Hayley J. Williams is the next British rising star. HeR craft is tightly woven in Sci-Fi and Horror. Recently, Hayley was featured in the BBC Radio Drama Torchwood: The Lost Files. Hayley co-starred as Sian Pearce. In her episode, The Devil and Miss Carew, Hayley had the pleasure of working alongside Torchwood cast members John Barrowman and Eve Myles.
A self-described Horror Junkie, her love of horror led her to aspire to be the next Scream Queen—a title she would wear proudly! I jumped at the chance to interview Hayley. It’s always great to see a rising female horror star! So I got to ask her a few questions about her experiences working with Torchwood, and her horror movie dreams.
What is it about the horror and Sci-Fi genre that draws you in as an actress?
I love being scared! Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was about 10, and anything ghostly, weird or wonderful fascinates me and I have this urge to find out more!
I watched Nightmare on Elm Street on my 13th birthday during a girlie sleepover and I remember my friend Carol and I were the only ones who managed to make it through the whole thing. All of the other girls hid behind the sofa, and it was then that I realized how powerful the genre was! I became a junkie and rented every horror video I could find, and since then it was always my dream to be in a horror movie.
I got my dream role playing the lead in the spooky ghost story The Shadow Within. I didn’t get to do much screaming, but I did get a great fight scene, an underwater scene, and I got to work with special effects for the first time! I think that’s what I like most about making films in general… all the cool things you get to do! It brings out my inner child…especially when you get to play with blood and gore. How much fun is that?
I think the Horror & Sci Fi genre brings out peoples base human emotions, and the ‘fight or flight’ feeling is a great one to explore as an actress.
You were a co-star on the BBC Radio series of Torchwood. What was that experience like?
It was really lovely! I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Who and was very excited that Starz was bringing ‘Torchwood’ to the US! I think it will do really well here as the cast is so great! I jumped at the chance to do the radio show!
I mainly worked with Eve (Gwen) and Kai (Rhys), and they were so sweet to me – helping me out with my Welsh accent and telling me stories about their LA experiences. It was a little bit daunting because I’m not a native Welsh speaker, but they were really encouraging and so easy to work with! It was just loads of fun! I lived in South Wales for 4 years as I went to the University of Glamorgan near Cardiff, and we even realized we had some mutual friends there so it was very much a family atmosphere. If anything it made me to work with them more.
Radio dramas are a bit of a dying art in the United States, what is it about radio that you think is captivating?
Yes it’s such a shame. I’m in London at the moment, and I was listening to Radio 4 today and there’s something so calming about it. It captures your imagination in a similar way to reading a book. Radio drama has always been a big thing over here in the UK with long running shows like ‘The Archers’. Which started the careers of some big UK actors like Tamsin Grieg and Lucy Davis.
The BBC is to thank for keeping the quality so good and keeping the popularity of radio drama so high. They’ve always prided themselves on their radio programs. I remember listening to a radio play of ‘The Turn of The Screw’ a few years ago, and it was genuinely frightening! The imagination is a powerful thing, and radio allows us to exercise it in a way that TV and Film doesn’t. Maybe I’ll start a campaign to bring back radio drama in the US!
What are some of the things you are currently working on?
Well, I can’t actually say too much at the moment because I’ve been sworn to secrecy on a particular project, but I can say that it is in my favorite genre and will be very exciting! I’m also in talks on a movie thriller that a colleague of mine has written, which he hopes to shoot early next year so you will definitely be seeing more of me very soon!
What’s your favorite horror film, and how has it affected your career in the horror industry?
My all time favorite has to be Halloween – it’s such a classic and it still scares me today– the idea that Michael Myers is this almost superhuman maniac who never dies is scary! What I love about it is that there is almost no blood or gore in it. It’s just a very well crafted film, and it set the bar for so many films that followed. Halloween’s archetypal ‘Final Female’ and the ‘Rules’ so wonderfully described in ‘Scream’.
I also loved ‘The Blair Witch Project’. The more recent ‘Paranormal Activity’…any film that gives me trouble sleeping afterwards has done its job! I am influenced by horror movies, and I am fascinated by what scares other people. I would love to make my own horror film one day. I’d also love to work with Wes Craven in the future, another dream I am set on realizing. The thing about Horror, Sci Fi and Fantasy is that anything’s possible!
You can learn more about Hayley by visiting her official website at www.hayleyjwilliams.co.uk.