CHRISTINA MILIAN on 'PULSE' Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
July 28, 2006
Technology meets the supernatural in Pulse, a horror film in which the internet and wi-fi serve as conduits for the restless spirits of the dead to encroach upon the world of the living. Propagating wherever a wireless signal can be found, these ghosts spread like a disease, infecting both man and machine.
Based upon the Japanese film Kairo, Pulse stars Kristen Bell (TV's Veronica Mars) as Mattie, a young woman who first encounters the paranormal phenomenon when her boyfriend hangs himself, leaving behind an infected computer system.
In this interview, singer Christina Milian, who co-stars as Mattie's best friend, talks about working in the horror genre, shooting in Romania, and rollerskating in a Jessica Simpson video alongside Eva Longoria and Christina Applegate.
MEDIA: Do you think technology is bringing people closer together or forcing them further apart?
CHRISTINA: I think it works both ways. Further apart in the sense that I don't think people are having an actual connection anymore to each other. I've found that people are dating [online]. I'm not talking about like "find a date," because I think that's cool if you can find somebody someplace else. But I've got guys that have tried to date me, literally for a month, over texting. And there's so much charisma through the text, but then when you meet them in person, they're nothing like that. [laughs] You go on one date, and it's not the same. So I think it's definitely some way to hide yourself. [But] it's connected me, in many senses, [to] my fans. I think it brings us closer together. You're able to find people. My mom found a high school friend through the internet.
Have you seen Kairo, the Japanese film upon which Pulse was based?
No, I haven't gotten to see it. I want to see it. It's funny because when we were shooting the movie, Jim Sonzero, the director, had it, but he didn't want us to see it. I don't know why. Maybe he just didn't want us to make comparisons during shooting. But I heard it came out on DVD, so I'm going to pick it up and see it before this movie comes out so I can compare [them].
What was the atmosphere like on the set? Did you do anything to lighten the mood?
It was actually very dark in Romania. We were there for two months, so it was about entertaining yourself a little bit more. We had the worst trailers that smelled like dead cat. It was disgusting. And there were wild dogs everywhere. They have over 70,000 wild dogs in Romania. But there were like a couple dogs that were friendly and became our friends. [laughs] So I guess that lightened the mood for us. But we basically spent a lot of time (you can ask Kristen) working out. We spent like an hour to two hours a day just running on the treadmill for fun. And our iPods were on us 24/7.
Did you get the chance to travel around Romania?
No. Mostly I stayed within Bucharest. A couple people went to Transylvania, but they said it wasn't all it [was cracked] up to be, anyways. [laughs] They said they went out there and it was nothing like what they expected, and the beach had bugs. So I'm happy I didn't go. I did get to go to Rome for three days, which was nice. I found three days and told them I was doing a show there, but really it was just a vacation. [laughs] It was the best time ever. Believe me, I needed it. It was hard. It was a little depressing, to be honest with you, being out there and shooting the film there. And on top of that, you're shooting a scary movie. But it worked out in its own way, because it kind of puts you in the mood for the scenes you're preparing for.
What was the food like over there?
I eat anything. The one good thing that they had was Benihana. [laughs] Benihana was like the Mr. Chow or the Crustacean's of Romania. It was so good. I did try the Romanian food right before we left. It just didn't look as appetizing, but it was actually very good. They had the most delicious vegetables because everything there is organic and fresh, and it's not all that extra stuff that we put in ours. I got by with the food, believe me. I found my way. [laughs]
How was it working with director Jim Sonzero?
If you've seen Jim, he's like buff and he's got all these tattoos. [laughs] I'm like, "Is he a biker? Is he kind of weird? There's something different going on about him." But he's actually like the coolest guy in the world. He's great with direction. We spent a lot of time doing table reads because there were a lot of different changes that they made in the script. So he was very hands on, and he allowed us to be hands on in giving us [freedom to say], "This doesn't make sense," or "I wouldn't say it this way." He was really cool and very open.
Which horror movies really frightened you while growing up?
As a kid, Stephen King's It. I was never scared of clowns, but after seeing that movie, it did give me a little phase where I don't look at clowns the same way at all. Freddy Krueger was another one. When I watch it now, I can't believe how scared I was of him because he tells a bunch of jokes! But Freddy Krueger...I had a lot of nightmares about him. [laughs]
How did you like having the tables turned, and being the person doing the scaring?
[laughs] I love it. I think it's cool. Like being within the scene, it's like, "Oh, this is all that it was that they were doing?" I always watch scary movies and wonder, "Were they actually scared?" But being in the scene, it was like, "Okay, you've had your make-up done and I know what's going to happen." But at the same time, they put me in moments [that] were very true to life. Like the laundromat scene, I've actually felt like that. I've been in my apartment building's laundry room, and you're by yourself. The hairs on the back of your neck are raising because you're afraid somebody's going to come in and do something. I get freaked out. So they put me in moments where I actually was scared. And they were scared for me, especially when the phantom attacks me. [laughs]
Was that creature added with computer effects?
No, there was somebody there. They had six guys inside of the washing machine. And I didn't know what the effect was going to be. All I read on the script was [that] a spider-like [creature] comes out of the machine. And I thought they were going to do CGI. But they actually had the guy there, and I had no clue how they were going to do it. And so I said, "Don't let me see it. When we say 'action,' I'm just going to go for it." And the next thing I know, there were the six guys in there [coming out], and it was so fast. I'm getting chills thinking about it! Their timing was impeccable. It was just so freaky and scary, the scream that came out of me was just so natural. It was a very scary moment. [laughs]
So when you watch the movie now, does it just make you laugh? Or do you still get scared?
I still do. Especially that scene. It's funny, I've seen that particular scene probably like three or four times, and every time I watch it, I don't feel like it's me that's in the scene. I feel like I'm watching a movie. It feels weird. I still get scared and I get chills from it, so I think that's cool.
As a music artist yourself, who do you listen to?
I listen to everything. I really do. I listen to Fall Out Boy, and I listen to Jay-Z. [laughs] So I listen to everything, and my iPod is just filled with different types of music. Lately, I'd probably say I've been listening a lot to LeToya Luckett. I'm really happy for her. She's doing well. And I'm looking forward to Christina Aguilera's album coming out, and Justin Timberlake.
How was the experience of working on Jessica Simpson's music video for "A Public Affair"?
It was fun. It was actually the first time I met Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Andy Dick...I'm a huge fan of Andy Dick. He's stupid. [laughs] I love him, he's stupid. And Jessica Simpson, I had met her on different occasions, but we had never really gotten to hang out, so it was the first time, on the set. And it was actually a lot of fun. All the girls were really nice...It was laid back. It was cool, because when you're put into the position of being on another female's video, you never know how you're going to be treated...And I didn't want to be in the way. But they were the coolest group of people. There were no egos, nothing like that going on on the set. And we had some very funny moments, actually, during shooting, that were accidental, like us hitting each other or people falling. Eva's dress went all the way up by accident, so you could see everything. [laughs] We had some funny moments that were going on, but we giggled and laughed it off.
The video takes place at a roller rink. Are you a good rollerskater in real life?
I'm not very good. I'm just decent enough to stay on my feet. [laughs]