Actress Amy Acker didn’t set out to become a genre actress. But the gig does have its perks.
“Hey, I get to play with a flame thrower today,” Acker says of a typical day on the job. “Genre stuff is the most exciting stuff for an actor to play. I get to try new things, do things I would have never got the chance to do.”
The beautiful Acker, whose credits include “Angel,” “No Ordinary Family” and Williams Shatner’s “Groom Lake,” adds another notch to her impressive fantasy film belt this weekend.
In “The Cabin in the Woods,” Acker plans Lin, a staffer at a mysterious company at the heart of the film’s horrific roots. The character may help decide the fate of the five attractive teens who find themselves trapped in the titular cabin, but to say more is to spoil the intricately plotted horror yarn.
Acker may not be a screen veteran like fellow cast mates Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, but she’s getting an education on what makes genre material more than just a silly ode to special effects.
“It really is about the writers,” Acker tells Big Hollywood. “[‘Cabin’ co-screenwriters] Joss [Whedon] and Drew [Goddard] and the people who make the good genre stuff focus on the characters and make them relatable, even if it’s an epic story line.”
In “Woods,” Acker’s character inhabits a relatively peaceful realm by her own career standards. Think office politics over ghosts and goblins. But she eventually gets her hands dirty with what the genre does best – introduce some otherworldly creations into our nightmares.
They often don’t teach that in acting school, but the Southern Methodist University grad hopes that isn’t always the case.
“I was talking to the head of the [SMU theater] program, and I said, ‘I think you need to start a class that’s all about acting with monsters, invisible things’ … that’s been the majority of my career.”
Acker could probably guest lecture for such a class.
“You have to do it the same way, be in the scene, figure out what’s happening and go for it,” she says. “I think if you can have the voice of the actor, and you know what the lines are gonna sound like, that helps a little.”
Acker studied dancing before her film and television career took off. But she’s rather modest about her future potential as a big-screen hoofer.
“I still take ballet with a friend of mine with a bunch of really old ballerinas. That may be the extent of my dancing at this point,” she says.