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 Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted on Saturday 15th September 2018
FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.
Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?
Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Adam Green, director of Hatchet.
Posted on Thursday 13th September 2018
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV Premiere of Hatchet on Friday 14th Sept, director Adam Green gives an exclusive interview about his beloved franchise and what the future holds for Victor Crowley...
Hatchet is finally getting its first showing on UK TV, courtesy of Horror Channel. We're excited, are you?
I couldn't be more excited! I've always said that even though Hatchet may have world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, it was at FrightFest in London where "Victor Crowley" was truly born. FrightFest was "the screening heard around the world" and the UK audience was so enthusiastic over Hatchet that every genre festival on t...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tom de Ville, director of Corvidae
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
HC: This is your first short as a director, what inspired you to write this script?
TdV: I read a really interesting article about how smart crows are, in particular how they can hold grudges. Apparently a group of scientists had gone out and harassed a murder of crows whilst wearing masks. If they went back wearing the masks, the crows would remember them and fight back. If they didn't wear the masks, the crows would leave them alone. This made me start thinking about what would happen if someone tried to save a crow from a bunch of kids who were trying to kill it. Would the other crows from its murder remember this? And what would they do to help her?...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?
SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up wit...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ferdinando D'Urbano actor, writer, producer of The Laplace's Demon
Posted on Tuesday 28th August 2018
A stand-out movie from FrightFest 2018 tested the brain power of those who saw it. The Laplace's Demon is an incredibly powerful piece so we chatted to one of the creatives behind it, Ferdinando D'Urbano.
HC: I'd never heard of Laplace's Demon theory before, can you give us a quick explanation of what it is?
FDU: The Laplace's Demon is a philosophical theory of the early 1800s. Pierre Simon Laplace was a French mathematician who in his work "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites" (A philosophical essay on probabilities), theorized that if there were an intellect capable of knowing al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Andre Gower director of Wolfman's Got Nards
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
HC: You had already starred in a lot of stuff before The Monster Squad came along, did you think that this was just "another" acting job?
AG: At the time, it was just that. The next audition, the next project. However, once on set and seeing what you were a part of, we realized quickly that this was something bigger and more unique than anything we had done before or may even get to do in the future.
HC: Were you a fan of the Universal monsters at that time?
AG: I always had an appreciation for the classics even as a kid. As you mature, you keep that appreciation and learn more about it and how it affects the present and realize these were very important...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Rocco and Abiel Bruhn the writers and directors of The Night Sitter
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
HC: Where did the idea for The Night Sitter come from?
JR: From the beginning of this story, I had my childhood home in Nashville in mind as the perfect location. After several months of convincing, my parents allowed us to film in their house. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have grown up in the same location that we'd eventually film our first feature in! We were able to incorporate all the parts of my house that used to scare me as a child and weave them into a story about witches, which was extremely fun and nostalgic at times. While developing the story, I tried to recall the scary thoughts I had when I was Kevin's age.
AB: Finding an inspiring location (the house has this stran...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Joanne Mitchell, director of Sybil
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
One of the best things about FrightFest is the Showcases of Shorts which is the way to catch undiscovered talent and unique ideas. Joanne Mitchell has been in the entertainment industry for a few years but has just directed her first piece, Sybil which is showing at FrightFest today.
We decided to chat to her about this amazing and disturbing piece as well as he plans for feature films.
HC: Have you wanted to direct for a while?
JM: To be honest I hadn't really thought of directing until Tracey (Sheals) sent me an email with her idea for Sybil. And I really liked the story and thought this would make a great short film and possibly a feature in the fut...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Mort creator and director of Chuck Steel Night of the Trampires
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
HC: Where did the character of Chuck Steel come from?
MM: I came up with the character of Chuck Steel in 1985 when still at school. I used to doodle this square jawed action hero in my English book when I should have been concentrating on the lesson. Over the years he developed a bit as I drew him in various adventure scenarios, usually involving monsters of some kind. I made a Super8 short film with the character when I was experimenting with animation and I also made a college film featuring Chuck a few years later. These were basically just Chuck fighting monsters for 10 minutes or so but I was learning about how to construct scenes and action as I went. Later in my animati...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Sam Ashurst director of Frankenstein's Creature
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
HC: Why did you choose to film James Swanton's acclaimed play, Frankenstein's Creature?
SA: I made a music video for Channel 4, and they gave me a small budget to shoot it in a day. The budget was small enough to raise independently, and I looked around me and realised I had all the crew I needed to shoot an actual feature film, not just a music video - if only I could shoot a film in a day! Then my friend Dan Martin, who did the effects for films like Human Centipede II and Freefire, said that he'd been given advice that if you want to shoot a film in a short space of time, you should option a play. I'd worked with James on another, much smaller thing, and was blown away by his talent....SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chris Collier, director of FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
FrightFest is one of the most famous festivals in the world. The team of Alan Jones, Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy and Greg Day ensure that everyone who attends, from guests to punters get the best experience they can from it.
But what do they really think of each other and what really goes on behind the scenes? A new documentary from Chris Collier has given the team the chance to talk candidly about the festival and each other. Here he tells us how FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema came together.
HC: Can you recall what it was like at your first FrightFest and what attracted you to attend in the first place?
CC: Back in 2009 I recorded a...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jon Knautz director of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Friday 24th August 2018
HC: What made you decide that your short film The Cleaning Lady would work as a feature?
JK: Actually we had already written the feature before we made the short. We wanted to make a proof of concept to see how people reacted and to try and raise some awareness of our feature script. It was also a great way to experiment with the tone of the film, so we would be ready to tackle the feature.
HC: How did you and co-writer Alexis Kendra work on the script?
JK: Alexis and I had written several scripts together already so we had our system down pretty good at that point. We start by smoking cigars and just brainstorming for a while... then even...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Thursday 27th September
Thursday 20th September
Saturday 22nd September