Exclusive Interview: Lisa Zane
Actress, singer, and songwriter are all words that describe Lisa Zane. From her extensive resume in film and television to her projects in music, Lisa continues to give fans an eclectic body of work to remember her by.
Lisa’s film projects include her starring role as Maggie in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Bad Influence directed by Academy Award-winner Curtis Hanson, and Monkeybone with Brendan Fraser. Television credits include appearances in such series as Dinotopia, ER, Profit and Roar.
In addition to acting, Lisa has a passion for singing and music—all of which has led to the release of her first album Lisa Zane.
You may have also caught her live singing performances of European/American folk and Torch songs at the Les Deux Café in Los Angeles or at Joe’s Pub in New York City.
Lisa took some time to talk with us about her album, her love of music, The Final Nightmare and more.
NOES Companion: Tell us about your new album Lisa Zane.
Lisa Zane: This is my first record. It consists mostly of songs I wrote. My songs are of a traditional American bent, jazz, blues, folk, with sophisticated lyrics. My instrumentation is Latin-flamenco based. I love this hybrid, it’s becoming a sound.
Has music always been a part of your life? Any musical influences you can tell us about?
Music has always been a part of my life. My earliest memory is Meet the Beatles, and Frank Sinatra’s sad record, September of My Years, also a lot of old folk songs and blues songs that my mom used to sing. We’d sing in the car, do harmony; we’d sing all the time. Every niece and nephew had their song and we’d go through the roster regularly. My song was called “Poor Butterfly,” which I still have never heard except my mother’s version, so I’m almost convinced it’s something she made up.
You have an extensive list of films you’ve appeared in. What is your preference: acting or singing? Why?
I’ve never touched on the sublime in acting. I’m still working toward that; if I ever did, I’d probably love it as much as I do singing. But there have been evenings when I’ve sung for people, where I’ve felt as high as anyone could feel, doing something they love.
The film role Nightmare on Elm Street fans know you best from is that of Freddy’s daughter, Maggie, in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Tell us about your experience appearing in the (then) final Nightmare.
Well, when I was in a scene with Robert Englund, it was very easy to believe I was in a room with Freddy Krueger, and that was trippy. Even though we’d chatter and cut up in between takes, and he was the coolest actor and coolest guy, funny, smart, upbeat, when we did our bit in character, there he was! I love being scared.
The ending to this film was shot in 3-D. Did the 3-D filming process make the finale a tedious shoot?
The 3-D wasn’t tedious. Rachel Talalay was so excited about it, she’d say, “Isn’t this neat? It’s going to look great! If you do THIS, then it will help it to look like THIS.” We were all in on creating the gag, so it was sort of fun.
Were you a fan of the Nightmare films before appearing in one? Do you have a favorite?
When I was offered the part, I rented the ones that were available, because I hadn’t seen them. And I thought they were pretty deep in a way. Dreaming is a deep and unfathomable state of being for humans, as is childhood. And then you have this well drawn iconic modern monster, and all this pop cultural layering, it was a full meal. And I decided I wanted to be part of its history.
Besides your work in film, you’ve made many guest appearances on television and have also lent your voice to The Incredible Hulk animated series. Do you prefer working on television projects over film projects? If so, why?
T.V. is immediate and far reaching. Also, you come across great craftsmen and women working in television, because they do it regularly. Some of the best writers work on T.V. shows. Film, on the other hand, is less formulaic more experimental, more free. I like both.
Turning our attention to your website www.lisazane.com. Tell us about the songs listed under Cafés Songs. Are these songs some of your favorites to perform?
Cafés songs represent the songs I used to perform regularly at Les Deux Café in Los Angeles, where I had Tuesday nights for almost a year. It was a great scene. I developed my repertoire there before I began to compose my own stuff.
Under the video section, visitors can also catch short clips of a live performance at Joe’s Pub (NYC). Do you enjoy performing live?
The videos on my website: Two are clips from shows I did at Joe’s Pub in New York. They’re an example of the kind of thing I was doing at Les Deux Café: cabaret and torch. I love this music and I think it’s an important tradition to keep alive. The other three are videos I shot and edited to songs I’d recorded. They’re home movies on S8 and mini DV from my travels, that I fashioned into videos. Now when I shoot, I have the video in mind. But I’d like to keep the element of observational travelogue, and also try it in a longer form and see if it holds.
Lastly, what new projects should fans be on the lookout for?
You mentioned I did the voice for She Hulk, well now I’m doing Biker Mice from Mars—same creators. This kind of work is pure joy. It’s using all the parts of your vocal expression in the service of silliness. I really like aiming something toward kids. I did a show called Dinotopia which was such a blast. It’s on DVD now. Meanwhile, I’m working on my next record and am going to be shooting a small film called Murder in My House, in which I play a ghost who taunts her husband to madness, and I’m also pitching a series to the Syfy channel this year that I’m very excited about. And if they don’t buy it I’ll make it anyway but as a film. Check the website for updates and details.
The NOES Companion would like to thank Lisa for her time. Also, special thanks to Irene for her assistance! Be sure to check out Lisa’s new album Lisa Zane. You can also keep up to date with Lisa by visiting her official website here.