By: Kyle Reese
Hannah Cowley is busy these days with a slew of films ready to come out in 2014 as well as films she will be this coming year. She has several horror films on her resume and we spoke with her about a few of those horror films. Check out the interview with Hannah Cowley after the jump.
Igor’s Lab: Tell us a little about yourself?
Hannah Cowley: Ah, brutal question! Hannah Cowley. Actress, ersatz director. English blood, Scottish heart,Australian by default. Music and film obsessive, omniverous reader and writer, ex-quasihistorian, lover of animals and cold weather, hater of centipedes.
IL: Was there a particular movie or actor that influenced you to get into the business?
HC: Hmmm...it wasn’t definitively one thing or another. My lists of favourite films and actors is practically endless but Pete Postlethwaite, Maggie Smith, Monica Vitti, Daniel Day Lewis, Judy Greer, Kate Winslet, Joaquim Phoenix are all in there - the tip of the iceberg! Filmwise, Peter Weir’s Gallipoli, Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Deepa Mehta’s Water, Elem Klimov’s Come and See...ah, too many! I remember being tiny and utterly entranced by Mary Poppins - to the extent that I watched it every single day for two years. By the time I was 15 that strange obsession had changed to Scarface. Probably because we were inspired by the films and shows we’d been exposed to, my brother, best friend and I would write plays and perform them for our parents from the age of about 7 and I think that, more than anything, set me up to want to do this. The depth to which I loved certain films was probably a good indicator I was eventually going to try and become part of it! I remember seeing Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth and feeling rewired from the experience.
IL: You are originally from the UK. How does the UK film scene differ from Hollywood?
HC: There is just so much going on in Hollywood; limitless opportunities. I think it’s a very accessible place too, I love that about America and Americans in general - there’s a real openess and enthusiasm about trying the impossible. Optimism is contagious - you definitely feel here than you can try almost anything with minimal risk.
IL: As an actress, what do you look for in a script/ character to make you want to go out and audition for them?
HC: Good writing, an originally told story. It could be any kind of character as long as it’s well drawn and their place within the story is interesting.
IL: You have two horror films coming out soon, Haunting of the innocent & The Atticus Institute. Can you tell us about the two films and your character in the film?
HC: The Atticus Institute is a film produced by Peter Safran (The Conjuring) and directed by Chris Sparling (Buried) - I’m really excited about it because it’s a unique film and I think it’s going to be very frightening. I play a young scientist involved in the only government documented case of possession. It took me awhile to shake it off after filming! Haunting of the Innocent comes out this January and I played a Viking witch called Beyla; she’s a defender of ancient bloodlines and beliefs which ultimately creates havoc on a family in small town Thornby. It was a lot of fun to play - lots of blood, fighting and sorcery.
IL: You have done several horror type films. Is there something about the genre that appeals to you? If so what might that be?
HC: The extreme, fantastical element that’s intrinsically part of horror movies makes them really fun to shoot.. You really feel that the whole crew are engaged in what you’re doing and it’s a fun process, and a lot less serious than it might appear to be!
IL: Do you scare easily? For example, where you ever scared on set due to a scene or location? If so can you tell us a little bit about that event?
HC: Ha, I don’t scare that easily. I think being a single girl in Hollywood you have to be pretty strong, just to keep the wolves at bay! However, I was freaked out a little during The Atticus Institute. We shot at the infamous Linda Vista Hospital downtown and there were some parts of it that just made me feel intensely nauseous, for no reason. I definitely didn’t want to fall asleep in the trailer in case my dreams were infiltrated. It’s history is pretty grim and brutal. The anxiety you’ll see on our faces was real!
IL: What is the biggest obstacle you say you face as an actress when it comes to horror films?
HC: Probably the biggest obstacle is finding roles that are interesting or unconventional, stock standard victim roles are so abundant. However, I’ve been getting to do very different kinds of horror films with very different types of characters so I’ve been lucky so far!
IL: Any upcoming horror projects that you will star in that we should keep an eye on?
HC: Definitely keep an eye out for The Atticus Institute and Haunting of the Innocent. I also shota film called Shock Value which I’m in for about three minutes but it’s such a dark, shocking, horrifying yet funny film that I’m very proud to have been part of it. It’s directed by the incredible Doug Rath and I’m shooting a new movie with him very soon, a dark, surreal thriller called Isolation.
IL: Do you have any advice for people looking to get into the film business?
HC: Ha, I feel completely unqualified to answer this question! Feel free to delete my answer. I suppose no matter what aspect of the industry you want to be involved in, learn everything: be an extra, be a PA, assist every department you can - learn as much as possible from the best people you can find, and be prepared to work harder than you ever dreamed possible. Create opportunities for yourself, but know the difference between making projects to learn your craft and projects that you want to go out in the world and represent you. Finally, if you’re not in is because you fundamentally need to - do something else.