what the actor feels I think is quite similar. The difference comes in the expression and varying levels of intensity.
I think theatre is also a little bit more open with its expression. It lets everybody it and shows everything. It’s like a child, doesn’t know how to control their emotion. It depends, this is all very general. For Film, it’s a lot more introspective, a lot more subtle. The camera is so close to and the audience is so far away. The audience wants to yearn for more. When you’re far away, it can still not see everything and be so intimate.
It’s very different, but the same. Same emotion, different expressions.
You played ‘Joan’ in Fear Street: Part Two (released July 8th) for Netflix. What was your biggest takeaway from working on a Netflix production and that project?
JV: I guess just “be prepared for anything.” I auditioned for that project maybe 6 months before and didn’t hear anything. Did the take maybe 1 or 2 times then sent it in. I heard back 6 months later and they asked if I could fly in the next day. It kind of showed me, “Whoa, anything can happen in this field, be prepared.”
Fear Street very much falls into the ‘slasher’ genre. Were you a fan of similar films beforehand or this new territory for you?
JV: I would say it was more new territory for me. I had never really watched that many slasher films before. But, I loved Fear Street 1978. It definitely made me want to get into the Fear Street movies. I love all of them. So, it actually kind of introduced me to slashers.
Leigh Janiak (who also worked on the Scream television series) directed this film. How would you describe your experience of Leigh as a director?
JV: Oh yeah, she’s awesome. You can definitely tell she has this quirky, very specific eye for what she wants. You can tell when she talks to you, she’s really excited to portray her vision to you. She’s excited to put a weird spin element on it and make it really cool.
She’s really fun to work with. You can feel the vibe oozing off of her, for what she wants. She comes in and explains it. I was also really comfortable working with her because she’s a woman and I had a sex scene in the film. It was my first one, I was nervous, she made me feel so comfortable and so confident. She’s just a really cool, artistic woman with so much expression and uniqueness to her. I’d love to work with her again.
As from the cast, was there anyone you were excited to work with? Why?
JV: Yeah! I was really excited to work with Sadie Sink, Michael Provost…. I was really excited to be working with Emily Rudd. Honestly, everyone I met was someone I was really, really blessed [to work with]. Drew Scheid, really awesome to work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast. It was so much fun, everyone was so nice and so talented.
You’ve also worked in television, for example on The Wonderful World Of Hunter Wood. How challenging is it to move across different mediums and genres?
JV: I definitely find it exciting. I like doing as many different things as possible. With the new movie coming out, it’s very different from the character I played in Fear Street or any film really. I’m just looking forward to challenging myself and doing things. Flipping the coin and doing things completely differently. Jumping back-and-forth, I love the contrast of that. I hope I have the opportunity to keep doing that.
As well as this, you play the lead role ‘Annabel’ in The Surprise Visit. What can you tell us about this film and where can people expect to see it?
JV: It’s about a young couple who are heavily into drugs. They find out that they’re pregnant. As I said, they’re young and have no money. So, they’re trying to do what they can to make a future for themselves. All whilst making decisions in an unhealthy mindset.
It’s a dark film, an interesting one. I actually haven’t seen it, so I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I’m really excited about it. It comes out on January 14th.
Professionally or personally, what do you hope to accomplish in 2022?
JV: I’m really excited to get out content that I’ve been working on/sitting on for a while. Actually, I have already released my first writing-directing project, just a couple of days ago. I think that’s just the beginning of creating, putting out my own directing and writing stuff.
I’m excited that all the stuff I’ve worked on for the past 2-3 years is finally coming to light. Talking about it, seeing it and doing something totally different. I’m open and I’m ready.
Thanks again for taking the time, Jacqi. Take care and stay safe!
JV: Thank you! Yes, you too, I’m always here to talk.