Jenn Gotzon Chandler talks Faith & Healing in “Unbridled”

Award-winning actress and international model, Jenn Gotzon Chandler got her career break playing President Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, in the five-time Oscar Nominated “Frost/Nixon.” She went on to star in a variety of award-winning films, including “Doonby,” “God’s Country,” “The Sacred Eternal,” and “Julie and Jack.” In “Unbridled,” Chandler is Felicity Clawson, a counselor who runs a healing ranch for troubled teens by teaching them to care for horses. The film exposes the evils of sex trafficking in suburbia and chronicles the journey of 16-year old Sarah Miller (Téa Mckay) as she struggles to find solace away from her alcoholic mother and criminally abusive stepfather. In this one-on-one interview, Chandler reveals some insights about the film, her faith, and what she learned about the healing power of horses.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview. What drew you to this socially important film?

JGC: The producers, Gerald and Christy McGlothlin are good friends of mine. They shared a vision they had in their heart to make a movie that’s not only dramatic and thrilling but with a message of redemption. They wanted to bring hope to a topic that’s just now coming to light. When I grew up, this was never spoken about. So it was important for them to make an entertaining film with a good story that lets you walk away with a pearl of wisdom. Maybe we know someone that might be going through a similar situation. The possibility of healing through horse therapy is not only fascinating but real; it’s a community of people that I was introduced to while filming “Unbridled.”

Jenn Gotzon Chandler & Te?a Mckay

Are you familiar with horses and horse ranches? What did you learn about them that surprised you?

JGC: There’s a discipline called “natural horsemanship.” It’s about connecting with the horse through your emotions. Joy Currey is the lady I played, who runs the horse ranch called Corral. Christy McGlothlin approached Joy because Christy’s daughter is one of the helpers at Corral. The story was inspired by seeing what the horses were doing and how they helped heal these girls. I was unaware that horses had this kind of connection with humans. Lindsey Partridge, who did all the stunts with the horses in the movie, taught me how to teach others about the kinesthetic energy connection between a horse and a human.

Te?a Mckay

So how does that work exactly?

JGC: If a person is upset and challenged—maybe they feel closed off, frightened or angry—the horse feels that emotion. When a horse places its nose on the chest of a troubled person, its nostrils draw in the breath of that person, and that person’s troubled emotion transfers to the heart of the animal. The horse feels that connection and is drawn to you, and you feel trust, love, and safety from this large animal.

There’s a scene where an initially reluctant teen, Stacy, establishes a deep connection with her horse. Can you go into that?

JGC: One day when the sun was setting, the producers and directors brought me down with Lindsley Register who played Stacy. She and the horse had not been prepped and they were both nervous. I prayed silently to God to settle the horse. We were in the scene and I coached Lindsley through the connection with the horse. I felt Lindsley and the horse calm down as the horse brought its nose onto Lindsey’s chest and it began to connect with her. We captured that on film. It’s this type of horse therapy that allows humans to open up to heal their pain of being broken or emotionally damaged. I can say that this was, by far, one of the coolest, most educational roles I’ve ever played.

What did you draw from internally or externally to portray a mentor to troubled teens?

JGC: I spent a lot of time with Joy who possessed both strength and discipline. She was very reserved with the teens. And that was difficult for me to portray because I’m naturally a very exuberant, high-energy person. So I would listen to the pattern of her voice, her body, and how she moved. She called it attaching and detaching. Broken teens won’t respond when you attach, but only when you first detach. That was difficult for me, but I studied Joy to get into that space and rhythm. I love mentoring girls, so I had to work mostly on detaching my energy.

There’s an emotional scene where Felicity tells Sarah about her own disturbing teen experience. Can you go into that a bit?

JGC: My natural instinct would have been to pour into her with this love. But internally as an artist, I chose to honor Joy and work in this space of detached energy. I waited for Sarah to connect and then I was able to attach to her, to shift my focus and be very giving, and to empower her with encouragement, love, and prayer.

Nikko Austen Smith, Te?a Mckay, Julianne Cabrera

Many teens fall victim to sexual exploitation. What have you learned about this tragedy that surprised you?

JGC: I think it happens all the time. Unfortunately, with the current climate, an attractive girl will walk into a room and men will sometimes manipulate her to do something inappropriate. Even in high school in a party environment, those things happen. You need a sense of discernment and strength. My parents raised me in the Church, so I had the upbringing and morality to help keep me grounded. Working in “Unbridled” gave me empathy toward women and what happens to them in sex trafficking. Women and girls are often so easily broken by a bad experience. It’s part of our culture. My goal with “Unbridled” is to plant a seed of hope in anyone facing these issues, that girls deserve respect and that they don’t need to give themselves to gain fame, wealth, respect or peer acceptance.

Jenn Gotzon Chandler & Rachel Hendrix

What did you find most challenging about being in this film?

JGC: Because director John David Ware is one of my closest friends, and “Unbridled” was his first feature film, I put a lot of pressure on myself to portray Felicity with the utmost excellence. But playing Felicity was a challenge because she and I are complete opposites in temperament. My strength is more reserved and detached. As an actor, when you put pressure on yourself, it doesn’t sometimes work for the best. I drew from my prayer team to help me relax.

Jenn Gotzon Chandler & Rachel Hendrix

Looks like your dance card is full of interesting roles for the next year. What do you like about portraying characters that inspire hope and faith?

JGC: At the end of my life, if I’m asked about my greatest accomplishments, I would have to say that being in movies and protagonist roles that inspire and impact lives, that leave people with a pearl of wisdom, were my greatest joy. I love films that touch the depths of your soul, films that leave you with hope, love, and healing. I try hard to find movies that line up with that messaging. My husband and I are producing a film called the “Farmer and the Belle” about a sleepwalking New York City supermodel who finds real love by searching for mojo in a pig farm.

What do you do between film projects to unwind and relax?

JGC: On filming days, I like to soak in a bath and relax. Between projects, I enjoy spending time with my husband and my family. I love going to the beach, horseback riding, and being outdoors. I also enjoy helping kids through my mentoring program called Inspiring Audiences.

“Unbridled” is due for release later this year.


Charlotte Sullivan on the sci-fi thriller “RADIUS”

Known for her role as officer Gail Peck in the police drama “Rookie Blue” and more recently as Anna Turner in “Chicago Fire,” Toronto born Charlotte Sullivan has starred in “M.V.P,” “Across the River to Motor City” and in “The Kennedys” as Marilyn Monroe. She has also appeared in the dramas “Fever Pitch” and “Mary Kills People.” Read more

Francesca Eastwood, Natalia Leite, Leah McKendrick on the thriller “M.F.A.”

Francesca Eastwood stars in M.F.A, the new critically acclaimed thriller that addresses sexual violence on campus. Nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the 2017 SXSW Festival, M.F.A. tells a gripping story of a young woman forced to protect herself after being sexually assaulted by a fellow classmate. I spoke with Francesca; the film’s director, Natalia Leite; and writer co-star, Leah McKendrick for an in-depth look at M.F.A. Read more

Kate Nowlin on Warriors Coming Home in “Blood Stripe”

As a Marine sergeant returning home after her third tour in Afghanistan, Kate Nowlin delivers a virtuoso performance in “Blood Stripe.” Unable to sleep, wracked by paranoia and anxiety, Nowlin’s Sergeant reveals the ongoing struggle many veterans face adjusting to civilian life after serving in combat overseas. Shot on a shoestring budget in just 16 days, “Blood Stripe” has already garnered a long list of critically important awards. Read more

Sam Huntington talks “Second Nature” and Gender Stereotypes

Known for Jimmy Olsen in “Superman Returns,” Josh Levison in “Being Human and Eric in “Fanboys,” Sam Huntington is among the busiest actors in Hollywood. In “Second Nature,” Huntington is Bret Johnson, a guy who runs for mayor against Amanda Maxwell (Collette Wolfe) when the world around them magically redefines their gender roles.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview. What drew you to this quirky comedy-fantasy?

SH: It was really the role. I’m not typically cast to play these anti-heroes, the misogynistic pig who has to learn a lesson. But this was a chance to explore that kind of guy and showcase Bret’s journey. Read more

Katie Burgess on Teen Angst and Gremlins

A talented young actress, Katie Burgess has appeared in Object Eleven, The Lamp, and can soon be seen in the futuristic sci-fi thriller The Jurassic Games. In Gremlin, Burgess is Anna Thatcher, a troubled teen with an attitude who confronts an evil entity. In this one-on-one interview, Burgess reveals what drew her to the film, and the challenges she faced in portraying a complex teen forced to deal with a horrific presence. Read more

Interview with Yaiza Figueroa on the sci-fi thriller “Anti Matter”

Hailing from Puerto Rico and trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, Yaiza Figueroa is noted for A Beautiful Death, The Befuddled Box of Betty Buttifint and the lead in Grace and The Showreel. In Anti Matter, Figueroa is Oxford PhD student Ana, who finds herself unable to build new memories following an experiment to generate and travel through a wormhole. The taut sci-fi thriller follows Ana’s desperate efforts to understand what happened, and to find out who—or what—is behind the rising confusion in her life. In this one-on-one interview, Yaiza reveals what attracted her to this intellectual thriller and what she drew upon to bring Ana to life. Read more

Interview with Angela Dixon on the thriller “Never Let Go”

Known for nail-biting thrillers like Offensive and Dead End, award-winning actress Angela Dixon won Best Actress at the Artemis, Women In Action Film Festival in LA and has garnered much praise from critics and audiences alike; ‘a towering tour de force’, ‘electrifying central performance, ‘powerhouse performance’, ‘superb lead turn from the totally committed Angela Dixon’. Read more

Interview with Sophie Vavasseur

Known for Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Evelyn and Becoming Jane, Dublin born Sophie Vavasseur has also appeared in the historical drama Vikings. In this sixth installment of the popular Bring It On franchise, Vavasseur is Hannah, a key member of the Rebels cheer team. Challenged in a smack down by a rogue team called “The Truth,” the Rebels also face the U.S. Northern Elite Gymnastics & Cheer team and 19 squads from around the world. In this one-on-one interview, Sophie reveals what drew her to this film and how she feels about the various roles she’s had to play. Read more

Interview with Parisa Fitz-Henley on “Midnight Texas”

Best known for her role as Reva Connors in the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, Parisa Fitz-Henley has appeared in several films and television programs, including The Jane Austen Book Club, House of Cards, Blue Bloods and Grey’s Anatomy. In Midnight Texas, Parisa is Fiji, a powerful witch who joins a close-knit family of vampires, psychics and assassins in a small town offering safe haven to anyone who is “different.” In this one-on-one interview, Parisa reveals what drew her to the series and insights about her character, Fiji. Read more

Interview with “Ice Cream Truck’s” Deanna Russo

Known for Burning Love, Being Human and Two and a Half Men, actress/producer Deanna Russo has amassed an extensive body of work. In The Ice Cream Truck, Russo is Mary, a mother of two, housesitting her new home, awaiting her husband and two children. In returning to her hometown, Mary discovers an off-kilter mix of overly nosy neighbors, overly sexed teens and an ice cream man overly dedicated to serving scoops of blood with his Rum Raisin. In this one-on-one interview, Russo reveals the challenges she faced in making Mary such a believably complex character. Read more

At the “Van Helsing” roundtable with Chris Heyerdahl & showrunner Neil LaBute

When Van Helsing season 2, returns for its 13-episode run in the fall, there will be more meat suits to chop up, more characters to root for and even a bit of romance.

The series stars Kelly Overton as vamp descendant Vanessa Van Helsing, Jonathan Scarfe as Axel, Christopher Heyerdahl as Sam, Paul Johansson as Dimitri, David Cubbit as John, and Vincent Gale as Flesh. Read more

At the “Van Helsing” roundtable with Paul Johansson and Jonathan Scarfe

Coming up on its second season, 13-episode run, Van Helsing promises more gore, more surprises, and more white knuckle suspense as the good guys circle the wagons against a growing threat of meat suit maniacs. In last season’s finale, Vanessa is finally reunited with her daughter as she learns some hard truths about the family she didn’t know existed. And, yes, Axel is alive. Find out more about what’s coming up in Season 2 as Paul Johansson and Jonathan Scarfe open up–without going into any spoilers.

Read more