Nothing will top Alyssa Milano in Embrace of the Vampire from 1995. For some horror fans (okay, just boys), Milano’s nude scenes in the film were equivalent to Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High…
…Or more directly, Linnea Quigley as Trash in The Return of the Living Dead. The new version of Embrace still has the nudity without the child star all grown up and showing off, but there’s plenty of nudity and vamp-outs just the same – if you’re into that sort of thing (I’m looking at directly at the fifteen-year-old horny horror fan reading this). But Sharon Hinnendael doesn’t give a shit about any of that! She’s just a cool, laid back girl from Wisconsin who likes to DJ and is starting to get some pretty big breaks as an actress. If you’re not crushing on her after seeing Embrace of the Vampire, you might start to after reading this interview.
DC: How was the auditioning process for you? I imagine they looked at a lot of people for the lead so you must have been pretty excited to land the part.
SH: Actually, it happened really last minute. I got the audition and they’d been seeing girls for months and months. I went in and they were looking for a bigger name but I went in and the director saw it, and they called right away and said, ‘We want you to come to Canada in a week and start fencing practice.’ It happened so quickly that it was more like trying to figure out where I was going to live and what am I doing with my dog. And having to memorize that many pages of dialogue within a week. It was crazy; it was awesome. It happened so quickly that I really didn’t have a lot of time to think about it.
DC: The campus was really beautiful where you shot. Where exactly was it in Canada? I’m thinking of going there for a second degree now.
SH: We were in Squamish mainly. We filmed some stuff in Vancouver but, yeah, Squamish was mainly where we were. It was gorgeous! We were kind of in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful and very fitting for what the movie was about and really helped me get in the right mindset and mood to film. So, it was awesome hanging out there. Canadians rule, and it was the best filming experience I’ve had. It was so beautiful.
DC: You are isolated, and in the movie, it’s you against the world and everyone is gunning for you and watching you very closely. Did you feel isolated at all on set with the crew or did you try to distance yourself a little bit from the other actors to try and stay in your character’s headspace?
SH: I’m like the most talkative, loud, crazy girl. I get really really close with the cast and crew. I’m not really one of those actors. I can focus really hard, get the scenes done, be screaming and crying in a bloodbath, and then the second they call cut I’m laughing and talking. So, I can turn it on and off pretty quickly.
DC: Was it difficult to go from innocent to sexy throughout the shoot and what was the most difficult thing to shoot? Was it some of the horror sequences or maybe the hazing scene, or was it some of the sex scenes?
SH: Sex scenes – fine. I didn’t have time to have anxiety or to think about, ‘Oh my God, tomorrow’s the sex scene.’ I’m comfortable with my body. When I’m doing that scene, I’m just trying to focus on the other person and make them feel comfortable. I’ve done sex scenes before on the Showtime series [Look] and I was naked a lot in that. All the naked scenes are just as difficult as a screaming or a fighting sequence, or an emotional scene. I have an emotional scene with my roommate at one point. It’s all the same thing but different. It’s all focus and helping the other actors, really, and forgetting about what you’re doing. Somebody will always whisper something to make the other person laugh, so there’s always some funny shit going on with naked bodies.
DC: Well, Alyssa Milano famously appeared topless in the original one, and it’s a scene that a lot of guys remember including myself. I remember friends of mine searching for the original at different video stores when we were in high school. She was so well known that the nudity became widely seen. Is it easier for you to agree to appear nude because it won’t be as publicized. It’s not like you were on a hit TV show as a kid.
SH: This is bad but I haven’t watched the original.
DC: I don’t think it’s that bad.
SH: Everyone’s getting naked now, aren’t they? If their famous or not, it’s a normal thing; it’s a day-to-day thing that people do. So, to really get the reality of a scene, I find no problem with the nudity. It’s challenging because you want to be in good shape but it’s not the worst thing, I don’t mind it. It’s 2013, I mean, try and look up and actress that hasn’t gotten naked; or a guy, even. It’s just such a common thing now. It adds something real to the movie instead of making it a cheesy kids movie.
DC: That virgin character is really an archetype. Are you excited about being, for better or worse, now being a part of the legacy of vampire films that have been made over the last hundred years? That’s a pretty cool thing.
SH: Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Usually I get cast as the obnoxious bitch or the slut or whatever. So, it’s kind of cool to play a shyer character. And vampire movies? Why not? Everybody likes those and yeah, it was kind of exciting getting the role. It’s nice playing this quieter character for once, so this was a lot of fun for me to play.
Embrace of the Vampire is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand.
Embrace of the Vampire stars Sharon Hinnendael as Charlotte, a timid and sheltered teen who has just left an all-girls Catholic school for a new life at a co-ed university. But an ancient evil has followed her here, tormenting her with disturbing nightmares and tempting her with forbidden desires. It is a hunger that can only be satiated by sensual pleasures of the flesh… and a thirst for blood. It’s a battle for her soul… and one she’s losing. But Charlotte is a fighter. The chaos and torment threaten to unleash her own inner beast, and anyone close to her may find themselves embracing their own horrific fate.
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