"The difficulty that I was having with it was not allowed, because everyone on the outside saw it as a total success. The Blair Witch Project's Heather Recalls How Her Death Was Faked The Blair Witch Project star Heather Donahue recalls the surreal nature of seeing her own obituary published when she was only 24. And I said, 'Well... let me explain.'". (She covered that story in more detail in her 2012 memoir GrowGirl.) 2. Directed by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez. Michael DeCoto, the film professor, consider… The series even coaxed her out of retirement for a brief performance. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-ready videos to electric live events, GQ meets millions of modern men where they live, creating the moments that create conversations. ", But when the subject turned to the brilliantly calibrated performance that actually made The Blair Witch Project such a success, her tone brightened. A conversation with the actress at the center of one of the most successful horror movies in history. And even in 1999, you weren’t allowed to do that. Her last name is kept out of the movie entirely, and the official press materials even summarize the plot as "James is looking for his sister"—keeping her first name out of the basic synopsis. Nokesville is located in Prince William County VA. Donahue had ties to Northern VA (especially Fauquier County), Washington, DC and Baltimore Maryland. October 21: Heather interviews Ed Swanson and Bob Griffin. GQ may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. "I have a small cameo in The High Country," she allowed. ", And while Donahue has no interest in returning to acting—"I don't want to be a visible, public person," she insists—she continues to immerse herself in the film industry as the producer and writer of The High Country, an independently produced sitcom based on her post-Blair experiences as a marijuana farmer. She lives in San Francisco. Donahue's mother received a sympathy card from a distant relative who believed The Blair Witch Project was real. He and a few friends and a … The close-up of Heather Donahue's face as she tapes her farewell video was unintentional. "Only out of budgetary and time restriction reasons. Most horror fans have seen and know the storyline behind “The Blair Witch Project”. During a school production of Romeo and Juliet, she became best friends with Rachel Meyer. "It's quite a thing to crawl out from under: To have your obituary actually written when you’re 24, in both literal and figurative ways," she said. She said she modeled her char… Michael C. Williams, as known as Mike Williams or just as Mike, (1973 – 1994) was a part-time student at Montgomery College who disappeared while filming on the Blair Witch with Joshua Leonard and his friend Heather Donahue. Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with Heather, Connor and Caitlin. "I mean, really. The new Blair Witch sequel, which arrives in theaters today, centers on Donahue's brother James as he leads a group of friends into the woods to look for his missing sister. "I've gotta tell you: I think it's better than the original," she said. Heather lived in Montgomery County, Maryland, and attended Wheaton High School. A missing person poster showing Heather Donahue (left), Joshua Leonard (middle), and Michael C. Williams (right) as part of the film's marketing campaign tactic to portray its events as real The Blair Witch Project is thought to be the first widely released film marketed primarily by the Internet. Not friends at first, they grew closer because of the things that they went through together. And none of it will ever be the first line of my obituary. It seemed like no matter where I stood, the tearfilled eyes of Heather Donahue were staring back at me, desperate for help. "There are more female creators, and women are allowed to have emotions that go beyond gentle smiles," she said. Though her ultimate fate is unknown, Heather did briefly manifest to James, with her white cardigan reduced to rags and a hat on her head. Her footage was infamously recovered and released as a feature documentary, The Blair Witch Project. All rights reserved. The Blair Witch Project is thought to be the first widely released film marketed primarily by the Internet. Heather appears before James in an illusion. When Donahue and I first spoke in 2014, as part of an oral history to mark the movie’s 15th anniversary, her memories of actually filming the movie were largely positive—but her memories of everything that came after were often painful. Celebrity birthdays for the week of Dec. 20-26:Dec. 20: Actor Tommy Cole ("The Mickey Mouse Club") is 79. "When I first heard there was going to be a new one, I was initially filled with a nameless dread," she told me. ", Later that evening, hours after I'd spoke with Donahue over the phone, I got off the subway and realized I had a new voicemail. In October 1995, a University of Maryland anthropology class uncovered the filmmaker's footage buried in the sterile under the foundation of a colonial-era house. It's an incredibly simple shot that burned itself onto the retinas of pretty much everyone who saw the movie. You have Tina Fey. In 1997, she read about an audition that was being advertised in Backstage magazine for actors with strong improvisational abilities, which was needed for an independent horror film. Heather is briefly seen in Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr, being killed by the titular antagonist. I think the age of television that we're in has been enormous for changing the medium's hostility to women. "We were cast, I think, because the three of us are so different," she said. Heather Donahue, Actress: The Blair Witch Project. -- WTF Movie Facts Heather Donahue where yah at -- Black Messiah Mondays on Facebook Watch. There is a missing number in the box he had our Michael Jordan number twenty-three try to make a break for it. Heather L. Donahue, CHN, CHC. Heather kept a journal during the filming of the The Blair Witch Project. "He was kind of stunned," Donahue recalled. Heather was the daughter of Angie Donahue, the granddaughter of Randy Donahue, the sister of James Donahue and the cousin of Cade Merrill. If you bought into The Blair Witch Project's then-revolutionary marketing—as a reported 50% of moviegoers did—you might even have believed you witnessed the actual death of Heather Donahue. "No size-8 woman was playing the lead in dirty jeans, with no mascara, with unwashed hair," she said. "That those kids are actually dead, and Josh, Mike, and I were hired so they could get away with releasing it as a film. Shane did not own a … "You’re supposed to be so grateful for that success," she said. That may be a promising jumping-off point for a new Blair Witch movie, but it didn't originally inspire much excitement for the actual Heather Donahue. ", Donahue was talking, of course, about the most iconic and parodied moment in The Blair Witch Project: When her character—correctly presuming that her death is just moments away—turns the camera on herself to film a confessional apology. She has been featured on the cover of Newsweek, in People, and on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, The Daily Show, and CNN. The problem, as it turned out, was that the verisimilitude required to sell the performance made it hard for a portion of the audience to separate Heather Donahue the … I don't know my own name without it. She and her friends then hike into the Black Hills Forest. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. James Donahue (James Allen McCune) is the little brother of Heather Donahue, one of the people who went missing in the original film. They're creating their own roles all the time. Heather interviews Mary Brown. https://blairwitch.fandom.com/wiki/Heather_Donahue?oldid=6855. But not all of them know how “successful” the guerilla marketing behind the independent film really was. Over a three-hour lunch, Donahue explained why she wasn't interested. Michael DeCoto, the film professor, considered her to be one of the best students he'd ever taught. "I feel incredibly proud of my work in that movie creatively," she says. Ad Choices, The Blair Witch Project's Heather Donahue Is Alive and Well. - The three principal actors, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams, shot nearly all of the completed film. "There are still people who think that me, Mike, and Josh are actors that were hired to cover up that The Blair Witch Project was actually a snuff film," she marvels. There's no-recapturing the spooky 1999 phenomenon—even with a bigger budget. He was so funny and we spent many times cracking jokes at my husbands expense about missing obvious clues. However, the directors thought that the 'closeness to all the tears and phlegm' really added to the 'ugly realism' of the scene, and kept it in. 1. But if the record still needs to be set straight, allow me to set it: Heather Donahue is alive and well, living as a writer and producer in a small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northern California. Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. I've done all these things since: I've published a book, I've grown weed, I've produced this independent TV pilot. We've come through this experience together. Heather Donahue. Having gained the part of Heather, Donahue got to meet Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams – who would play the other students. “Etched in stone,” she said, referring to the grave markers that surrounded her in that Burkittsville cemetery. Shane Donahue went missing from his family home in Nokesville, VA on March 22, 2010 at 3:45 PM. In April of 1994, Heather submitted a proposal to Michael DeCoto to create a documentary on the Burkittsville-area legend of the Blair Witch. The Awe Factor by Allen Klein was given a glowing review by Heather L. Donahue of Heather’s Health Habits, read the incredibly positive review here! "We weren't cast because we'd be lifelong friends. This article is more than 4 years old. "I loved it. The three students disappeared in the Black Hills Forest and were never found. Since 1957, GQ has inspired men to look sharper and live smarter with its unparalleled coverage of style, culture, and beyond. The heart of the documentary would be a weekend hike into the Black Hills Forest to visit some of the locations associated with the legend. Sean was a true peacemaker. I can't imagine it getting better than this. He made me feel loved and accepted as a Donahue. After ten days and thousands of man-hours of searching, the only piece of evidence found was Josh's car. The pilot for The High Country has already been shot, and Donahue has written twelve more scripts. ", The problem, as it turned out, was that the verisimilitude required to sell the performance made it hard for a portion of the audience to separate Heather Donahue the Actress from Heather Donahue the Character—and more to the point, made it hard for a potion of the audience to appreciate how much work Donahue had put into crafting a protagonist so obsessed with chronicling the Blair Witch that she wouldn't turn the camera off. How could I say no to that? It's quite a thing to crawl out from under: To have your obituary actually written when you’re 24, in both literal and figurative ways. © 2021 Condé Nast. Williams claimed he ended up with about $300,000. 4. Twenty years after her disappearance, her brother James begins his search into finding his missing sister, only to suffer the same fate as Heather. If you've seen The Blair Witch Project—and based on the box-office numbers, you probably have—you might feel like you've personally witnessed the death of Heather Donahue, the 24-year-old woman at the center of the greatest overnight success in movie history. "Like, what am I going to do to surpass that? For the role, Donahue had to learn how to be able to operate a camera, spending two days in a "crash course". ", Back then, when I asked her how she felt about The Blair Witch Project after so much time had passed, she told me her feelings were in flux almost every day. - One of the video cameras used by the actors was bought at Circuit City. He was probably hanging out with all the missing socks. Both those concessions were made at Donahue's request. "I mean, I gave that role 110%. It’s a very strange thing, to be inside so many brains. “In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary…A year later their footage was found.” She published her memoir, Growgirl, in 2012. Nobody wanted me to go into the woods with a bunch of strange guys. as part of an oral history to mark the movie’s 15th anniversary, 'Blair Witch': It's No 'Blair Witch Project', She covered that story in more detail in her 2012 memoir. Donahue planned to have her whole face in frame, but she had zoomed in the camera too much. Heather Donahue, on the other hand, has not appeared in a movie or on a TV show since the straight-to-DVD movie The Morgue in 2008. Blair Witch is a FANDOM Movies Community. ... 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