Interview: Bethany Anne Lind on Murder and the Struggle of Living in Rural America in BLOOD ON HER NAME
Blood on Her Name is a grim, atmospheric thriller that tells the story of how far one woman will go to protect the ones she loves after being involved in an accidental death. Written by Matthew Pope and Don Thompson, and directed by Pope, the film stars Bethany Anne Lind (Reprisal, Ozark) as the complex and emotionally fractured Leigh Tiller. Leigh’s husband is in prison and she runs an auto repair business while trying to raise her teenage son, who has already been in trouble with the law. Will Patton (Remember the Titans, Armageddon) plays Leigh’s father Richard, the local Sheriff, who has a very strained relationship with his daughter because of a traumatic incident from her childhood. The film also stars Elizabeth Röhm (American Hustle, Joy) as a mother who is just trying to survive when Leigh unexpectedly comes into her life.
One night, someone breaks into Leigh’s auto shop and she has no choice but to defend herself, with dire consequences. Leigh is then forced to make a series of bad decisions while dealing with unbearable guilt. Bethany Anne Lind is absolutely stellar as Leigh and carries the majority of the film on her own. Blood on Her Name is a dark story that portrays things like substance abuse, poverty, and the hopelessness of living in rural America with a bleak realism and Lind’s performance makes this an exceptional, thought-provoking film that will haunt you long after seeing it.
Dread Central had the pleasure of speaking with Bethany Anne Lind about Blood on Her Name, the complexities of getting inside her character’s head, and a lot more. Read on to find out what we talked about!
Blood on Her Name will be in select theaters and an on VOD on February 28th from Vertical Entertainment.
Dread Central: In Blood on Her Name, we watch the character you play, Leigh Tiller, as her life spirals out of control in devastating ways. It couldn’t have been an easy role to play. Why did you want to take on the role of Leigh?
Bethany Anne Lind: When I read the script, I was blown away by the complexity of the situation and the choices that she makes and how Matthew Pope and Don M. Thompson, the writers and director, were really interested in what real people do in these sort of extraordinary situations. We see murderers in movies who seem to suddenly know [laughs] how to take care of it. If you’re just a regular person and not a seasoned criminal, what would you actually do? Just diving into that sounded really fascinating to me. Also, it was kind of scary, too. I didn’t become an actor to just do easy, boring things. I don’t know very many actors who do. But I certainly saw it and said, “This sounds scary and fun and crazy. I honestly don’t know if I can pull it off, so I have to try.”
DC: Leigh is a complicated, damaged person due to an incident from her childhood, her husband being in prison, and other factors. It’s not easy to watch her deal with the consequences of a series of bad decisions, but you carry the entire film and you do it so well. How did you get inside her head and bring Leigh to life?
BAL: Thanks! I did a lot of just reading the script and I kind of mapped it out myself. When we film, it’s all out of sequence, so it was important to me, like you said, I’m in every scene of the movie. There was no break for me in between. So, it was important for me to see, a big thing for me, is how much she sleeps between the opening shot when the thing has happened. The whole film is, I think, a total of four or five days from the beginning to the end and she really doesn’t sleep much in those five days. So, I was keeping track of when we filmed and what has happened and maybe she has caught a nap; just how that affects your decision making and your psyche.
Things like that and just kind of mapping where she was was helpful for me to track when we were filming out of sequence. And then Matt and I have worked together a decent amount before this and we kind of trusted each other to keep an eye out for all the stuff to make sure we weren’t missing anything. So, it was helpful that there was already a level of trust there.
DC: Blood on Her Name is the first feature from director and co-writer Matthew Pope. You mentioned that you have worked with him before. What was it like working together on this film?
BAL: About seven or eight years ago, I did a feature where he was a producer on it, and then a lot of small things. We did a short film and some client-based stuff that he does and just these small things that we all do to make a living [laughs]. So, we had been friends for a long time and Don was a producer on one of the short films. I think they wrote outlines for three different features and I had a table read at my house for a different one. I’ve just sort of been in the process with them of trying to get to finally do the big feature [laughs]. So, it was fun to actually get to be in this culmination of their work and hopefully they will be doing more after this.
DC: The way this film addresses things like life in rural America, substance abuse, and poverty make it feel so gritty and very realistic. What do you hope audiences take away from Blood on Her Name?
BAL: That’s a good question. I’ve seen it once with my family. I really appreciated that they were talking about the story and the moral ambiguity of what lengths would we go to, to protect someone we love. I don’t think there’s a clear answer for everyone across the board on that. And also, can you even answer that until you’re in a situation? I hope it stays with people. I think a lot of the images will and I think it makes you have empathy for what people are willing to do when they feel like they don’t have options; when they don’t have a system of support. Leigh doesn’t have girlfriends. She is working constantly to support her son and doing what she has to do to get by. So, when something happens, there aren’t people for her to fall back on or to help her. I hope people talk about things like that. As long as they’re talking about it, that would be awesome.
DC: I think people will be talking about it and you did such an amazing job with this film and carried it so well by yourself. Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me today!
BAL: Thank you! And thank you so much for helping to get the word out. Good to talk to you!