Exclusive: Amy Smart Talks Dead Awake, Blood Brothers, Crank 3 and More
With director Omar Naim’s supernaturally-tinged Dead Awake opening in limited release this Friday, December 3 (the flick is set to hit DVD/Blu-ray on March 29 of next year), this writer caught up today with one of the film’s principals, actress Amy Smart, who dished on the movie as well as the possibility of a third film in the Crank series and her potential inclusion in a future horror project.
Known best as a comedic actress for her turns in the films Just Friends and Road Trip (among others) and to genre fans for her roles in The Butterfly Effect and Mirrors (as well the gonzo action flicks Crank and Crank: High Voltage, in which she portrayed the girlfriend of actor Jason Statham’s adrenalized hit-man ‘Chev Chelios’), Smart appears in Dead Awake as ‘Natalie’, the long-lost love of young funeral parlor employee ‘Dylan’ (actor Nick Stahl), a young man who works diligently to piece together the events which shattered his life ten years prior. Rounding out the cast of Dead Awake is actress Rose McGowan (Planet Terror, Scream) as the junkie ‘Charlie’, a character who befriends Dylan and sets in motion an altogether surprising series of events.
Penned by Johnny Harrington, Justin Urich and David Boivin, Naim’s New Films Cinema flick (the director previously helmed the 2004 Robin Williams thriller The Final Cut) proves to be a bit of a cipher, which is one of the things - according to Smart - that attracted her to the project.
“I feel that the movies which are now being made are hybrid movies,” stated the actress, whose real-life persona proved to be just as charming and witty as her on-screen demeanor. “They have supernatural elements. They’ve got romance, and they’ve got drama and they’ve got comedy. I feel like they are starting to mingle the genres. It’s hard to market a hybrid movie, though, because it looks like a horror film (on the surface), but after reading the script and seeing the final cut (of Dead Awake), I knew that it wasn’t, and that it was a hybrid. I just love Omar as a filmmaker, and I think he is really talented, and I really wanted to work on this project. I thought the story was really interesting, and now that I’ve seen it, I’m really happy with the way it turned out because it’s the kind of film where you are hanging on to the last moment wondering what’s real and what’s not real.”
As for what attracted her to her Dead Awake character of ‘Natalie’, an RN who leads an emotionally conflicted life, ”I really liked her,” stated Smart, “because she has this past with her ex-love, and it was such a deep love that I don’t think that she has ever been able to move on from him. She settled with a new guy and sort of decided to settle in her life, and she isn’t completely happy. So in rekindling the relationship with her past love, it makes her see that she had settled. I liked the nuances of seeing her struggle with her present-day life situation and wanting to break free from it. The fact that she is a nurse and isn’t a doctor (is also indicative), too, because she didn’t push forward towards her dreams. I liked that she is awakened.”
Commenting on the project, Smart stated of co-stars Stahl and McGowan, who at the time were already attached to Dead Awake (the film shot in Des Moines, Iowa for an estimated 3.5 million), “It was funny because the first acting role I ever had was in an 'MTV Rock The Vote' (spot), and it was a vignette about gun violence, and it was with Nick. We played a boyfriend and girlfriend in that (too).”