Your upcoming film Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich
- in a
few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character
The Nazi scientists managed to escape.
They went to various places around the world and secretly continued
experiments on human subjects trying to create the ultimate in super
soldiers. One man has
uncovered the secret and has to try to stop it.
Iím not going to tell you anymore because I really donít want
to spoil things for anyone. The
one thing I WILL say is that these are NOT zombies.
I played Lt Mary Maion, a Romanian spy.
Sheís a lover of the hero and one of the very few good guys.
Sort of. Nothing is
ever quite as it seems in a Phil Gardiner film [Philip
Gardiner interview - click here].
Seriously, when you initially heard the film's title - Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich
-, what were the first thoughts going
through your mind? And how could you relate to the film's subject matter?
I honestly thought ďExcellent! I can get covered in blood this time!Ē
I was desperate for a bit of action and the first thing I did when
I got the script was look through to see what was going to happen to my
character. I have to say I was
utterly thrilled! There have been a bit of a glut of Nazi zombie films
recently, no bad thing at all, some of them have been fabulous viewing but
I was a little worried that this was going to be another film in an area
thatís fast becoming saturated. I
was very wrong.
Rachel with Graham Gill
It was well known that the
Nazis were, for want of a better phrase, organising breeding programmes
in order to try to create the superior race.
Itís also well known that Hitler was very much into the
occult, marrying the two together wouldnít have been too much of a leap
and I know that Phil (Gardiner) researched this meticulously and has years
of research under his belt. Itís
something that I took a look into a while ago and found some very
interesting results. As for the subject matter,
itís very difficult to relate to it but I think there will be parts of
the film that weíll all relate to on some level.
Those times when youíre not quite sure whether youíre dreaming
or awake but what youíre seeing at that moment is straight out of a
nightmare and it will stay with you for the rest of your life.
I think weíve all had those.
What can you tell us about Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich's
director Philip Gardiner [Philip
Gardiner interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
Phil is wonderful to work with, and Iím not just saying that because I
know heíll read this! Initially
he seems quite reticent, then you realise heís watching you.
Heís looking to see exactly what youíre going to do.
He wants to know that you understand what heís looking for and
without messing around. He
speaks his mind, he tells it all without sugar coating and you know where
you are. I admire that, I
donít like dishonesty and Iíd rather someone told it as it is than
smiled and gave me false compliments.
Phil gives you your freedom,
you have the construct of your character and the situation youíre in but
itís up to you as the actor to breathe them into life.
With a nod and a smile, heíll let you know thatís fine or there
will be a bit of a look that tells you that itís not enough for that
scene but thereís a trust there that is extremely refreshing.
From what I heard, at least parts of Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich
were shot in an unheated warehouse during the coldest days
of the year - so what can you tell us about the shoot as such and the
Unheated, no electricity, no running water, no flushing toilets, asbestos
walls and ceilings, broken glass on the floor and roofs that looked like
they would completely collapse with a bit of a nudge.
It was fabulous! If it
had been any other team, Iím sure it would have been hellish, but
everyone just dug in, got on and laughed it all off.
Rachel with Nathan Head, Nikki Webster
I used to think, when you
heard actors in interviews talking about how much fun the shoot was or how
wonderful everyone was to work with, that it had to be a load of rubbish.
It had to be something theyíd made up, there must have been
points when they really didnít want to do something in a particular
scene. I donít think that
anymore. The atmosphere really
was incredible. Friendships
were cemented and it was a joy to go back in to see those same people
every day. I miss them when
weíre not working together.
If there ever was a Dead Walkers II: Since the 4th Didn't Quite
Succeed Either, Let's Raise the 5th Reich, would you be on board?
In a heartbeat!
Prior to Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich, you have made
another film with Philip Gardiner [Philip
Gardiner interview - click here], Exorcist Chronicles - so
what can you tell us about that movie and your role in it?
Ahh, Exorcist Chronicles. The
one that started it all off for me! It
was here I met the majority of people from Dead Walkers.
I played the mother of a girl who was possessed. The
character was a normal, happy, catholic wife and mother.
Her daughter returns after walking the dog, both her and the dog
have become possessed. In one
afternoon, my characterís life has been turned upside down, she has no
idea what to do. Sheís
terrified of and for her daughter. It
was hugely emotional and I spent a long time sobbing!
From what I've read, Philip Gardiner pushed his cast quite a bit on Exorcist Chronicles
- so did you ever have the feeling of being pushed too far,
and what can you tell us about your experiences on the movie set?
I never once felt like I was being pressurised into doing anything
I didnít want to do. If I
had any restrictions, they were ones Iíd placed on myself and I soon
realised that I really didnít want to box myself in. It was liberating
to throw myself into everything and I soon found that saying Ďyesí
allowed me to have a better experience.
The best piece of advice Iíve ever been given is that if you can
wake up after the day before without regretting anything youíve done,
you know youíre alright. I
didnít regret a single thing I did and would happily do it all again and
I did end up being very
close to having hypothermia at one stage and that was scary I will admit,
but not only did I come through it I realised that I truly can do anything
I set my mind to. We all say
we can, but to realise that you really can is quite enlightening. Even
learning a Romanian accent!
Let's go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
Many moons ago (Iím not saying how many!) I was involved in Saturday
morning theatre workshops, I was helping to run them after having been
involved in plays, musicals and panto.
Other than a minor qualification from college, Iíve never had any
formal training. Although my
experience has let me teach Drama in secondary schools.
Sometimes I think that formal training stops the organic experience
coming through, I think that itís sometimes better to think how I would
react in this given situation rather than work through it in some form of
taught method. Acting should
be something intensely personal.
What can you tell us about your filmwork apart from Exorcist Chronicles
and Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich?
Other than being involved with a promotional funding trailer for IíM
Perfection (a We Are Heroes production) I hadnít done any
Any future projects you'd like to share?
More work with the fabulous Phil Gardiner and Michelle Gent [Michelle
Gent interview - click here]!
Later this year, filming will start on Dusty The Demon Hunter.
Iím going to be playing Dustyís mum with the incredible Nikki
Webster [Nikki Webster
interview - click here] in the titular role. Iím
also going to be working very closely with Phil on a secret project.
I canít tell you anymore about that right now.
No, not even if you ask me nicely.
Over the years you have also done quite a few stage musicals, right?
So how does performing and singing on stage compare to making a movie?
Theyíre worlds apart. The
same dedication and professionalism is needed for both, but I think
theatre audiences are far more critical.
You donít have the chance to make a mistake and have it sorted
out in editing. If your voice
cracks and wavers while youíre singing, everyone there is going to hear
it, thereís no hiding. People
are also very quick to compare you with the person theyíve seen play
that character before. I
played Maria in an amateur production of The Sound of Music some
time ago, I overheard someone saying ďthat Maria was fantastic, but
sheís no Julie Andrews is she?Ē No,
Iím not. There is only one
Julie Andrews but thatís the unfortunate part of stage work.
Itís amazing, the adrenalin buzz is out of this world and itís
incredibly hard work but audiences will compare.
From what I've read, you're also a skilled swordswoman and
experienced belly dancer. You just have to talk about these two talents
for a bit of course?
Oh with pleasure! Iím a
living history re-enactor. I
havenít been able to be involved for a couple of years for a variety of
reasons, moreís the pity, but Iím one of those that sits in authentic
medieval costume, basically wool, under a blazing sun or drenched with the
usual British summertime rain. But
occasionally, I get the fun of playing with my sword.
Itís a hand and a half sword, otherwise known as a bastard sword
and Iíve been trained by some excellent people.
Going out and having a sword fight in the back garden is one hell
of a way of beating stress!
Iíve been belly dancing
for around fifteen years now. It
was actually something my mother used to do, she was a semi-professional
belly dancer and once got called on to dance on a table during a corporate
meeting! I always thought she
looked incredibly beautiful in her costume and make up and found a class
and it grew from there. Itís
an amazingly sensual and graceful way of moving that seriously improves
self-esteem. Thereís a huge
amount I could say about the empowerment of the feminine, and there is all
that to it too, but I just loved it. Iíve
always loved dancing but found that belly dancing really was the thing for
Any other talents of yours we need to know about?
I also write for AWESOME Online Magazine and copy edit.
Iím an editor of a bi-monthly newsletter for New Writers UK.
I like to keep my creative side up as much as possible.
Besides all this, you are also a qualified teacher - now how does
this tie in with all the rest, and what can you tell us about Rachel
Malone, the teacher?
A teacher, by their very nature, is also an actor.
They have to be able to stand in a class of people and present.
They have to have a confidence that they can stand and command
attention. As a teacher, I was
also very approachable, I enjoyed having a class that laughed as well as
learned. It was important that
my students looked forward to coming into my classes and I loved the whole
class environment. Like many
other teachers though, I found the restrictions placed on them by upper
management too stringent. Being
told what you needed to incorporate into every lesson started to make
teaching less of a vocation and restricted how I was able to give lessons.
Teaching is also ridiculously stressful, itís the most monitored
job out there and a work/life balance is extremely difficult to achieve.
Itís a regular complaint of most teachers that theyíre working until
midnight every night and anyone who honestly thinks that teachers work
8.30 Ė 3.30 and get ridiculous amounts of holiday seriously needs to try
it. The average day in school
for a teacher is 8 Ė 6, then thereís all the planning and preparation,
all the marking, all the extra training that a teacher needs to do in
order to keep their qualification relevant.
Thatís without the added extras from the school in relation to
other training that they think you would benefit from.
Being able to take on all of
that and still keep sane is incredible training for anything else you want
to do in life.
How would you describe yourself as an actress, and what do you draw
upon to bring your characers to life?
As an actress I just throw myself in there.
I can see whatís needed and Iím happy to do it.
If that means being smothered, and I do mean smothered, in fake
blood then bring it on! If
itís not a challenge, then whereís the fun?
Bringing a character to life takes a lot of thought.
Who are they? What have
they done? Whatís their
family life like? Iíll sit
and meditate on them for quite some time, what exactly will they do in
order to achieve their aims? Most
of us have had some dark times in our lives, or weíve been close to
people that have suffered. Weíve
had to watch helplessly and all of those experiences are things that
Iíve been able to draw on for characters.
Once youíve got that
character, you can set yourself up for scenes and just know whatís
needed from them in that scene. Itís
getting out of character sometimes thatís hard.
Actresses (or indeed actors) who inspire you?
Iím a huge fan of Viggo Mortensen.
Heís never the same person twice from film to film.
Heís not afraid of any challenges in films; from fighting naked
to riding across a desert heíll put himself in any position thatís
necessary for the scene. Heís
also a massive animal lover and adopted Bill the Pony from The Fellowship
of the Ring and the horse that played Hidalgo.
They both now live on his ranch.
Helen Mirren is a huge
inspiration. She makes
everything seem so effortless. Sheís
incredibly beautiful and is someone that I could watch opening an
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I usually jump immediately to Jaws. Thereís
nothing about that film that I donít like, but Iíve recently rekindled
my love for Singing in the Rain. However
I will also say that it depends on the time of year, Christmas just
isnít Christmas without Die Hard! All
of those though, Iíve seen so many times I can quote them.
For sheer quality though, I think itís hard to beat All About Eve.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Those extremely loud and extremely annoying Disney Channel originals!
Gah! The films are the
same, only the titles and actors change.
The endings are usually so cloyingly sweet you can feel diabetes
setting in. Stock characters
of stereotypes reacting in a stereotypical way with a stereotypical story.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten
I take my coffee black.
Thanks for the interview!
Youíre very welcome and the coffeeís on you!