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Candis Cayne dishes on horror comedy 'Crazy Bitches'

With writer-director Jane Clark's affectionately titled "Crazy Bitches," Candis Cayne gets to live out some long-held Hollywood guilty pleasures. Since it's a horror film — and something of a tongue-in-cheek one at that — it's not out of line to suggest that Cayne doesn't make it very far in the film. And that brought with it a whole slew of new acting challenges.

Someone once said the best roles to have in a horror movie are either the one who makes it all the way to the end or the first to go.
Exactly! When I read the script I was like, "Yes! I get to play the Drew Barrymore part!" It was quite an entrance, I have to say. (laughs) But I loved it, it was so fun. Blake [Berris] is amazing and so cute, so that wasn't very hard. And Jane is so easy to work with, so it was good.

What did you think of her script when you first got it?
Jane had said, "I'm doing this, like, slasher comedy horror film, and I would for you to play the opening scene, the first person who gets killed." So when I read it, I was like, "Yup, this sounds fun." (laughs) I mean, it's scary to think of yourself as dying, but it's also kind of cool to play a person who gets murdered, for some reason. I don't know why, but it's kind of exciting, I guess.

Well, there's playing a death scene in "Crazy Bitches" and then playing a death scene in a weepy drama.
Yeah. Which I've done. It seems like I've died a lot on camera, so that's another reason I was like, "Let me just go full force, get this done right."

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Did you have a sense of how gruesome it would actually end up being?
You know, I don't think you ever really realize it. You think, "Oh, I'm going to get killed," and then it's happening and you kind of get into the feeling of it, which is kind of freaky. And then you see it back and it's even freakier. It's hard to imagine yourself actually getting killed in that way, so seeing it is a lot freakier than actually doing it. The knife was sticking a little bit, because of the blood. (laughs) And so I was like, "Ow! This is really hurting!" It got me agitated, which got me into my role more.

Which is more daunting, a death scene or a love scene?
You know, to me they're both equally daunting, to be honest with you. The love scene is easier in a way because we all have made love, we all have had those feelings, we all know how it feels. We all know how to make it look real, you know? A death scene, it's a little harder because you have to really emote the feeling that you really are getting killed. I would say they're both daunting, but the death scene is probably a little harder. And I'm not a good screamer. I sound like a duck dying or something like that. I'm the worst screamer. So I'm trying to do a death scene without screaming because it doesn't sound right. So that was the hardest part for me about getting killed on camera, trying to figure out how to die right without screaming. (laughs)

Are you a horror fan yourself?
To be honest with you, I don't watch horror movies. At all. Like, I never watch them. My best friend is a horror aficionado, and she goes to every single one. When she was in L.A. visiting me, she made me see "The Purge." I'm just really bad. I plug my ears and sing to myself most of the time. I'm really bad at horror films. I love a good drama, but I'm a real fan of fantasy and sci-fi. I love all those kinds of movies. But I'd say my favorite kinds of movies are a witty comedy or a dramedy. Like a "Postcards from the Edge." That kind of film is my favorite.

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How about as an actress? What's your ideal type of film to be in?
Personally, I love comedy and I love doing that kind of time and everything, it's really fun for me. But I always get cast — always — in dramas. So I'm more of an actress that does drama roles, but I enjoy doing comedy. But I never get any comedy roles.

Transgender performers and characters are becoming more and more high-profile, with "Orange is the New Black" star Laverne Cox making the cover of Time and Jeffrey Tambor winning a Golden Globe for "Transparent." But before all of that, Candis Cayne was breaking down boundaries, playing the first transgender character on a network drama in 2007 on "Dirty Sexy Money."

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"It's totally amazing, and it's a nice feeling to know I kind of started the ball rolling with 'Dirty Sexy.' I'm very proud of that fact," Cayne says. "We are really the last civil rights movement, our community, you know? Of course, people can argue that, but the trans movement is kind of where the gay movement was 20 years ago. It's getting more and more and better and better, and pretty soon it's just going to be a fixture in our society. It's crazy how quickly things change."

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick

 
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