Quantcast Julia Stiles interview - THE OMEN

Julia Stiles!!!
Icons Of Fright sat down for a few minutes with actress Julia Stiles!!! She makes her genre debut with a remake of a horror classic, 'THE OMEN'. We got to hear about her experiences on the new 'OMEN' and find out what genre movies she enjoys. Read on!!! - by Robg. 6/06

Do you remember your initial reactions to seeing the original ‘OMEN’ and how that film impacted you?

Yeah. It stuck with me a long time after I watched it on video. The imagery is really powerful in the original. And also, I think a really good horror movie doesn’t rely on the violence so much, when there’s something deeper going on psychologically. Those are the types of horror films that really stick with you, and the original ‘OMEN’ is very much like that. Then, when I was thinking about doing this remake, I watched it again and there was a scene where Lee Remick is asking to see a psychologist, and you can feel that she’s so tormented underneath, that it’s suppressed. That moment was really interesting to me and I really wanted to explore that more.

And you did a great job. How’d you feel about Mia Farrow coming on board, after you’d just worked with her in a play?

I was really excited to work with her again. On the one hand it was wonderful, because she’s a talented actress and I’ve learned so much from her. She’s also just a wonderful person. But it was very confusing and strange, because we went from playing mother and daughter, to two weeks later, we’re in Prague and she’s trying to kill me. But it was great. We were in the rehearsal room while we were doing the play, and she burst in saying “John says hi!” My dad’s name is John, my brother’s name is John, so at first I had no idea what she was talking about. I guess, she was on the phone with John Moore and she had just decided to do ‘THE OMEN’, which was a good indication to me that I was on the right track.

Lee Remick was a lot older when she played the character of Katherine Thorn. And you mentioned watching the original before working on this one. Did you try to base any of your acting on her work from the original, or did you try to separate yourself from what she did?

Well, I think there’s no way I could’ve done her performance. I had to quickly get over the inevitable comparisons. There’s no way I could compete. But John (Moore) instilled me with a sense of freedom to make the part my own. And also the circumstances are different this time, and I think it works really well that I’m a young inexperienced mother. Because a more mature woman would be able to assert herself & be able to stick up for herself. And part of what I wanted to explore in the update was all the guilt and confusion my character feels, and how her first instinct isn’t to be afraid of her son, but to doubt her own maternal instincts.

You mentioned before that you had worked with Mia in play, and you were in ‘Hamlet’ with Liev (Schreiber). Was it easier jumping into this production already having a bit of a repore with the main actors?

Again, the circumstances were so different. Liev and I played brother and sister in ‘Hamlet’, and in this we’re playing husband and wife. But what helps in knowing the other actor already, they can sense when your “acting” with a capital A or being false. I really love working with Liev, I thought he made me stronger in the scenes we were doing, and of course, I learned a lot from him.

One of the most memorable sequences in both version was Katherine’s fall. You actually did that stunt?

I did. I was very nervous about doing it. Normally I’m a daredevil, especially on a movie set because I have this naive idea that everything is safe on a movie set and protected. But I had noticed that they had scheduled that scene for my last day of shooting. You always hear these stories about “the curse of the omen” or just bad things always happening on the set of horror films, so I thought “Oh great. Last day, doing this stunt. We’re tempting fates.”
But I was rigged to a decelerator machine, so I would stand 30 feet up in the air, and they would drop me backwards down, and I’d actually hit the ground, but the machine let’s you free fall and just before you hit the ground it sort of stops from hitting it with full force. So, the rehearsals I was terrified! But after a few takes, it became really fun. And it’s a memorable scene in the original, but what’s interesting is that it’s totally different technology. The original, they put the floor on the wall, and Lee Remick was on a dolly track and rammed against the wall.

It’s beautifully shot, with all the rose pedals. It’s very graceful for such a terrible thing!

That’s all John Moore. His idea.

Can you tell us a bit about working with John? You were one of the first people cast. How’d he convince you that he could pull off a new version of ‘THE OMEN’?

He did. Talking to him is what really convinced me. I was very intrigued. I thought the script was great. The story was great. But when I met him, I asked him how he was going to handle everything, because the new script was very relevant to a modern day audience. The script made reference to different catastrophes that are happening these days and I asked how he was going to handle that. I was so pleased that he didn’t give me a diplomatic answer. He was so bold and opinionated. I thought he’d make a good leader for this production.

Well, this is your first “genre” picture. Do you consider yourself a fan of horror films?

I am a fan of horror films that don’t rely too heavily on violence, and focus more on psychological aspects or the story, which is why I’m such a fan of ‘THE OMEN’.

Any personal favorites?

‘Psycho’ is a perfect example. Even though most people remember it for the shower scene, which is a very violent act. The reason that movie is so great is because Norman Bates psychology is so fascinating. Other favorites? ‘The Shining’. Again, an example of a strong character who’s trying to understand what’s going on in his own head.
What are you working on next?

I’m going to be in ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’, which is the third of the Bourne movies with Matt Damon. Paul Greengrass is going to direct it. I didn’t say “porn” movies. It’s not the third in the “porn” movies. (laughs) Joan Allen and myself will be in it again. Should be fun.

Thanks, Julia for talking with us. Take care!

Thanks to Dave Bourgeois, Dave Basner & Chris Steible for fielding questions.

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