MELISSA GEORGE Interview by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
November 18, 2006
Having worked her way up through many supporting roles on TV and film, actress Melissa George is currently in the middle of a streak of movies in which she is enjoying headlining credits: last year, she starred opposite Ryan Reynolds in the remake of The Amityville Horror; presently, she is featured in the Hostel-esque thriller Turistas; and next year, she'll be seen in the crime drama Waz and the very promising 30 Days of Night, a story about vampire-like creatures terrorizing an Alaskan town as it waits out its one-month cycle of perpetual darkness. Based on an acclaimed graphic novel, the nightmarish tale also stars Josh Hartnett and Danny Huston, and is directed by David Slade (Hard Candy).
In this exclusive interview, Melissa graciously took the time to speak with us about these projects, previewing the upcoming releases and talking about how they compared.
30 Days of Night will hit theaters in time for Halloween season, on October 19, 2007.
RadioFree.com: I like that you went from being the beautiful mom in The Amityville Horror to being the beautiful co-ed type in Turistas. I'm actually digging the range...
MELISSA: I'm glad you saw that! That's why I wanted to do it. I wanted to do something young...and I just wanted to sort of mix it up.
How is work coming on 30 Days of Night? I'm really looking forward to it...
You know, I'm four months in, and quite honestly, Josh Harnett and I and David Slade are making the most amazing film...I've got another month and a half to shoot. We've been shooting four months, every day. And honestly, you're going to die when you see it.
The story is set in Barrow, Alaska, but you're shooting in New Zealand. Are there actually locations in New Zealand with an Alaska-type climate?
Yeah. We shot in Queenstown in the snow, and all you could see was snow for miles, which is perfect for the beginning of the film. And then we built the Alaskan town of Barrow four times over in Auckland. And it's fake snow, but you realize you need to work with fake snow because you can't work in cold temperatures like that.
Does director David Slade bring the same kind of vibe he had with his previous film, Hard Candy?
Absolutely. Only because the way he shoots, it's about the actors. It's about the acting, and it's here. [demonstrates a close shot] A 150 lens is a wide shot for David Slade...[As with] Hard Candy, everything was really tight. And what he does is, as the story gets deeper and deeper, he goes closer and closer to the actors' faces, and then he pulls back. And that's the scariest, pulling back to a wide. He's very clever with his lenses and his storytelling, and with his actors.
I'm sure we can expect a few cool action sequences, but does the movie also explore the perpetual darkness and the insomnia that might come along with it?
Insomnia, darkness, and it's mainly a love story between Josh and myself. We're a married couple that are divorcing, and we find our love again amongst all this terror that's been going on. That's pretty much what the film's about.
So it's not just a straight up monster flick...
Oh no, it's beautiful. It's like Doctor Zhivago, but without the communism--there are vampires.
Vampire films often lack a formidable villain, but 30 Days of Night is fortunate in that it has Danny Huston filling that role. What kind of presence does he bring to that character?
Danny Huston brings the presence that no actor can bring. He's so talented, he's so classy, he's so clever. And these vampires aren't [typical] vampires. You've never seen a vampire like this before...The way they're playing it...They have their own language. It's quite extraordinary.
You'll also be starring in Waz with Stellan Skarsgard and Selma Blair. That's sort of a horror film as well, yes?
No, they're not horror. I mean, 30 Days of Night is not really horror...It's a graphic novel on the screen, with some horror elements. Waz is about altruism. It's about a serial killer. It's about these two cops that are fighting for the serial killer, so it's a clever thriller.
Genre classifications aside, 30 Days of Night, Waz, and Turistas all seem to have the common thread of putting you through some grueling situations. Of those films, which was the toughest, physically?
Turistas, working in the jungle. It was rough. It was rough climates, rough sets, but really realistic.
It seems like running around barefoot in the jungle would be one of the worst things...
Yeah. We had latex feet made--flesh colored latex feet. I had suggested it because I was sick of stepping on spiders. [laughs] I said, "Can't you make flesh feet?"
How did all of this compare to what you went through on The Amityville Horror?
Amityville was grueling. It was a real character piece, it was a true story, it was hard work. But Turistas is more just like paradise gone wrong.
You have a very loyal online fan community, and you have a real page on MySpace. How did you get involved with that?
My guy who does my website melissageorge.com told me to set up MySpace. But I haven't been on there for months, so I've got to go on there and do a latest post...It's great that I can [debunk] all the rumors and crap that people like to do to get free publicity...And it's coming straight from me.
Do you have anything you'd like to say to your fans directly?
Yeah. I don't know, I'm not sure how far I can do that because I could get in trouble with my work or whatever. But I would love to be able to have that connection with my fans. I think it's really important.