Movies & TV / Columns

Sarah French On Her New Films Poolboy Nightmare and Automation

September 23, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Poolboy Nightmare Sarah French

The 411 Interview: Sarah French


Sarah French is an actress who has been appearing in movies and on television since at least 2007. French has appeared in such movies as American Rescue Squad, Bite School, My Uncle John is a Zombie!, Art of the Dead, and Hanukkah, among others, and such TV shows asThe Last Tycoon, Deadly Sins, and In Ice Cold Blood. French’s latest movie is the Lifetime thriller Poolboy Nightmare, which is now available to watch on Amazon Prime (check it out here. In this interview, French talks with this writer about working on Poolboy Nightmare as well as the movies Automation and Booze, Broads, and Blackjack, her career so far, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Poolboy Nightmare?

Sarah French: Rolfe, the writer and director, whom I’ve worked with before, wrote me and asked me to come in for an audition. I auditioned and got offered the part of Rhonda.

BK: How did you approach your character “Rhonda”?

SF: You meet my character in the opening of the film. I approach it like I do with all of my characters. I try to come up with a back story and find within the scenes I’m shooting the motivation behind it. But for Rhonda in particular it was easy because I’ve played these kinds of characters before.


BK: How long did it take to film your part in Poolboy Nightmare?

SF: It was just a 1 day shoot.

BK: What was it like working with director Rolfe Kanefsky?

SF: Rolfe is great! We’ve worked together on several projects over the years and it’s always a pleasure working with him. He’s very focused and knows exactly what he wants in each scene, especially since he wrote the script. If something’s not right, he will keep going until he gets what he’s looking for. He gives us actors a lot of freedom and room to be creative with our characters and for us to really tap in to the characters and motivations as to why we are doing what we are doing. It’s always a breath of fresh air working with Rolfe.

BK: Did you actually do Rhonda’s underwater sequences in Poolboy Nightmare?

SF: Yes. I did my own underwater stunts. It was a bit unnerving doing it but we had an amazing stunt coordinator walking me through the scenes and our DP Michael Su was with me in the water the whole time. I was 100% comfortable doing the scenes and I’m very happy with how they turned out!

BK: Did you get to pick your own swimsuit?

SF: Yes I did. I love the blue color because it compliments my eyes.


BK: How did you get involved with the wonderful sci-fi action horror flick Automation?

SF: I met the director Garo Setian a year before shooting Automation at an industry party. Soon after that he contacted me about playing Linda in Automation. I read the script, loved it, and it’s all history after that.

BK: What was it like working with cast and crew of Automation?

SF: It was a lot of fun! I had worked with a handful of the actors and crew already so it was a nice reunion. Working with the director Garo and his wife Anahit, who plays Marci in the film, was such a pleasure. The thing I love about Garo is he came to set in the morning with a smile on his face, and at the end of the night he has a smile on his face. He’s one of those directors who is so easy to work with, fun, lovable, and just wants to have a good time. That’s what this is all about right? Let’s have a great time while creating some amazing art. If you’re not happy doing what you love, change it. Life is too short to be miserable.


BK: What was it like working with Jeff J. Knight, who plays the robot “Auto” in Automation?

SF: Jeff was so great to work with and put his “all” in the role. He’s an amazing character actor and really brought Auto to life. At one point during the shoot Jeff got really sick but because we didn’t have a lot of time to finish the film, his choice was to fight through it and kept going. Major props to Jeff, he was superb!


BK: How did you get involved with the crime film Booze, Broads, and Blackjack?

SF: Felissa Rose actually came to me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the film. I read the script, loved the character, met with the director Rickey Bird and my co-star Joe Raffa (I’m assuming to see how we meshed together), and I guess that’s how that happened (haha!). I always wanted to be in a mobster style film and play a Sharon Stone type character from Casino, so I was really excited to be a part of this film and bring Alicia to life.


BK: How did you approach your character Alicia in Booze, Broad, and Blackjack?

SF: I’ve really been focused on the craft and creating characters more than ever in the last few years. I approached it like I do in all of my more recent work. I like to create a backstory as to why my character is the way she is and what brought her to where she is today. The more you can create a character, the more you become that character. I watched a slew of mobster films before I started filming which helped me get in the mode. I knew I wanted to bring out of the Alicia character a soft, sexy, and sophisticated feel.

BK: What was it like working with Booze, Broads, and Blackjack director Rickey Bird, Jr.?

SF: Rickey is super chill and fun to work with!

BK: You’ve worked in the indie movie world for several years. How has the indie movie world changed since you started making movies?

SF: Most of all I’d say the quality has changed a lot over the years. The cameras and how things were done were much different back in 2007 when I first started, compared to now in 2020. Hell, you can shoot on the latest I-Phone and the quality is stellar compared to some cameras back in the day. Technology has changed so much and there are more opportunities and resources to make your film really pop!

BK: You’ve worked in a number of genres over the years. Do you have a favorite genre to work?

SF: Horror first and foremost just because I’ve been watching horror films since I was a kid and I love them. But put any script in front of me and if it’s solid with a meaty role, great business plan, shot well, pay is good, future distro plans, count me in!

BK: You’re credited as “Scarlet Salem” in a number of movies. What’s the significance of that name?

SF: Before I got into film, I did some alternative modeling. When I first started with that, my photographer at the time told me everyone had a “stage name”, which now I know isn’t 100% true. I didn’t know at the time, I was new at it. So he helped me come up with a stage name and because I loved horror so much we went more on the dark side with it. Once I started to take acting more seriously I decided to get rid of the stage name and use my real name.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

SF: One big one for me is Sam Raimi. He basically started from nothing and look at him now. The original The Evil Dead was a tiny budget. Same with James Gunn, he started in Troma. I have nothing but respect for anyone willing to risk it all to chase their dreams. To never give up. As hard as times can be, and there are a lot of hard times as an artist, you make things work one way or another. Just keep pushing because it will pay off in the end. You have to stay focused, positive, and believe in yourself.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

SF: I just wrapped 2 films back to back in Las Vegas; Bloodthirst, which is a post-apocalyptic vampire film with Tara Reid, Costas Mandylor, Robert Lasardo, and Elissa Dowling. The other film is Death Count, which is strangers awakening in individual cells with no memory how they got there and they soon realize if they don’t acquire enough “likes” they die by an executioner. I star in that one along with Michael Madsen, Costas Mandylor, Robert Lasardo, and Devanny Pinn. We are in pre-production for Blind: Part 2 and a few other projects are under way as well. I have a few films coming out this Fall. The Special, which is also screening at Grimmfest in October and Blind which just finished screening at Frightfest. Both will be out in October and November.


BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Poolboy Nightmare?

SF: One hell of a good time!

BK: Despite what happens to your character in Poolboy Nightmare, would you consider appearing in a Poolboy Nightmare 2?

SF: Yes, if it’s a prequel!

BK: Would you rather have a hot tub or a pool?

SF: Pool just because you can get a great work out in it… But watch out for those crazy pool boys!



A very special thanks to Sarah French for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

Poolboy Nightmare is available on Amazon Prime. Also keep an eye out for it on Lifetime, either live or on demand.

Check out my review of Poolboy Nightmare here.

Check out my review of Automation here.

Check out my review of Booze, Broads, and Blackjack here.

Check out Sarah French’s Facebook page here.

Sarah French profile image courtesy of Sarah French and Abyssmal Photography. Sarah French/Poolboy Nightmare image and The Special poster courtesy of Abyssmal Photography. Automation images courtesy of Epic Pictures. Booze, Broads, and Blackjack images courtesy of Film Regions International, Inc. Poolboy Nightmare images courtesy of Lifetime Television.