Shock Interview: Jodelle Ferland Talks The Tall Man

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Shock got in touch with The Tall Man‘s Jodelle Ferland to chat about her turn as Jenny in Pascal (Martyrs) Laugier’s latest film.

In the interview you’ll find inside, Ferland gives us the details on her character, working with Laugier, trying to put a label on the film and becoming a genre film veteran.

The Tall Man is the story of an isolated, slowly dying mining town where children are vanishing without a trace – abducted, the townsfolk whisper, by a mysterious entity known locally as “The Tall Man.” Town nurse Julia Denning seems skeptical…until her young David disappears in the middle of night. Frantic to rescue the boy, Julia lives every parent’s darkest nightmare. 


Shock Till You Drop: You brought a very authentic quality to the role of Jenny. Did you do anything to get in to character?

Jodelle Ferland: I’m not the biggest method actor. I’m not the type of person who would stop talking for a week to prepare for a role. I definitely did a lot of talking with Pascal [Laugier], and Jessica [Biel] about Jenny, we worked together to figure out exactly how to portray her. Pascal worked with me on rehearsing the scenes until everything was the way that he wanted it.

Shock: Was it challenging to play a character who could not express herself verbally?

Ferland: It was very difficult. It was really quite a challenge for me. As a person who does speak, it is my first instinct for expressing myself. There’s not a lot of room for improvisation when you can’t express yourself with words. When you’re doing a scene, it’s quite weird, because you can’t put the words and emotions and actions together. There are no words. You have to rely on your facial expressions to show what the character is thinking and feeling. It took it bit of work.

Shock: At times, The Tall Man is an uncomfortable film to watch. Was it a difficult film to make?

Ferland: I think so. Yes. I always like to do movies that are a bit of a challenge, because there’s nothing exciting about doing a movie that you’ve done a million times before. So, I always like to make movies that are different than anything I’ve done before. This is definitely different from anything I’ve done before and my character is different than any that I’ve played before. I think we all really enjoyed it and I think we are all very happy with the result.

Shock: What were your first thoughts after reading the script?

Ferland: I loved it. I loved that it was very different from what I was expecting. I get a lot of scripts. A lot of the time, they are completely the same. The Tall Man was totally different than what I was expecting. There are a lot of twists and turns. By the end of the film, you realize that what you’ve just seen is not at all what you thought it was going to be. From the start, you think you are watching one type of movie, and by the end, you realize that it’s completely different than what you thought it was going to be.

Shock: It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen recently that you can’t really put a genre on. It’s a little bit of everything.

Ferland: Yeah. I completely agree with you. I don’t even know what to say when people ask what genre it is.

Shock: You’ve worked in a significant amount of genre films. What attracts you to those roles?

Ferland: I think my favorite thing about playing the darker roles is that it’s not me. I love playing roles that are completely different from who I am in real life. I’m definitely not The Devil. (Laughs). In The Tall Man, I was on the opposite end. I wasn’t playing the monster. It’s not so much about the genre as it is about being an enjoyable or challenging role to play.

Shock: What’s up next for you?

Ferland: It’s always really unpredictable in the film industry. You think you know what’s going to be happening for the next few months and then everything changes. I have been working quite a bit, lately. I should be filming a movie called Red very soon. It’s loosely based on the Little Red Riding Hood story and I also just finished work on a short film called The Goodbye Girl.


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