We recently had the opportunity to chat with actress Leticia Jimenez. The up-and-coming performer stars in Mike Mayhall’s Jake’s Road (review) and also makes an appearance in the upcoming film Shut In She opens up to us about working as both a performer and producer on Jake’s Road and gives us the lowdown on how her career has begun to take off since appearing in Jake’s Road.
Jake’s Road follows Sam and his soon-to-be fiancé Kay (Jimenez) as they return to his familial cabin for a family get-together. While there, Sam and his brother Mike must break the news that they will be selling the land on which their neighbors reside. This comes as a blow to the neighbors and serves to ruffle a few feathers. When the gang goes on an outing in the forest behind the cabin, they run into trouble. Someone is hiding in the woods and picking off members of the group with a rifle.
Wicked Horror: You seem very natural and very effortless as Kay in Jake’s Road. Do you find that you put a measure of yourself into your performances?
Leticia Jimenez: With Kay, there was a lot of me in there. I was able to bring some of my own characteristics and a certain amount of myself to the role for sure. It was fun because sometimes you don’t have a chance to do that because the director tells you to go in a certain direction and you aren’t able to be yourself. But I was given a lot of artistic freedom in this role. It was so much fun.
WH: You were both a producer and a performer in Jake’s Road. How did that influence your performance?
LJ: This was my first time producing a feature. I guess because of my experience as an actor and being on set, it helped behind the camera. It’s a totally different experience to be a producer. I learned a lot about production and what goes into making a film. You learn the importance of all the different roles. I got to know everyone on set very well – everyone from the DP to the PAs. They are the people you are with all of the time on the production side. As an actor, you don’t interact with them as much. You get so see the bigger picture and to see things from a different perspective. I was even involved with the post production and working with the editors and the sound people. It was a great experience and it was a lot of fun. I liked it a lot.
WH: What led up to your involvement as a producer on the film?
LJ: I had actually helped Mike [Mayhall] with a short film that he had worked on. I helped him with all of the different aspects of that. Whatever he needed on set from catering to scheduling. etc… I was there to help out with whatever was needed. I kind of picked up whatever slack there was. I was like a silent ninja helping out with whatever needed to be done behind the scenes.
WH: You have been very busy lately. You’ve got seven titles in various states of production. It seems like your career is really beginning to explode. To what would you attribute your recent success?
LJ: You start doing local films and a lot of independent films. From there, you audition for bigger roles and the casting directors get to know you. I’m a professional person and I’m friendly. I always give 110%. You begin to build a reputation, as well and that helps a lot. I have a new agent and now a manager in Los Angeles. So, you are working on building a reputation and a career. As long as you do a great job and are cordial and professional, it kind of builds from there. Playing Kay was the first big leading role I’ve had. That was great experience. Getting that experience has been beneficial in helping me to get more bookings. From there, you ride that wave and just keep booking. I’m very fortunate. Playing Kay was a great experience for me. The role of Kay has really helped my career a lot.
Can you please tell us a little about your upcoming horror film Shut In?
LJ: Shut In will probably release some time next year Actually, I have a nice role in that. I play a character named Charlotte. Without giving too much away, it’s about a girl who’s brother is dying of cancer. She is agoraphobic. She never steps outside. She was abused as a child and is dealing with that. I don’t want to give too much away. But my character is a lawyer who comes and helps the main character deal with her brother dying, from a legal aspect. The main character is kind of awkward because she doesn’t go outside and doesn’t have any experience dealing with the outside world. I kind of befriend her and she feels that and warms up to me a little bit. My character is kind of loving and caring and not quite plucky but kind of like the plucky lightness in this dark movie.
Were you cast in Shut In as a result of your appearance in Jake’s Road.
LJ: Actually, the casting director on Shut In works out of the same office as the company that distributed Jake’s Road. I’m a very social person which is why I really love what I do. So she probably did see my in Jake’s Road. The casting director also actually cast me in Left Behind. So, she has seen what I can do. And she calls me in a lot!
WH: Thank you so much for talking with us.
LH: Thank you!