July 13, 2003|Castle Marne B&B, a literal house-sized castle, broods at the end of a tree-lined street in a marginal Denver neighbourhood, just a hop-skip-jump away from what used to be the red-light district. Out-of-place to say the least, the edifice rises in large grey blocks like a medieval vision, albeit one equipped with cozies, throws, knick-knacks, and Jacuzzis in every room. The funny thing about it is that of all the weird places to meet Heather Donahue, Castle Marne doesn't seem the weirdest: like the actress, it's theatrical, expansive, and, for the most part, out of sight. More's the pity for Ms. Donahue, as since her career-making role in The Blair Witch Project, she's been subjected to the same virulent backlash as the film, making her persona non grata in Hollywood even though her minimal work since then has been far and away the best part of marginal films--and indicative, besides, of genuine talent. What Ms. Donahue still has trouble with, and it's hard to blame her for not having critical distance on something so ambiguous in her life, is the importance of The Blair Witch Project in shaping modern film trends and the rarity of a picture that buggers sexual objectification. Although I've seen her in a few non-Blair Witch roles, just how attractive Ms. Donahue is remains something of a shock. It isn't that she's unattractive in her most famous role, it's that her attractiveness never enters into the equation--there's a thesis paper in there all by itself. In town to conduct a Q&A after a screening of Seven and a Match (released as part of Madstone's "Film Forward" series), on a beautiful early-summer morning a little less than four years after The Blair Witch Project opened in Denver, the animated Ms. Donahue sat down with me on the patio of Castle Marne.