I had the pleasure of screening Jakob’s Wife, a tale about a regular woman (Barbara Crampton) with a mundane existence who gets bitten by a vampire (Bonnie Aarons) and finds a second chance in both life and her marriage.

It is truly a callback to The Santa Clarita Diet, where her minister husband (Larry Fessenden), has to help her cover up her new nasty habit of murder.

Truly beautiful inside out, articulate, and sharp as a tack–here are excerpts from my interview with the lead star, Barbara Crampton. Full video below.


Well. The script actually won a screenplay contest at SHRIEKFEST, a film festival in Los Angeles, in 2015. The original writer Mark Steensland and the fest (sic) director there, Denise Gossett, reached out to me because they heard I was producing movies, or started to.


I had produced Beyond The Gates by that point.


“This was almost five years ago. And they thought it might be a good vehicle for me.”

So I read it, and I immediately fell in love with the story of this older woman. Who’s like, you know, kind of finding herself again after she’s bitten by a vampire and finds more quality in her marriage, getting a chance to have a sort of second chance at life and experience some of the things maybe she missed.

Gaining a new zest for life and gaining more quality in her marriage. And all of that. And I just thought it was a great script and really fun characters.


So I decided that I did want to try to produce it with myself in the role. And it took me uh, a couple of years to get it around to different production companies. To find one that said yes.


We worked on the material. Developing it a little bit more with a couple of other writers. And uh, finally had the opportunity to take it out to directors.


And, uh, Bob Portal at Alliance Media Partners who I partnered up with, and I had both worked with Travis Stevens (director/one of the 3 writers) before.


So he was one of the directors that we talked to. And he immediately said:

“Please don’t talk to anybody else. I love this story so much. I love the material, I want this to be my second movie.”


And it was right around the time his movie had come out as his debut, Girl On The Third Floor. And, you know, he wasn’t somebody we initially thought of. Because I didn’t think of him as a director. I was thinking of him as more of a producer.

And, um, he just fell in love with the material. Like, like we all did. And said I really want to make this movie with you guys.


BC: Well. Um, it was kind of friends and family because I had already spoken to Larry a couple of years previous to that, thinking that would be a really nice vehicle for Larry, as well. Who you don’t often see, as a buttoned-up preacher.

He’s usually playing somebody who gets killed in a movie, or the fifth banana, and um, you, know, we don’t see him in this kind of a role of being sort of the straight-laced guy. And Larry and I have known each other for a number of years. And I feel like our marriages and our situations are very similar. We both have been married for more than twenty years. And we both have children.

We’ve both been in our business for thirty-five years, him even longer I think. We’ve both been working in the business for a while.  I felt like, there’s some sort of symbiosis that Larry and I have.

And a shorthand. I really wanted somebody to make Jakob with, who I felt really comfortable with. Who I knew very well. Larry and I are basically the same age and it just seemed to fit.

Barbara Crampton
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A promotional image from Jakob’s Wife.

You know, for me to have another chance at this area and this time in my career to play a role like this. And for Larry whose been in the business for so long to have another chance to play a kind of role that maybe people wouldn’t have thought of him for.

So, he was already somebody that was in my mind for a couple of years and Travis and Bob Portal were very supportive in bringing Larry on as Jakob. So we finally got the money together, and we knew when we were going to make the movie. It was easy to make that call to Larry and say, you, know, if you want this, the role is yours. If you want it.


“It was Travis’s idea to change the gender of The Master to a female. And I think that was a wonderful idea. And the person I immediately thought of was Bonnie. Who I’d also known for a number of years.”

And seeing her in some iconic roles through the years from Muholland Drive to The Nun, but feeling like maybe she needed something that was a little bit bigger platform for her. To show us what she was capable of. I just thought she was fantastic as The Master and was so glad that she was available and said yes to us as well.

And then the other people, um. You know, some of them were friends. Mark Kelly was a friend of ours. And, uh, Robert Rusler was somebody who Travis had met, uh, recently at a screening right before we started filming. And he goes, “I don’t know. I think it would be really nice for Robert Rusler to play the part of Tom? Of course, you know, Rob Rusler is so handsome and cool. And cute and–there’s just, he’s been in the business for a long time. I–it just seemed to–when he said Robert Rusler I said: Oh, yeah. He’d be amazing.

And he agreed to do it. And then pretty much everybody else. Uh, we had a local casting director help us with the rest of the roles.


I think it’s very hard to make an independent movie these days. That’s how it’s always been, and I think if you can have other filmmakers that feel also like collaborators with you. And you know are going to be supportive. And know who are going to be really in it to make it the best thing it can be and just really help you in ways you didn’t even know you needed. Why not go with those people?

So I think it was important to us to surround ourselves with people, especially in the main cast that we knew. And we already knew their work, and we really liked working with them.


“There’s a shift in the visuals. There’s a difference in the way we communicate with one another.”


“She never had a chance to stand up and say. Well, this is what I want to do for myself.”


“I have the red dress, and the black and white one.”


“Yvonne,  you love this dress so much, why don’t you take it home.” gifting a beautiful dress to costume designer Yvonne Reddy.

Barbara Crampton
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Jakob’s Wife official poster art.

Rounding out the cast are: Larry Fessenden, Nyisha Bell, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Bonnie Aarons, Phil Brooks (CM Punk.)

Written by: Mark Steensland, Kathy Charles, and Travis Stevens (pulling double duty as director.)


Anne is married to a small-town minister and feels like her life and marriage have been shrinking over the past 30 years. After a chance encounter with “The Master,” she discovers a new sense of power and an appetite to live bigger and bolder than before. As Anne is increasingly torn between her enticing new existence and her life before, the body count grows and Jakob realizes he will have to fight for the wife he took for granted.

98-minute runtime. Not rated.

Theaters/Demand/Digital on April 16th,2021


Hello to publicist Delaney listening in as an audience member! She was lovely.

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