WENDY GLENN INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by Simon Bland
As if the Battle of the Somme wasn't bad enough, directing team Bart Ruspoli and Freddie Hutton-Mills throw an army of the undead into the mix. That's the gist of World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen, the new found-footage horror that sees a documentary team meet a grizzly end when they accidentally awaken a horde of zombie war vets.
We caught up with star Wendy Glenn (You're Next) to discuss gruelling night shoots, how she's fair in a real-life zombie invasion and what horror films keep her awake at night...
Simon Bland: Hi Wendy. So you play an American again in World War Dead - What’s the key to doing a perfect American accent?
Wendy Glenn: Well it’s not an easy accent to do. I was living in LA on-and-off for about 10 years and when I first went there I had a lot of lessons. Then after a while just by being there and doing a lot of work it became second nature. Like anything, though, it takes time and you have to practise over and over to do it to the point where it flows. When you’re acting you don’t want to be thinking about your accent, you want to be present in the scene and it’s not until your accent becomes second nature that you can do that and not think about it. It just takes time.
SB: Are fans surprised when they find out you’re not American?
WG: Yeah it’s quite funny. It’s happened before, especially when I was in America with You’re Next doing the festivals. I quite like that though!
SB: Could you tell us a bit about your character in World War Dead?
WG: In the story we go to shoot a documentary about the Battle of the Somme and my character Emma is the presenter and she hasn’t been in England that long. She gets together with Ray’s character and they start shooting the documentary but it goes awry quite quickly. It was fun doing that presenter stuff, you don’t get to do that all the time,
SB: Is it different kind of acting?
WG: Yeah. It’s funny because when I was younger I did actually do presenting for a while on this Disney TV show when I was about 15. It was quite funny doing that stuff because you have to look down the lense rather than avoiding it at all costs which is weird as an actor.
SB: Is this your first found footage horror movie?
WG: Yes. I’ve done You’re Next before which was a home invasion one and I did 11-11-11 which was more of a thriller horror, so this is my first ever found footage film of any kind.
SB: Was it tricky transitioning to a new shooting style?
WG: Yeah it was, because we were supposed to be holding the cameras for one thing. In a way, it made you feel like you’re more in it because the cameras were coming with us. It’s a completely different style. You’re more involved in the situation because you don’t have to be wary of marks and things like that because it’s following the action. I think you get a bit more lost in it which is good from an acting point of view,
SB: It looked like a tough shoot. How did you prepare for it?
WG: Well to be honest we didn’t really have loads of prep time. We did a few days of rehearsing where everyone got together to do scenes and improv which was great because you got familiar with people. That bonding really helps, especially because we knew we didn’t really have a lot of time to shoot. We knew that once we started it was going to be very intense so it was nice to have that time to get to know each other a little bit because it was a pretty intense shoot,
SB: What did you do to unwind after filming?
WG: We shot the whole thing in ten or twelve days, it was a very short shoot and we did some night shoots so we were just pretty exhausted. You just get through it, go home, go to sleep, wake up and carry on. It was pretty intense so I think we’re all pretty exhausted by the end of it and it was only when we were at the wrap party where we were able to relax properly and have a good time with each other. The shoot itself was pretty crazy.
SB: Intense shooting plus found footage sounds pretty crazy. Did the lines between reality and fiction blur a bit?
WG: Yeah it was pretty intense, especially towards the end when we were in all the tunnels and trenches and covered in mud and already exhausted. I remember one time in particular when Bart and Freddie apologised because everyone felt so bad. We were doing a night shoot and the sun was coming up, It was six in the morning and it was absolutely freezing, the ground was frozen and I had to be laying down in a field in just my tee shirt covered in wet mud. The tears were pretty real at that point but it was great because you don’t have to act very much when you’re already in that situation!
SB: You’ve been in a few horrors now... growing up what were some of your favourite horrors to watch?
WG: The earliest horrors I remember watching were probably A Nightmare on Elm Street. I remember those from when we’d all have sleepovers and someone had the DVD when I was a teenager. Definitely one thing I really remember about those movies was when they were walking along by their veins like puppets, I think it was A Nightmare on Elm Street III. That one really stuck in my head. Also, Stephen King’s IT always scared me and Candyman, that was another one that I used to watch when I was younger. Those were my early horror influences.
SB: How do you think you’d fare in a real zombie invasion and what would be your weapon of choice?
WG: I don’t know, it’s amazing what you do under pressure I suppose. I’d like to think I’d kick some serious zombie arse. I guess knives are always good and any kind of blunt instrument. In my experience, anything you can cave a head in with is pretty good!
SB: You’ve been in zombie movies, home invasion... is there any other horror sub-genre you’d like to explore?
WG: I’ve always been a real fan of thriller horror. I wouldn’t say it’s a sub-genre but psychological thrillers like Silence of the Lambs, I’ve always found that fascinating. So whereas I’ve done the slasher, gory kind of thing I’d be more interested in doing something about people who are a bit darker. That’d be fun.
SB: What about non-horror. Do you have a dream role you’d one day like to tackle?
WG: It’s funny because I’ve just started rehearsing for my next film and i’m lucky enough to be doing a really great female role and it’s quite rare that you find female roles that have a good arc and a good story. It’s quite rare that you have that strong female role. For example, the film that I’m doing now is actually a contemporary version of Hamlet and I’m playing Hamlet’s mother and I’m so lucky to have that character to do. It’s nice to do a film that has a good strong female character.
SB: What can we see you in next?
WG: A few weeks ago we wrapped the new one from Bart and Freddie, the guys who did World War Dead, which is called Genesis, it’s a sci-fi film. We actually shot in some of the same places as World War Dead which was fun. They’re still editing right now so I can’t wait to see it all. Then I’m just about to start another one and I’m actually going to India for a few weeks for that one which should be fun…
SB: What can you tell us about your role in Genesis?
WG: I play a doctor. Basically, it’s set in the future in an environment where we have to stay inside. You can’t go outside and breath the air because it’s all toxic and there’s a lot of death and destruction. I’m very excited to see it because I think it’s going to be really really cool and there were some great actors that I was working with like John Hannah, Warren Brown and Olivia Grant. It was really good fun.
SB: Do you see another collaboration with Adam Wingard & Simon Barret in the future?
WG: I hope so. I still speak to them occasionally and I’m looking forward to catching up with both of them when I head back to LA. I’d love to, I think they’re not only talented but genuinely funny and intelligent guys. They’re really good company, I really like those two guys.
HorrorTalk would like to thank Wendy Glenn for taking the time to talk to us.
World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen is available now on Amazon.
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