The thrill and adrenaline that Janine Gateland experiences every time she steps onto a stage or in front of a camera is intoxicating for the British native. She feels a rush every time she knows she has put on an incredible performance, letting her imagination take her fully into her character; an indiscernible feeling for the actress. It is her passion, her first love, and she could never imagine a time in her life without performing.
Throughout her career, Gateland has worked on countless celebrated film and television projects. As a leader in her industry in Britain, she has taken on roles in award-winning films such as F***, Marry, Kill and Turn Off the Lights, and acclaimed television shows like Illville and Apple of Sin. No matter the project, she is living her dream.
“I tell stories. I take words off a page and make it into a living, breathing person. Whether it be through a camera lens, on stage, or simply through a microphone, I bring a character to life and effect the person emotionally who’s watching and listening. I love the world of make believe and being able to portray different people in different situations, dealing with life’s obstacles and challenges is what I live for,” she said.
One of Gateland’s most decorated projects to date is the horror Modern American Nightmare. The powerful story follows Billy, who, battling emotions over the loss of his brother in the Iraq war, is consumed by a demonic presence forcing him to live his greatest nightmare – himself.
“The script was very well written. It deals with a lot of deep political views and problems of today that I feel are important to address and put out there. A lot of it discusses subjects that people think but don’t say out loud,” said Gateland.
In the film, Gateland plays the leading role of Dr. Asher, Billy’s therapist. Dr. Asher is a critical role to the story as she is the only person who can get inside Billy’s head and understand him. She is a very confident and educated woman from the United Kingdom who has been a therapist for 15 years. She is very sympathetic and has empathy. She loves her job and trained hard to get where she is today. She didn’t have the best of upbringings and uses her past experiences to help others. She is very well known in the community and is very well respected for the job she does.
Gateland’s character has a strong connection with the star, Billy. Dr. Asher had to be a strong person to stand up to him to make the relationship work. The film revolves around Dr. Asher assessing Billy, using different tactics to retrieve information and providing Billy with options other than the hate that was inside him. She tries to show him other routes in life to go down and help him with his aggression issues and dealing with the loss of his brother.
“Although I have never played a therapist before, I felt I could connect with this character. Dr. Asher has a lot of layers to her and it was a role I wanted to take on and explore. She likes to get inside the minds of people that have a lot of demons, and so she tries to fix them,” Gateland described. “I like how Dr. Asher and Billy are two totally different people, but Dr. Asher is able to put her differences aside to do her job and help his mental state.“
To get into the mindset of her character, Gateland created an extensive backstory to understand every decision she made. She understood why Dr. Asher wanted to be a therapist, clearly liking fixing people. She had to deal with a lot growing up, and so she decided to take on a career where she could help others. This deep-rooted understanding of her character allows Gateland to fully transform on screen, captivating the audience.
“I think helping others with therapy is also therapy for the person giving it. Therapists have to act in a certain way when being put in certain situations. There is one moment in the film when my client loses the plot, screams with rage, and out of anger grabs my folder of notes from me in the process – paper is flying everywhere. As the therapist, I had to remain calm and I realized my objective was to calm the situation, so no one gets hurt. Dealing with people who are very volatile and have depression issues, sometimes you have to use different tactics to help the person and this is where the challenge came in and why I liked playing the role of Dr. Asher,” she said.
Modern American Nightmare has seen great success on the festival circuit. It won the top prize at the 2018 Los Angeles Cinefest and was a joint winner for the May Award at Direct Monthly Online Film Festival. It was also selected for the IndieCapitol Awards, and this is just the beginning.
“I am very proud to be a part of the film. A lot of work went into it and I put a lot of work into my character. She wasn’t an easy role to play. I didn’t want to go down the route of a typical therapist. I made Dr. Asher different, unique and hopefully that played off well in my work. It’s nice to see it all paying off,” said Gateland.
Modern American Nightmare will soon be making its way to Amazon Prime, and it sounds like a can’t miss.