Stars in Jayne Mansfield Film ‘Diamonds to Dust’
Born in Los Angeles, raised in Minnesota and now living in New York, London theatre and film actress Hailey Heisick is about to debut in the brand-new independent film “Diamonds to Dust,” a movie about the life of Jayne Mansfield. Portraying the lead role, Heisick spoke of the premise of the film, which sounds incredibly awesome. The film is set to be released on iTunes on April 7.
So Hailey, tell me about “Diamonds to Dust.”
“Diamonds to Dust” is a bio about Jayne Mansfield, who I play. It was shot in New Jersey about two years ago and is being released on iTunes April 7 and a slew of other online platforms via our distributor, that we’re lucky to have. We premiered it at Hoboken International Film Festival, and we also had a run at a movie theatre in Jayne Mansfield’s hometown.
Tell me a little bit about Hailey.
I live in New York City and work mostly in independent films and theatre, trying to claw my way to the top of the TV. I’m originally from Minnesota; I have two degrees in theatre. I came to New York and hit the ground running. I have another film that will be coming out next year called “Don’t Look.” I got my master’s degree in London and made my professional debut there. I began in a theatre, like all good actors should. Last year I had three films in eight different festivals.
London theatre is difficult.
Yeah, it really is. That’s why I did my training over there, and it took several years. “Diamonds to Dust” is an interesting film; it’s kind of stylized. It is set in 1960, and the whole look of the film is very 1960s. The colors are very bright. It’s definitely not your modern-day drama. Jayne Mansfield is a huge gay icon. She was essentially a female drag queen, with the wigs, the heels, the tight dresses that don’t even hold her body parts in. She was a total bombshell.
How did you prepare to be Jayne Mansfield?
She appeared in 29 films, and I saw each and every one to prepare. I read all of her major biographies. I wear 34 of her actual outfits. Frank Ferruccio, the producer, had one of the largest collections of her personal items before he sold a bunch to make the movie. He was definitely one of the most highly regarded people for Jayne Mansfield history in the whole world. He wrote two books on her, and the film was based on his second book about Jayne.
How long have you been acting?
I started acting at 14. I started off playing music. My parents are musicians. I play five different instruments, but at the beginning of high school I switched gears and started acting. My parents were so disappointed.
It must have been fun preparing for “Diamonds to Dust.”
“Diamonds to Dust” borders on melodrama. I really hope it’s going to become a cult film that people enjoy for decades.
Sounds like it has the potential.
I’ll say it; it’s very Indy. It took 10 weeks to shoot it, and we have a cast of over 50 people. It was really a labor of love. Everyone involved spent so much time and didn’t get paid a lot of money, so I think the love really comes through. I gave up my apartment for three months and moved in with Frank, the producer, and completely immersed myself in this world.
It sounds like you really went all out preparing for this.
I did, and the reason I did was because she was a real person. You know, Jayne died in that terrible car crash when she was only 34, and Mariska Hargitay (from “Law and Order: SVU”) was asleep in the back seat with her brothers. I’m a big fan, and I really wanted to do an honor to her family. That being said, a lot of Jayne’s actions were questionable, especially for the 1950s and 60s. She was larger than life and always popping out of her suits and tight dresses. She was a character.
But she was beautiful and fun.
She was beautiful and had a big heart. She had five children by the age of 33. She loved children. She loved animals. She practically had a zoo at her Hollywood mansion. Lots of loves. She traveled the world. With all that, the film is not really a happy film. The film begins at the height of her career, where she just won a Golden Globe and was the most publicized star in the entire world in 1957. All of a sudden she got over-exposed. People started to back off—the Lady Gaga effect. So basically, the film is about the decline of her career, but she never gave up hope.
“Diamonds To Dust” Available on iTunes (April 7, 2015), HULU, Amazon Prime, Vudu, MGo, XBox, PlayStation & Vimeo.
Set Photos by Alan-Joseph