Interview with Cassandra Hierholzer of Sacrament

What can you tell us about your role in Sacrament?

Shawn tricked me into this project, telling me that my character, Shell, was a beautiful wood-nymph princess, wise beyond her years and troubled by the sorrows of her people.

In reality, Shell is a quick, sarcastic punk-rocker with a mouthful to say about everything. This persona is the perfect cover for her surprisingly big heart.
What attracted you to this project?

I loved that Shell had so much of me in her. I felt strongly that I would be able to convey this character in the manner Shawn was looking for.

How long have you been acting for?

About a year now. Sacrament is my first feature. My boyfriend runs a production company out of Austin, Paper Street Pictures, and I’ve had some trivial roles in a couple short films with them.

What is your favorite thing about acting?

I just love the creative process. Shawn was really open with us, allowing us to improvise where we liked. Getting to know my fellow actors and playing off of them was extremely enjoyable.

What is your least favorite thing about acting?

It’s hard for me not to get caught up in how I look on camera all the time. Letting go of that concern and focusing on the scene at hand took a while for me to get used to.

If you weren’t an actress what would you be?

Well, I don’t really consider myself an actress. There’s so much incredible talent out there, I would be terrified to be considered as such.  I actually work at a company that creates and distributes casino slot games, Multimedia Games, as a Quality Assurance Analyst.  In addition to that, I do a lot of alternative fashion modeling in Austin and surrounding areas.

What are your favorite roles to play?

Ones that don’t require me to speak.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting in to character?

Not to imply that acting is a mindless endeavor, but the most effective strategy for me is to clear my mind as much as possible. The more stressed I am, the more likely I am to fumble lines or overact. I stop running lines in my head, forget about how uncomfortable I may be, and just react.

Do you have a favorite movie/book?

This question kills me.  I’ve grown to love a lot of movies, but when I was in high school, Ghost World had an effect on me unparalleled by any other. My older brother had given me the graphic novel, and I was obsessed. Books, I have too many to choose from. Probably somewhere between Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, The Secret History by Donna Tartt and Curzio Malaparte’s Kaputt lies my favorite.

What was an average shooting day like on set?

Hot. It was so hot.

Tell us why we should be excited for Sacrament
You’re going to see something that a lot of extraordinarily talented people put so much of their time and effort into. It’s genuine, with an unexpectedly sweet core underneath all the gore.