Why My Friend Dahmer star Anne Heche wanted to play a serial killer's mother
Actress Anne Heche has never been busier, with roles in the recent social satire Catfight, the upcoming civil rights drama The Best of Enemies, and NBC’s new military-thriller show, The Brave. So, why was the actress so keen to find the time to appear in director Marc Meyers’ just-released serial killer movie My Friend Dahmer, in which she plays the mother of the teenage Jeffrey Dahmer?
“Well, I feel that parents have a responsibility to their children when they have them,” says Heche. “Although we were not doing a film about blame, and whose fault it is, I do have a very strong point of view that when a child is ignored, bad things will happen.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell us about your character.
ANNE HECHE: Well, Joyce Dahmer is Jeffrey’s mother. We weren’t doing a documentary, and that’s important for people to know. We are talking about the essence of a story based on a graphic novel that [Jeffrey Dahmer’s] friend wrote. But what I wanted to be clear on was the emotional responsibilities that a mother has and, when she fails, How does that affect that child? Joyce is pretending that she is not responsible for what her child is doing, and the behavior that he is expressively demonstrating, openly demonstrating. He is begging for attention, and she doesn’t give it, and so I do think it’s her fault, partly.
Ross Lynch from Austin & Ally and Teen Beach Movie plays Jeffrey Dahmer in the film. What was it like working with him?
I have children, so I was a fan of Ross’, and I just think he’s one of the most talented singers and dancers. I think it’s so bold, and so brave, and so committed, and such a full performance, and such a true performance. I was blown away by his ability to do that, and to transform. We have become very close friends and we went to a very, very, dark, dark place.
Is it true that you shot in the Dahmers’ house?
Yeah, we shot in the house where he grew up.
What was that like?
Well, it’s a beautiful house! That’s also what’s so trippy and creepy. It’s a beautiful house. A rock star (Chris Butler from The Waitresses) lives in it now. It’s not that a person grows up, and becomes a serial killer, because their house is a mess, and their parents don’t make any money. There’s not a pat way for darkness and destruction to be born. It was born right in that gorgeous home, with this woman who thought that she had it all together, and a father who thought he was justified for leaving his family, and that’s what it was born of. A “normal” middle-American mid-price home.
Watch the trailer for My Friend Dahmer, above.