A recent trend is taking the stereotypical horror heroine who would normally be resigned to get naked…and then get beheaded…and butch her up. A strong female lead can be every bit as compelling as an overly masculine hero, even more so.
Our heartstrings always pull for a nubile nymph with a chainsaw and heaps of bloody intent.
Adelaide Clemens steps up as the latest femme horror hero, following in the footsteps of the original ladies of Silent Hill (the movie) and actually picking up where one left off. Adelaide plays Heather, formerly Sharon, that timid little girl with a vengeful, vicious dark side in Alessa. Rose (Radha Mitchell) has found a way to send Sharon back to our world, and now daughter and father (Sean Bean) must flee for their lives from the members of a religious sect related to those lost souls who love burning “witches” in their churches.
Adelaide expands on what transpires, “They’ve been on the run for 6 years, and I don’t think she really knows why. There’s a lot of her past that she’s still trying to figure out. She has these experiences that are getting increasingly frightening, and eventually that leads her to the world of Silent Hill.”
Adelaide plays a younger version of her character, the central 18-year-old Heather character, and her evil alter ego, Alessa, remarking that channeling ultimate evil was no easy task. She loves playing with vocal dynamics and toyed with the way that Alessa holds herself to conjure up a creature evolved from that playful young thing we last saw dancing in a shower of blood. Adelaide went to the video games and pored over the first film to fill out her performance. “Losing your mind is one of the scariest things for me. Not knowing your own identity… I think that character had desperation to her. She was essentially going to lose her identity. What would you do if you were going to lose your mind? Your identity? You’d fight pretty hard.”
Shooting in 3D brings with it a new set of challenges on top of making an audience feel your terror. Adelaide notes that working in this medium is way more time consuming than just shooting a standard film. She also mentioned this was the most physically taxing role she has ever taken on, a fact that surprised the avid runner and former gymnast.
“Every day for 4 months… running and jumping and screaming and doing stunts was really strenuous but also made me feel like I was Heather! So it was great. And in 3D I can’t just be shoving my hand into the lens because then you’ll have a hand in your face… and I wouldn’t want to do that to you.”
With only one CGI monster (the mannequin creature we talked about with director Michael J. Bassett), Adelaide had plenty to work with to enhance her visibly jarred performance and make for a surreal life on set. “Red Pyramid was a wonderful stunt man on stilts. He was 10 feet tall [notice he is growing from Bassett’s prior mention of 8’2″ (read our interview with him here)] and holding a huge axe double my height, and he’d just be walking around set. And then there’s all the nurses – incredible body contortionists – you see in the film and in the games. They all had individual personalities! You’d see them at lunch, and Jenny would take off her mask and you’d stand there thinking, ‘This is VERY weird,’ but at the same time they have personalities, they can perform; it’s not like guys at a computer. There’s life breathed into these characters. I’ve seen the film, and I think it creates a totally different feel. I was genuinely petrified most of the time! We’d be off set kind of walking around having a chat, and then Michael would call action and then YEA! I’m expected to FIGHT RED PYRAMID! I’m just a chick from Australia. Give me a break. That was just insane.”
We couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask Adelaide if there was one monster on set that creeped her out the most. Her response was a resounding YES!! And she made a little tongue roll noise as if the mere mention were giving her chills as she prepared to relive the moments.
“There was this monster that I wasn’t familiar with… it’s like the Lobotomy Monster? [See our Michael J. Bassett chat again for details.] We had this incredible actor who was insanely tall, 6’7″ or something. There was a part of his body which we… enhanced. I think they enhanced it digitally, and his face had repeated lobotomies done to it – so imagine that.” We’d rather not because that’s just some McFarlane Tortured Souls stuff right there.
Adelaide continued, “And then… it didn’t have a face. It was just his brains coming out of his nose and eyes, and I had to do a fight sequence with this man… monster… thing… I don’t know. And then I have Michael going, ‘NOW SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE!!’ I had my eyes closed because it was so grotesque, and I kept missing the head! And he’d yell, ‘NO! IN THE FACE!!’ He doesn’t have a face!” *wimpers* *fake sobbing* “Ya know, it was just another day in the life of Silent Hill! *laughs*
So we know Adelaide was familiar with the franchise, and she built on that saying she’d always stepped over the games in her home where her two brothers enjoyed scaring themselves silly, playing for hours. On a personal note, she admits to being a poor, poor gamer, taking a half-hour just to set up a profile.
“To be honest, I think I lasted like 32 minutes the first time I played. I just…DIED. I last longer in the film than I do in the game, but I’m a huge fan of the games. I think they are petrifying. I get a very sick feeling when I’m playing them. I think that’s Konami’s intention.”
Obviously, in such a horrific circumstance, Adelaide would have to draw on the power of heroines from past films to find her strength. She mentioned Kill Bill as a film she watches over and over and Lara Croft as being kind of awesome.” “I love strong female leads.” When asked if she’d jump at the chance to play Lara Croft, she instantly replied, “TOTALLY!! If I can look anything like Angelina Jolie…”
Look for our chat with Kit Harington, the final installment in our interview series for the film, tomorrow.
Open Road releasef Silent Hill: Revelation (review) on October 26th. Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger, and Radha Mitchell return from the original film. In the sequel, directed by Michael J. Bassett, Heather Mason (Clemens) and her father (Bean) have been on the run from mysterious and dangerous forces. She discovers she isn’t who she thinks she is, leading her deeper into a demonic world.
For years, Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by terrifying nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her in Silent Hill forever.
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