America can’t seem to wait for the megahyped Snakes On A Plane to slither into theaters. The studio keeps meeting the fans’ demands: that the upcoming movie be gorier, bloodier and more Samuel L. Jackson-y (“I want these motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane!”).
Our demands were simpler. We wrangled an interview (and a photo shoot) with our favorite Snakes star, Lin Shaye. She showed up looking slim and lovely—no There’s Something About Mary gross-out prosthetics or Kingpin tongue- flicking in sight.
The best actress you may not know by name (yet), Lin continues to add to her 100 credits on the IMDb. She specializes in sharply drawn character parts in films both great (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Detroit Rock City) and not-so-much (Say It Isn’t So).
In fact, many a “bad” movie has been redeemed by Lin’s go-for-it gusto. Try not to laugh at the wicked delight in her eyes while straddling Horatio Sanz’s face in Boat Trip (“Take momma downtown!”).
Lin was thrilled to get a chance to stretch her dramatic side by playing the most grounded character in the campy Snakes On A Plane-a-palooza: a sharp-tongued, heroic flight attendant named Grace.
“You end up loving Grace. I feel really good about having that kind of character,” she says. “It’s different from what people think about me, which is those wonderful, wonderful women from Mary and Kingpin.”
Her talent for making her characters (no matter how outrageous) sympathetic and rooted in humanity served her well on the shoot.
Article continues below...
“I save this baby, so I’m a heroine of sorts,” she says. “And I have this very sad demise. It was a very spooky thing to shoot in some ways. But having a dramatic moment is always great fun for an actor.”
Lin always seems to go that extra, over-the-top mile with her roles. She was thrilled to strap on a set of fake boobs, get powdered orange and French-kiss Puffy the dog (her idea) to become Mary’s sun-dried Magda.
“Oh, it was the most exciting thing in my life when I got hired to do that,” she says. “I slept with the script under my pillow until I heard. It would actually leave marks in my cheek!”
Landing the role changed her life. As the offers poured in, she framed the good-luck boobs.
“One of the most exciting moments I ever had was going into a theater when Mary was in the real movies and it sounded like there was an earthquake,” she says. “I’ve never heard people ever laugh like that. To feel that I was a part of that…wow.”
And if the hype for her newest movie is any indication, watch for those motherfucking snakes to make motherfucking box office hissss-tory. Either way, Lin’s more than earned her Hollywood frequent flyer miles.
“Every day, every job is an adventure,” she says. “Acting has certainly always been the thing I love to do the most. The fact that my feelings, observations and emotions can help people see more about themselves is a really extraordinary thing. Knowing that I’ve made people laugh—how much luckier could I be?”