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Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor
for Radio Free Entertainment

November 9, 2006

In the the psychological thriller Bug, a woman (Ashley Judd) gets involved with an eccentric stranger (Michael Shannon), and the two become caught up in the nightmarish paranoia that tiny bugs are crawling in their skin. The movie is adapted from an off-Broadway play and directed by William Friedkin, the Academy Award winning filmmaker behind The Exorcist and The French Connection.

While promoting her independent character drama Come Early Morning, Ashley Judd took a few moments to talk about her involvement with Bug.

The Interview What was your experience of working on Bug like?

ASHLEY: The experience was really good. Holly Wiersma, who was a producer on Come Early Morning, also helped produce Bug, so it was a very seamless transition for me. It was also shot in the South. We shot the movie consecutively on a small stage that was built, a single location. And we worked French hours most of the film. I actually woke up on my own one time without the alarm clock. Unprecedented in the annals of movie-making, for me at least. And working with Michael Shannon, in particular, was really a joy. I felt like that must have been what it was like to work with Al Pacino on Dog Day Afternoon. I mean, there were times when, literally, the crew erupted into astonished applause. He was remarkable in the role. And it didn't feel like a horror movie while we were shooting it. And I suppose that no good horror movie would feel like that...It was a very screwed up, psychological situation in this motel room with two lonely people who bond over their delusions. That's really, for me, what it was about. And hooking into the really damaged soul of my character was what that process was about. And that it turned out to be so terrifying is just kind of cool. [laughs]

Director William Friedkin also helmed what is arguably the greatest horror film of all time, The Exorcist. Did you feel as though you were in the shadow of that movie in any way while making Bug?

No. And I very much believe in things unseen, both of positive and destructive energy, and I have never seen The Exorcist through from start to finish. I find it too realistic, frankly, and too disturbing for me. I absolutely believe in spiritual warfare and have experienced it in my life. So I respect Mr. Friedkin's extraordinary success with that, but it's not a picture I'll ever see.

[Note: Ashley talks about getting into character for Bug in our interview with her for Come Early Morning.]

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