Exclusive 1:1 Interview: Jessabelle Star Sarah Snook!

In JESSABELLE, the incredibly talented Sarah Snook (Who was our 2014 Mistress of the Year) plays a woman who survives a terrible accident, only to be haunted by something seemingly evil in her childhood home. This fantastic actress quite literally carries the film and appears in every single scene. It is a very strong performance. With this, as well as her latest theatrical release, PREDESTINATION, she is proving to be one of the best young talents out there.

Recently we had the chance to speak with Ms. Snook, and it was an immense pleasure. This delightful talent discussed how she found herself in the title role, as well as the experience of shooting for the first time in the United States for this Australian born beauty. We also chatted about what exactly she thought about horror now, as opposed to her younger years. Trust me when I say that Sarah Snook may be one of the finest actresses to appear in horror in quite a long while.

With this, and her powerhouse turn in PREDESTINATION, you can bet that we will be hearing her name come Oscar season in the next few years. Plus, she is a wonderfully cool person to chat with. You can catch JESSABELLE this Tuesday on home video (pre-order right HERE) – as well it is currently available on VOD if you’d prefer.

In JESSABELLE, you take on a lot considering you are in every scene. How difficult is that for an actress?

There are two sides. One, it’s excellent if you are in every scene because you don’t take your foot off the pedal and you can kind of lose track of things. The other side is, because you can’t take your foot off the pedal and you can lose track of things. I’m someone who likes working, so kind of just diving into a character like that, I find that really enjoyable. So I liked it. But when it is challenging material where it is kind of high stakes emotional stuff, you can get tired when you do that. If you’ve got a good support team around you, then it’s great.

I take it you had a good support team?

Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We shot in Wilmington in North Carolina, and they were great. It was the first time I’d worked in the States and it was a great crew. I had a lot of fun.

How did you get involved in it with JESSABELLE?

I met with Kevin Greutert. I’d been in the states for like a week. I came over just to have some meetings with other people. And on the Friday of the end of the first week, he called up my manager and asked if we could organize a meeting. I was staying in Los Feliz at the time and he was nearby, so we caught up that evening. And on Monday I found out that I got the job. It was very quick and I kind of didn’t believe it at first.

How hard was it to find the accent for this character? It was pretty dead-on perfect.

Ah, that’s great! I was worried at first, but that was another reason why the crew was great. I said to the sound guy, John Gaynor, if I’m messing up can you tell me, maybe do a little signal, pull your ear or something and I’ll know to go again, because it’s something I didn’t want to mess up. It’s such a particular thing. If you are from that area and you have that accent then you’ll know if it’s wrong.

How long to you take to work on it?

We have a lot of American TV in Australia [Laughing], so I’m kind of used to doing accents. But when I was in Wilmington, I heard this guy coming out of a convenience store and he had a paper bag – which I presumed had a bottle in it – and I don’t know him at all but he looked me in the eye and said, “Man, living on a boat sucks.” [Laughing] That is such a particular accent so I just spent the week making sure I was out on the town, going to cafes, trying to listen to everybody and practice at home.

Was that a culture shock being in that kind of community and being in that environment?

It was a little bit, but I’ve done a lot of traveling before shooting in 2012 so I kind of took it in stride I guess. America is quite different to Australia in a lot of ways, and there are other things that are similar. There is a kind of familiarity you can take solace in.

Are you a fan of the horror genre, or is it something that you fell into with this?

Initially I wouldn’t say that I was a fan just because I hadn’t seen many horror films. When I was growing up I was a bit of a scaredy-cat [Laughing]. I was prone to having nightmares, so my mom would never let me see horror films because she just didn’t want to have to deal with the aftermath [Laughing]. So I missed all those early films, like Chucky and even THE THING… that was too much for me.

Well that’s a scary movie… [Laughing]

Yeah, and all those kind of monster films or horror films, I kind of took it all too seriously. I kind of believed that they were real. So when I was cast in JESSABELLE, I thought I’d better go back and have a look at these things. I actually really like it, but the thing that I really like about horror films is when you go see them in the cinema, or where you have a sleepover and you watch them with friends. You don’t necessarily have to sleep over but have like a big group of friends watching it. Just that kind of feeling when you are on edge, and the tension, and you all jump together at the crash moments, I really like that.

In JESSABELLE there are elements of Voodoo practices, did you do any research into it or was it all in the script?

It was in the script. It was my first my first thought to find out about how much of a part of the religion we were delving into, and how much is prominent in other Southern states in America as well as New Orleans area. And it is. And I met this guy who is totally into ghosts, he is a ghost hunter. So he was telling me about spirits and energy, and you can become possessed by bad spirits and bad energies and you need to be cleansed. And when he goes to these haunted houses, he brings these little amulets and things to protect himself, but he will also do a spiritual cleansing afterwards. That kind of blows my mind. That is so wild. But I guess, part of me wants to believe that it’s true, all that supernatural and what if, but part of me doesn’t want to because what if it is true. If it is true, that is terrifying.

Was there ever a moment on set that you felt something strange or creepy, or was it all fun times?

There was a mix of both. Certainly it is very fun shooting a horror film when you are not being tortured or anything. Or when you are running away from ghosts or pretending something is in the room and you are getting prickles up your neck. When they call cut, it’s just like you are back in normal life. What a weird job… [Laughing] But on the other hand, this house that we shot in, it was so run down and dilapidated that the production crew actually had to do it up rather than break it down, which usually you’d think for an old haunted house you’d have to be having to break it down. But the guy who lived there before had some mental difficulties and drawn all over the walls and written these weird kinds of things, and it had really kind of taken over the house. And the attic, which we didn’t shoot in so they didn’t bother doing it up, there were some really uncomfortable paintings and pictures and scrawling on the wall, and scratching in floorboard. I just kind of chose not to go up there too often.

That’s kind of terrifying. What kinds of paintings?

I don’t even know if you could call them paintings. They were like runes almost, scratched out with paint splashed across. It could have been a person, or it could have been an alien. It could have been an avatar, that kind of character. All these kinds of bodies painted on the walls that were really kind of rudimentary drawings.

Now there is a very strong emotional – as well as physical - element to this character. What was the most difficult scene that you had to take on? And how do you feel about it now?

The most difficult scene never actually made the film, so that’s how I feel about it… [Laughing]

Oh no. What is the scene?

The scene was, well you know the car crash right at the beginning before the title card? The crash scene was originally supposed to be seen after that, and I’m lying on the ground with my leg snapped and broken. And I can see my fiancé just out of the corner of my vision and I am going in and out of consciousness. I can see him, and I can see that he is either dead or just barely alive, but I can’t move to get to him. That was the most challenging to shoot in terms of you really have to open up and go for it. And in terms of storytelling, that wasn’t needed for the film – which is fine and absolutely fair enough. Once it was gone, it was like oh it wasn’t even in the film, oh well.

You’ve given two really terrific performances in genre films with this and PREDESTINATION. Are these the type of films that can connect with easily at this point in your career?

Yes, just because those are the opportunities that I’ve had at the moment. I feel like a lot of the time genre, particularly sci-fi, there is the opportunity to look at philosophical questions or explore themes that I really like. And I like to get into it mentally and emotionally. But they do it in a way that is just outside of reality, so as an audience you can kind of feel not necessarily challenged or offended by it, but at least questioned by it. So you might think a little more. Which is what I kind of like about PREDESTINATION. It’s not an issue film about transgender, but that is in the film. It’s not sensationalized at all. I like genre and I like horror and sci-fi, but I like good stories. Wherever the good stories are I’ll hopefully go.

What is next for you after this?

Strangely enough, on the complete other side of the coin, I just did a kid’s comedy. It’s a family movie where I play a penguin conservationist in a film called ODDBALL. It’s about a dog that saves the lives of penguins. It’s very sweet, and very G-rated. I loved doing it. It was a lot of fun. Alan Tudyk is starring in that with me in Australia, and he is great. I loved working with him. And I did a film called THE DRESSMAKER at the end of last year with Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Liam Hemsworth. I play a funny, kind of fat, unattractive, very plain country girl who gets turned into a very beautiful swan by the dressmaker. I like fun stories.

JESSABELLE hits Blu-ray January 13th; pre-order right HERE.

Source: AITH

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