The streaming app Blackpills isn’t just creating original short form comedy projects the way some others are. Instead, they’re taking a more edgy approach and certainly proved it early this year with the world premiere of Israeli director Hagar Ben Asher’s Dead Women Walking at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film was created as 9 individual vignettes showcasing different stories of women on their way to the execution chamber. One of these emotional snippets stars actress Crystal Bush as a Prison Guard whose goes out of her way in a display of human compassion during an inmate’s final moments.

Audiences can also catch Bush alongside actor Stephen Baldwin in the independent faith based film, God’s Club, currently available on Netflix.

For those theater-goers, Bush has been involved with thought-provoking productions for much of her career. She recently starred as a parent dealing with a sick child in Katie Letien’s new play, 17th Floor, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. In her hometown of Chicago, she earned the Black Theatre Alliance Award for her performance in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf; and in California she brought to life the true life events of Officer Steele in the Viet Nam war drama A Piece of My Heart at the Sacramento Performing Arts Center.

I recently caught up with Crystal Bush to find out more about Dead Women Walking.

What can you tell us about your role in the Blackpills project Dead Women Walking?

CRYSTAL BUSH: Dead Woman Walking was a very intriguing experience, on so many different levels. As an actor, it was a great opportunity to dive into role and show the humanity of that character, of which we rarely see in society in general, of a Death Row Prison Guard.

How was it working on a project with such a solemn subject matter?

CB: Upon connecting to my character and my costar Maya Eshet it was good, juicy, dangerous and cathartic. As solemn as the subject matter, as difficult as it may have been at times, getting through this very gut wrenching material, these stories NEED to be told.

What impact to you think it will have on audiences – and has it had on you personally?

CB: Yes, definitely, for me. There was a moment during the shoot, it’s literally the final moments of Becky's life, played by Maya Eshet, and there are all these people, walking her to the death chamber. No family, but a host of prison officials on various levels: prison guards, correctional officers, clergyman, the death row managers, and of course the executioner. All these people, something like ten to twelve people, all walking this other human being down a hall to her death. I was one of the prison guards walking with her on her left side. And I remember looking backing and seeing all the others, I immediately felt sick to my stomach and almost immobile. Who were these people, who are we to take anyone's life? There were a few moments in between takes, when I continued to cry. Recapturing, and recreating these moments, were profound and life changing for me. In terms of the audiences, well, what can I say, we live in a collage of compassionate, empathic, sensitive people, and then the counter opposite, of non-feeling dissociative, and cold, individuals. So, depending on who you are, and where you stand on the spectrum of "right and wrong", you will be impacted in different ways.

Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?

CB: Oh, yeah, so the set was an old women's correction center in LA that had been closed due to earthquake instability. So, there was a campus ghost named Sally, and there were signs up on various walls and hallways warning of her presence. The entire place was totally eerie. I’m not sure if I believe in this kind of thing, but there was definitely an energy there that was unsettling.

What’s been the biggest lesson as an actor that you took away from the opportunity?

CB: Get out of the way of your own, judgements, stand aside and tell the story. Good, bad, indifferent, tell the story.

Got anything else coming up we can watch for the near future?

CB: Yes, 17th Floor which recently premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival is looking to go to the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburg Fringe Festival in August 2018. Coming soon, I’m taking on a passion project with Crystal Bush the Actress YouTube channel and I’m continuing to comb through an array of film/theatrical scripts for future projects.

Reach out to Crystal Bush on FaceBook: Crystal Bush the Actress
Instagram: @wholisticurbanite Twitter: @wholisticurbi

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Aug 21, 2019
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