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INT: Melissa George

Set Visit
Interviews: Melissa George / Andrew Douglas / Ryan Reynolds

“Even if you were trying to avoid payments on your house, at least go back to get a few things. Shoes or something.” – Melissa George on the Lutz’s abrupt departure of the Amityville house.

Melissa George is, for lack of a better term, one foxy chick. Actually, there isn’t a much better term for her. She’s won the hearts of many, and spoiled the hearts of many, playing opposite Jennifer Garner in ALIAS. She’s worked with director’s David Lynch and Steven Soderbergh, played opposite Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) in the short lived TV show THIEVES, and plays opposite Ryan Reynolds in THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. Melissa took a break from filming to sit down for a chat and nibble on some grapes. Actors and their diets, man.

Melissa George

Do you think The Amityville Horror is ripe for a remake?

No, it really doesn’t hold up to time. But the idea of The Amityville Horror does. A lot of people are fans of the story, the idea, but maybe not the movie. It needs a makeover. (laughs)

What’s it like going from TV to film?

Hmm, ALIAS is shot like a film, it’s very cinematic. The great thing about film is you start and finish. It’s a journey that lasts so long, TV lasts a long time. You have to pretty much be ready on day one of filming. All the research for the character. With ALIAS, the hours are long, same hours as this, it’s no different. The fact that your face is going to be blown up huge instead of small, you have to kind of change your technique.

How do you feel about watching yourself that huge on screen?

Yeah, it’s good, I don’t mind. I don’t have any issues yet. (laughs) I think that’ll maybe come after twenty years of making films. You start to like, “Can you come back just a little bit?” But no, I’m fine with it.

Have you gone back to the original film to temper your performance?

Nothing in the original film. Not even one thing made it work for me.  What made it work for me was a scene in LOVE ACTUALLY with Emma Thompson where she was trying to keep herself in control for her kids and her husband, just that scene where she runs to the bedroom and cries and came out like nothing happened. I think that’s what really made it work for me for Kathy Lutz, she’s a woman that’s just trying not to believe that something’s wrong with her husband, trying to put on a brave face in front of the children; just that perfect mother and wife, everything’s golden. And the seventies was kind of the end of that, so that’s what made it work for me, nothing from the original film.

How do you feel about Andrew Douglas as a director?

Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. He’s got a gypsy spirit. He’s very sensitive to a lot of things in life. He brings a lot of that imagery, he’ll explain to you that what you’re doing is an image of like, Mary and Jesus or something like that, where he’s in the bathroom and she’s holding him. So he gives you these beautiful visual inspirations which are wonderful. 

I asked him whether they [the studio] control what he does, his vision. No, when you’re at the top of your field, you bring your vision to the project and I think with his commercials, it was his work, not that somebody told him to do that shot like that, it was completely him. And he didn’t know whether he could work with actors and let’s face it, actors, we all have our technique. But he’s wonderful, I mean just to get here in the morning and have him talk to you for ten minutes about the scene and he makes it sound like the most beautiful poetry you’ve ever read, so he’s wonderful.

Is he open for a lot of suggestions?

Yeah, he is. I think he has to be because you really know your character a lot and that’s why they hire a certain person for certain roles because you have what it takes to make the role work, so when you come up with an option-you have to have a really good reason why you want to change what he says. Often it’s just a simple thing like, “I feel more comfortable standing like this.” We did a scene with Philip Baker Hall [Father Calloway] and it felt really wrong with the way I had to walk and do the reaction facing out at the end of the scene. And Philip Baker Hall said, “Let’s just try it and if it works-- let’s just give him one and then we’ll try it a different way after.” We didn’t end up doing it our way but when I watched it back it looked amazing because Andrew’s vision was so right, with the light and the tree behind it, and he’s right all the time actually.

So you have a relationship with the priest then? 

Oh no, this is a stranger. She just moved to this small town, she doesn’t know anybody. Father Calloway has knowledge about demonology and stuff like that. She doesn’t know it’s a demon, she just knows that there’s something not right in her house. She just turns to some other priest and says, “Father Calloway?” and he says, “No, he’s that way.” So she has no idea who this man is. Like she says in the script, “I just needed to talk to somebody because I’m going out of my mind.” So she’s just met this man, not because he’s a family friend or anything. It wouldn’t make sense because she doesn’t know this town.

In the original they say that the priest knows the family.

Right, but also that was Rod Steiger and maybe he wanted a role really big (laughs), like a lot of contractual things going on, “My character has to be…” Realistically, this is perfect, he’s just a man there to help, he says, “You know what, I can come by and help you out.”

Do you believe the story?

Yeah, I believe that something went on to these people because anyone who has a house like that and doesn’t come back for one thing, that they’ve accomplished their entire life, something must have happened. Something must have been so bad that you leave your favorite pictures or whatever in the house. I’m sorry, if something happened to me in my house I’d go back and get my stuff, you know what I mean? It can’t be that bad so it must have been really bad. I don’t believe in things like that because I haven’t seen it, but I believe there’s something out there. I don’t know what it is.

And it’s not like it's bad plumbing or anything like that.

That could be it too, you know, your mind plays games, it plays tricks on you. But in this case, they didn’t go back for anything…

So how long did you struggle before you got anything going?  Or did you?

I’ve been lucky. I came to L.A. with a job. You have to really prove yourself before you start getting a lot of work. I started to work with Steven Soderbergh [in THE LIMEY] my first month of being there and David Lynch [in MULHOLLAND DRIVE], so I was working with really great directors just auditioning, getting lucky. And then you get to the point where you get the breakout role and then you start to turn down a few things and making good decisions and then ALIAS led to this, which leads to something else. I’ve been really lucky.

Is there anyone you want to work with?

Directors, Almodovar, but I’d have to perfect my Spanish before that’s happened. Would love to work with him. A full length feature with David Lynch would be great. I was meant to be in the series MULHOLLAND DRIVE, had a really great role in that, but of course it was made into a film and it was actually better for everyone anyway.  So, I’d love to do a full length feature with him. Actresses, probably Jessica Lange. And Meryl Streep of course.

You know, Philip Baker Hall, I admire his work a lot. When the first time you meet someone like that, work with someone like that, it’s intimidating.

Source: JoBlo.com

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