Jessica Lowndes talks 'Abattoir,' Makeup Free Challenge and Favorite Christmas Carol

Photo Credit: Momentum Pictures
December 9th, 2016

Jessica Lowndes is known all over the world as one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. Her career really took off in 2008 when she landed the role of Adrianna on 90210 alongside Jessica Stroup and AnnaLynne McCord. Jessica is much more than a pretty face though. She is a talented actress and singer who helps charities including the MS Foundation where every year she records a Christmas carol and gives all the proceeds to their cause. 

Her latest film has just been released and it is a physcological roller coaster called Abattoir. In the film, she plays a journalist who is looking into a number of murders where the scene the of the crime has mysteriously gone missing. Whole rooms have been torn out and taken to a secret location at the will of a mad man. Her character must put all the pieces into place if she is to figure out why her family has been killed. Here is what Jessica had to say about her latest film, Abattoir, which is in theaters and on VOD now.

Nick Leyland from TheMovienetwork.com: First off, I had no idea how to pronounce the name of the film until I looked it up.

[laughter]

TMN: I loved your outfit. It was like a page out of cinema history or something. How would you describe it? 

Jessica Lowndes: It's definitely a 1940s film noir based in modern day, which was super cool and super different than anything I've done in the past, I think that's what drew me to the script in the first place. And Darren (Bousman) wanted all of the dialogues to be that fast, old school, rapid fire dialogue, which was again really challenging 'cause I'm saying things that I would never normally say in my everyday life. But I loved it because my character is this real estate reporter who is like an analog girl trapped in a digital world. So she loves everything vintage from her clothes, to her car, to her typewriter, and I feel like puts you in the eerie headspace right off the get-go because you feel like you don't really know where you are.

You're like, "It's modern day, but it feels different," and you feel like you're in a different time. And that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to do something original and something fresh and have a horror movie that wasn't gruesome like all the stuff you've seen him do in the past, but something that was hauntingly beautiful. And he wanted to create an art piece and then have it be almost like a play, and you can feel that when you watch it, which is really cool.

Momentum Pictures

TMN: And the other cool thing is that it was filmed in New Orleans.

Jessica Lowndes: Yeah. And I feel like New Orleans was the perfect place to shoot this because it is filled with haunted houses, like truly haunted houses.

That definitely felt eerie and so it was the perfect backdrop. And I feel like the location itself was a great prop and a great tool as an actress because it just puts you in that headspace right away.

TMN: It's a comic book series so you probably had a pretty good idea of the story before you got started, right?

Jessica Lowndes: I did and I also have worked with Darren in the past, I did Devil's Carnival with him, and I've known him literally for 12 years, and he's amazing, and so I was just so excited to work with him. I feel like he is a true visionary and I feel like he's always pushing his boundaries as well and growing and evolving. And for me, it was very challenging. I read through the script and I was like, "Oh my gosh, how am I gonna do this?" It's very emotional and my character goes through the ringer. And to put myself in that headspace everyday, it's definitely... It's emotionally trying, but it was also so rewarding and because I was working with him. He has the morale on set feeling like summer camp and it was so much fun. And so I'm really, really proud of it. And I think even to go back to the wardrobe, putting on these pieces and all these vintage items, they are filled with stories. And I think that's what my character is all about, like she's a reporter and it just makes you feel like the character.

Momentum Pictures

TMN: Well, let's get down to it here. Since the story is about the supernatural, do you believe in the supernatural? Are you a believer? 

Jessica Lowndes: I am a believer, yeah. I believe in ghosts.

[chuckle]

TMN: I've always wondered this about actors doing a movie like The Exorcist, or some other paranormal film that has this really evil things inside of it. Do you ever sit down and think to yourself, "Geez, I hope I'm not messing with some kind of evil spirit by doing a film like this?"

Jessica Lowndes: Well, especially, when we were shooting at one of the main houses, it was this old plantation and people have died in there, and you can just feel it. And it's just so eerie and so terrifying, so I try to not think about it too much. But I think for this, I can relate to my character because it's like I wanted to have that 1940s dialogue, but I didn't want her to be that 1940s way where she wasn't allowed to show emotion or she had to suppress her emotion. I wanted it to have these truthful moments and for me, I have a younger sister, so I kept putting myself in that headspace, like, "What would I do?" And I would go all Nancy Drew on it and get to the bottom of it and figure things out, and I loved that aspect to it.

And she's a real estate reporter, but she's always wanted to be put on crime and now you have this man that's buying houses, ripping out the kill room, and then selling them, which is real estate, but she's now turned this into her own crime investigation to figure out what's happened to her family. So I loved it, I thought it was really fun and it's different, it's like something that you haven't seen before, which is cool.

TMN: I couldn't deal with all the blood, I just couldn't do it. I know it's fake but I would run off set. 

[chuckle]

Jessica Lowndes: You'd surprise yourself. Most of it's made from maple syrup and it smells really good, it smells like IHOP in there.

[laughter]

TMN: I still couldn't do it. 

Momentum Pictures

TMN: I also saw that you do a lot of song writing. I liked your new song Underneath the Mask and saw it went along with your #TakeYourMakeupOffChallenge. What was that all about?

Jessica Lowndes: Thank you so much. I wanted to start a challenge similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and the whole premise is to nominate women in your life to post a makeup-free selfie or makeup-free video, and then they nominate other women in their life to do the same, and they've got 24 hours to do it. And the whole point is to embrace natural beauty and celebrate what makes us unique, and I feel like right now, more than ever, there's not enough of that. And I was on 90210 for five years and I feel like a huge part of my fan base, they write me all the time with questions and things that they're going through or bullying or cyber-bullying and I think it's so different from when I was a kid if people said mean comments, you could just walk away, and now it's just in your face, and so it's a way of just being strong and self-aware and celebrating that. And I feel like, yes, that was my whole point and I wrote this song and I felt like it was just a perfect thing. And for me, it was like I've never taken my makeup off on camera before. I go makeup free in my everyday life, but to do it on camera, it's a vulnerable thing to do, but it's like, "This is me and this is who I am." And there's a strength in owning that, so that's what it's about.

And throughout the video, there's comments that powerful men have said towards women, and so it's all about female empowerment. Girl power.

TMN: Since it's the Christmas season I wanted to know one of your favorite Christmas carols and who sings it? Are you a classic girl or are you a modern girl when it comes to the Christmas carols? 

Jessica Lowndes: Ooh, my favorite Christmas carol ever is A Winter Wonderland.

I start singing that in November. [chuckle] It's just my favorite. Every year, I do a Christmas carol for the MS Foundation, and I give 100% of the proceeds to MS, and so the last two years I did O Holy Night and then I did Silent Night and then this year, I did a commercial. I have a Christmas movie, it just come out on Hallmark, and I did a Christmas commercial with them doing Silent Night. But this year, I'm coming up with my third Christmas carol, so if you have any suggestions. I'm recording it next week.

I've done the entire music stuff independently, so for me... This is a huge passion of mine, it's what I do in between jobs. I love writing, I've been playing piano since I was five. So yeah, it's the beauty. I haven't signed a deal or anything. But for me, I just put out music when I want to and I have amazing friends that help shoot videos with me, and yeah, it's been fun.