Karen Druley and "Claimed" actresses

Karen Druley of Arnold, middle, will play a featured role in the movie “Claimed.”

Some might call it a second act.

Karen Druley of Arnold, who had raised two children and was working full-time as a clerk at the Arnold Library, decided to pursue a lifelong passion for acting.

Druley plays Alice Beauford, a severely disturbed merchant’s wife in the movie “Claimed,” which will premiere Dec. 4 in St. Louis.

It will not be her first role.

“I’ve always wanted to do films,” Druley said. “I’ve been obsessed with movies and films since I was a little kid.”

But Druley was shy and afraid of getting up in front of people and failing. It wasn’t until her mother died in 2012 that she decided it was time to overcome her fears.

“So in 2014 I ran across an audition for a film that was going to be filmed in the Jefferson County area called ‘Somewhere between Arnold and Festus.’

“I was so glad that I did the audition,” she said. “You don’t know until you try because you never know if you’re going to succeed or not.”

The audition went well, and Druley was cast for the part. Since then, Druley has spent her spare time looking for more chances to act.

“I’ve done over 56 film appearances, two commercials and two movie trailers,” she said.

“Claimed” is a film by St. Louis director and writer Elle Mercurio-Cherrier, an independent horror filmmaker. Mercurio-Cherrier describes the movie as a fictional account of the lost colony of Roanoke and what happened to the 115 colonists who settled there.

Mercurio-Cherrier, who is a recovering heroin addict, said the film is dedicated to those who have lost their lives to heroin and other opiates. Using the hashtag “HorroroverHeroin,” she said she hopes one day “to shatter the hold and horror that heroin has over our communities. I seek to widen the horizons of the horror genre as well as dissolving the staggering statistics by turning the tables on drug addiction by using film as my platform of delivery.”

“Claimed” was filmed last summer in Hartford, Ill.

Druley said she plays “kind of a crazy character” in the movie.

“It was fun,” she said. “Elle gave me the opportunity to do some things I wanted to do. I’ve always played kind of a nice person, and I wanted to show what I could do.”

She said stretching her acting chops was rewarding.

“I enjoyed working with Elle very much, and I’m so glad she gave me the opportunity she did. She wanted me to step out of my comfort zone.”

Druley said she hopes to keep expanding the roles she plays and eventually earn a little more income than she has so far.

“It’s a hobby that I would love to make a little more money with,” she said.

The red-carpet premiere of “Claimed” will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Prairie Commons Branch of the St. Louis County Library, 915 Utz Lane, in Hazelwood. Admission is free.

The film also will be shown for free at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at the Arnold Branch of the Jefferson County Library, 1701 Missouri State Road.

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