Sunday, September 26, 2010

Interview with Alison Lohman - May 25th, 2009

Promoting: Drag Me To Hell
Venue: The Soho Hotel
Interview type: One-on-two (with Justin Long - see above)

Note: A version of this interview appeared in FilmStar Magazine (now deceased), as the interview was conducted for FilmStar, not for ViewLondon.

Filmstar: What was it like working with Sam Raimi?

Alison Lohman (AL): Great. Sam is a director I've always wanted to work with, so it was really great to work with him.

Filmstar: You've worked with Tim Burton, Ridley Scott and Atom Egoyan. How does Sam compare to other directors you've worked with?

AL: It's hard to generalise all the other directors in one category, but I just feel that Sam stands out because he's just so incredibly patient. He's such a gentleman. And he also gets really passionate about each detail of every scene, but not in an analytical way, in a sort of fun-loving, child-like, curious way, not in an intellectualised, in-your-head way. Because I don't think that you're productive when it's too intellectual, especially for an actor, you know, they have to be free with their body and that's mostly where the emotion's coming from.

Filmstar: How demanding were the various scenes you had to go through?

AL: Oh, incredibly demanding, yes. Oh my gosh. Much more so than I ever thought.

Filmstar: There's a scene in the film which I believe is known as the “gumming” scene (the old lady clamps her toothless jaw over Alison's face). How was it filming that?

AL: That one was interesting because, you know, it's only two sentences on the page and it takes a whole day to shoot. When you're reading it you just kind of read over it and you don't really think of it as anything, you're just more focussed on the dialogue in heavier scenes. But actually, it's those smaller scenes that are heavier in horror films, for me.

Filmstar: What was the balance between CGI and more traditional effects?

AL: On this film, it wasn't so much CGI – I had all the props that I needed to make it feel real. And, you know, Sam would play the monster. And the fly that goes in and out of my nose.

Filmstar: How did he play the fly?

AL: Well, he had like a fishing pole and a piece of tape attached to it and he would dangle it. And he got way too much enjoyment out of it, he would do take after take after take.

Filmstar: Were you a fan of horror films beforehand?

AL: I didn't especially like horror films but I have an appreciation for them now.

Filmstar: What's your approach to acting generally? Do you do lots of research?

AL: I do, I try and do as much as I can and then just try give up the rest and just kind of leave it to trusting your instincts. Wherever you can find inspiration, you know, even if it's just one scene in a movie.

Filmstar: Did you spend any time in a bank for Drag Me To Hell?

AL: I did, actually. I did. I met with a loan officer and talked with her a few times, tried to get as much information to try and make sure it was all valid and legit.

Filmstar: Did you watch any horror movies in preparation?

AL: I did. I watched as many horror movies as I could and I really enjoyed one called Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1971). There's one scene where you just die watching it, she's coming out of a lake and there's this monster and it's like even more real than real life. It's just hard to explain, the way her reaction was.

Filmstar: What attracts you to a script, usually?

AL: Everything. Not so much the story, but the director, actors who are involved and my character. And the story too, but it depends, I don't really try to find a particular story, if you know what I mean.

Filmstar: What was it that attracted you to Drag Me To Hell?

AL: Working with Sam Raimi and Justin Long and also just being really inspired by Sam.

Filmstar: What's your next project?

AL: I'm in a film called Gamer. It stars Gerard Butler and Amber Valletta, it's a really great cast. The story is humans playing humans on a global scale, through video games. It's actually kind of hard to explain the whole movie, but it's wild. I play this girl Trace, who's part of the resistance, who tries to get Gerard Butler back to his family. But after that, I don't have a next project – I'm on holiday, a big long break.

Filmstar: Are Gamer and Drag Me To Hell part of a conscious decision to move into more mainstream movies?

AL: No, not at all, not at all. I've never had any desire to do action films or horror films, so it's just interesting that they kind of came up at this time. I mean, I don't mind doing them – I loved working on them.

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