EXCL: Blood & Chocolate ‘s Agnes Bruckner


21-year-old Agnes Bruckner has found a nice niche for herself in the four years since appearing in Karen Moncrieff’s indieBlue Car, and her latest adventure is an action-thriller love story based on Annette Curtis Klause’s young adults’ novel Blood and Chocolate. In it, Bruckner plays a young orphaned woman living in Romania as part of a den of “loup garou” (more commonly known as werewolves), something that poses a problem when she falls for a human artist, played by Hugh Dancy. ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk with this talented actress about her latest movie. (Though we hadn’t had a chance to see the movie at the time we spoke with her.)

ComingSoon.net: So this movie is based on a book, right?
Agnes Bruckner: Yeah, it’s based on a book, but I think it’s a little different from the book in many ways. I actually myself haven’t read the book, just because I knew it was going to be different, and I went as far as reading the script and doing research on wolves and stuff, but I never actually read the book myself.

CS: How’d you first find out about the movie, and why did you want to do it?
Bruckner: I first read the script and just was really intrigued as far as the whole werewolf story. I’ve loved werewolves and vampires ever since I was little, so that was definitely the first thing that drew me to it. I don’t know, just the character and how strong she is, and what a cool, kick-ass role it was, but then also, everybody getting involved. The director Katja von Garnier and working with people from Lakeshore [the production team], Olivier Martinez, Hugh Dancy, amazing actors. So everything just kind of one-by-one made me want to do it more and more.

CS: Were you involved fairly early on in terms of the casting, even before the two male leads?
Bruckner: I believe I came on after Olivier Martinez, I’m pretty sure. I knew it was all kind of cast at the same time, so I think we were all involved around the same time.

CS: How long ago did you shoot the movie and where? It certainly has a very distinct look.
Bruckner: We shot it in Bucharest, Romania, which was an awesome setting just because it’s such a perfect… as far as the atmosphere goes… how like the city is so dark and kind of dirty, but at the same time, so beautiful and the buildings are so original and old. It was such a cool atmosphere to work in, but yeah, that’s where we shot it. It was a pretty cool to work in.

CS: In the movie, you’re actually one of the werewolves?
Bruckner: Yes, my character is Vivian, she’s a werewolf and Olivier Martinez is the leader of the pack who plays Gabriel. Hugh Dancy is not a werewolf, he’s just a regular human, and he comes into her life and they fall in love with each other. I think it’s just the struggle of having to deal with the werewolf side of her and also dealing with human side of her and how she wants to be a part of both, but how do you do that and how do you work it out with someone who’s not a werewolf. Gabriel, he wants to destroy all humans. He thinks they’re disgusting and doesn’t want anything to do with them. I’m also next in line as far as the legend of the werewolves go, I’m next in line to be Gabriel’s mate. I don’t want to be a part of that, so it’s a bunch of different things going on. At the end of the day, it’s kind of a dark love story and then also throw in action and turning into a wolf and everything else.

CS: What’s involved with you turning into a wolf?
Bruckner: The cool thing about this is that we don’t actually turn into like half-werewolf-half-human, we turn into full-on wolves, so they actually brought real live wolves that were with us pretty much the entire time we were shooting, and shot them separately and sometimes together. As far as us turning into them, we had harnesses, and we did a lot of stuntwork for it, but it was mostly CGI. We wore contacts, which were really cool, to kind of help the CGI turn us into the wolves, but other than that, we didn’t have to put on fake hair or fangs or anything like that.

CS: Did you shoot any scenes with the wolves yourself?
Bruckner: Yeah, there were a couple scenes where I’m in the same space as the wolves and it was really amazing. They were real-life wolves. They were trained in a certain way, but they’re such wild animals, you can’t train them, and they were just the most amazing creatures. During the rehearsals, we got to spend time with them and see they had like an Alpha Male and an Alpha Female and a bunch of puppies and teenage ones and see how they interact with each other and see how they walk and the way they look and communicate with each other, which was really, really amazing. It was so cool, and I think it was really helpful when we were working with them. It was really an amazing experience.

CS: And what about action? Is there a lot of it and did you get into any of it?
Bruckner: Yeah, there was quite a few scenes where I had to kick a little butt, which was a lot of fun. Hard work, but at the same time, it was so much fun, you kind of put it past you, but it was definitely a cool experience to do that. When I saw myself on screen doing it, I was like “Whoa, I kind of look cool!” Yeah, there’s definitely scenes like that, and playing with guns and all that kind of stuff I thought was so interesting and so much fun to play.

CS: Katka kind of has an indie background, so was she comfortable doing the action scenes?
Bruckner: Oh, definitely. She’s such an amazing person. Being a director, just to begin with, is just, I think, one of the hardest jobs just because you have to work in every way. You have to work with actors, you have to be involved with the producers and the writing and the action. Every department comes to you, you have to deal with everything. I think she handled it so well, and she made very good choices and decisions, and she was really a pleasant person to work with as far as a director to an actor. She helped me through a lot of things, and she was a pleasure to work with. She really was very, very smart, and she knows how to handle her stuff, definitely.

CS: And she did okay dealing with the burly 300-lb men on the Romanian crew?
Bruckner: (laughs) Yeah, I think we all kind of got along, and we all really meshed well as far as the crew and the director and actors, and we all got along. It was really a pleasure to work on this movie, and I think it turned out really good, and I’m very proud of the director and everyone else involved. I think it’s a really cool movie.

CS: Were the two of you able to bring any of your indie sensibilities to the movie or did it feel more like a studio film?
Bruckner: You don’t really feel that, as far as I’m concerned. It’s the same job for me. Whether it’s an independent movie or not, I put just as much into a bigger production movie and vice versa. As far as the trailer goes, and actually seeing the movie, it definitely looks like a bigger movie, more money and everything else, but at the same time, we put just as much work and our hearts into it as we would an independent film.

CS: Of course, Lakeshore are the producers who did “Underworld,” so is the feel of this movie very different, besides of course, the absence of vampires?
Bruckner: Yeah, there’s no vampires. I think it has a lot of similarities, but at the same time, it is different in its own way, just because the story is different and it has werewolves and everything else. I think Lakeshore is really good at putting a movie like this out there and making these movies happen. Lakeshore, those guys are just so awesome.

CS: Where does the chocolate come into play? I must have missed it in the trailer.
Bruckner: To be honest, I think a lot of people are talking about the title and how it’s weird and everything else, but to me, it kind of represents both feelings or personalities of my character, which is blood being the werewolf side and then chocolate being the female side and how they go together and how they don’t and her dealing with it. That’s how I looked at the title.

CS: So there wasn’t actually chocolate on the set or anything?
Bruckner: Well, I do work at a chocolate shop, if that has anything to do with it. (laughs)

CS: This movie is rated PG-13, so I assume there won’t be a lot of people being mangled or lots of the gore people might be used to in werewolf films.
Bruckner: It doesn’t show a lot of gore and blood and all that stuff, but there’s definitely a lot of action and fighting sequences and stuff like that. But I don’t think the base of the movie is based on the gore of it, but it is an action-thriller movie, so it does have that sense to it as well.

CS: You said that you liked werewolves, but do you prefer less gory movies yourself?
Bruckner: No, I’ve worked on both, I’ve seen both, I like both. I like gory stuff; I also like things that are more like thrillers that you have to figure out in your head, but also being a horror movie. I think this has both involved in it.

CS: I understand that there’s a lot of romance in “Blood and Chocolate”, but do you think there’ll be enough action for guys to enjoy it?
Bruckner: I think it’s a fairly decent mix of the two, because it’s not a love story in a gushy way, I think it’s more of a darker love story. When I saw it, you don’t think of it and go “Awwww, they’re in love…” It’s more of they’re in love but they also have to deal with Gabriel and her being a werewolf, and maybe even her turning against him, so it’s definitely not a gushy love story. There is a lot of depth behind it and a lot of action, so I think it’s a really good mix of both.

CS: As far as the other movies you’ve done, I know you put a lot of work into them, but is it disappointing when a movie doesn’t get released or delayed like “The Woods”?
Bruckner: Yeah, it just came out on DVD not too long ago. Yeah, I don’t know. I just kind of involve myself with projects that I like and that I fall in love with and I want to work on, then whatever happens as far as it coming out, we have no say in. That’s not a part of my job. My job is to just do good movies and to be good in them, pretty much. (laughs) But as far as it being delayed and not coming out in theatres–as far as “The Woods” goes–I thought it was a really cool movie and it’s very different, and [director] Lucky McKee who I’m also a big fan of, I thought did an amazing job, and Patricia Clarkson was really good in it. But for whatever reason, it didn’t come out, only straight to DVD, I think that’s fine, too.

CS: It probably just ran into problems because of the whole MGM buy-out…though of course, “Blood and Chocolate” is being released by the new MGM.
Bruckner: I honestly have no idea about that kind of stuff, but it’s out there and some people will see it. (laughs)

CS: What else have you been working on that might come out soon?
Bruckner: Yeah, I have a movie I just finished shooting about two weeks ago called “Last Resort”–that’s what it’s called right now, but the title might change or it might stay the same. So yeah, that’s coming out in August I think or around that time. It’s directed by Chris Moore [“Project Greenlight” producer] and it’s his directorial debut, and it’s a really cool thriller movie. It’s about seven characters, they all go away to this vacation house after school, and there’s a killer that’s kind of watching them and gives them this whole thing about there can only be one person living by morning, whether they kill each other or kill themselves, there can only be one person living, so it’s kind of like having that situation and how you deal with it, because I think it was really cool because in a weird way, if it actually happened, what would you do in that situation when you’re with your closest friends. It’s a really cool movie.

CS: It’s been a few years since you did “Blue Car” which was a breakout movie for you. That movie’s director, Karen Moncrieff, just came out with her second movie, “The Dead Girl.” Have you had a chance to see it yet?
Bruckner: Is it out yet? Oh, wow, that’s awesome. I’ll definitely go see that.

CS: Have the two of you kept in touch since you each played such a big part in each other’s early careers?
Bruckner: No, we’ve definitely seen each other maybe a couple times, but I know she’s been extremely busy and she just had a baby not too long ago with everything else. I wish her all the luck. I think she’s such an amazing person, and I hope to work with her again.

Blood and Chocolate opens nationwide on Friday, January 26.