This week, provocative filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s latest project Chained hit DVD and Blu-Ray shelves everywhere courtesy of Anchor Bay Films and in honor of the occasion, we caught up with one of the film’s co-stars, Australian actor Eamon Farren.
Farren, an up-and-coming actor who has made a name for himself on the independent cinema scene in his native country, stars in Chained as the teenage version of Rabbit, a child taken in by a psychotic murdered named Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio) who kidnapped the young boy and his mom (Julia Ormond) during a cab ride gone wrong. After killing his mother, Bob keeps the child chained inside his home, condemning the youngster to a life of slavery, living out his life only to cater to the serial killer’s deadly whims.
During our interview with Farren, we spoke to the actor about what attracted him to the intense thriller, collaborating with both Lynch and D’Onofrio on Chained and how he prepared for the physicality of a role where your character is subjected to endless abuse. Check out our exclusive chat with Farren below and make sure to check back soon right here for more on the controversial flick with both Lynch and D’Onofrio.
Dread Central: Can you discuss what your initial thoughts were for the script of Chained and what made the biggest impression on you regarding the character of Rabbit?
Eamon Farren: The first thing that I read was Jen’s cover page letter to the reader. It was not so much a vision statement, but more of an insight into what she saw as the heart of the film- the characters, their emotional complexity and their reality. As soon as I finished reading that, I knew the material was in good hands.
So when I finished the script, I was just excited. Rabbit was a boy stunted; an innocent ruled by fear but also accustomed to great abuse and the witness of real terror. I remember imagining the possibilities within him – a nine-year-old kid in a 19-year-old body, living in darkness and right at the point of living there forever or breaking free. That’s some pretty excellent shit for an actor.
Dread Central: How were your experiences collaborating with Jennifer on the film?
Eamon Farren: I was heading home from a few months in LA, on the way to the airport, when the casting director Shannon Makhanian called me asking if I could meet with Jen. I couldn’t so I said I would put down a test when I got home. I read it and loved it and thought I’d blown it by not being able to meet with Jen. I sent off my test and a couple of days later I was talking to Jen on the phone. She just called me one morning and we talked a little about the script but mostly about family, nature versus nurture and ourselves. It was the warmest, funniest and easiest conversation I’ve ever had with a director I’d never met.
And working with Jen on Chained was incredible; we never really talked too much about Rabbit, just more about ourselves and tried to make each other laugh. And shooting the film felt like second nature, the scenes would be focused but loose, incredibly tense but hilarious. I never had to say too much to her, she would give me a look or whisper one word and I’d get it. There’s a beautiful empathy that Jen has, a passion for good stories and characters that burn off each other and I was just so lucky to be able to work with her.
Dread Central: I thought you and Vincent had incredible chemistry together on Chained – can you talk about working with him and fleshing out these characters together? Were you able to work together before shooting or did you guys have to find that chemistry on set?
Eamon Farren: I met Vincent just before we worked together. In our first scene, I had no lines, was pretending to be knocked out and Vincent did all the work- that was fine by me. But just before we shot, Vincent came up to me and said ‘this speech is about both of us, so let’s just listen to each other and we’ll find our way.’ And from then on I really believe we just listened to each other in all senses.
Of course, there was a lot of detail involved, but having the freedom to play every scene with an actor like Vincent was the best acting experience I’ve had. Being able to act alongside someone like Vincent D’Onofrio is something I will never forget; it was a master class in the craft- he’s an actor that demands specificity and is also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
Dread Central: There was a lot of physicality to this role – the way Rabbit looked, the way he moved, the abuse you took, etc. – how did you prepare yourself for those kinds of challenges on Chained? Did you have to ‘get inside his head’ at all?
Eamon Farren: Rabbit’s life essentially stopped at 9 years old; the trapped child manifested in everything physically and psychologically. The major physical key to Rabbit, for me, was an idea that he touched everything. Growing up in his prison, his world was immediate and tactile. It was, to me, about comfort and familiarity but also an almost developed, childlike OCD. Then there was his mum’s lipstick; Jen and I decided Rabbit would have one thing just for himself- Mum’s red lipstick, hidden under his bed. While shooting many scenes, I’d often just have it in my hand or hold it close and that was an amazing emotional and physical endowment.
Dread Central: So what’s coming up next for you?
Eamon Farren: At this point, I’m booked in to perform in George Bernard Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” and as Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet” in Cate Blanchett’s final programmed year of the Sydney Theatre Company, Australia in 2013. That’s all for now really but it’s all very exciting.
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