Today I’m excited to say we have e in for a quick chat about her new film Avenged. Now yesterday I wrote a glowing review of this horror/action/love story (here) where I praised Amanda for being able to guide us through a film as a character who is deaf and mute, is raped, killed and then seeks revenge on her attackers as a possessed and zombiefied corpse that’s slowly falling apart. It’s a really tough job which she pulls off extremely well so it’s nice to be able to have her here today!
Read on for our chat:
Hello! Thanks for taking some time to chat with me today? How are you?
Great, thanks for asking. How about yourself?
I’m good thank you. First of all, congratulations on Avenged! It was such a pleasure to watch a horror movie that was as inventive, affecting and well made. How did you first get involved in the project?
Thank you, It’s really rewarding to hear that. As far as getting involved with the project, a friend from acting class forwarded me the craigslist ad seeking an actress. My first thought was – It’s craigslist – it’s probably a porn, and I almost didn’t submit myself for the role. Turns out it’s my first leading role in a really cool project so the joke’s on me. I auditioned with the abduction scene, got a callback, and then Michael offered me the role.
Now I would have thought your character was a really tough one to play… first of all you have to effectively play three versions of her; there’s the normal woman, then the undead revenge driven version of her and finally there’s her when channeling the Apache warrior. Was it daunting to take on such a character?
You know, it was both exciting and terrifying. I had moments of – ‘my god, what did I get myself into? Am I going to be able to pull this off?’ but I also live for those moments. So, it was a welcome challenge.
And how about all of the different emotional realms you have to guide the audience through? Your character really has to explore quite a spectrum of human emotion here…
Yeah, she went through it all. I guess, I’m gonna credit Michael on guiding me through all that and the gift of his direction, because it’s kind of a blur to me at this point.
Definitely. The internet is such an amazing resource as an actor and artist. I read a lot. I watched a lot. MTV’s True Life: I’m Deaf was particularly helpful for me. Not just for the vocal quality, but for understanding what it’s like to be deaf and then get a cochlear implant. When Zoe comes back from the dead, she can hear for the first time in her life. Michael also talked to me about how Zoe never saw herself as being handicapped. Being deaf was something that made her unique and made her a rebel. I took that to heart. She doesn’t apologize for who she is.
It was a really interesting aspect to her character and then of course when she becomes a zombie of sorts meant that you were often having to work with only your physicality to communicate with the audience. How do you find that style of acting compared to dialogue driven roles?
I guess it shouldn’t have been more difficult, because all acting stems from the same quest of truth. But I definitely had days where I would joke that this would be so much easier if I actually had lines.
Haha! Now let’s talk about the action aspect of your role. You really sell those scenes which is a hard thing to do! How much training did it require to be able to do all of that?
Well, I do want to be clear that I had some wonderful stunt doubles for the really dangerous sequences, but I trained my ass off. I took wushu classes for 9 months, did some archery lessons, and worked with the stunt crew on the actual fight sequences. Truthfully, they become like dances in a way. Aggressive, but dances none the less.
Michael had a list of films for me to watch to understand his vision tonally. That was certainly helpful. Otherwise, I tried to focus more on documentaries that I felt could inform the character at the different stages of her journey.
Excellent, and finally Amanda what else do you have coming out which we should be keeping an eye open for?
I spent all of last year writing and developing a script set in Minneapolis in 1994. Who knows how and when it will get made. The joys of indie filmmaking. But it’s definitely my baby right now and it’s definitely a goal to get it made.
Haha I hear about those joys all the time! Thanks again for chatting with me today!
Of course, my pleasure.
And that’s everything for today folks! I hope you enjoyed the interview with Amanda and please do check out Avenged if you’re a horror/action fan – it’s a lot of fun. Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comment box below before you go!