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An Interview with Rachel Marie Lewis, Star of House of Good and Evil

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2013

Films starring Rachel Marie Lewis on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your movie House of Good and Evil - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

The film, to me, is about isolation and grieving, and a woman's psychological struggle as she deals with both. I play Maggie Conley (that woman), who moves to the house with her husband Chris after suffering a loss, and has to cope without him around very much to help her. There's more to it than that, but I don't want to give anything away ;) 

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and what kind of a strain was it to go through this, how shall I put it, turmoil of emotions the script demanded?

 

I studied grief, loss, some psychology/mental cases. I found studying the stages of grief particularly interesting and applicable. I also listened to a lot of music. That's kind of my thing. I've started making soundtracks that I find stimulating for my characters. Anyone on set will tell you I almost always had my headphones on. And as far as the emotional demands... every day was draining. Both physically and emotionally. For past roles I've played, there have been one or two emotional scenes and it was like "Phew!! They're off my shoulders!" ... but with this, every day was a challenge and stretch. I think I expected the emotional impact, but not the physical. I remember running A LOT. And biking, and falling, and of course, going swimming in the ice cold stream. Even if it isn't shown for long in the film, doing it take after take is altogether different.

 

How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and what were your reactions when first reading the script?

 

I sought out Blu. I saw a post for the role, knew it was something different and that I could do it. I went out on a limb and contacted him directly. He responded, and got me into casting.  

 

What can you tell us about your collaboration with House of Good and Evil's writer and producer Blu de Golyer [Blu de Golyer interview - click here] and director David Mun [David Mun interview - click here]?

 

They've both been great. I say that completely genuinely. And Sue De Golyer too, who was incredibly helpful and accomodating on set. I didn't ask for much, but Blu and Sue were always three steps ahead regardless. My legs got pretty beat up one day, and I remember going back to the trailer to find a a tub of purple goo for my feet to soak in and a bag full of every aid I could need and then some! Blu has also been amazing through post and incredibly supportive. Has kept me very in the loop. And Dave... was just awesome. Which I've told him a hundred times, so I shouldn't boost his ego more ;) He handles things calmly and with a great sense of humor. He was so honest and upfront with me, which I really appreciated. If something I did was not working, he would tell me and we'd figure it out. Because of that, I trusted and valued his feedback all the more, and knew he wasn't bullsh*tting ('scuse the French) if he liked something.

 

With the film being first and foremost a horror movie - is this a genre you can at all relate to, and why (not)?

 

The "Horror" element? Not so much. I mean, have I been scared? Certainly. Have I felt alone? Yes. Those things I could relate to. I understood Maggie, but I don't think I'm much like her. Mostly, in bringing her to life, I just used my imagination.

 

What can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?

 

LOTS OF BUGS. Seriously. Praying mantises half the size of my hand and wolf spiders that looked like slightly smaller tarantulas. The shed we filmed in was FULL of them. I was quite literally terrified when we filmed those scenes. And BEES. I have never been stung by one, so I don't know if I'm allergic or not and was kind of paranoid about it. The crew made fun of me a lot for it. Outside of the bugs, though, filming in Floyd was great, and the house was very isolated from the town which not only suited the script, but made it a great atmosphere to clear the mind and work without distractions.

 

Let's go back to the beginnings of your career - what got you into acting to begin with, and what can you tell us about your training as an actress?

 

I just remember having a wild imagination as a kid. My mom would read to my brother and me every night, and I loved the stories and wanted to jump inside them. I was a little shy in school, but knew I had a lot bottled inside of me, and drama class was the first place I had the freedom to express it. I started taking classes at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, then was very involved in theater through high school and had an awesome director, Gina "Pev" Parrish who took me under her wing. I sing, so I did a LOT of musicals in those days. Then I got into NYU, and actually shied away from acting for a while. I was supporting myself mostly on my own, and got the common "Do I want to be a struggling artist forever?"-worries. I chose to major in communications instead and was pretty miserable. The separation from the art, I think, made me realize how much I needed to be doing it. I auditioned for NYU's Tisch School of the Arts halfway through my freshman year, was accepted, and transferred over. Best decision ever. I was placed in the Stella Adler Studio where I trained for 2.5 years, then spent some time at Stonestreet Studio for film and TV before graduating.

 

Can you still remember your first time in front of a movie camera, and what was that experience like?

 

My dad's old camcorder? Ha. No, but probably the student films I did in college. NYU has a great film department, so I learned a lot from working with those kids. I had done a lot of theater, so I remember there was a lot of terminology I wasn't used to. I think once I got used to the technical aspects, I became a lot more relaxed in the acting.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I have a couple projects lined up that I don't think I can talk about yet. I've been working on some short films too, which have been a lot of fun. I shot a short, Angeles, the other week with director Richard Parkin, whose last short Contra El Mar was an Academy Award finalist and festival hit last year. The film is a series of vignettes focusing on women facing uncertainty and isolation in LA.

 

Doing a bit of research on you, I found this piece of trivia on IMDb: "Had her legs molded to be used as prosthetics in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan." Ummm, would you at all like to elaborate?

 

Haha - It is a pretty funny story actually. Originally, they were looking at me to be Natalie Portman's stand-in on the film. I ended up not getting it, and as I was about to walk out, Darren and Mike Marino (the prosthetic make-up artist), came in saying "Wait! We need someone to stay for make-up testing!" They selected me, and I ended up having them test out those swan-like goosebumps all over my arms and torso all day!! I got to work with and chat with Darren a bit, who was really great. I will say that getting all that glue off my body was not so great though! After that long day, they had me back to test all the face make-up, and Mike asked to use my legs to be molded for Winona Ryder's hospital scene in the film... you know... where they're all cut up and bloody in the bed? Super random, I know, but a fun story to tell :) If you go to my website, there are some photos of the molding process.

http://www.rachelmarielewis.com/albums/880-black-swan 

 

How would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?

 

I owe a lot to my training. I really do. It gave me a really great toolbox to pull from - some tools I use religiously, and some not as often, but it's always great to have the notes and experiences to refer back to. I could spend pages on this answer, but mainly, for me, objective is key. Figuring out what a character wants and how they go about getting it. Also, really finding what there is to love in them... even if they are the villian. A teacher told me that once and I've never forgotten it. Oh, and music is a huge part of my prep. It just opens my mind and triggers me like nothing else, which I've already said.

 

Actresses (or indeed actors) who inspire you?

 

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Most recently, Jessica Chastain. She stole my heart in The Help, and I think everything she's done since has been great. On top of that, she just seems like a lovely person. And growing up? I mean, every actress says this but it's so true: Meryl Streep. I remember how blown away I was the first time I watched Sophie's Choice. She's just awesome.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

There are several, but the first one that always comes to mind is Forrest Gump. I never tire of it. Ever.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

There are some, but I'll keep them to myself.

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

www.rachelmarielewis.com

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
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... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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