Several weeks ago was Roddy McDowell’s birthday; today is the birthday of another great actor of horror films. Happy birthday to Jodelle Ferland! If you haven’t heard of her, I’m not surprised; she’s only 13 years old today.
In spite of her youth, she has a list of credits in horror/weird shows and films that would have made Roddy impressed (she also has numerous non-weird roles, I should also mention). I first saw her, I believe, in an episode of Smallville, in which she played – at the age of 9 – a murderous clone of one of Lana Lang’s childhood friends. A year later, I saw her, but didn’t recognize her, in the pivotal role of the main ghost of Kingdom Hospital, Mary Jensen. I only started to put together her filmography when I realized that the same little girl played the dual role of Sharon/Alessa in the quite good 2006 videogame horror adaptation of Silent Hill.
So by age 12, she’d already played a murderous clone, a murdered ghost, and a tortured undead demon girl. There’s lots more in her filmography, though, that I haven’t seen. She’s done episodes of Supernatural, Masters of Horror, Dark Angel, Dead Like Me, Wolf Lake and The Lone Gunmen. She had a role as a doomed little girl in Dean Koontz’s Sole Survivor, played a role as young Carrie in the 2002 remake of Carrie, and apparently played the devil in the television series The Collector!
That’s a lot of dark roles for a young lady! Some would say that a child will be permanently damaged by such experiences (and they are saying it on IMDB). Personally, I think she’ll be fine. Horror writers tend to be quite well adjusted people, despite the subject of their writing. I suspect that it’s healthy to ‘face your fears’ and get them out in the open, and doing it by acting out the roles in a fun environment has got to be just as healthy as writing them out. Furthermore, many of Jodelle’s roles are of quite powerful entities. It seems that playing the devil and other people with awesome psychic powers isn’t as traumatic as one might think.
We’ll let Jodelle have the last word (with a quote from her on IMDB): “They like to cast me for scary roles. I think it’s because they want you to be scared, but also to like the little girl.”