Other than your
birthdate and place of birth, there is very little
about you on the IMdb. How about a brief synopsis
of The Zoe Daelman Chlanda Story - your
background, education, how you got into acting,
the usual fun stuff?
was born and raised in Manhattan except for a few
years when we lived in Long Island. My parents
divorced when I was eight and my mother and I then
moved to Stuyvesant Town on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan. Despite limited funds my parents were
committed to my having a good education - from
nursery school on, I attended private schools.
Until I joined the United Nations International
School (UNIS) in 4th grade, I attended Montessori
schools on Long Island. Soon after my mother
became the Director of Admissions of UNIS, she
realized that it would be the perfect school for
me and she enrolled me! It was my school until I
went to university. I really am so grateful I went
to UNIS. Even today, most of my closest friends
are from UNIS. I was very athletic always on swim
and diving teams. I studied ballet from age 5
through 15, and played the flute from age 10 to
18. And I was always interested in acting! But
wasn't everyone?! Especially growing up in
Manhattan! So I kept quiet about wanting to be an
actor. In college I chose dance as a major because
I could think of nothing else that I would enjoy
studying at SUNY Binghamton. What a change
Binghamton was from New York!! I hated it! But, it
was my doing or rather my not doing. I had taken
no interest in college, not researching schools or
anything! Somehow, I had got into SUNY B. At the
time it was a fairly competitive college, but I
was an unwilling student. In my sophomore year, I
finally got motivated and applied and got in to
Tisch School of The Arts at N.Y.U. as a transfer
student in my junior year. Well, I was back in the
city - going to dance classes during the day and
going dancing at night. I never went to my
academic classes. I knew it was a waste of my
parents’ money and my time. So, I returned to
Binghamton for my senior year to just get school
over with! One year later I was out of school and
back in Manhattan sharing an apartment with
friends on the Lower East Side, working as a
waitress, going out, and not much else. One day I
thought, "This isn't cool anymore." It would have
been fine if I had found something that I could
really feel passionate about but that wasn't the
case. I was getting bored and restless, but what
did I want to do? On impulse, I moved out of the
apartment and went to Miami to think. Five weeks
later, I returned to New York City and enrolled in
an acting class. Once I had decided that I wanted
to be an actor, I studied with Catherine Gaffigan
(a wonderful acting teacher) and this time I was
completely motivated. It took 2 years of training
before I went on an audition. To this day, I still
contact Catherine Gaffigan when I need acting
guidance. With respect to the film, Catherine kept
me grounded with my approach to Dolores, reminding
me to focus on what Dolores was made of, why she
acted as she did. Actually, I've been acting my
whole life through dancing. Acting allowed me to
incorporate my voice, and that was very
liberating. Acting is perfect for me. It
incorporates everything I've studied. And it just
feels so damn good (at least when you're doing it
right and by that I mean being in the moment) I
support my "acting habit" with my Pilates studio,
"Absolute Brooklyn Pilates", located in Carroll
Gardens, Brooklyn. It's my constant paycheck and a
project that I am very proud of.
How did you come to be
involved in "I'll Bury You Tomorrow"?
I met Alan at a photo shoot! I was putting a
"comp. card" together and he was the makeup artist
on set. Well, you always seem to spend the most
amount of time with your makeup artist (on any
set) so you start talking. I mentioned that I was
an actor first, a commercial print model second.
We talked for a long time before he mentioned a
script he was working on. A horror film. Perhaps
he would send it to me and I might read it? I said
sure! But I must tell you that in the back of my
mind, I was doubtful. Doubtful that I'd ever get a
script in the mail. So, I was interested, but
saved my enthusiasm for when and if I ever
received a script. Sure enough a couple of weeks
later I received part of the script, "I'll Bury
You Tomorrow". A few weeks after that I
received the rest. I'm starting to think this Alan
guy walks the walk. How refreshing!! And exciting!
Then Alan called and asked if I'd come audition in
front of a camera! O.K. So I knew this was it -
either I'll get there and they'll ask me to take
my clothes off, or they will actually have me read
with another actor. I got there and there was a
room full of people - Alan, cameramen, and other
actors. I was psyched! I read for it and met some
other people working on the production side of the
project. Alan called me soon after that day and
offered me the lead role of Dolores! A lead role
in a feature! My first!
What did you think of
the script the first time you read it?
CRAZY! And thrilling! Up until then I was always
sent and cast for "young mom" or "girl next door"
roles. This was going to be FUN. I was getting the
chance to really flex my acting muscles. The
character (Dolores) was very complex.
Murdock mentioned the story behind "IBYT" is an
"interesting one". Do you have any good stories to
I'll leave that one to Jerry!
What was your
experience like, shooting the film? And was
Dolores a complete departure for you,
Shooting the film was a long process! We shot
every weekend for a year and a half! It was
guerilla filming at times! We didn't have permits
for all the locations, but that didn't stop Alan -
he wanted the location, we were going to do it!
And just duck when the cops came by! We all stuck
with it because we all felt we had something
really good on our hands. I personally stuck it
through because of Alan. I believe in him as a
person, a writer, and a director. We developed a
friendship during shooting that remains today.
Dolores was a complete departure for me,
character-wise. I have never played such a
distressed character. She is a woman who has been
pushed to the breaking point. We all have a
breaking point, but thankfully, most of us don't
What was it like both
being directed by and co-starring with director
Alan Rowe Kelly?
Alan's a great director. He is able to make the
actors feel as if they're having a hand in the
direction of their character. He will discuss
scenes with you and let you improvise. He is
really dedicated to getting the best performance,
and sometimes that means changing lines here and
there. He was married to the final product, rather
than to the written script. His flexibility
created an environment where all the actors, I
think, flourished. Alan was so nervous about
acting! But he protests too much! I think he has a
very real interest in acting and needs to continue
pursuing it! He has since "I'll Bury You
Tomorrow" and I'm very supportive of him doing
this. My scenes with Alan were delicious! Dolores
and Corey were so catty towards one another!
about Jerry Murdock - he seems like such a
talented actor, fooling so many people as Mitch
and Jake Geraldi?
Jerry Murdock is fantastic! What a pleasure
working with such a professional! And what I mean
by that - is someone who works, continues working,
and really gets in to it! Jerry will do whatever
it takes - researching, improving, costume. He was
always there for all the actors. We were lucky to
have him. He never lost his energy.
What about some of
your other co-stars - any stories about them that
you care to share? Bill Corry and Katherine
O'Sullivan were very memorable as The Beeches.
Bill Corry and I worked together closely because
Dolores and Mr. Beech had quite a relationship.
Alan couldn't have picked a better actor to play
the part. I like Bill very much. We traveled
together to the set often. He's not afraid to take
chances with his acting. Katherine's performance
was inspirational to me. She's a working actor
with many years in the business. Sometimes she
would finish a scene and we would all be stunned,
like, "whoa! Mrs. Beech IS a lunatic!" She really
brought that character to life - giving it a
quality that was unexpected and glorious. None of
us realized how twisted Mrs. Beech was until
Katherine stepped in to her shoes.
What did you think of
your character, Dolores, and how did you prepare
to play her?
I embraced her immediately. With her upbringing
it's amazing that she didn't cause more damage
along the way. Dolores lives in constant fear and
the only thing that's kept her alive this long is
her raw will to survive. I prepared by researching
schizophrenia, the medication one takes for it,
the side effects of that medication physically and
mentally, and how people do and don't manage this
devastating mental illness.
How was it for you,
playing the necrophilia scenes, dancing and
cuddling with "corpses" and all?
They were my love scenes. I played them as such.
Yes, they were corpses, but that's what everyone
else sees - Dolores sees them as her intimate
companions, there was nothing disgusting about it.
They were her loves. The ones that would never
What exactly WAS wrong
with Dolores - taking all those pills?
Dolores was a schizophrenic. She had to wear
several hats in order to deal with life. She
didn't have multiple personalities, but a few that
she relied on again and again when things got out
of control (her standards of course).
There is some pretty
disturbing stuff in this film - pedophilia,
murder, body snatching - were you ever concerned
about how starring in a film like this might
affect you or your career?
Yes. I knew that if I did a bad job it would
negatively affect my career. If I did a good job,
It would be positive. I didn't judge the content
of the story. I judged the writing, and the
director. Then I signed on. I'm not interested in
views on the subject matter of the film. I am
interested in my character and her journey within
Did you have to
research anything on the mortuary business prior
to the movie? Learn anything interesting or
disgusting you care to share?
Absolutely. I was very interested in embalming.
Specifically the room temperature (which is kept
on the cool side for preservation), the smell
(very antiseptic and sickening at the same time?),
and the sounds. For example the sound of cutting
open a dead body. The sounds of the machines used
to suck all the blood out. And then I had to get
comfortable with all that. It's a job like any
other at the end of the day. That's what I needed
it to be if I was to portray Dolores convincingly.
She was a pro in the mortuary.
How long was the
shooting schedule of the film? What kind of
experience was shooting the film for you?
The shooting schedule was never set to begin with.
We were going to shoot for however long it took to
finish the film. And it became clearer and clearer
that because of the budget we couldn't count any
particular schedule. But I knew that if Alan
didn't give up we'd somehow get it done. From the
beginning I counted on him for this. And here we
What sort of fan
reaction have you had since the DVD was released?
For the most part the fan reaction has been so
supportive. And I can't pretend that I don't smile
because of it! I love it! It makes me feel so
good! I'm so thrilled that people are enjoying the
film and appreciating my contribution to it!
Do you have any new
acting projects lined up and can you tell us
anything about them?
I'm very excited about collaborating with Alan
again! We begin shooting a new film together this
fall! I will let him share the rest of this
Do you know if we'll
ever see any more of Dolores Finley in a future
It's certainly possible. Her story won't be
finished until she meets her demise.
What are some of your
favorite horror movies?
“The Omen” was the first movie I remember
that brought fear in to my life. I would think
about that movie and not be able to be without
lights and sometimes without my parents, or at
least my dog. It invaded my thoughts. I was
spooked. Recently I was spooked by "The Others".
That movie stayed with me for quite some time. It
made me uncomfortable.
Any favorite horror
authors or horror books?
I don't think so. Not any that come to mind. I
haven't read any horror novels lately, or really
in general. When reading for pleasure, I usually
end up with drama.
Is there anything you
would like to add that I haven't asked you?
I think you've covered everything.
Is there anything you
would like our readers to know about Zoe Chlanda
or "I'll Bury You Tomorrow"?
We're both worth paying attention to. :)