Samantha Dark
The lovely Samantha Dark played the lead role of Samantha in Stevan Mena's 'MALEVOLENCE'. With the DVD release set for April 19th, courtesy of the fine folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment, we thought it'd be the ideal time to catch up with Samantha on her 'MALEVOLENCE' experiences. Read on, folks! - by Robg. 4/05

Before working on 'Malevolence', were you a fan of the horror genre at all? What are you're earliest recollections?

Yes, I grew up loving horror. My earliest recollections were more psychological horror classics such as 'Psycho', 'The Omen', 'Poltegeist', 'The Shining'. I also love the Freddy movies.

Tell us a bit about how you initially got involved in acting? Is it true you've been acting since age 13?

Yes, I was involved with the local community theatre in Devon, England, where I grew up. We performed two shows per year, a summer show and a favorite childrens pantomine at Christmas. I was first cast as a bean in Jack & the Beanstalk at age 13 and ended up playing the lead role of Red in Red Riding Hood at age 16. I then moved to London and pursued acting there.

We did a bit of research and discovered you had played J.K Rowling in a short film called 'Life & Times: Harry Otter'. How'd you get involved in that project?

I auditioned through BackStage. I think I was cast because I look and sound strangely similar to J.K.Rowling.

After that, you worked on a comedy called 'Ultrachrist!', which to say the least has an interesting and wacky concept! Tell us a bit about that movie and what it was like working from a comedy straight to a horror film?

It was a completeley different experience. It was a very low budget and it was shot within 2 weeks. Being a comedy, it was obviously a lot more lighter and less demanding emotionally and we had some wacky moments on the set. I had never kissed a girl before and I had to practice the kiss scene a few times.

Can you tell us a bit about the audition process for 'Malevolence' and how you got cast for the lead of Samantha?

I auditioned through BackStage during my lunch hour. I was working for a PR firm in Manhattan at the time and sneaked out to audition. I read the script to Director Steve Mena and then dashed back to the office. I was overjoyed when he called me back a few days later. Steve said my audition was not over-acted and that he like my natural approach. I think he just like the fact that I shared the same name as the role!!

What were your initial responses to the script?

My initial response to the script was can I play a mother of an American child with a New Jersey accent who looked nothing like me. With Steve wanting me to keep my British accent, I wondered weather our relationship would come off as realistc. After some improv work with Courtney I realized that accents don't matter. It's the connection that matters and we certainly had that. After that initial reservation, I was very excited about performing a character that goes through such a rollercoaster of horrific events.

'Malevolence' is meant to be the middle part of a trilogy. Did Stevan give you any backstory for your character to help with how you approached the role?

Yes, he gave me some background information on my character and the relationship with my daughter. This helped with our connection. Apart from that, Steve let the relationship develop naturally, which worked for us.

How did you approach working on this film? Did you look at any of the other horror classics before beginning work on 'Malevolence'?

Yes. Steve gave me some homework of watching classic horror films before shooting 'Malevolence'. I remember watching the 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' a few times and taking note of the female lead. I studied the pitch level of screams and even practiced them at home. My neighboors at the time thought I was being attacked and knocked on the door at one point!

Stevan shot the film on 35mm, and with the budget, it required most scenes to be filmed in one or two takes. How much rehearsal and pre-production went into this project before actually filming?

We did some improv work in Manhattan with all our scenes. This really helped to get us acquainted with each other. I did my homework as mentioned above and we also ran through our scenes before each take. I find my best scenes come out of the first takes anyway, so 35mm was not a problem.

You played Courtney Bertolone's mom in the film. How close of a relationship did you form with your on-screen daughter?

Courtney is also Steve's neice, so it felt like a big family on the set. During downtime, I helped Courtney with her homework and kept her amused and entertained. She was only 11 at the time and often found the whole procedure tiresome. It was during these long hours that we bonded and as the movie progressed we became close buddies, which I hope is reflected in the movie.

The shoot stretched out to almost 2 years of filming. How difficult as an actor was it working on such a long production?

The bulk of the movie was shot all at once in LI and PA and only then did we have a few more weeks of shooting and in-studio work. The production was not a problem for me. I loved being part of it and made time in my acting schedule.

There's a good chunk of the film where you're a hostage. Were there any particular sequences that were difficult to shoot?

Being tied up on the floor with tape over my mouth in a lot of the scenes was not comfortable to do. In one scene, Brandon was pulling me out of the closet after Marilyn had been killed and he grabbed me so hard the scream is actually real. I had bruises on my arms. But when tied up, the focus of my acting was centered around my eyes - no dialogue - and so the right amount of subtelty had to be found.

This was Stevan Mena first gig as writer/director. What can you tell us about your working experience with him on 'Malevolence'?

I loved working with Steve. He gave us great direction, ideas and allowed us the freedom to experiment with our own choices. He may not have used them - but his open style was refreshing and welcome.

You filmed in an actual abandoned slaughterhouse and that darned creepy house. Any odd occurrences happen or weird vibes while being around those particular locations?

I stayed away from them as much as possible. They were just as scary and smelly as they looked in the movie.

Actor Jay Cohon was behind the mask of the killer for the movie. Actor or not, was it intimidating to be chased by this freaky guy in a mask for most of the film?

No. Jay was great and I didn't think about him behind the mask. I just focused on being chased by a killer. This imagery got my blood going!

What was it like to finally see the film with an audience in theaters? Was seeing the final product with an audience what you thought it would be?

I was so nervous watching the film in a theater for the first time. There were many kids screaming and shouting out to the movie during certain scenes. Watching yourself up close in a movie is strange. You analyze many things you would never even notice. I finally learned to let it go and just enjoy the moment without thinking it's me up there.

The film has gone on to be praised by a lot of horror publications and websites. How does it feel to be part of a film a lot of people within the horror community are talking about?

It feels wonderful as an actor to be recognised in anything that get's talked about. It's recognition for this that keeps us going.

You worked again with Brandon Johnson in the upcoming 'Rave On' also starring David Naughton. What can you tell us about that?

It got cancelled unfortunately due to many budget contraints and other problems. But it was a pleasure to work with Brandon again in such a different genre. We reconnected and had fun getting to act again although we weren't in the same scenes this time.

Would you be excited to take part in the prequel & sequel to 'Malevolence'?



Special thanks to Stevan Mena!!!

All Content Copyright 2005 Icons Of
No articles may be reproduced in any manner without expressed permission of Icons Of
Back to Interview Index