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Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow

Tristen Skyler: Toils, troubles pay off for 'Blair Witch' sequel star

Tristen Skyler can be seen in two movies: "Getting to Know You" and "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2"  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Tristen Skyler could be forgiven if she sounds bedazzled, bedeviled, and well, bewitched. She's busy these days.

Not only is she a star in the upcoming "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows," she's also the co-writer of "Getting to Know You," a recent art-house film based on a series of Joyce Carol Oates short stories.

Skyler, 27, graduated from Princeton University, moved to New York's Little Italy neighborhood (which she has never left) and set out to make a career for herself as a writer/actor.

Now, it's all coming together. Her screenplay for "Getting to Know You" -- a film directed, incidentally, by her sister, Lisanne Skyler -- finally made it to the big screen recently. Hard on the heels of that is her role in the sequel to last year's "The Blair Witch Project," due to open in theaters across the country this month.

CNN's Lori Blackman talks with Skyler

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    Skyler recently paused to catch her breath and admit to a little fear -- the opening-night variety, not the supernatural type.

    CNN: You have two movies coming out within a few months of each other. Is it overwhelming?

    Tristen Skyler: Well, "Getting to Know You" played at the Film Forum in New York City. It opened in one theater. And "Book of Shadows" is opening in about 3,000.

    So I was telling a friend of mine, "This is so extreme. You go from one theater to 3,000. How do I deal with that?" He said, "Average 'em."

    CNN: Explain the inspiration for "Getting to Know You" -- taking three short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, setting them in a bus station and weaving them together to create a cohesive film.

    Skyler: The irony is that when I was an undergraduate at Princeton, Joyce Carol Oates taught there and you had to audition for her classes as a creative writer -- and I was too afraid to try to get into her class. It was very strange that, just one year after graduating, my sister wanted to adapt Joyce Carol Oates short stories. And I was like, "Well, if only I had taken her class, I might have a little more to offer."

    CNN: Let's talk about the "Blair Witch" sequel.

    Along with acting in "Getting to Know You," Tristen Skyler also wrote the new art house film  
    Tristen Skyler (third from left) battles the recurring evil force of the Blair Witch in the sequel "Book of Shadows"  

    Skyler: When I went in to audition to the movie, I never, in a million years, thought I was going to get this part.

    CNN: Can you say anything at all about the storyline?

    Skyler: Sure. I think what is fascinating about "The Blair Witch Project" is that it is self-reflexive. The film is about the filmmakers. In "Blair Witch 2," the cameras are turned around again: The film is about the audience, fans of "The Blair Witch Project," devotees of the Blair Witch myth. We go down to Burkittsville, Maryland, to go into the black hills and see for ourselves what is going on.

    CNN: How did Burkittsville, Maryland, react to you guys?

    Skyler: They hate us. They hate us, they hate anything to do with "The Blair Witch Project," they hate it. They didn't want us there. It was hard to shoot there, but I guess that is to be expected. You know, you are a small town in Maryland, and all of the sudden you become world famous, and people are just flocking to Burkittsville to rip off street signs and any kind of paraphernalia that (they) can get. I mean, people felt kind of invaded, which is understandable.

    CNN: Are you getting nervous at all?

    Skyler: Well, it's nerve-wracking. I come from a theater background, and you have two weeks of previews, and the night before opening night is really scary because the critics are there, and the next day you are going to read about yourself in the papers. We finished filming in May, and it opens in October; it's been about five months of opening night.

    Review: Review: Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr
    October 12, 2000
    Blair Witch book has mysterious past
    August 3, 1999
    Review: 'Blair Witch' not just a walk in the woods
    July 22, 1999
    Fact and fiction: 'Blair Witch' team gets happy ending
    July 15, 1999

    The Blair Witch Legend

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