Known for her role as officer Gail Peck in the police drama “Rookie Blue” and more recently as Anna Turner in “Chicago Fire,” Toronto born Charlotte Sullivan has starred in “M.V.P,” “Across the River to Motor City” and in “The Kennedys” as Marilyn Monroe. She has also appeared in the dramas “Fever Pitch” and “Mary Kills People.”
In the sci-fi thriller “Radius,” Charlotte is Jane, an amnesiac who joins Liam (Diego Klattenhoff), a man cursed with the stigma of causing the instantaneous death of everyone (except Jane) who comes within 50 feet of him. Together, they struggle to uncover who they are and what happened to them on the night of Liam’s auto accident. In this one-on-one interview, Charlotte reveals some interesting facts about her character and what drew her to this film.
“Radius” is not your typical thriller. What attracted you to this unusual film?
Charlotte Sullivan: It was such a quick turnaround and it was not what I expected in a thriller. When I read the script and got to the end, I was so surprised to see that the two main characters, Liam and Jane, didn’t end up in a love scene. It was refreshingly different in that sense. There were so many layers to the story and its characters.
How did you prepare for the role of Jane, a woman who not only lost her memory but abruptly faces a terrifying reality?
CS: It was hard. There were a lot of demanding scenes, scenes that left me emotionally and physically drained. I didn’t have much time to prepare for my character. But Diego and I worked it out.
There are some pretty intense action scenes in “Radius.” What was it like running around in the wilderness of Winnipeg?
CS: Yes, those were tough. We were running through the wilderness and also running out of time to shoot. I was exhausted at the end of those scenes.
What was it like working with director/writers Steeve Léonard and Caroline Labrèche, a French husband and wife team?
CS: They were so nice and collaborative. Steeve and Caroline were both very professional and always supportive. They had very specific ideas of where they wanted this film to go. It’s funny but when I first met them on Skype, I didn’t know how close they were as a couple, so I meekly broached the subject and was surprised when they started making out (laughs).
Have you or anyone you know experienced any type of memory loss? If so, how did it help you develop the character of Jane?
CS: No. Not in that sense. But I’m one of those people who can’t remember things minutes after I encounter them. Like the names of people and things I’m supposed to do. So I basically drew on that inability for inspiration.
You mentioned you initially thought “Radius” was a type of Hitchcock film with you as the Kim Novak character, but the directors steered you away from that. Can you comment?
CS: Yes. (laughs) I was expecting Jane to be this glamorous character like Kim Novak. But Steeve and Caroline wanted something different, a plain Jane, dressed simply like your average person. And I think it worked very well. Before leaving for shoots in the morning, my husband would ask me what I’d be doing that day and I’d say, “I’m going to commit suicide today” or “I’m going to inject someone with poison.” (laughs).
You’ve successfully portrayed an enormously wide range of women in your career. What did you find most challenging about being in “Radius”?
CS: It was in one of the last scenes where Jane discovers the truth about Liam. That was perhaps the most physically and emotionally draining scene I’ve ever done. I wasn’t sure if I’d pulled it off. There’s this feeling in me that I wasn’t at my best, but I overcame that. As an actor, you often don’t have a lot of control over the finished product, so you just do the best you can until you’re happy with what you’ve delivered.
“Radius” speaks to the need for people to work together for a greater good regardless of their past. How did you view the Jane-Liam relationship?
CS: It was a strange relationship, especially when Jane discovers who Liam really is. All along, she had one idea of who he was and was forced to work with him to keep people around him alive. But it was a shock to Jane when she finally discovered the truth.
The film addresses criminal culpability through Liam on many levels. Without giving away the ending, can you go into Jane’s reaction as she unravels the truth about Liam?
CS: Liam turned out to be this hideous person. A monster. I really worked on that last scene. I wanted Jane to shoot him, but the directors said no, Jane wouldn’t do that.
What can you tell us about your role in the upcoming miniseries “Caught”?
CS: The film is based on the novel by Lisa Moore. It’s about a guy who escapes from prison and tries to hook up with his partner for one more drug deal while being hunted by police. I really enjoyed being in it.
RADIUS is an Official Selection in FrightFest, Fantastic Fest, and Fantasia Film Festival. It’s available on VOD November 10, 2017. Check out the RADIUS trailer.