Playing the daughter of a maniac
Australian actress Sophie Monk isn’t accustomed to doing genre work. In fact, she’s primarily known for being in comedies and of course for being a former pop star in her native country. However, when she was offered the chance to play Alexa Concannon, the daughter of long-missing horror director William Concannon (William Sadler) in The Hills Run Red, she saw a rare opportunity to portray a multi-faceted character, unlike what she’d been offered in the past or what you’d find in the average horror film.
Shock Till You Drop got a chance to chat with Monk about tackling this character, working with director Dave Parker in Bulgaria and what it was like to go face to face with Hills masked maniac, Babyface. Read on for the interview!
Robg.: You’ve primarily done comedies up until now, although I imagine you get offered horror films all the time. What was it about The Hills Run Red that set this particular genre film apart from things you may have been offered in the past?
Sophie Monk: It was definitely the character of Alexa Concannon. In most horror movies, you expect to run through the forest, and your cloths get caught on a tree and you end up in your underwear! But this character just had so many levels to her personality that I definitely wanted to try playing it. She starts out a heroin addict and cleans up â I got to play so many characters in one film. So to me that was important.
Robg.: You character is the daughter of William Concannon, the infamous director of The Hills Run Red, the film these characters are looking for. How much did you get to work with William Sadler to come up with your family rapport?
Sophie: Actually, I asked him the day before we started, “If you have any advice or any pointers on how I can make this thing better, please tell me?” So he gave me acting advice. He’d say, “Ok for this next bit, if you pretend you’re here and do this, it’ll come off as this.” He gave me a lot of help.
Robg.: Dave Parker hadn’t directed a narrative feature in a while, he’d been doing documentaries these last few years, but what was your initial reaction to working with Dave as a director?
Sophie: Oh he was great. He’s a great director, and he was fun as well. We ended up all hanging out as friends. It felt like we were working on a school project together. It was really, really fun. Also, Joel Silver being one of the producers helped me decide to do it. And then when I met Dave on set, he was just very cool.
Robg.: How’d this working experience in Bulgaria with Dave at the helm differ from maybe some of the other director’s you’ve worked with?
Sophie: I think this was smaller, and being in a foreign country, most of the people around you that are working on it don’t speak English! So, it was very much more intimate then other movies that I’ve done. Because Dave as a director is mainly dealing with the 4 of us â me, Janet Montgomery, Tad Hilgenbrink and Alex Wyndham. So we got a lot of attention.
Robg.: Director’s are often said to be either “actor director’s” or “crew director’s”, focusing on one aspect of the film more then the other. How’d Dave balance both?
Sophie: Well, he only really gave me direction when I needed it, really. Otherwise, he’d just let me go. He was very open and collaborative. I understood the character, so I ask a lot of questions if I need to, but I felt very comfortable with this character. He’s a great director. He’s very good with timing and just getting everything down that needs to be done. He’s fantastic with both cast and crew.
Robg.: One of the things people have been talking about is the character of Babyface himself. What were your initial reactions to seeing Raicho Vasilev as Babyface for the first time?
Sophie: Well Dave wouldn’t let me see him until the first day we were shooting with him! He hid Babyface from us. And when I first saw him, he scared me to death! We had to reshoot the first scene because of my reaction. It’s the middle of the night and I’m singing this lullaby to this huge man. It was so funny to try to do that!
Robg.: Raicho is pretty hilarious on the DVD’s behind-the-scenes when getting ready to play Babyface.
Sophie: Yeah, he was a Bulgarian guy and he was hilarious. He was so, so sweet and timid. Very un-aggressive and shy, but once he put that mask on, he had no problem intimidating us at all. He’s a stuntman, so he’d do anything. He was game for anything. He was really easy to work with.
Robg.: Did you run into any complications while filming? Any challenges stunt-wise or anything that maybe you weren’t accustomed to, considering this was Bulgaria?
Sophie: No, I’m very Australian so nothing ever surprises me. And I always just go with the flow. Once you’re in a movie, you’re in the filmmakers hands. The hours were very long and walking into a supermarket late at night after work with blood all over me was odd. Freaked a few people out! But otherwise, it was fine.
Robg.: For a relatively small movie, The Hills Run Red has been generating a lot of buzz these last few months. Are you excited for the release?
Sophie: Yeah, I really am! You see, I don’t google myself otherwise I’d get corrupted everyday. [laughs] So I haven’t read the reviews on this actually. I probably should! But I don’t want to read from someone that I was bad or something.
Robg.: You credit The Hills Run Red as one of your best movie-making experiences. Does that still hold true?
Sophie: Yes, definitely. Because I usually do comedies, and this was just so different for me as an actress. It allowed me to play multiple roles in that movie. And it was challenging and different, but I loved it. Comedy comes very easily for me.
Robg.: Since you’ve seen the movie, any scene or moment that stands out? Something you like or that surprises you?
Sophie: Well, I’m surprised by the scene of me stripping on the pole! Because I’m so not sexy to me, so watching that to me is hilarious!
Robg.: Do you consider yourself a horror fan?
Sophie: I love to be in them, but I’m scared to watch them though! [laughs] Doing them? I love it. I don’t like playing the “Hi, I’m Jane” type girl. I have to be a real character.
Robg.: I imagine you must’ve grown up and seen some of the classics! Any personal faves?
Sophie: Well, I like The Others a lot. I don’t know if you’d consider that horror, but I love movies with twists in them. I like Stephen King’s It as well. That one scared the crap out of me, I couldn’t shower for years after that! That clown!
The Hills Run Red is available on DVD from Warner Premiere on September 27.
Source: Robert Galluzzo