LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Hattie Smith, star of The Axiom
By James W, Sunday 24th June 2018
The Axiom is a tense and disturbing chiller from director Nicholas Woods. The film concerns a woman who travels into a National forest, in search for her missing sister. Once in the wilderness, they discover they have entered a multi-dimensional world full of monsters. The film is an adrenaline infused experience with some cool effects and a smart story. We chatted to lead actress Hattie Smith about The Axiom.
HC: How did you become involved with The Axiom?
HS: I went to school with Nicholas, the director. We both graduated from Chapman University, and I was a year or so behind him in the film school. At some point, I was recommended to him as an actress for the 48 Hr Film Festival. From there on out, I was always asked back to audition for his projects. I starred in one of his smaller horror shorts several months before the Axiom was completed, and my performance in the short got me an audition for the film. If I remember correctly, when I was first called in, it was to audition for the role of Darcy. After my first read he asked me to review the sides and read for McKenzie. I was called back for McKenzie several weeks later and booked it.
HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it?
HS: When Nicholas first asked me to audition, I wasn't really sure what the scope of the project was. It wasn't until I got my call back and requested to read the full script that I knew. First things first I was super impressed. It was clear how much time went into writing the script. I was honoured to be considered, and I was jumping at the idea of being in it. It would be a huge challenge and no doubt my hands would get messy, which to me is so exciting.
HC: How would you describe your character of McKenzie and how did you prepare to play her?
HS: McKenzie is very interesting. We're not the same person by any means, but I can definitely relate to her determination and dedication. Watching the film it's easy to notice that McKenzie doesn't have a huge amount of lines, which leaves for a lot of "moments". That's why it was so important for me to dive deep into what McKenzie's motivations were to the core. Her family is a huge factor in her decision making, which I can totally relate to. At first glance she is introverted, cynical, and a bit reckless; but when it comes right down to it, all of these attributes are spurred by this love and longing for some type of companionship and purpose. That kind of longing can bring people to put a lot on the line, especially when the "unconditional" love of family is at risk. Substitution played a big role in my preparation. I mentally started putting my own loved ones in the world of the Axiom so I could get a better take on that primal instinct. Then it was just a matter of applying that to my (McKenzie's) sister and brother in the film. I had to keep those relationships as strong as ever so I came up with super intricate back stories and memories. I had a journal. The rest kind of fell into place after that especially when on location. Being in the middle of the mountains is super powerful, especially with the story like the Axiom. They can really transport you.
HC: What does it feel like to be leading a film?
HS: I mean, it's amazing, but the cast/crew was essentially my family during filming. Each character serves such a specific purpose, and without them the story wouldn't flow as well. I will say it was really nice being on set every day and getting to meet and interact with everyone involved. I have a new found respect for leading ladies and men, it was thrilling but exhausting. All in all, I was happy to do my part in carrying the film from point A to point Z. It was a blast!
HC: Which scene was the hardest to film?
HS: It's probably a draw. There's an emotional scene in the cabin right after Edgar and Darcy have their big encounter. Stakes were high for everyone in that scene, and in order to get the best possible coverage we all tried to remain as focused and involved in the scene for every take. There were a LOT of takes. By the end, I needed a nap. The second was most definitely the night shoot. First of all, if you haven't noticed, McKenzie is in very short shorts for the duration of the movie...The temperature on the mountain fluctuated, but at night it was about 25-30 degrees. That night was a toughie. It called for a lot of energy and emotion.
HC: It's an intense movie, what was the atmosphere like on set?
HS: It was a dream. The crew was amazing and completely respectful when heavy scenes were coming up. There were so many talented people working on this film. It was incredibly professional, and so beautiful. Surprisingly enough the cast and I quickly became a quirky little family. We stayed on task, but there was NEVER a dull moment. There were a lot of tears in this movie, but we definitely made up for it in laughs off set.
HC: Are you a horror movie fan?
HS: So long as I'm not by myself in my apartment, YES. I'm a believer in the paranormal so I tend to lose sleep after a good horror film all alone in my apartment. But Halloween has always been and will always be my favourite time of year.
HC: What advice would you give to young actors wanting to break into movies?
HS: Practice patience, and always exercise your craft regardless of the work that's coming or not coming your way. You never know when something big may fall into your lap, and it's your job to make sure you're ready and capable of bringing you're best. Also trust your gut and always try to surround yourself with creative energy.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
HS: I just wrapped my second feature entitled "Silhouette", which should be making the festival rounds in the near future. It's a romantic drama, so quite the opposite of Axiom. I also booked role on a comedic webseries called, "For Evan's Sake". On my own I am working to write and produce some of my own content which is on the dramedy spectrum.
HC: Hattie Smith, thank you very much.
HS: Of course. My pleasure!
Related show tags: THE AXIOM MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Jessica McLeod, star of The Hollow Child
Posted on Friday 8th June 2018
If you like your horror movies to have a strong paranormal theme to them you'll need to look out for The Hollow Child when it gets released later this year. It stars the incredibly talented Jessica McLeod so we decided to have a chat about this and her career to date.
HC: Was there a certain person you saw who inspired you to become an actor?
JM: I don't think I had seen a movie by the time I had wanted to be an actor. But Reese Witherspoon continues to inspire me, although my career has been entirely different from hers at my age.
HC: Can you recall what it was like to be on a movie set for the first time?
JM: I believe I got to wear a prin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steeve Leonard co-director of Radius
Posted on Monday 21st May 2018
In the chilling movie, Radius, a man wakes from a car crash with amnesia and what's more anyone who comes into contact with him instantly dies. This FrightFest favourite is receiving its UK TV premiere on Friday 25th of May so we chatted to its co-director and co-writer Steeve Leonard about this celebrated and cerebral movie.
HC: How long did Radius take to write?
SL: Radius took about 4 years to write, on and off. We had the radius of death idea first but we didn't know what to do with it, and so we shelved it for a while. Later we came up with the more interpersonal twist we have now and we weaved it together with the radius idea.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?
SL: No....SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive: Director Johannes Roberts talks 'The Strangers: Prey at Night'
Posted on Tuesday 1st May 2018
This weekend sees the release of a long-awaited sequel to one of 2008's most beloved slasher films. Yes, nine whole years after The Strangers premiered, UK cinema-goers will be met once again by Dollface, the Man in Mask and Pin-Up Girl in The Strangers: Prey at Night.
Starring Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, and Lewis Pullman, son of the late Bill, the film sees a family of four being stalked and tormented shortly after arriving on what was supposed to be a quiet family trip to a remote mobile home. The family must decide whether to take on the dreaded strangers hell-bent on wreaking havoc, or to run for their lives.
We had a chat with the film's direct...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Andy Nyman, co-writer, co-director and star of Ghost Stories
Posted on Monday 9th April 2018
I've met Andy Nyman on many occasions over the last decade or so, and over that time I've watched his career constantly go from strength to strength. To call him multi-talented would be an understatement and along with Jeremy Dyson has created the must-see horror movie of 2018, Ghost Stories. Here he chats about the stage play, Ghost Stories as well as how it changed on its way to the big screen.
HC: When did you first meet co-writer and co-director Jeremy Dyson?
AN: Jeremy and I met at a Jewish Summer Camp in 1981, and you just get thrown together in dorms of four people and Jeremy is from Leeds and all my family are from Leeds so I used to spend most of my weekends up in Leeds so we instantly ha...SHARE: READ MORE John Krasinski talks directing and starring in 'A Quiet Place'
Posted on Friday 6th April 2018
In case you hadn't heard, A Quiet Place has opened in cinemas nationwide.
The film, starring real-life couple, John Krasinski (US adaptation of The Office and 13 Hours) and Emily Blunt (Sicario, Wind Chill and The Devil Wears Prada) takes place in a post-apocalyptic(-ish) environment, in which strange wild creatures that hunt by sound have destroyed a significant amount of the population.
Krasinski and Blunt's characters, husband and wife Lee and Evelyn try to lead a life with their family as quietly (and by that we mean literally) as possible, in able to ensure their survival.
We sat down with the director and one half of Krasinski-Blunt to talk about the film, what scares him the most, and which...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with David Howard Thornton, star of Terrifier
Posted on Monday 26th March 2018
If you're a fan of slasher movies then you'll have to check out the bood-splattered shocker Terrifier. The movie is a full-blown, hair-raising homage to grindhouse slashers that introduces a new murderous icon in the form of Art the Clown. Art id surely destined to become a true horror anti-hero and here David Howard Thornton, the guy who plays art, chats about this brilliantly brutal movie and what he's up to at the moment.
HC: What movie or person inspired you to want to work in the film industry?
DT: I would say that would be the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit film wise. I was obsessed with that film when it first came out, and still watch it at least once a year when I need some inspiration. It meshe...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
Posted on Saturday 17th March 2018
Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.
HC: How did 88 Films start?
RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018
One thing that Horror Channel FrightFest prides itself in is by championing new talent. This year's Glasgow event is no different with a whole host of newbies bringing their first features. A real highlight is Paul Urkijo's Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil which is a sumptuous piece that Terry Gilliam would be proud of. Here he chats to us about this stunning movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil come from?
PU: I was inspired by the Basque story "Patxi Errementaria". He was registered by JM Barandiaran, an anthropologist priest who dedicated his life to recording stories and legends of the Basque Country. It is a legend about a blacksmith who was so ev...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam MacDonald, writer and director of Pyewacket.
Posted on Wednesday 28th February 2018
There have been a number of occult and demonic movies over the last few years but none have come close to the tension and terror of Adam MacDonald's Pyewacket. The superb piece of cinema is showing at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this week so I had a quick chat with Adam about this superior shocker.
HC: Have you always been a horror fan?
AM: It really started when I was about 7 years old when my older brother showed me Evil Dead. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it truly rocked me. The card scene in the film did not leave my mind for days. That film is stained on my brain. I was terrified. But then I had a realisation that I loved that feeling. It was primal. Then I watched The Shinin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Kelly Greene, writer and director of Attack of the Bat Monsters
Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2018
Making movies can be a tough business but to have to wait almost two decades to release your work takes true dedication. At Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this weekend Kelly Greene's Attack of the Bat Monsters is finally unleashed. Here he tells us the story behind this celebration of 1950s creature features.
HC: You were inspired to write Attack of the Bat Monsters when you were researching 50s movies, did it take long to write?
KG: It took quite a while because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a video production facility while raising a 2-year old and 8-year old, along with my wife, who was also working. I would write at night between 9 and 11pm, and maybe a little more ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Patrick Magee, writer and director of Primal Rage
Posted on Monday 26th February 2018
There's been a spate of "bigfoot-style, beast in the woods" types of movies recently but none have come anywhere near Primal Rage. This superior creature feature from Patrick Magee will be having its European Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this Friday so I decided to have a chat with this very talented and creative person.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in the film industry?
PM: Since a very young age I was always into, even obsessed, with movies. Specifically horror movies, monster movies really. As a hobby, I got really into special make-up effects and drawing. It got to the point where I was so obsessed with it, I decided when I was a teen that I ha...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gabriela Amaral, writer and director of Friendly Beast
Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018
As we get ready for the trip to Scotland for this year's Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow I've been lucky enough to chat to Gabriela Amaral about her powerful movie Friendly Beast which is getting its UK Premiere at the event.
HC: Was there a certain piece of work or person that inspired you to work in the industry?
GA: Yes, there was. I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and I decided to study cinema because of him. In the beginning, I didn't know what would I do with movies. Would I be an academic? A film critic? A director? I just knew I had to live doing something that had to do with movies. I graduated in Communication Studies in Brazil where I studied horror movies and literature (specific...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Thursday 2nd August
Saturday 28th July
Tuesday 24th July