Your movie House
of Good and Evil - in a few words, what is it about, and what can
you tell us about your character in it?
The film, to me, is
about isolation and grieving, and a woman's psychological struggle as she
deals with both. I play Maggie Conley (that woman), who moves to the house
with her husband Chris after suffering a loss, and has to cope without him
around very much to help her. There's more to it than that, but I don't
want to give anything away ;)
What did you
draw upon to bring your character to life, and what kind of a strain was
it to go through this, how shall I put it, turmoil of emotions the script
studied grief, loss, some psychology/mental cases. I found studying the
stages of grief particularly interesting and applicable. I also listened
to a lot of music. That's kind of my thing. I've started making
soundtracks that I find stimulating for my characters. Anyone on set will
tell you I almost always had my headphones on. And as far as the emotional
demands... every day was draining. Both physically and emotionally. For
past roles I've played, there have been one or two emotional scenes and it
was like "Phew!! They're off my shoulders!" ... but with this,
every day was a challenge and stretch. I think I expected the emotional
impact, but not the physical. I remember running A LOT. And biking, and
falling, and of course, going swimming in the ice cold stream. Even
if it isn't shown for long in the film, doing it take after take is altogether different.
did you get involved with the project in the first place, and what were
your reactions when first reading the script?
sought out Blu. I saw a post for the role, knew it was something different
and that I could do it. I went out on a limb and contacted him directly.
He responded, and got me into casting.
can you tell us about your collaboration with House
of Good and Evil's writer and producer Blu de Golyer [Blu
de Golyer interview - click here] and director
David Mun [David Mun interview - click
been great. I say that completely genuinely. And Sue De Golyer too, who
was incredibly helpful and accomodating on set. I didn't ask for much, but
Blu and Sue were always three steps ahead regardless. My legs got pretty
beat up one day, and I remember going back to the trailer to find a a tub
of purple goo for my feet to soak in and a bag full of every aid I could
need and then some! Blu has also been amazing through post and incredibly
supportive. Has kept me very in the loop. And Dave... was just awesome.
Which I've told him a hundred times, so I shouldn't boost his ego more ;) He handles things calmly and with a great sense of humor. He was so
honest and upfront with me, which I really appreciated. If something I did
was not working, he would tell me and we'd figure it out. Because of that,
I trusted and valued his feedback all the more, and knew he wasn't
bullsh*tting ('scuse the French) if he liked something.
With the film being first and foremost a horror movie - is
this a genre you can at all relate to, and why (not)?
"Horror" element? Not so much. I mean, have I been scared?
Certainly. Have I felt alone? Yes. Those things I could relate to. I
understood Maggie, but I don't think I'm much like her. Mostly, in
bringing her to life, I just used my imagination.
can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
OF BUGS. Seriously. Praying mantises half the size of my hand and wolf
spiders that looked like slightly smaller tarantulas. The shed we filmed
in was FULL of them. I was quite literally terrified when we filmed those
scenes. And BEES. I have never been stung by one, so I don't know if I'm
allergic or not and was kind of paranoid about it. The crew made fun of me
a lot for it. Outside of the bugs, though, filming in Floyd was great, and
the house was very isolated from the town which not only suited the
script, but made it a great atmosphere to clear the mind and work without
go back to the beginnings of your career - what got you into acting to
begin with, and what can you tell us about your training as an actress?
just remember having a wild imagination as a kid. My mom would read
to my brother and me every night, and I loved the stories and wanted to
jump inside them. I was a little shy in school, but knew I had a lot
bottled inside of me, and drama class was the first place I had the
freedom to express it. I started taking classes at the Alliance Theater in
Atlanta, then was very involved in theater through high school and had an
awesome director, Gina "Pev" Parrish who took me under her wing.
I sing, so I did a LOT of musicals in those days. Then I got into NYU, and
actually shied away from acting for a while. I was supporting myself
mostly on my own, and got the common "Do I want to be a struggling
artist forever?"-worries. I chose to major in communications instead
and was pretty miserable. The separation from the art, I think, made me
realize how much I needed to be doing it. I auditioned for NYU's Tisch
School of the Arts halfway through my freshman year, was accepted, and
transferred over. Best decision ever. I was placed in the Stella Adler
Studio where I trained for 2.5 years, then spent some time at Stonestreet
Studio for film and TV before graduating.
you still remember your first time in front of a movie camera, and what
was that experience like?
dad's old camcorder? Ha. No, but probably the student films I did in
college. NYU has a great film department, so I learned a lot from working
with those kids. I had done a lot of theater, so I remember there was a
lot of terminology I wasn't used to. I think once I got used to the
technical aspects, I became a lot more relaxed in the acting.
Any future projects you'd like to
have a couple projects lined up that I don't think I can talk about yet.
I've been working on some short films too, which have been a lot of fun. I
shot a short, Angeles, the other week with director Richard Parkin, whose
last short Contra El Mar was an Academy Award finalist and festival hit
last year. The film is a series of vignettes focusing on women facing
uncertainty and isolation in LA.
Doing a bit of research on you, I found this
piece of trivia on IMDb: "Had her legs molded to be used as
prosthetics in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan." Ummm, would you
at all like to elaborate?
Haha - It is a pretty funny story
actually. Originally, they were looking at me to be Natalie Portman's
stand-in on the film. I ended up not getting it, and as I was about to
walk out, Darren and Mike Marino (the prosthetic make-up artist), came in
saying "Wait! We need someone to stay for make-up testing!" They
selected me, and I ended up having them test out those swan-like
goosebumps all over my arms and torso all day!! I got to work with and
chat with Darren a bit, who was really great. I will say that getting all
that glue off my body was not so great though! After that long day, they
had me back to test all the face make-up, and Mike asked to use my legs to
be molded for Winona Ryder's hospital scene in the film... you know...
where they're all cut up and bloody in the bed? Super random, I
know, but a fun story to tell :) If you go to my website, there are some
photos of the molding process.
How would you describe
yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
I owe a lot to my training. I really
do. It gave me a really great toolbox to pull from - some tools I use
religiously, and some not as often, but it's always great to have the
notes and experiences to refer back to. I could spend pages on this
answer, but mainly, for me, objective is key. Figuring out what a
character wants and how they go about getting it. Also, really finding
what there is to love in them... even if they are the villian. A teacher
told me that once and I've never forgotten it. Oh, and music is a
huge part of my prep. It just opens my mind and triggers me like nothing
else, which I've already said.
Actresses (or indeed actors) who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
recently, Jessica Chastain. She stole my heart in The Help, and I think
everything she's done since has been great. On top of that, she just seems
like a lovely person. And growing up? I mean, every actress says
this but it's so true: Meryl Streep. I remember how blown away I was the
first time I watched Sophie's Choice. She's just awesome.
Your favourite movies?
are several, but the first one that always comes to mind is Forrest
I never tire of it. Ever.
and of course, films you really deplore?
are some, but I'll keep them to myself.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!