Before casting directors hired Joyce Edgington to be in their movie, they needed to know one important thing:
"They asked me if I could fit into a dryer," Edgington said.
Meet Joyce EdgingtonWhy do the performing arts mean so much to Wheeling High School graduate Joyce Edgington?
"It's a part of me I can't live without," the actress and model said. "It's like a painter who if he doesn't paint in a while, he goes a little crazy. I'm like that. That's why I keep coming back to the performing arts, because it was something I was born to do."
Edgington played a role in the 2009 3-D remake of the 1981 horror film "My Bloody Valentine," being screened at 6:30 p.m. today at the Indian Trails Public Library, 355 S. Schoenbeck Road, Wheeling. Edgington will be there to answer questions and sign autographs.
So the Wheeling High School grad went to her local Sears store and asked a salesclerk if she could climb into some of the clothes dryers and see if she fit in any of them.
"I wrote down the model number of the dryers I fit into and called my agent," Edgington said. "Then I auditioned and they gave me the part."
That part turned out to be the highlight of Edgington's movie career so far.
She played Rosa, the police chief's housekeeper, in the 2009 3-D remake of the 1981 mad slasher horror film "My Bloody Valentine."
In the story, a mystery killer wearing a coal miner's protective gear murders Rosa, stuffs her into the police chief's dryer and turns it on ultra-bake.
"It took four hours to put on the makeup," Edgington said. And her dryer-burned makeup made Freddy Krueger's face look like the "after" photo in a Clearasil commercial.
"It was an amazing experience," she said. "We were very proud of this movie. Ours was the first 3-D movie that came out that year. My favorite part of the shoot was that we were in a real home near Pittsburgh. Because of the size of the 3-D cameras, they had to knock down the walls in the house."
Edgington, who appears in the film under her stage name Joy de la Paz, will be at a free 6:30 p.m. screening of the movie today at the Indian Trails Public Library, 355 S. Schoenbeck Road, Wheeling.
This will be the first time the library has ever shown an R-rated movie in a program.
Lisa Lane, an information assistant at Indian Trails, said that the audience will be restricted to 17 and older.
(Lane and Edgington met in first grade and have been best buddies ever since. So now you know how this whole thing came about: Lane had an "in" with the star.)
Edgington, 37, was born in Chicago, but earned her status as a Northwest suburbanite by moving to Wheeling during her grammar school years.
She graduated from Kendall College in Evanston with a business degree. But her love of the performing arts (she's been performing since the age of 12 in community theater and improvisation) kept calling her out.
"There's just something about acting that fills my heart and my soul," Edgington said, "and it's like I can't breathe if I'm not performing."
She has worked as an actress in TV commercials, done modeling and appeared in many independent movies made in Chicago, but none of that matches the visibility of the "My Bloody Valentine" remake.
Her worst experience?
"I was asked to take my clothes off and dance for someone at an audition," she said.
Her most challenging experience?
"I played Peter the Apostle in an independent film titled 'Die, Jesus, Die!'" It was a modern rendering of the Last Supper as a gang drama with Jesus leading one of the gangs.
"It was terrible, but fun at the same time," she said.
Edgington, a Buddhist, now lives in Palatine and works at a property management company in Northbrook. She still has a dream to branch out into a singing career.
Any desire to head off to Los Angeles or New York to seek her fortune?
"I'm a Chicago girl," she said. "I want to move back into the city. It's my dream to work at Steppenwolf and the Goodman and possibly do some more movies. But my ultimate dream is to do Chicago theater. Chicago is the place for me to be. It's the best city in the country."
Oh, before we forget, what brand of dryer did Edgington finally get to die for? A Kenmore? A Maytag? Perhaps a Whirlpool?
"I don't remember," she said. "Most likely a Kenmore. They ended up taking the back off of it anyway. But I could actually fit my whole body into the dryer. It was pretty fun."
• Dann Gire and Jamie Sotonoff are always looking for suburban people in showbiz. If you know of someone, send a note to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.