Many horror fans know Ashley C. Williams as Lindsay from The Human Centipede, but her role in the upcoming revenge thriller Julia will feature the actress as a vastly different character with some bold intentions of her own. With Julia due out in select AMC theaters on October 23rd, we caught up with Ashley for our latest Q&A feature to look ahead at her latest project and reflect on The Human Centipede, as well.

Thanks for taking the time to converse with us today, Ashley. When you first read the screenplay for Julia, what appealed to you the most?

Ashley C. Williams: My pleasure! When I read the script, I really couldn't put it down, which is very rare these days when a script is sent to me. Every page turn I was just sucked deeper and deeper into the dark inner world of this character—her pain, her experience of the world around her. I had watched the writer/director's two short films prior to reading the script, so while reading it I could also sense that the film was going to be visually stunning and that really excited me. I was also so in awe of the character's transformation and awakening into this vengeful goddess. While reading it I almost guffawed at some of the similarities I felt that this character and I had. So there were so many appealing things!

You play the titular character in this film, someone who goes through a dramatic transformation as the story progresses. What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of playing such a versatile role?

Ashley C. Williams: One of the most challenging parts given the extremity of the character's arc was having to jump around in the script while shooting, because obviously it wasn't shot in sequence. I constantly had to make sure where the character was emotionally and spiritually throughout her journey. The rewards came from learning from this character and actually taking on some of the internal strengths she gains into my own life. Her power was inspiring.

Do you have any favorite revenge films that you looked to for inspiration while shooting Julia?

Ashley C. Williams: I honestly didn't have a lot of time to prepare for the role. I was hired and in the next two days we were on set with day one. Matthew gave me some of his references for the visual style and tone of the film, like Johnnie To's Vengeance and one of the films he gave me to look at for character was Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Blue with Juliette Binoche, which is now one of my favorite films. But I didn't really need to watch movies for inspiration. What really guided me actually was a book he gave me to read called Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr by Jean-Paul Sartre. A biography on the life of Jean Genet—thief, convict and a great artist. I read this book any chance I had some downtime on set and off.

Looking back on making the film, what was the most challenging scene to shoot?

Ashley C. Williams: This film was shot in the dead of winter and a lot of my scenes were outside walking through the streets or me being dumped on the shore of the East River. So we were all suffering through the negative degree days and nights, but it also made everyone work harder so there was this crazy cool ecstatic energy on set all the time.

The most challenging from what I can remember was the most simple scene in the whole script. The character had to make a phone call and they decided that it needed to be shot with me walking along this pier near the water, where I had just taken care of an unsuspecting male. It was dark out and the street lamps made it look mysterious, but it was so cold out that most of the makeup and hair crew and I were having to huddle in the van with huge down jackets on and hand and feet warmers. As soon as they were ready to yell "action," I had to jump out of the car and be ready and in the moment as if it was only 65 degrees out or something... I've never felt my lips so numb. I had this one line to say and my voice and lips were shaking so much. I knew I had to control it somehow. So I remember taking a deep breath and almost stood there meditating, focusing on my breath instead of the cold. It actually worked, but it was challenging!

What was your most memorable experience from your time on set?

Ashley C. Williams: Some of the most memorable moments were actually off set after a long, long night shoot where we would start at like 5:00pm and end around 7:00am the next day. We (Besti the DP, Matthew, Regina, Hakon and I) would be driving in the car back to the place we were all staying at after a very successful night and there would be this wired kind of "in the zone" quietness between all of us as we watched the sun come up over the city skyline. There was this buzzing excitement because we all loved what we were creating together.

What was it like working with writer/director Matthew A. Brown on his first feature film?

Ashley C. Williams: Matthew was amazing to work with. He is the epitome of an "actor's director." He knows so much about how to manipulate the circumstances—both internally and externally—to arrive at what he wants out of us, and I of course let him. Not every actor likes working that way. It's tough. But we just really clicked on set. What a pro he was for this having been his first feature. I was just hoping that I would give him what he wanted, so I had to stay very open and in tune with his vision. Luckily we were both on the same page about all of it. I would definitely work with him again and again.

Many viewers first became fans of yours after watching you play Lindsay in The Human Centipede. When you look back on your experience making that memorable movie, what stands out the most? Did you ever imagine it would gain such a massive following?

Ashley C. Williams: I had no clue it would get this big. It was my first film, so there are a lot of memories that stand out from that experience. The whole sequence with my escape stands out the most. I mean, I got to fall into a very, very cold pool. What could be better than that? I was just thinking that I always seem to find myself in very cold and challenging situations in the films I choose. But it's a part of who I am as an actor. I really do thrive on challenge and putting myself in danger!

With Julia hitting theaters on October 23rd, what projects do you have on deck that you can tease for our readers, and where can they find you on social media?

Ashley C. Williams: I have a couple in development, but unfortunately they are in too early stages for me to talk about. But I promise you they are very exciting projects and I can't wait to share! I'm also writing my own film right now, which is tough because writing is not my strong suit but again, I love a challenge, right?!

You can find me on Twitter under @AshleyCW, Instagram: or on Facebook:

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.