Elise Eberle, Adam Simon, and Iddo Goldberg talk SALEM

At the roundtable with Elise Eberle (Mercy Lewis), writer/director Adam Simon, and Iddo Goldberg (Isaac Walton) as they talk about the hit TV series SALEM. Set in 17th century Massachusetts, SALEM explores what really ignited the town’s infamous witch trials and uncovers the dark, supernatural truth hiding behind the veil of this infamous period in American history. The third season will begin during Halloween week as the witches plan to remake the New World by bringing the devil to earth and making Salem his capital.

Writer Beau Smith and Tim Rozon (Doc Holliday) talk WYNONNA EARP

At the roundtable with writer Beau Smith and Tim Rozon talking about Wynonna Earp. Beau Smith has written for every major comic book publisher, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Eclipse Comics, Dreamwave Studios and Dark Horse Comics. Tim Rozon, who plays the enigmatic Doc Holliday has appeared in Schitt’s Creek, Crossfire and Being Human.

Based on the comic book series by Beau Smith, Wynonna Earp follows Wyatt Earp’s great granddaughter as she battles demons and other supernatural beings. A witty and wild modern-day gunslinger, Wynonna draws on her unique abilities and a dysfunctional posse of allies to bring the paranormal (Revenants) to justice.

Shamier Anderson talks about Agent Dolls in Wynonna Earp

At the roundtable with Shamier Anderson talking about his role as agent Xavier Dolls in the popular sci-fi series Wynonna Earp. A member of the US Marshals’ Black Badge division, Dolls comes to Purgatory to investigate the Revenant problem, reaching out to Wynonna Earp and offering her a place in the division.

Shamier attended Wexford School for the Arts where he majored in Musical Theatre & the Drama Intensive Program where he graduated with honors.  Aside from acting, Shamier is an avid Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioner. Based on the IDW Comic, Wynonna Earp follows Wyatt Earp’s great granddaughter as she battles demons and other creatures.

Frankie Adams & Shohreh Aghdashloo talk Expanse at 2016 Comic-con

At the roundtable with Frankie Adams and Shohreh Aghdashloo talking about the popular ski-fi TV series The Expanse at 2016 Comic-con. Hundreds of years in the future, humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. Rising tensions between Earth and Mars have put them on the brink of war. Against this backdrop, a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain come together to investigate the case of a missing young woman. The investigation leads them on a race across the solar system that could expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.See also my interview with Cas Anvar


Interview with Amber Coney in Dead of Summer

Amber Coney
Amber Coney

Best known for her work on The Creation of Aspen, Send Me to Heaven and Horoscopes and Fortune Cookies, Amber Coney can also be seen in the upcoming L.A. Series, Kill The Czar, and Actors Anonymous. In Dead of Summer, Coney plays Carolina ‘Cricket’ Diaz, a warm, snarky camp counselor who harbors deep-seated issues beneath her carefree, fun-loving exterior. A former attendee turned counselor, Cricket returns to Camp Stillwater looking strikingly different from her younger self. She seeks validation from her peers, especially her longtime crush, Alex. In this one-on-one interview, Amber reveals the challenges she faced during filming the series and what she enjoyed most about her role.

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What attracted you to this decidedly mixed genre series?

Amber Coney: That’s a great question. When I got the script, I immediately loved it. It was something I knew I’d be on board for. I’m very open in terms of genre or style, and I was drawn to the story in a deep and truthful way.

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Did you audition for the role?

Amber: It was one of the first scripts I’d received for the pilot TV season. I saw the casting director and he called back almost immediately. I’ve never had such a fast turnaround before. I went home, took a bath, and was ready for my callback. They taped me and helped draw out my best performance. I tested with Adam (Horowitz) and Eddy (Kitsis), who created the show, as well as Once Upon a Time and Lost. It’s no surprise that I fell in love with the material. They’re masters at what they do. It was an opportunity to work with them, and I felt the energy in the room. After the test, I knew I had to be this character.

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What challenges did you face during filming?

Amber: Besides the cold? (laughs). We’re filming out in Minaty Bay in Vancouver. The camp was nestled in the mountain areas. We shot the pilot in early spring, doing all overnight shoots in the freezing cold at four in the morning. We’d strip down to our skivvies and run across icy rocks to the pier. My skin was all red by the time I finished. I would layer over my other clothes and have these hot foot warmers. It’s weird because I feel that every project I seem to get involves overnight shoots.

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Are Cricket’s deep-seated issues presented gradually or abruptly in one episode?

Amber: It’s gradual. The cool thing about this series is that in the first episode, you’ll see little clues from each character that provide bits of insight as to where they’re coming from and what they’re dealing with. It’s set up in a way that every character will have a flashback episode where you’ll learn about their backstory.

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What can you tell us about Stillwater’s dark, ancient mythology?

Amber There’s definitely an ominous presence that causes us (counselors) to question reality and see our fears manifested in a way that we’d never experienced before. This creepy, scary sense going around camp starts to manifest itself stronger and stronger. Soon enough, we’re all trying to figure out what’s going on, where it’s coming from and how to stop it.

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Can you go into a little detail about Cricket’s relationship with Alex?

Amber: In the first episode, we’ll see Cricket fawning over him. He’s basically the guy she wants. She does everything she can to make that known to him without ruining her chances. You’ll have to see whether or not she’s successful.

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Is there a backstory we’ll see between Alex and Cricket?

Amber: We were all campers as kids, so there’s already this history in that we all knew each other growing up. How Cricket feels about Alex in the present day is just a dramatic progression of what she thought about him as a kid. It’s sort of a perpetual summer crush.

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Is the series more coming-of-age story or more supernatural horror?

Amber: I think the cool part is that it’s actually both and that’s why I was drawn to it. This dynamic and the progression of the characters are just as strong as the supernatural horror element.

Dead of Summer premieres on June 28th.




An Interview with Flash’s Violett Beane

Violett Beane2

Best known as the DC Comics superhero Jesse Quick in The CW series The Flash, and as the missing girl in HBO’s, The Leftovers, Violett Beane appeared in the horror feature Flay, and the indie Slash, which recently premiered at SXSW. In Slash, Beane plays Lindsay in a coming-of-age drama about adolescent outsiders who write fan fiction. Beane can also be seen in Tower, an emotionally draining film that focuses on the mass school shooting at the University of Texas in 1966. In this one-on-one interview, Beane reveals some insights about her various roles and how she approached them.

Did you audition for The Flash? What was that like?

Violett Beane: I did audition for it, but I didn’t know that much about the character. A week and a half later, I learned I’d got the part and they told me her name and more information about her character. It was definitely weird not knowing who I was going out for at the start.

Violet Beane as Jesse Wells
Violet Beane as Jesse Wells

What challenges did you face in playing Jesse, the iconic daughter of Earth-2’s Harrison Wells?

Beane: It was difficult, especially coming in on a new season. They have these on-screen and off-screen relationships. It was definitely tricky at first, creating these relationships with the other actors and their characters. And creating that father-daughter relationship. Making those connections five minutes before the first scene was a challenge. When I flew up to Vancouver, they drove me to the set and five minutes later, we’re doing the scene where Jesse confronts Harrison about the truth. It was scary because I didn’t know anyone or know quite what I was doing.

Will Jesse face any obstacles that will change her in some way? How will she grow?

Beane: I think you’ll see throughout the season that Jesse’s getting used to this Earth and coming to terms with it. If you watched the finale, you see that she made up her mind to go back home. She misses everyone that she knew and everything familiar in her life. She was just ready to go home, and it’s really sweet that Harrison was willing to go home with her. She is his world.

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What can we expect from the Wally-Jesse relationship? Will it grow into something once they’re “up to speed”?

Beane: It’s interesting that they broke up this slow romance between them a little bit. But I know that the fans on social media want to know what’s going on with them. I think it makes sense that they find each other. He’s sort of the outsider to the Flash team and she’s the complete outsider. So I’d love to see where that goes.,

Switching gears to Slash. It sounds like every Comic-con fan’s dream come true. Have you been to Comic-con?

Beane: No, I haven’t. I’m going to try to go this summer. I hear it’s just crazy.

What did you like most about being in Slash?

Beane: Slash was cool because of the fine actors I got to work with. I met a couple of really cool people that I still talk to today, including Michael Johnston, who plays the lead. It was a fun little role. It was a cool break and we shot it in Austin, so that was nice.


What part does Lindsay play in the Julia-Neil relationship?

Beane: I was only in Slash for a couple of scenes, but Lindsay is kind of a mean girl who makes fun of Neil’s nerdy-ness.

You’re also in the soon to be released gripping tragedy, Tower. What drew you to that film?

Beans: It’s a heavy one for sure. It was the first on-camera project I’d ever done. I shot it over a course of two years. It’s a documentary about the 1966 UT shooting, the first major school shooting in history. It premiered this year at SXSW. It’s half real footage and half re-enacted, plus some interview style recounting of what happened. It’s so powerful. I went to the premiere and everyone in the theater was crying. It hit so close to home with so many people because of how frequent shootings in the country are. It’s touring at almost every film festival this year, all around the states and in Canada. I hope that it gets enough attention because it really is absurd and insane how many shootings and violence we see in America. The film tells this in a way that you can’t ignore.

News footage from Tower
News footage from Tower

Did you find it difficult to play Claire who lost her baby and boyfriend that day?

Beane: It definitely was a very heavy character to play, especially because I got to meet her at the premiere. She doesn’t live in Austin and she hadn’t been traveling for a long time. She only had good things to say about my performance. We had a little moment together. Seeing her lightness about it. She’s so optimistic and positive.

So what’s next for you?

Beane: I recently directed, edited and starred in a music video. It’s a scary video where I play this deranged orphan girl who lives alone in a house with two dolls.


Interview with Radha Mitchell on Sacrifice


A versatile talent with a broad body of work, Radha Mitchell began her career in Australia. She quickly took center stage in the critically acclaimed indies, High Art and Love and Other Catastrophes. Her major film work includes starring roles in Pitch Black, Man on Fire, Finding Neverland and the action blockbuster London Has Fallen.

In the thriller, Sacrifice, Mitchell plays consultant surgeon, Tora Hamilton, who moves with her husband, Duncan, to the remote Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland. Deep in the peat soil around her new home, Tora discovers the body of a young woman with rune marks carved into her skin and a gaping hole where her heart once beat. Ignoring warnings to leave well alone, Tora uncovers terrifying links to a legend that threatens to tear apart her marriage. In this one-on-one interview, Mitchell reveals the challenges she faced in bringing her complex character to life.

Rupert Graves and Radha Mitchell
Rupert Graves and Radha Mitchell

What attracted you to this film?

Radha Mitchell: I liked doing this character in this genre. It has a very particular perspective and a raw set of needs. It was that character, polarized against this kind of history, the subjugation of women, that was fun to explore.

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How did you prepare for the role of a surgeon who in essence becomes a detective?

Mitchell: Strangely enough, I’d been prepared for it in shooting a movie called the Crazies. At that point, I just wanted to learn something basic, like how to take blood pressure. So they sent me to a gynecologist who gave me some shorthand on venereal diseases, childbirth and female issues—from a doctor’s perspective. She just took me from room to room so I learned a lot on that day. But I never thought I’d need to use this information. Then strangely enough, I found myself playing a gynecologist some years later. So I felt that I had the training. It was an interesting transition for a character who suddenly finds herself on the run.

Rupert Graves and Radha Mitchell

Sacrifice speaks to betrayal in all its forms: betrayal in marriage, betrayal by in-laws and by the island folk. How do you think this changed Tora?

Mitchell: I think it speaks to the part of you that wants to ignore what’s right in front of you because it’s easier. In this case, it would have been a lot easier if Tora could just turn her eyes away, because she’s turning her own world upside down as she uncovers this horrific mystery. It’s going to prevent her from having the perfect life she’s wanted for so long. But she has a real sense of integrity, and I don’t think she has a choice. She’s courageous in a way that she doesn’t even realize. And those qualities were compelling because she doesn’t come into the story as a hero at all, but crippled by her own needs. And yet, at the end, she’s able to save someone else. Tora is an interesting character, and characters like Tora are more fun to watch.

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From a somewhat laid back surgeon to this tireless, heroic sleuth, Tora was indeed fascinating to watch.

Mitchell: I think she was totally driven by the adrenalin of needing to know the truth. And also being hunted. There are scenes where she’s running around in this dark abandoned hospital, which were quite exciting to shoot. It was like playing hide and seek, except I was running with these high heels. It does adrenalize you. And that’s the kind of energy Tora brought into that space. The stakes become incredibly high and her desire to uncover the truth is something she doesn’t shy away from.

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Sacrifice also addresses a woman’s fear of infertility. Did you draw from someone who went through this to develop your character?

Mitchell: I’ve played other characters that had the same issues. I think it’s like the fear of death, where you can relate to that at a certain age. Nothing lasts forever and the choices you make are important. The film also addresses the fear of infidelity, which is really at the heart of the story—the paranoia that you’re going to be left and that a second wife will replace you. But it ultimately empowers women by showing that it’s not that important to hang on to something that’s dead or over.


The film raises the question of sacrificial religious sects being alive and well in some areas. Do you think they still exist?

Mitchell: I’m sure they do. We see evidence of fundamentalist behavior constantly in the news. There’s bizarre, freaky human behavior that still goes on. We come from a history of damaged generations. If you look at the history of humanity and how it manifests in these generations, it can be quite twisted. When Sharon Bolton was exploring the story, she was referencing things that had happened. And there are these twisted things that go undercover in very powerful communities.

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What did you find most challenging about filming Sacrifice, and of playing Tora?

Mitchell: Actually, it may sound boring, but the weather was a challenge. We were supposed to be shooting in July in Ireland. But the shoot was delayed until November. And I discovered that I was allergic to the cold, which was a great excuse for me getting back to my trailer. My skin would react to the wetness in the air, and I’d get these hives. But the cast was great, and between playing these intense scenes, we were laughing most of the time. Playing high drama is fun for an actor.

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You worked that backhoe like a pro. Did you practice on it or had you done that before?

Mitchell: I had to learn how to drive it and dig these holes in the ground. They don’t give you a lot of time to learn these things, but I’m actually doing some construction in my house right now, and it’s good to know that if I need to dig a pit out back, I can do it myself to cut down on some of the cost.

(cover photo of Radha Mitchell by Gen Kay)





Interview with Lucy Fry on The Darkness

Lucy Fry.
Lucy Fry.

Known for her various roles in Vampire Academy, Mako Mermaids, Lightning Point, and The Preppie Connection, Lucy Fry has an extensive body of work in both TV and film. Last year, Fry appeared in the indie Mr. Church. This year, Fry can be seen in the popular Australian miniseries Wolf Creek, as well as the time-travel thriller 11.22.63.

In the supernatural thriller, The Darkness, Fry plays Stephanie Taylor, a teen who returns home from a Grand Canyon vacation with her family only to discover that they’ve brought back a supernatural force that preys on her fears and vulnerabilities. In this one-on-one interview Fry reveals the challenges she faced in shooting the film and bringing her character to life.

Lucy Fry.
Lucy Fry.

What did you think when you read the script?

Lucy Fry: It was one of the scariest things I ever read. The supernatural element really terrified me. I’m not really in touch with that. It was foreign and really terrifying to see a family that felt so familiar, who on the surface felt like a normal, loving family. Then this spirit comes in and pulls out of the darkness. What scared me was that it was so relatable, that it could happen.

Did you audition for the role of Stephanie? What was that like?

Fry: When I was auditioning for it, I had to read certain scenes, but I couldn’t finish them because they scared me so much.
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What was your approach in developing the Stephanie’s character? What did you see as her weakness, her strength?

Fry: I saw her weakness as a fear of being alone. She has a family but they haven’t given her a lot of attention. She feels as though she has no space in the family and there’s no room for her. So she starts to expect that physically and she becomes bulimic and anorexic. She’s kind of wasting away into nothing and has these desperate cries for attention. What she wants more than anything is to be seen and heard. I felt so much empathy for her and for her journey to connect with her family. She feels shame and anger and tries to deal with her anger. Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 5.12.51 PM

What did you draw from in bringing out the problems of a girl with an eating disorder?

Fry: Unfortunately, it’s ingrained in much of our culture to want to be skinny and be a certain size. When I was in a series where I had to fit into a tight costume for six months, I remember doing all sorts of things to keep my hips from getting wider. It was excruciating. Even in high school, I remember having these ideas about how to stay really small and how I was being cruel to myself. It’s awful how accepted this is in our culture. I wasn’t consciously aware of how destructive I was being. It was really great to try to expose that through Stephanie’s character. I felt good that I had the opportunity to share that, and to bring about more empathy about that situation.

The film’s paranormal advisor said you were being followed around the house by a ghost. What was that like?

Fry: The whole thing was very creepy. There supposedly was this paranormal presence in the house, but I couldn’t really feel it. What with the filming, I didn’t feel threatened. It kind of opened up the possibility for that to be a real experience.
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What was it like shooting in the Desert?

Fry: It was quite beautiful. Very dry. Since I’m Australian, it was a foreign landscape that I couldn’t really connect with. It was quite eerie.

What can you tell us about Cleveland?

Fry: We’re expecting to film that soon. It’s a great script. Each person in the story goes through some transformation. They get to a point in their life where they’re finally doing what they want to do. It starts with them being stuck and then they each go through these crises. My character is the whimsical person who just moved to New York and she’s wondering about her career.


Interview with Radha Mitchell on The Darkness


A versatile talent with a broad body of work, Radha Mitchell began her career in Australia. She quickly took center stage in the critically acclaimed indies, High Art and Love and Other Catastrophes. Her major film work includes starring roles in Pitch Black, Man on Fire, Finding Neverland and the action blockbuster London Has Fallen.

In the supernatural thriller, The Darkness, Mitchell plays wife and mother Bronny Taylor who returns home from a Grand Canyon vacation with husband Peter (Kevin Bacon). The family innocently brings home a supernatural force that preys on their own fears and vulnerabilities, consuming their lives with terrifying consequences. In this one-on-one interview, Mitchell reveals the challenges she faced in bringing her complex character to life.

Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell
Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell

What attracted you to the role of Bronny?

Radha Mitchell: I was attracted to the script. And to the prospect of working with Greg McLean with whom I worked previously on Rogue. I also wanted to get “one degree” close to Kevin Bacon (laughs). In terms of the story, I liked the possibility that we were going to do some work on the fantasy of the American family, and to examine what’s really going on, to realistically look at the shadow side of things.

Radha Mitchell
Radha Mitchell

What previous roles or personal experiences did you draw from to bring Bronny to life?

Mitchell: I spent a bit of time researching a family who had a young schizophrenic girl. I looked into the difficulty they had in reconciling and keeping their family united. They had to separate her from her little brother, living in a separate apartment. They wanted to protect the child that they loved, yet they were slightly intimidated and afraid of the child. I thought that was very psychologically interesting as a premise for the genre. I liked the simplicity of the story and that it kind of gets under your skin. The plot’s not incredibly complicated but the mood is quite subtle and very difficult to define.

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In a broader sense, do you think the film speaks to the many diverse aspects of a marital relationship?

Mitchell: I think we have all these clichés about the role of women as wives and the problems of teenage girls, especially in America. A lot of children are being diagnosed with autism. Maybe this is the paranoia of our society. We’re unable to connect. I think the film says that if you face your demons, you can move through your own paranoia and drama.

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What challenges did you face in developing Bronny, who is a flawed character, yet in some ways, heroic and sympathetic?

Mitchell: She just had to deal with so much repetition. Even as an actor, it was a bit tedious. That was her prison and we had to show it. Her life’s about doing the laundry and dealing with her kids, who are in their own reality. And even to her husband who drifted off to being a workaholic and his infidelity. Then trying to find her strength, her power in that dynamic. She’s also the person that tries to hold them together. So what was tedious about her life was to act that out, to show the prison that she had to escape from.

What was it like shooting in the desert?

Mitchell: We shot not too far from outside Los Angeles. It was about a three-hour drive. It’s pretty magical, the kind of landscapes that are near us. We don’t celebrate the desert in the same way you do. Lots of people here take that drive to the desert to escape on the weekends. In Australia, we have the kookiest people living in the desert.

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Had you done some background reading about Native American mythology before doing this film?

Mitchell: Not really. I’m sure the story is accurate or Greg (McLean) would not have put it in the film. I found it quite interesting to work with animals. We had wolves, crows and rattlesnakes on set. On most days, it was quite exciting because you never know how these creatures are going to react. But there’s an elegance and a mystery to them, especially with wolves.

The film’s paranormal advisor said you were being followed around the house by a ghost. What was that like?

Mitchell: I forgot about that (laughs). You’re right. That was kind of annoying. The advisor said she was a friendly ghost, who was living in that house. That was the advisor’s reality, his job. He was also reading people’s auras.

What can you tell us about The Shack?

Mitchell: The Shack is going to be a very special film. It’s based on a novel that sold 20 million copies, so the book adds its own momentum to the film. I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve only seen a bit of it in the looping sessions. Octavia Spencer will be playing God. Sam Worthington will be this man in glasses. It has a really interesting cast and kind of reminds me of It’s a Wonderful Life. I think audiences will be happy with this film.


Interview: Kate Siegel & director Mike Flanagan on HUSH

Kate Siegel
Kate Siegel

Best known for her portrayal of Marisol in the spine tingler Oculus and for Jennifer in The Curse of the Black Dahlia, Kate Siegel is an accomplished actress with an impressive body of work. In Hush, Siegel teams up with Oculus writer/director Mike Flanagan to create the terrifying thriller of a deaf woman stalked by a psychotic killer in a woods-secluded home. In this one-on-one interview, Siegel and Flanagan reveal the insights and challenges they faced in bringing Hush to life.

Mike Flanagan
Mike Flanagan

Hush is both highly visual and visceral. Where did the concept come from?

Mike Flanagan: Kate and I were talking about thrillers we love over dinner—films like Wait Until Dark—and I mentioned how I’d always wanted to do a movie with essentially no dialog. She reminded me of her recurring anxiety about waking up at night and seeing someone outside her window. By the time we got to dessert, we pretty much had that “aha” moment and that’s were the concept was solidified.

Maddie senses an intruder
Maddie senses an intruder

How was the collaboration between you two? Did you outline together? Write the script together?

Kate Siegel: It was deeply collaborative. Mike would go outside our house and try to break in and I’d have to find a way to escape from him. We’d try out these things in real time, so we nailed down what to do on both ends—Maddie on the inside and the Killer on the outside. When we found something that worked, we’d stop and write down what we liked. After we turned in our first draft, we got some notes from our producer. We then took the script to the Stanley Hotel in Colorado—in room 217 in honor of Stephen King’s The Shining. We went down to the bar and hammered out the second draft.

Maddie senses someone at the door.
Maddie senses someone at the door.

There’s not much dialog, but the sound added so much to the film’s tension and terror. Can you go into the sound design of the film?

Kate: Jonathan Wales—our sound mixer—is an amazing genius who created a soundscape like nothing we’ve ever heard. Even the silences you experience have about 50 different sound levels.

Mike: It was clear going in that the sound design would be crucial for this movie. It was expensively more complex than anything else I’ve worked on. Typically, when you’re doing sound design, you want it to advance the story without calling attention to itself. Good sound design is meant to be processed almost subconsciously in most movies. For Hush, it was the opposite. Sound would be front and center, which meant that noises you typically want to bury in a sound mix—like footsteps, wind or crickets—would be the only thing the audience could hold onto sonically. So we had stretches of the movie where we wanted to imply what it’s like to be deaf. The first instinct would be to simply pull the sound out. But if you do that, all you hear is popcorn being chewed or coughing, and that takes people out of the movie. So our silence from Maddie’s perspective was actually an incredibly dense soundscape meant to give the impression of silence. Some of the noises we used were ultrasound, heartbeats, and the slowed down sound of glacial ice cracking.

Maddie confronts her tormentor
Maddie confronts her tormentor

How did you go about casting Maddie’s tormentor? His icy demeanor and explosive anger turned Hush into a cover-your-eyes nail biter.

Mike: We knew that the mask wouldn’t be on the Killer’s face too long. We wanted to see the human being behind the mask. When the mask came off, it was really important that the person underneath be someone who you wouldn’t think was capable of this. It had to be someone you’d bump into at the supermarket or street.

Kate: And John Gallagher Jr. was a tremendous talent. I was thrilled with his theater work. He was someone you’d never expect as a Killer.

Mike: He’d never done anything like this before. He could always pass as the nice guy. So he was really playing against type. When his name came up for the role, we said, that’s the guy.

John Gallagher Jr.
John Gallagher Jr.

Much of Hush was filmed in what had to be perceived as a totally dark house. What challenges did you face in shooting and camerawork?

Mike: The trick in a house with a lot of windows, and you’re shooting in the dark to light a face, is to basically turn every window into a mirror. So we had to choreograph the camera very specifically. If we deviated from the choreography by even a few inches in either direction, we’d see the camera operator or the boom operator reflected in the window. It’s one of the blessings and curses of a contained movie like this. You have to plan a visually dynamic moving camera in this limiting space without exposing the crew. A lot of filmmakers find working around windows and mirrors very difficult. And that applied to this movie in particular because once you remove dialog, and all the pressure is on the actors to perform without words, Hush became a high wire act for us.

Maddie struggles to survive
Maddie struggles to survive

There’s a saying among soldiers who finally find the courage to fight to survive: “The wolf rises.” What did you draw from to communicate that emotion without words?

Kate: The two years before Hush were very difficult times in my life. So when I approached Maddie, I saw her deafness and muteness as a characteristic. As someone who’s neither deaf nor mute, the only thing I could relate to was the internal struggle of wanting to be heard. I wanted to tap into that very human, very female feeling that the world around you won’t listen. And they won’t let you speak. At a certain point, you say, screw this, I can’t live the rest of my life not being heard. I was feeling that a lot leading up to the production of Hush. So when the time came to “awaken the wolf and let it rise,” I tapped into that feeling of needing to be heard by those around me.

Maddie fights back
Maddie fights back

Mike: There’s a moment in the movie where she kind of rises off the ground, which illustrates your analogy beautifully. We basically shot the movie in chronological order. So by the time we got to that scene, Kate had been working 16 weeks, all nighttime shoots, working in the cold woods of Alabama.

Kate: Unable to make any noise.

Mike: When we filmed that sequence, Kate was already very much in that mindset.

Kate: There was a great trust between Mike and I. I would turn to him after takes, and I would be so angry and uncomfortable that I couldn’t be myself. And Mike would look at me and say, you’re in the exact right place. One thing I like about Maddie: there was this deep well of strength that she captured for the first time and her joy at finding that inside herself.

Maddie has had enough
Maddie has had enough

What were your favorite scenes?

Kate: The scene with Samantha Sloyan, a warm, giving, open actress who played my neighbor. The dialog scene with her was such a joy. It’s a turn from the rest of the film, and it creates a sense of who Maddie really is and how she interacts with people around her.

Samantha Sloyan
Samantha Sloyan

Mike: Mine was the rooftop scene. It was the hardest to film because we had to move the camera on several different levels to make the scene kinetic. But I loved it because the actors did their own stunts. And that put everyone, especially the cast, into this whole new mindset. It was also one of the first times we got out of the house we’d been trapped in. It was a tough night but a good time.

Maddie on the roof
Maddie on the roof