Actress Dylan Ratzlaff joins us on Close-Up Culture to discuss her lead role in An Amish Sin.
Inspired by true stories, the movie follows Rachel (played by Ratzlaff), an Amish teen who refuses to obey her parent’s command that she marry the man who abused her. She tries to escape the harshness of the 18th century lifestyle she has grown up in to find her voice and independence.
Hi Dylan, welcome to Close-Up Culture. You star in the lead role of Rachel in Lifetime’s “An Amish Sin”. How did this opportunity come about for you, and what interested you about this story?
I got the audition from my agent and immediately knew this was such a cool project! When I first read that it was a lead role, I felt like it was something that was a little far beyond my reach but I wanted to give it a go. I dove super deep into the materials and threw it on tape! From there I found out that I booked it and was so thrilled I could be part of something that really mattered. This was a project that was really going to affect a lot of people and I wanted to be a part of.
The movie is based on true events. Can you tell us more about Rachel and how you approached this role?
Rachel is someone who’s experienced hardships in her life and it’s been hard for her to find her voice. She’s dealt with sexual abuse and being put into situations that no teenager should be put into. I got to email with the person the story is based off of and I could just feel her light through the emails. She radiated positivity and I couldn’t believe how uplifting she was despite her circumstances. This is something that I really wanted to bring to Rachel, so as you can see throughout the movie, she gains courage and finds her voice even though she goes through the hardest moments in her life.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in this role?
The biggest challenges that I faced in this role was the body language of a survivor. In the Amish community women aren’t really allowed to speak much and so everything needed to be told through body language. This is something I really had to research and talk to many survivors about. I watch the way they told their stories and how their relationships were affected after incidents. It was such a big challenge for me, but it was so incredible to learn and hear so many stories and the positive outcomes from dark situations.
You started dancing and performing at a very young age. What are your earliest memories of performing, and what does it bring to your life?
I always did duos with my sister and so it is always super special that we got to dance together! I was always a very spirited child and emotional at times… That’s how I like to put it. Dance helped me have an outlet to put my emotions through and I fell in love with it at such a young age. I’ve always loved being a storyteller and dances really helped with that and now it’s translated into acting.
What type of roles and projects would you love to take on in the future?
I’ve been fortunate to have a wide variety of roles in my career, but I would love to take on a role where I could do stunt work. With my dance background I think I can incorporate that into acting and I honestly think it would just be so cool to do my own stunts. Other than that, I love to just take on any opportunity that’s presents itself to me
How do you spend your time away from cameras and performing?
I love to go hiking! I used to hate it and would beg my parents not to go but now that I’m older I’ve really enjoyed the lovely landscapes that BC has to offer. It really does help clear my mind as well as provide valuable time with people that I love.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?
I feel like I’m at a really pivotal point in my career and I would love to just keep plugging away at what I’m doing! I want to continue to strive for more challenging roles! Eventually I’d love to do some work behind the camera. I don’t have much experience in that but the director, Michael Nankin, of An Amish Sin really helped explain all the ins and outs of what it takes to make a film. I found it fascinating and would love to dive into that world.
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Photo Credit – Annika Brown