Your new movie Evil
Under the Skin - in a few words, what is it about, and what can
you tell us about your character in it?
Under the Skin
written by my dear friend Luc Bernier [Luc
Bernier interview - click here] and beautifully directed by Jeff
Schneider [Jeffrey Schneider
interview - click here]. And it's a psychological thriller about a woman who is trying
to repair the relationship between herself and her young adult daughter.
So they go away for a weekend on a mother-daughter trip up to a cabin on a
lake. But all is not as it appears and strange things start to happen that
cannot be explained until the end. It's full of beautiful twists and turns
and I'm really excited about it. All of the performances are spectacular
including Donna Hamblin [Donna
Hamblin interview - click here] and Timothy O'Hearn [Tim
O'Hearn interview - click here] and Carl Bailey among others.
What did you
draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Helene Udy can we
actually find in Sophie?
I would say that all of the characters I've ever played except for maybe
the funny ones are an aspect of myself. And even then. There is no getti g
away from yourself no matter how many times your hair changes colour. In
this case Sophie is the aspect of myself that often feels, like I do in a
crowded room full of people. This overwhelming feeling that I donr belong
and that I am in danger. Or that. Things are occurring around me that I
don't understand and that I'm afraid of. To be honest this is a very
familiar social sensation for me because I have a very high degree of
clinical social anxiety. That often present prevents me from even leaving
the house. And though I try to fight it a lot I mostly lose that battle .
I am by nature agoraphobic. So I do sympathize with Sophie's confusion and
How did you get involved with
the project in the first place?
I am very
lucky to have the writer Luc Bernier as a very dear friend and its through
that him I met Jeff Schneider and came to the part that way. Just
independent filmmakers trusting each other and trying to make something
beautiful occur. This is why I do love the Indy world . Because it
requires tremendous commitment and communal effort and that is a wonderful
thing to experience on a set.
To what extent could you
identify with Evil
Under the Skin's slowburn approach to horror, actually?
if it's truly my preferred way to
address genre or horror if horror is the category you need to put it in.
This movie actually reminds me very much of an old Ingmar Bergman film
called Cries and Whispers that I saw when I was a child and
that still gives me nightmares, I find it so disturbing. It delves into
the crevices of the human mind and spirit of a person that has experienced
great trauma and unexplainable tragedy. Themes like this are always
incredibly fascinating to me. And I suppose it does feel like a European
film in that way. Or maybe it's a Montreal film? Luc Bernier the writer
and myself both grew up in Montreal which has its own influences, and maybe
I'm picking up a rhythm that feels familiar to my town and cold long winters and isolation and things that can break the soul apart.
talk about Evil Under
the Skin's director Jeffrey Schneider [Jeffrey
Schneider interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
admire Jeffrey completely. For his devotion to creating a stylish dark
atmosphere. And to do it so well on such a low budget. Such a lovely guy
in person. He does in that way remind me of Wes Craven. When you meet them
both they seem kind and open and sweet and deferential and polite, and
beneath that lurks the capacity to create very twisted and effective
storytelling dynamics that I truly admire. So set life was great around Jeff. He was very relaxed and confident and fast and he knew what he
wanted. We were well fed and everybody was satisfied at the end of the
day. It was a pleasure to work with Jeff Schneider.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
to elaborate further it was a set of devoted people all the way down to
production assistant, and we were excited about the work that we were doing,
which is often a different sensation that you might find on larger sets
where people are unionized and they want to go home at the end of the day
and they're just punching a card. The excitement about creating something
interesting and special was palpable and we were all devoted to it and
that made it really really fun. These are memorable times. Waking up in
the morning having breakfast while Jeff is puttering around getting things
ready. Exchanging little moments on the dock by the water, waiting for
things to get set up. I really enjoyed myself and I treasure moments like
this. Doing a movie with two great friends Luke and Donna was part of what
made it so special and a little bit like family.
From what I know, you've recently
shot two more films with Jeffrey Schneider, Loose Luck and More
Than a Conversation - care to talk about those for a bit?
what is nice about shooting with Jeffrey now is that it feels a lot like repertory
theater, he does find actors that he adores and he casts and
recasts us, and we have an opportunity to play with each other in different
roles and it's exciting. I didn't have much of a large role in Loose Luck
so I will leave that to Donna Hamblin to explain. It's really her movie.
But I really enjoyed working on More Than a Conversation. The poster is
amazing and now I think it's called Red versus Wolf, which is such a
perfect title. It's a survival movie. And I love that genre. It's
demanding emotionally, and I can say that my heart was beating while I was
shooting it. It's going to be a nail-biter. And I'm grateful to be working
with this developing community. I think Luke is writing beautifully and
Jess is directing great stuff. I am excited to be at the beginning of
their careers in a way? Because I do feel years from now you may look back
on these early projects and it may be meaningful. So whether I go along
for the whole ride or not I can say I remember when...
Than a Conversation
other future projects you'd like to share?
one of my other favorite indie filmmakers is Jake Zelch [Jake
Zelch interview - click here], and I can't wait
to be working on his latest production which is a remake of Savage Vengeance.
So far the outtakes are amazing! It's going to be another thrill ride. And this will be my third movie with him as well. Last year I
shot Krampus Carol that's in post-production, and have another film series
called The Possession of Mia Moss that's worth finding.
I will soon be working on a movie by a young emerging female genre
filmmaker named Rebecca Rinehart called The Embalmers, and
she has amassed an incredible crew and cast that are so excited about the
project (even during this downtime). While we are all waiting for the
virus to go away , Rebecca and her cast and crew stay in touch on a
Facebook Messenger feed that celebrates the spirit of making this
movie. It's like the set atmosphere is online in multiple conversations.
Keeping the vibe alive. I have never experienced anything like it! The story
Rebecca wrote is exciting and dark, and I'm excited to play the
head and mother of sorts from a hillbilly clan. That's a role that suits
then because I'm incredibly lucky I also often get to work with David
DeCoteau on his The Wrong... series of movies of
the week. The
last one called The Wrong Stepfather starring Vivica A. Fox,
who is also David's rocking producing partner on this super successful
series. And starring along side Corin Nemec, Krista Allen and William
McNamara should be airing shortly. Look for it on IMDb.com where the air
date should be posted fairly soon I think.
Facebook, whatever else?
thanks for asking. I have noticed recently that a lot of the movies that I
am in that are listed on IMDb have some incredibly gorgeous movie posters.
I'm not kidding! The movie posters alone are worth seeing, and you can
check them out on www.imdb.com/Heleneudy
or just got to the Helene Udy fansite on Facebook. I'm trying
to update everything that is interesting along with any additional tidbits
I can find there.
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
If it you are in Los Angeles please come and see the monthly
cabaret show set in 1924 that I host under the namesake Gretel Heinz. It
is my constant passion project which I have been producing for over 4
years and you can also find the details at
or simply find us on Facebook by searching Was Ist Das Show? - there are tons of photos and info there. We have had to postpone our
monthly show for the first time ever in over 4 years because of Cov19. But
come see us and introduce yourself! May this virus pass over us quickly.
that it? Golly.
That was fun. Hah hah.
Michael, thanks so much for this Interview. I really appreciate it very much.