Legion of Leia: You’ve been a part of so many sci-fi series, including Highlander and Buck Rogers, but you and I met when I did your makeup for the Nightmare on Elm Street documentary. Talk about the difference between sci-fi and horror and why the fans so often cross over.
Amanda Wyss: I had so much fun working on the Highlander series. I was a fan of the Highlander movie. I did the shows Other Worlds and Buck Rogers where I played lovable aliens. And Digital Man, where I played Officer Fredricks. Sci-fi to me is often like a Western or cowboy story. (But, with really cool technology.) Horror is more primitive and preys on our insecurities. It seems like there’s always a sense of impending doom for pretty much everyone in a horror film. The Sci-fi folks seem to be a bit more hardy! LOL! Even when I played a badass (well, sort of badass) vampire in the Son of Darkness movies I had to die. I think the fans cross over between these genres because they are both exciting, blood pumping experiences, set in fantasy worlds with monsters and heroes. Both genres tell morality tales, or archetypal stories. Again, like the Westerns. Who doesn’t want to watch the hero kick the monsters butt?
Legion of Leia: Can you talk about your experience on Nightmare on Elm Street?
Amanda Wyss: It was my first experience with horror. The only scary films I had seen up until that point were Wait Until Dark and Jaws, which aren’t even horror, but scared me to death. So when I read the script I was freaking out. I met with Wes Craven and adored him. He is this soft spoken, uber talented genius. Before filming even started I had to have a body and face cast made for special effects. That was crazy, being encased in plaster. Definitely claustrophobic. I should have known that was a harbinger of the adventure to come! On set I had to deal with worms, eels and centipedes. I was soaked in blood, zipped into body bags and got vertigo as I was thrown around a revolving room. And … loved every minute of it! We are all still great friends. And I don’t think any of us knew that it would become one of the iconic horror films. I definitely didn’t know my death scene would go down as one of the scariest of all time. It’s been shown on the Oscars twice in random montages. So surreal.
Legion of Leia: What was the first sci-fi or fantasy character you connected to as a kid?
Amanda Wyss: As a little kid I loved Casper the Friendly Ghost and Speed Racer. I loved any story, book or movie that whisked me away on a magical adventure. (I still do.) Then, there were Batgirl and Nancy Drew. I loved Uhura on Star Trek. She was so calm, smart and in command of herself. And pretty, too. But, then came Star Wars and Princess Leia. And, of course, I was sure that I would marry Han Solo! When I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was mesmerized by the adventurous Karen Allen. She was the epitome of the super cool woman.
Legion of Leia: How do you think both sci-fi and horror have changes over the years?
Amanda Wyss: I think horror has gotten more grotesque and obvious- Not leaving much to the imagination. I think what we imagine is scarier and more personal. I think one of the biggest changes for both sci-fi and horror is that they seem more main stream, with a much wider audience, and extraordinary special effects. When I did NMOES it was considered this little genre film. When they made the remake it was marketed as any other big budget movie. I think as the world gets more desensitized or over stimulated, we as the audience look for bigger, scarier, mind-blowing thrills.
Legion of Leia: What does it mean to be a part of a group of women like this?
Amanda Wyss: It’s so beautiful! I feel honored to be, even in a small way, in the company of so many talented, creative, strong women! I feel truly feel blessed. I’m a life long sci-fi, fantasy and adventure fan. These are the stories I love.
Legion of Leia: What new projects do you have coming up?
Amanda Wyss: I’m working on a web series called The Division, where I will ultimately become the first lady. It is a thriller, action series. So that is on-going. I’m starting a film in October called Id. Then a horror movie called William Froste. Next year I’m attached to be in The Survivors, an action movie like The Expendables, but with horror actresses. It should be really fun! In between I’m going to appear at a few comic cons. Montreal and Texas in September. And Baltimore the first weekend in October.