The compelling and thought-provoking independent feature Killing Eleanor is now available for you to enjoy on digital platforms across the globe. The Illinois indie is presented by Chicago Media Angels and Executive Producer Kelly Waller, with Angie Gaffney’s Black Apple Media and Annika Marks’ Let’s Try One Productions leading the production team. To celebrate the worldwide release, lead actor Jenny O’Hara, whom you’ll recognize from acclaimed shows the likes of Transparent, The Mindy Project, and The King of Queens stopped by SCREEN for an exclusive chat…
SCREEN: Congrats on the success of your latest film role in Killing Eleanor! Tell us a bit about the film and your role in it…
JENNY: Eleanor is an 80-year-old woman who is slowly dying in a nursing home and being kept going with abhorrent medications against her will. She knows her future is to be kept “living” hooked up to machines with no ability to say no. She has watched helplessly as the love of her life and partner of many years died in the same way and is determined to choose her own time and place. Now, by Sunday at the latest, she wants this to happen at the former Lavender farm they owned together.
Eleanor has an I.O.U. for money Natalie stole from her years ago and escapes the nursing home to find her and announce that it is time. She is here to collect.
Natalie is under threat to be cut off from home, work, and family if she doesn’t get clean and prove it with negative urine tests. So, the deal is a trade. And so begins a lunatic road trip that will make you laugh, break your heart and finally, restore your faith in humanity in these very hard times.
SCREEN: The film features a wide variety of dynamic, flawed, relatable female characters. What was it like portraying your character in the film?
JENNY: I LOVED playing Eleanor; she is everything. Tough, broken, determined, brave, sure and filled with love for the life she made with her partner, this woman she loved, no matter what it cost her.
SCREEN: How did this role compare to your many noteworthy roles of the past – such as Transparent, The Mindy Project, The King of Queens, and of course My Sister Sam?
JENNY: I have love playing all the women you mentioned. The thread that goes through them all is humor and strength. Every single one. Different life circumstances but courage and no reluctance to stick up for themselves and always ready with a snappy comeback when called for.
SCREEN: What is the message you hope viewers take away from Killing Eleanor?
JENNY: Hope. There is always hope. Stand up for yourself, forgive yourself, take a chance and believe.
SCREEN: Killing Eleanor included a majority of female talent both on-camera and behind-the-scenes – such as Annika Marks, Jane Kaczmarek, Betsy Brandt, Camryn Manheim, DP Jessica Young, Production Designer Chelsea Daly, and 1st AD Jennifer Wilkinson. How did it feel to be creating this project with such a female driven cast and crew?
JENNY: As you can imagine working with all of these women was a joy. No drama, No tension. So easy, like landing in a tub of butter! The men on the shoot were the same. So easy, and that was down to Richard, Rich and Annika. The cast and crew they put together was without equal.
SCREEN: Can you share any memorable behind the scenes moments from creating the film?
JENNY: One of my favorite memories was when we were on Upper Peninsula near that iconic bridge and Annika, and I went into a nearby Starbucks to change into costume and add some makeup. The place was busy, and Annika held down a table while I walked to the ladies room and came back out wearing sneakers, a hospital gown open in the back with big girl panties hanging out and sat down with Annika so she could add big dark circles under my eyes with a little pot of makeup and a brush. No one turned a hair. No looks, nothing. Business as usual. Very impressive.
SCREEN: Are there any other projects you have coming up that you’re able to share with us?
JENNY: I will be doing two plays in LA this coming year, Little Theatre by Justin Tanner, directed by Lisa James at the Matrix Theatre for Rogue Machine and then Vanished Youth by Tom Baum, directed by Asaad Kelada. There are a few others I can’t share any details about, but I will say they are very exciting!