Known mainly for her work in period drama films and TV, Perdita Weeks is breaking in the the world of horror in an unexpected way. A self-professed "scaredy cat," Perdita shared some of her horror filming experiences with me ahead of the release of her new film [As Above/So Below](movie:1284983):
Tell me about Scarlett - how do you identify with her?
Scarlett is a very headstrong, very motivated character, she's kind of adrift in the world in the way that she has no home, and no family left - which is why she behaves in the way that she does, because she has nothing to lose. She's very very brave, I feel like she's quite a likeable character - I feel like there is a lot of me in her up to a certain point.
Did you do any personal research for the film?
Absolutely, that's always the exciting thing about being offered a role finally after chasing it for a while, if you want something, when I want something really badly, I spend hours and hours trolling the internet looking for backstories and you just kind of go crazy a little bit, and I have notebook full to the brim with all this information that you'll probably forget, but it's great fun to become an expert in this bizarre field of knowledge for a brief period of time. There are scenes where Ben and I are working out these incredibly complex riddles about astrology and Copernicus and Galileo, and if you don't know what you're talking about in any way it's impossible to learn dialogue like that because it's just so abstract. You have to have a foundation of general knowledge in that area.
Your career has been built on appearances in period films and tv - between period pieces and modern settings, which do you prefer?
I love period drama, and that's something that the English do very well, modern stuff is more relevant for sure, but for comfort, wearing a corset is so incredibly uncomfortable, it gives me instant rage. They lace it up, and my blood boils.So for comfort and ease, and being able to be more yourself, modern is the way to go.
Horror films are a new venture for you, what was the hardest thing about making a horror film?
What was hard about it...it was hard technically. There were a lot of scenes filmed jumping around, involving costume changes, gallons of fake blood and mud. I was covered in fake blood for a lot of the film. Lots of time spent on my elbows and knees scrabbling through little tiny spaces, and being very cold. Horror films are about heightened energy and tension, I often had splitting headaches while shooting just from being so tense while doing a scene - we really went for it. We did massive long takes, and it was physically exhausting.
Horror films deal in some very visceral territory - were there any scenes that made you uncomfortable to watch again on the big screen?
There was a scene that was uncomfortable to film and horrible to watch on film, but the death of one of the characters - the first death - was truly horrific to watch and very realistically done, all hail the special effects makeup people, it was harrowing to see it on film.
Horror film sets are known for being very dedicated to lightening the mood during filming. Did anyone play any pranks on set?
Generally we just had a really good time on set, lots of singing and beatboxing - Francois who played Papillion is a great singer and Ali is a great beatboxer. It could have been such a nightmarish shoot, it should have been, but with the Dowdle's being such nice, fun chill guys, it was really fun.