LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Hattie Smith, star of The Axiom
By James Whittington, 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 Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?
MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.
HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?
GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?
CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.
HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?
SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.
Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!
HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?
SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.
HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?
SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.
HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?
RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?
DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.
HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?
FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.
HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.
HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?
CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 10th August
Tuesday 10th August
Friday 13th August