Dr. Kerry Noonan plays the roll of Gail Louise Myers, Elaine Kalisher's connection with the City Engineer's Office. She has been gracious enough
to answer several questions about the movie. NOTTFO would like to thank Dr. Kerry Noonan
for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer questions for me. She has given up acting and has since focused on her other love - the paranormal. She has become a college professor at Champlain University, after obtaining her doctorate in Mythology/Forklore. A self-proclaimed "folklorist", she now spends her days teaching a course based on her love of folklore and mythology. Dr. Noonan conversed with me for some time, although only the questions relating specifically to the movie, the focal point of the interview, are being listed here:
NOTTFO: Can you explain the casting process and how you landed the roll of Gail Louise Myers?
Kerry Noonan (KN): I can't remember the audition. I had a pretty good year that year,
making 3 episodes
of "China Beach," filming "Nightmare on the 13th Floor," and I think I also did a few episodes of
Landing" that year as well. My agent would send me out on such auditions, and this was one of them.
NOTTFO: One of the features of my site help to explain the origin and meaning of a character's name,
and how it directly relates, psychologically or otherwise, to the "character" in the film. What kind of
insight or background on "your character" did you receive, and how did this help you to portray the roll of
our sweet, shy and inquizitive engineer?
KN: I received no background on the character, other than what was in the script. I created her from what
she seemed like to me when I read her scenes.
NOTTFO: What was your job in the City Engineer's Office? Engineer? And what did the lettering
on the glass doors to the Engineer's Officer read? It doesn't read "City Engineer's Office" but appears to
read "Office of the Engineer." Do you remember?
KN: I honestly don't know what my job was. If I knew at the time of filming, I no longer remember. At that
time in my life, I was also working as a records manager (in charge of the file room) at a corporate
law firm, so I think I just assumed the character was something similar in her job. I don't remember the
lettering on the door, sorry.
NOTTFO: Were there any cut or alternate scenes that you were involved in? And do you know of any
KN: I only really remember the scenes that ended up in the film (I haven't seen the film since it came out,
and do not own a copy).
NOTTFO: Did the wardrobe designer coordinate your wardrobe, or were you given the choice based on
information you had gathered about your character?
KN: The movie was not big budget, and my character was not one of the leads, so (as is often the case in
such instances), I was asked to bring several outfits of my own clothes, for the costumer to look at. All
the clothes I wore were my own, as were the glasses. I remember the main dress I wore, which was one
that I liked, which I purchased from Putamayo, a store in NYC.
NOTTFO: The film transitions good between the elevator and the individual floors, making it appear that
all floors are within the Wessex. We know that there were actually a ton of filming locations involved in
the process - the Ambassador and the Townhouse to name a few. Were you carted all over the place, to
film each shot? Where is the elevator actually located - in the Ambassador? And where were the shots
from the City Engineer's Office filmed?
KN: The Engineer's office was on a sound stage, as I recall, as were the interior of the 13th floor, and I
think the elevator scene. The kitchen, and my scene with Louise Fletcher, and getting into the service
elevator were all shot in the Ambassador Hotel.
NOTTFO: You found a way to get onto the 13th floor via a complicated sketch of the elevator's
schematics. We know that later in the movie the rest of the staff arrive via a hidden (otherwise locked
up) set of service stairs. Did the mock set of blueprints you and Elaine "study" only contain renderings,
or did it include floorplans, as well? If so, did the floorplan for the 13th floor reflect any hidden
staircases, or no, and that's why you dug until you found the elevator schematics? Or did you find a
locked away stairwell, but preferred finding a method you and Elaine could try that didn't include the
possibility of being noticed by a staff member? In this case, being caught trying to pick the lock on a
locked door leading to a hidden staircase, leading to a floor in which the occupants participate in
performing ritualistic sacrifices would be a very, very bad thing.
KN: You are asking questions about me, the actress, and me, the character, all combined. The character
did what the scriptwriter crafted for her -- I had no input on that. The blueprints that I, the actress, saw,
were mockups for the film, and I don't really remember what they had on them, except I think the
rendering of the frieze. They were not complete blueprints for an actual building, but only showed what
Michele Green and I needed to see for the scenes using them.
NOTTFO: Do you know where I may acquire a copy of the mock set of blueprints? And the elevator
KN: I have no idea, I'm sorry.
NOTTFO: Do you know where I may acquire a copy of the script, and do you still possess any property
items or propaganda relating to this film (ie, your Gail Myers business cards, etc)? If you do have any,
could you take pictures, and will you allow us to post them on our treasure trove of NOTTFO knowledge?
KN: I have no props, but I may have a copy of the script. If I can find it, I can mail you a copy of it.
NOTTFO: Is there any specific reason that you decided to give up acting to pursue a career in the
teaching industry? Sure knowing you make a difference in one's life is very rewarding, but didn't acting
KN: Acting did not pay better, or I would still be doing it :) I usually only got a couple of paid acting jobs a year -- maybe a film and a guest spot on a TV show, or an Equity play and a commercial, etc., and that was not enough to live on. I never did "make it" to the level I wished, to truly make my living acting. Most actors spend most of their time unemployed, looking for work, and working at "regular" jobs -- only a very small percentage make their livings at acting.
Although I had more success than some of my friends, for the 13 years I was a professional actress, I also had to work a regular job to pay my bills and rent. The year I filmed "Nightmare" was my most successful year as an actress (I had the most paying jobs), but in the next 5 years I had less and less work, and since I did not like my "straight job" (in the law firm), I thought that if I was not going to get more work as an actor, I should think about another career. After much soul searching, I decided to go back to school and get my Master's and Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology. It was important to me to choose a career about which I was as passionate as I was about acting, and so Folklore, though not a really practical major, was one about which I was passionate, and I wanted to teach at the college level. It was hard to give up acting -- I had wanted to be an actor since I was about 3 -- but I was in my mid-thirties and had to be practical.
NOTTFO: I have deduced on my site that filming for the movie began in May. Can you confirm or
deny this? How long did it take to film, and can you describe a trypical day in filming "Nightmare on the
KN: I'll see if I can find any of my calendars for that year (it was 23 years ago, so I'm not sure exactly where they are), to see when I filmed. I only had perhaps a week or less of work on the film. I do not know how long the whole shoot was. While I cannot remember any particular day on the film, I probably got to work around 6 or so, got into makeup and wardrobe, and waited in the small dressing room or trailer room assigned to me, until they were ready for me. I don't think I worked any long nights, or got overtime pay (which would have meant I worked for more than 12 hours in one day). I do remember that the fog machine they used for the fog in the hallway made me feel queasy... I also remember it was hard to shake my head so that my glasses fell off precisely right into the slot in the elevator wall on cue. We had to do several takes, and it was difficult ... I also was excited to meet Louise Fletcher, whom I admired very much. And our chairs on the hotel kitchen set in the Ambassador, for sitting between takes, were only feet away from where Bobby Kennedy was shot in 1968 ... I remember being impressed and a bit weirded out by that.
NOTTFO: You placed a copy of your business card under Elaine's door, specifically making sure that you
wrote a note about finding a way to get on the 13th floor on the back. This was the smartest thing you
ever could have done, as it helped give Elaine the definitive proof that she and Sargeant Madden
needed. It helped shape the ending of the movie, and truly changed the course of things. Is there
anything that you would have changed about the movie?
KN: No, I cannot think of anything, really ....
NOTTFO: How happy were you, after all was said and done, with the final film as a whole, and did it help
to change or influence the way you lived or thought in the years after the film's release?
KN: I was glad to get the job, and liked working with Michelle Green -- she was very nice, and also knew a good friend of mine, Lance Guest. I don't really like horror movies, so it is funny that I did two of them! I'm happy folks like you enjoy the film still. I wish you luck with the website, and in all your endeavors.
I'll see if I can find a copy of the script -- if I do, I'll let you know!
Dr. Noonan, I thank you sincerely for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for me and the site. You were a truly amazing actress, and possessed so much potential, but I'm sure that now you are a truly amazing teacher/professor as well, and are helping to make a difference in the lives of so many.