Quantcast Vigdis Anholt interview - LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER

Vigdis Anholt!!!
August 14th, 2007 LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER finally comes to DVD courtesy of Indican Pictures Entertainment. Last year, we presented a First Look review of the indie pic as well as a FRIGHT exclusive interview with writer/director/star David Morwick. Now, on the eve of the DVD release, Icons Of Fright chats exclusively with Erin Merryweather herself, actress Vigdis Anholt. Read on for one of Vigdis's first on-line interviews! - by Robg. 8/07

What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre? Do you remember the first film to scare you?

The Exorcist! I was way too young to have seen it. I really shouldn’t have seen it. (Laughs) I think that I always was very interested and intrigued by the horror genre. You’re so close to your emotions when you sit there on edge. It’s like a roller coaster, it’s a thrill you can’t get from any other kinds of movies. I love horror movies. I’d be terrified as a kid when I saw them, but at the same time I would always, always come back for more.

Take us back to the beginning of what interested you in getting involved in acting?

I started in Norway. It has always been a thing I’d wanted to do since I was a kid. I’ve been told too and I can’t even remember this, but that I was always an entertainer. Loved the attention as a kid. (Laughs) I would always play make-believe. Long winters in Norway, you have to figure out ways to entertain yourself somehow! My dad was a big inspiration. He wasn’t an actor, but he was actually the sheriff in my little town, he’s always been interested in horror movies. Same with my oldest brother. So the two of them inspired me a lot. I love all kinds of movies though. I’m a huge movie buff.
You came to New York when you were 20. But you didn’t initially come for acting, right?

I came here when I was 20 as a nanny. I went into acting when my year was over. I didn’t want to go back! (Laughs) So, I thought one way of doing it was by applying to the American Academy. I saw an ad in the paper, and I just did it for fun and got in. My host family was so kind to tell me that if I got in, I could continue to stay with them, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. My family back home would send me money for my train ticket every month so I could get back and forth to the city, so they supported me that way. Being at the Academy for a year, you’re not guaranteed getting back in for a 2nd year. Only 30 percent gets back in for the 2nd year actually, so I was fortunate enough to get in again. I graduated and kept in touch with David (Morwick) whom I went to school with. We got to be the best of friends right off the bat.

When did David first tell you about his script for LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER?

I would say 98-99? That’s when he had written the script because he had been over in Hollywood. And he would even tell me stories that he would sit by the original Halloween locations in Pasadena when he was writing the script. He was very inspired by being there. I was amazed when I read it. I thought it was a great story! He really writes well, and he was very serious. I still had to audition for the movie, but he did have me in mind for it.

He had you in mind for Erin Merryweather while writing it, but he had to audition several people regardless. What was the audition process like for you?

I remember I went in, but I was very nervous. I remember telling David “Don’t feel bad if I don’t get it!” Because I didn’t want him to feel bad if they (the producers) didn’t want to cast me. He had the last say anyways, but at the same time he had to audition me. I did two monologues. Dave liked it and after that called me the next day and told me I got it.
At that point, did you know what the part entailed? Meaning, did you know you’d endure make-up?

I knew a little! They put the make-up on me for a test screening after the audition, but it was a different make-up artist then they ended up using. I had read the script, but I didn’t know exactly what Dave would want. I know he wanted a shy, innocent character. I trusted he knew what he was doing, because he wanted me essentially to just be me! Because he had written this with me in mind. So it wasn’t much of a stretch.

Between the period of getting cast and actually shooting, a lot went on behind the scenes of the production, including several directors coming on board before David himself ended up directing.

It was about half a year, because I remember having a 5th draft of the script. It kept changing. I know the ending was different. But between the process of learning it and then actually filming, I think it must’ve been a full year before I went to Boston and we started shooting.
David is obvious a huge horror fan and it shows in his script, and you’re a fan of these films too. I know he went back and watched a lot of older classic horror films. Did you do that too? How did you approach figuring out how to play Erin?

It’s such an original script. Yes, I’d watch a few older horror movies for inspiration, but I didn’t want to do anything that had been done before. He was adamant about that too. This was different. It’s a woman serial killer. A female antagonist.
Did that give you room to do your own thing?

I think so. We rehearsed in the city a lot in that year before shooting quite often and that helped a lot in terms of finding the character. You’ll never be completely satisfied. You’ll always find more layers you could’ve added on afterwards. But from rehearsing with David, this is how he wanted me to play it. So I found the character fairly quickly.

And essentially, you have two completely different roles. There’s the shy Erin Merryweather and then there’s the killer Erin in make-up. A lot of people often say that when they’re in make-up, it’s very easy for them to get into character. What was it like for you to be in the full Erin Merryweather costume?

What was it like? I felt powerful! (Laughs) I felt like I could do anything! I creeped people out on the set. I remember when we did screen the movie for the first time, there was a kid in the audience that wouldn’t even talk to me. And I was just in my regular cloths! So, I guess I must’ve been frightening in the movie. I know I scared the Director Of Photography the first time he saw me in the full make-up.

What was the production like in general? It took a long time to get going, but then it shot over the course of 4 weeks.

It was smooth. We had a great crew. Of course this is my first movie, so I don’t know how to compare it, but I really think that they were a great hardworking crew. For everyone involved, it was a labor of love. They all loved it. Even the crew members were saying, “Sometimes we don’t even read the script” but they did with this one because they really wanted to know what was going on.

Was there anything specific you remember about the experience of making this film? Any high-jinx on set?

I would say the day where I had the make-up on for a full 20 hours. And it was about to crack! It hurt my face. They thought I was allergic to it. And then it turned out the scene wasn’t going to happen that day. So I was in the full make-up for 20 hours and didn’t film in it. (Laughs) But those are the type of things about films you can’t get mad at, and I never did. Dave would always apologize profusely, but I honestly just had so much fun. It was the best time of my life making that movie.

What was your interaction like with the other actors, considering that essentially you’ll end up being their killer!?

They were great! One of the actors particularly asked me if it would bother me if he talked to me, because I was always very quiet. But that’s just me! I told him you can talk to me all you want, I’m just not going to respond very often! (Laughs) I wanted to have that separation for a bit too because of the character. But Brandon (Johnson) and Marcus (Bonnee), we all got to be friends and I love them. But I tried to have a bit of separation for when they saw me in make-up in their scenes.

What were your reactions to seeing the completed film for the first time? I mean, the script was great on its own, but then you add the wonderful score by Paul Cristo and the illustrations by Kelly Murphy.

You mentioned before, it’s like if you take out the music from something like HALLOWEEN, it’s a different movie. But all the elements, when they came together for Little Erin, I was pleasantly surprised. With Paul Cristo, I just had no idea that he was going to be such an incredible composer. The artist herself Kelly, I remember when I first came to the set, the crew were talking about her and saying how phenomenal an artist she was. And indeed she was, and also just so shy and so sweet and incredible. I think we owe a lot to her. Even when I saw the first trailer – I had never seen myself on camera so that was weird (Laughs) but I was pleasantly surprised!

You come from a theater background as an actress, but this is your first theatrical film. Any differences for you? Or was it fairly easy for you to segue from one to the other?

It’s not that different. When you’re an actor, you do the same kind of work you do on stage that you do on film. I gotta say I felt more comfortable in front of the camera, because that is the stage. I was surprised I wasn’t camera-shy. You just have to project the same way.

The films screened numerous times at various festivals. What’s that experience been like for you getting the chance to see it with different audiences?

It’s been incredible. It’s been a long time since we made it, but it’s always exciting. I’m so pleased it’s finally coming out. I enjoyed the whole process of making this movie.
The character of Little Erin is iconic to this film! If you go to the website, your face pops up with the make-up on. There are action figures of you, and even masks! Is that surreal for you?

That is weird to me! (Laughs) I remember David came to the restaurant I worked at with the mask on. And it freaked me out! He actually came on a surprise visit from Boston here to New York, so it totally surprised me to turn around and see someone wearing a mask of myself. He later showed me the photos of the action figures…

I want one! I don’t want a Peter Bloom action figure though! (Laughs) I just want a Little Erin Merryweather action figure! I keep bugging him for one of those! This movie’s finally available on DVD. And I remember saying in my review of it last year that this movie feels like a lost gem from the 80’s. It doesn’t feel like a movie that was made recently. What do you hope fans will get from the movie when they pick it up?

What I like about it – I remember my brother back in Norway saying that this movie had stolen from a lot of those 80’s “slasher” films, but I had to assure him that we gave tribute to all those films we loved. David wanted it to be an homage to the films we loved. And I hope that doesn’t get misunderstood. And I’m sure it won’t. The true horror buffs will recognize the way this film is a tribute to all our favorite films. It’s what we grew up with!

There are rumors that David’s completed a script for a 2nd LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER. Do you know anything about it?

Nope! And if I did, I couldn’t talk about it! (Laughs)

Oh, come on! Well, I assume if the opportunity presented itself, you’d want to play this character again?

Yeah! To be honest, I haven’t read it yet, but he’s told me all about it. So we’ll see.
What else can we look forward to from you in the future? More films?

Hopefully! I hope this will lead me to more opportunities in film. I’d love to do more work on film.

Any last words to our FRIGHT readers?

Just enjoy it! Enjoy the movie.

Little Erin Merryweather trailer

Visit: www.LittleErinMerryweather.com

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