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SUCCUBI, SEDUCTION, AND TEARING UP EASTER EGGS:
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH FIERMAN ON 'SIREN'

Interview by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for RadioFree.com
November 21, 2016

One of the most memorable moments in the 2012 found footage horror anthology V/H/S can be found in the short segment Amateur Night, when an oddly alluring young woman known as Lily (Hannah Fierman) is picked up by a pack of boorish drunks, only to turn the tables on her would-be sexual assailants by transforming into a ravenous monster and attacking. In 2016's spinoff Siren, Lily takes center stage as her story is expanded into a feature film: in this iteration, she is held captive by the enigmatic Mr. Nyx (Justin Welborn) and forced to perform in his underground club, only to unleash hell when she is freed by a quartet of friends (Michael Aaron Milligan, Chase Williamson, Hayes Mercure, and Randy McDowell) looking to throw a bachelor party.

Siren and Amateur Night both draw upon a mix of sources in their fleshing out of Lily. Along with the title of the film, obviously, her power of flight and ability to put men in a trance with a seductive song imply that she is a siren or harpy from Greek mythology. Meanwhile, her name and the fact that she is summoned and subsequently bound by a metal shackle adorned with runes imply that she is a demonic succubus. Whatever her specific origins, Lily is an enthralling and badass antihero that fans have embraced, and she is clearly the favorite to root for in spite of (or perhaps because of) her diabolic nature.

Ironically, actress Hannah Fierman, who so deftly portrays Lily with a skillful blend of alluring temptation and tense unrightness, went into the role a bit averse to scary movies, and only learned to embrace the genre after bonding with her character. "I never was a horror fan," she admits. "They terrify me. I'm really sensitive and I'll have nightmares for weeks. I can't even watch myself half the time."

In this exclusive interview, Hannah talks about Lily and some of the oddities of working on Siren and its predecessor Amateur Night, from ripping up fluid-filled condoms to having blood-sucking bugs in all the wrong places.

Siren is currently available on Google Play, YouTube, and other VOD services.

Viewers should also check out Hannah in a totally different light in her drama Hold Me.




RadioFree.com: As someone who has shied away from horror movies, how did you originally come to the role of Lily in Amateur Night?

HANNAH: [Director] David Bruckner asked me to go over some ideas for a movie, and I met with him and [illustrator/storyboard artist] Matt Brohammer--he was doing some concept art for it at the time. And I had a little outline that he gave me that I read, and he pitched it to me. And David's just such an amazing storyteller that even though I wasn't originally a fan of the genre (or of running around doing nudity and, you know...being a naked demon), it was just such a compelling, fun story. And he's so collaborative that we sort of developed it together. So it became precious to me in that way.

Did you and David have discussions as to what type of creature Lily actually is?

Well, there was always a big "up in the air" kind of thing after the short came out--people were calling her a vampire, people were calling her all sorts of things. And she was originally supposed to be a succubus in the short. There were actually so many backgrounds that I read about succubi, and some of the backstories were so interesting. Like one really obscure one [said that] succubi are male rapists who go to this certain circle of hell where they are physically turned into these sex-crazed women beasts, and then sucked back into the earth to rape, and consequentially be raped over and over and over again by men, by a force of their own nature, which I thought was pretty nuts. But that's a really obscure one.



Were you concerned that a feature film about Lily might reveal too much about her and diminish her menace, given that mystery is one of the things that makes her scary?

Yeah, that's a very good point. I didn't want to screw it up, you know? We had so many fans, and people got tattoos of it--like, tattoos with my face on them! It's crazy! I didn't want to mess it up for them [and] make them regret their tattoos. But I liked the script, I thought it was interesting. And I felt it was its own thing--you know, absolutely its own movie. So you can like one without liking the other. And I don't think that the short should be threatened at all by the feature, because it's a different director, it's a different [format], it's not found footage, she's not a succubus anymore, she's now a siren. Basically, the only thing they have in common is me.

Lily doesn't speak often, but she does have a very memorable catchphrase in "I like you." Do you think Lily is fluent in human language, or does she just mimic the sound of those words because it elicits a certain reaction from her victims?

That's a good question. I think that she has some knowledge of the language and just uses it to get by. I don't think she's loquacious or anything like that. It's her animal nature. She understands human sexuality--she really understands sexuality on a very intense level. [laughs]

One of Lily's go-to, signature moves is ripping off men's genitals. In those scenes, were digital or practical effects used?

Oh gosh, on the short, I think they took a condom, I believe, and put two little plastic easter eggs inside, and filled it full of some sort of fluid to make it heavy. And I think they might have stuffed another condom, too, and then covered it in fake blood. It was not very believable in reality, but it looked good on camera.



I would imagine a lot could go amiss in a horror movie with action and stunts. Were there any scenes that were particularly challenging to shoot?

Yeah, there's a lot of stunt things that people are willing to do when they have clothes on, but it's just not feasible [when you're nude]--you know, you're on set, you've got the whole crew around you, you've got, like, half the cast. You're not going to be all right with bending over and doing leaps in the air and sh*t like that when you're completely buck naked. So I think that that might put a damper on most of the large, physical scenes. I had an amazing stunt double, so that was extremely helpful as well.

Just being exposed to the elements seems difficult...

Yeah, it was difficult...There was a bunch of mosquitoes when we were in the swamp, there were chiggers, which are these little things that burrow in your skin, and they would get into the harness. So whenever we were doing the flying sequences, we had to be careful because the chiggers would get into the harnesses and then you'd be all eaten up around wherever the harness was sitting on your skin. And also, you were sweating your ass off because it was really hot, so it would attract the [bugs] as well.

Your film Hold Me looks like a big departure from the horror of Amateur Night and Siren. What can fans expect from your role in that project?

That is a movie that I am very proud of. I think it's some of my best work. It's a drama, and it's very heavy material. It's about people voluntarily being euthanized, and I play a character that holds them while they're being euthanized. She's sort of like a "prostitute of death," to put it bluntly--not in a sexual way, but she shows up before they're euthanized, so she'll comfort them and hold them and listen to them and things like that.

We'll be sure to check it out...Thanks for your time today, Hannah!

Okay, bye, Michael!


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