Holland Roden takes on scariest role with ‘American Boogeyman’

Rick's Reviews

Holland Roden stars in “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman.” Photo courtesy of Dark Star Pictures)

Holland Roden’s resume is filled with tales of terror from her role on the series “Teen Wolf” to the psychological thriller “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.” She doesn’t hesitate when asked if her latest role in the feature film “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman” would be considered the scariest of all her credits.

“Absolutely. By far. Yes,” Roden says. “As far as sheer terror and being a part of that story, yes.”

What took Roden into such a deep level of terror is an examination of serial killer Ted Bundy as played by Chad Michael Murray. “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman” will be available through Video on Demand or on DVD starting Sept. 3.

Roden portrays Kathleen McChesney, the female detective working out of the Seattle Police Department who was one of the key members of the team looking to capture Bundy. It was her work with rookie FBI profiler Robert Ressler (Jake Hays) that helped stop Bundy’s killing spree.

Although Roden was only a toddler in Texas when Bundy was executed, she didn’t have to spend a lot of time researching his story.

“Unfortunately, I think this man has been way too glorified in our society,” Roden says. “There have been several movies and docu-series made about him.”

Her theory on why there’s been such a fascination with Bundy is that he did not fit the typical profile of a serial killer. Roden is certain the fact he was known for his good looks and charm resulted in the legend of Bundy growing to such a high level.

There wasn’t as much information available on McChesney who went on to a long and much heralded career with law enforcement after her days tracking Bundy. There are only a few short film clips of McChesney that Roden could use to develop how she would play the role.

“Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman” is the first time Roden has portrayed a character based on a person who is still alive. She did play Bridget Cleary in the anthology series “Lore.” Cleary was killed in 1895 by her husband who was convinced his wife was caught up in witchcraft.

Roden felt a sense of responsibility taking on the role of McChesney because she wanted to make sure who presented her in the best and most honest light. Despite the pressure she puts on herself, Rodden feels comfortable with characters who are based on real people.

“As a viewer, and now as an actor, I enjoy non-fiction projects. I think it is more fun when there is something tangible to grab at – a backstory, a photo,” Roden says.

Holland likes the idea of playing roles based in reality but her credits have been along fiction lines. She was recently seen as the major recurring role on the FX series “Mayans: M.C.” but she is best known for her role as Lydia Martin on MTV’s “Teen Wolf” that ran for 100 episodes.

She also has launched her own YouTube channel called “Hollandays” about her remodeling a 144 Sprinter van.

Holland started acting at an early age putting on shows for her family. But, her initial career path was to work in the medical profession. The fact she made such a dramatic career change didn’t surprise anyone.

There was an effort by Roden to make contact with McChesney before the production launched but the connection was never made because of incorrect contact information. That left Roden with the script by writer/director Daniel Farrands as the key source for her performance.

What Roden saw was that while McChesney was incredibly qualified and capable, she had to deal with an era when she was the brunt of sexual harassment. This was a time when there weren’t even female FBI agents. As uncomfortable as those scenes are to watch today, Roden knew it was important to show this was how women were treated at the time because it was as much a part of McChesney’s story as the hunt for Bundy.

“A big part of the storyline was the fact that she was running mostly with boys and there were not a lot of other women,” Roden says. “There were not a lot of women in her profession at the time.

“There was definitely this small town, good-old-boy mentality. I would have to ask here but I did play her that she did have to overcompensate with her preparedness. What little I could find out about her was that she always kept her eye on the prize and didn’t let any adversity affect her personally.”

Rodden is not certain whether McChesney’s concern for detail and commitment to being prepared was something she had to do because of working in a man’s world or whether that is the way she would have acted if it had been an all-female environment.

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