Tasty treats are in store for us this week at the video counter, where you’ll find an action-packed Western (3:10 to Yuma), a 2007 space odyssey (Sunshine), new stoner laughs (Smiley Face), a creature feature (Dragon Wars), and a quirky rom-com (Eagle vs. Shark). Dig in!
The last time we saw Christian Bale playing cowboy, he was singing and dancing his way through turn-of-the-century New York selling newspapers. (Raise your hand if you’re obsessed with Newsies!) Not so in James Mangold‘s heady remake of the 1957 classic Western, which pits the intense Welsh actor against Aussie thesp Russell Crowe — a foreign-born pair who scratch out grimy, pitch-perfect performances in the most American of genres. The action-packed tale of a poor farmer (Bale) who volunteers to escort a deadly criminal (Crowe) to the titular prison-bound locomotive, 3:10 to Yuma comes to DVD with a passel of deleted scenes, director commentary, and featurettes that discuss the well-traveled ground of the film Western.
As he demonstrated with 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle can craft tense atmospherics, and for some audiences, movies don’t get any tenser than those set in deep space. At long last, his science fiction thriller Sunshine is out on DVD, rife with genuinely stunning visuals and surprisingly believable “movie science” (save a contestable last-act turn of events). At once action thriller and psychological exploration, Boyle’s tale of a crew of scientists trying to reignite the sun to save Earth is a good bet for viewers who love spaceship drama, eye-popping images, and Cillian Murphy. Loads of bonus materials comprise the release, but for those lucky PS3 owners, watch the Blu-Ray version. As IGN DVD editor Christopher Monfette tells us, “It’ll destroy your retinas.”
If, like us, you long for the days of stoner comedies like Half Baked and the entire Cheech & Chong oeuvre, you might enjoy this day-in-the-life adventure starring a bunch of young Hollywood actors. As Jane, an out-of-work actress who accidentally on purpose eats an entire tray full of pot cupcakes, Anna Faris hazily stumbles her way across Los Angeles in an effort to make some money, buy more weed, replace the cupcakes, save an original manuscript of the Communist Manifesto, and other stuff we can’t exactly recall, all while riding the biggest high in film history. Bravo, Gregg Araki. You’ve done it this time!
The Host this ain’t; Korea’s second greatest monster movie in recent history is a bit of a far cry from…well, a good movie, according to most critics, but is perhaps a must-see for those to whom the terms “guilty pleasure” and “so bad it’s good” carry weight. And that includes us!
Independent cinema has thrived lately, thanks largely to the popularity of the sweet quirky comedy; now see the trend as filtered through the mind of New Zealand director Taika Waititi. Oddball characters in love? Check! Deadpan line delivery? Check!
Now, you may think that the original White Noise, starring Michael Keaton as a widower communing with the dead via everyday household appliances (yes, yes, we know it’s a “real” occurrence called Electronic Voice Phenomenon), truly needed no sequel. But you’d be wrong. Check out White Noise 2: The Light, starring Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff, then spend a few hours listening really closely to your toaster.
It’s time for another round of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, who stars in Death Sentence as a vengeful father alongside Kelly Preston, who is married to John Travolta, who was in Look Who’s Talking Too with Roseanne Barr, who was in Backfield in Motion which was a funny women-playing-football movie. Wait, how do you play this game?
Until next week, fruitful renting to us all!
If you know Sci-Fi, you know Nathan Fillion. The erstwhile space cowboy Malcolm Reynolds, Fillion rose to idol status in the realm of Sci-Fi/Fantasy geekdom last year with the triumphant big screen bow of the "Firefly" crew in "Serenity," and recently grossed out gleeful gore-hounds in the critically acclaimed "Slither." Now Fillion stars in "White Noise 2: The Light," which is sure to make audiences think twice about dismissing the EVP/supernatural sequel. RT’s Senh Duong and Phu Bui-Quang sat down with the dashing jokester between scenes on the Vancouver set of "White Noise 2" to learn more about his character, his upcoming rom-com, and what he expects from his fans.
Rotten Tomatoes: The first "White Noise" dealt with Electronic Voice Phenomenon. In "White Noise 2: The Light," you kind of become the medium.
Nathan Fillion: In the first one, Michael Keaton was listening to TV’s and radios to hear messages from his deceased wife. In this one, I have become a de-tuned receiver…I’ll just be walking down a street and I’ll see something happening that grants me the ability to see in a crowd of people and tell which one is gonna die. And the movie becomes about if you had this ability, what would you do? What could you do?
RT: Can you give us any background about your character in the movie?
NF: He’s a normal, everyday, average guy. I’ve played some characters in the past that have experienced loss; Malcolm Reynolds took loss not very well, but it kind of turned him hard, into a rock. [In "White Noise 2"] Abe — Abraham Dale is his name — doesn’t take his loss as well. He’s on this path of destruction. It destroys him and pulls him apart in a way; he’s far more fragile. And then confronted with this ability, what would you do if someone was gonna die?
He’s an ordinary guy with extraordinary circumstances. This is what I think all movies are about, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
RT: So he’s faced with his ability to use his power for good?
NF: Or awesome. Good or awesome, those are his choices.
RT: How is it working with Katee [Sackhoff] in the film?
NF: She’s awesome. I think there are people who are cut out to play certain roles and Katee’s character, this kind of bubbly, gleeful, certainly not shy nurse, she’s just all out there for you. Her interest is in enjoying life. Katee fits the bill. Perfect. Typecast her right there. She’s exactly like that, she’s not even working that hard.
RT: Since both of you come from sci-fi backgrounds — you were in "Firefly," and she plays Starbuck on "Battlestar Galactica," — do you guys ever compare notes, like who would win between your characters?
NF: We trade trading cards. I’ll give you a Jane for two Number 6’s.
That kind of stuff.
RT: You’ve worked on a soap opera, as well as a sci-fi series, and a horror film ("Slither," and now "White Noise 2")…one of our readers pointed out that it looks like you’re tending toward genres with specific target audiences in mind, as opposed to more mainstream roles, such as a romantic comedy.
NF: I can completely see how it would look that way, but the fact is I don’t sit down with five scripts in front of me and say, "you know what, I’m gonna do this one because of the audience it’s reaching or I’m gonna do this one because of the genre." I go out for jobs, or jobs come my way, and I want to be a working actor; I want to do jobs that excite me and challenge me, and I want to something fun.
The process is I’ll try out for 30 jobs, maybe five of them will call me back to try out again, maybe one of them will hit, maybe, maybe not. Then you’ve gotta wait for the next 30, you know what I mean. It’s a game of numbers, and I’m just plucking along. What I get is what I get.
"Firefly" was a lucky get, I’m really glad that that happened. "Serenity" happened because of "Firefly." It wasn’t a choice I made; I was just able to have the opportunity. I did "Slither," I was very, very excited about that (horror genre). It was new, fun and exciting. It was funny. "White Noise 2" was a little bit different; it came along because of "Slither." It’s not the choices that I’m making — it’s just the opportunities that are opening up for me.
I’m hoping I get more different opportunities. And I actually do have a romantic comedy coming up call "Waitress." So tell you reader to put that in his pipe and smoke it.
RT: In a lot of your previous projects you had a comedic role ("Firefly," for instance). "White Noise 2" seems like more of a serious role. How does that change your approach to the character?
NF: You know, my job changes very little because I’ve found that the more you try to be funny, the less funny you become. When I watch TV I can tell when someone is punching the joke and telling me when to laugh (I’ll decide when to laugh, thank you very much), or I can tell when someone is just being in a situation or being under some circumstances that make me laugh, like I’m glad that that’s not me. I think that the secret to comedy is not playing the comedy, but actually playing the situation, playing the drama of it.
So playing the drama of a drama is no stretch. What I did love is that they actually put in something very funny in "White Noise 2." I can’t even tell you what it is.
I can tell you that they put in a little nod to "Firefly." That was really nice to do, but it might get cut out. They didn’t film any options, so almost the whole scene is out, which I don’t think it will be. There’s a little nod in there to "Firefly," which I’m really happy about, it really honors me.
There’s that stuff coming up. That’s my niche. Six foot tall and funny, can make you laugh. My manager always likes to say that, "you can do the drama and you can do the comedy." I’ve found my niche.
RT: So do you think a lot of fans of "Serenity" and "Slither" will like you in this role?
NF: I’m counting on it. I am counting on every "Serenity" fan, and every "Firefly" fan, and every "Buffy" fan, and every "Slither" fan, I am counting on them to see this movie. If this movie fails it is their fault. I’m glad you let me get that clear. I finally had a voice.
RT: We’ve been reading through the forums and a lot of people weren’t too fond of the first "White Noise," but they saw that you were in the cast of "White Noise 2" and have decided to watch it because of you.
NF: This movie is not about the first movie. They’ve taken it a step further. It’s gone beyond; they’re not recycling a story or an idea, they’re taking it somewhere else. But it shares a theme, certainly, what with ‘white noise’ in the title.
RT: Did you watch the first "White Noise?"
NF: Yes, I did. I watched the first "White Noise" actually while I was shooting "Slither." And in the hotel I was staying in I was lying in bed watching it, and every time I moved I would catch my reflection moving in the mirrored doors that looked like glass — it looked like a French door but it was a mirror, so I would see something moving and it would just give me such a start. Those conventions that work to build our tension and to release it, to scare you in movies, that stuff works on me.
"Jaws" changed my life. I will not go near the ocean, I have to be between the shore, me, whoever else is swimming with me has to be on the outside. I’m always on the inside. My diving instructor said, "Nathan, if you ever are with somebody and you see a shark, all you do is you take your dive knife out, and you stab your dive buddy."
I’ve always kept that with me.
RT’s "White Noise 2" set coverage, Part Three: producer Shawn Williamson, whose 50+ credits include "Slither," "White Noise," and many of Uwe Boll‘s thrillers, talks about the popularity of the horror remake, movie-hoppers, and "Dungeon Siege."
Shawn Williamson says was looking for the next hot Canuck horror director when Patrick Lussier came on board to "White Noise 2," and strangely, the term "Canadian horror" indeed seems to be increasingly relevant as more and more fright fests come from our friends to the north. Read on to hear what the Vancouver native thinks of the remake subgenre, shooting for a PG-13 audience, and working with Uwe Boll.
Shawn Williamson: Nathan we knew because we were all fans of "Serenity," but we also worked with him on "Slither," and found him to be an incredible actor, so it just seemed a natural fit for him in this role. Katee has a good following in "Battlestar" and we’ve loved her in the series. Her role is a quirky, cool, hip nurse and she seemed just perfect for it, so we were lucky to get both.
RT: Was there a conscious decision to get two actors from big sci-fi series with large followings?
SW: That was a bonus. The first priority was to get good actors. Secondarily, the fact that they both happen to work in the genre that our audience hopefully will respond to, that’s a big benefit.
RT: "Slither" was extremely well reviewed. What kind of reception are you expecting for "White Noise 2?"
SW: We hope we get reviewed in a similar manner to "Slither." We have a great script, a great cast, and a great director, but now we have to create something that the audience and the critics like, and frankly primarily what the audience likes. We need something that captures the audience and intrigues them, and does two things: makes something that a distributor can market well, but secondly that pleases the audience and makes them want to return or tell their friends to come see it.
It’s not a set formula; it’s a magical thing that happens. It’s an unquantifiable element that hopefully comes together in post, which combines the music with what we do in editing, with what Patrick does to it later. Hopefully that combination is successful commercially and critically.
RT: There has been a recent trend in horror films to show a lot of blood and gore, yet with "White Noise 2" you seem to be staying away from that and going a more realistic route.
SW: Personally, I find those films difficult to handle. The psychological horror we have here is done for a combination of reasons. That graphic element isn’t necessarily in this kind of film, and so there are some graphic moments. There’s a very brutal opening to the film, and some amazing prosthetics that are going to be shocking and graphic. But we aren’t relying on blood and guts to draw an audience; we’re relying on old-fashioned traditional "scare" moments. So we’re putting our energy primarily into scaring the audience when they’re not expecting it, and we’re going to do it without massive amounts of gore.
You can get a hard R-rating and limit your audience to a degree. When I went to the opening weekend of "White Noise," half of the audience was filled with teenage girls who went out looking to get scared, and if you make this an R-rated film, you can’t capture that audience.
They’ll probably go see the film, but they’ll buy a ticket for another film and sneak in to this one, so that doesn’t help our box-office, and that’s a lot of who our market is.
RT: So you guys are definitely shooting for a PG-13?
SW: We’re shooting multiple takes of different scenes, so we have an ability to test it different ways, but more than likely we’ll end up without an R-rating.
RT: A lot of horror remakes have been successful. What do you think of the current state of horror films?
SW: I think the remakes now are spectacular. "The Hills Have Eyes" and these films are recapturing why a lot of us grew up petrified of those sorts of films. They were made on a very tiny budget, but were classic horror. And now they’re being remade with a larger budget and perhaps a bit slicker. "Texas Chainsaw" is a perfect example, or "Dawn of the Dead" — great remakes of original classics, but they put a new spin on them that works well. I think it’s an opportunity to recognize a new class of horror fans that are kids that weren’t around when these films originally opened, but the concepts of the original films were so strong that it translates to a good film now.
RT: How do you think the Japanese horror films influence the horror films in the U.S.?
SW: Japanese and Korean films, they have such great visuals. And they’ve got a totally different style in how they shoot films. "Ringu" and the remake, "The Ring," are very different in some ways but very similar in style to a degree, but they also break tradition. They don’t follow standard mechanisms that we might use to create a horror film.
There are no rules in a lot of them. They create their own rules. The preconceptions of horror changed a lot with the Asian films coming in and really gained an audience in North America.
RT: How did you guys come across Patrick [Lussier] to direct?
SW: It was a combination of Universal and us looking for the next hot Canadian feature director in this genre. Patrick we’d probably want in any genre, but because this is a horror piece it’s something that we think with his background…as we did our searches for the right person to direct Canadian horror, he was the guy.
RT: Is it hard to adapt video games to films?
SW: It depends on the package. I think some films are done very well, and others are a challenge. The ones that are done haven’t met with huge critical success, but they have all met with financial success. I think "Silent Hill" is going to be a marvelous adaptation, because it’s a video game that lends itself well to adapt.
"House of the Dead" was a challenging one, because it’s a first-person shooting game, similar to "Doom." It didn’t get great reviews but it’s a good, solid first-person shooting game with a cast, a good video game adaptation that worked.
The problem with a lot of video games is that they are video games first, purely interactive for the gamer. Taking that process and adapting it to the screen is a very difficult transition.
"Mortal Kombat" I don’t think met with great critical success, but I think it was the first large one. Most haven’t met with huge critical success.
And the gaming community is incredibly critical, and they should be, because they’re coming from games that they love and are passionate about. Translating that from their passion and their vision of the game to what you can actually create on film is a very difficult process.
Sometimes it can end very well, and sometimes not as well.
RT: Given that you’ve done these video game adaptations, do you play video games yourself?
SW: Yes. It’s so busy that I don’t get to play as often as I can. I have a nine-year-old, so I play with him quite a bit. When I need to zone out, I’ll sit and lose myself in Halo like anyone might.
The video game adaptations that I’ve worked on typically are not horror films at all. They’re pretty much all action films, and they were never contrived as horror. Creating horror is very specific. It’s like comedy. They’re two of the hardest things to do.
It’s very much about shock composition and timing, and music combined. It’s very difficult to make a good horror film, a good classic horror. So the adaptations in the video game world that I’ve done were not horror at all, but pretty much straight action, and all Uwe Boll creations.
RT: How did you come to work with Uwe Boll?
SW: I met Uwe years ago when he was making smaller budget thrillers, and Uwe runs his own German financing fund. He is the only director I’ve ever worked with who finds the product he wants to adapt and pays for it from beginning to end. He self-finances his own movies. So Uwe is the ultimate creative decision maker on all of these films, and our job is to try to make the best film we can given all those parameters.
RT: Speaking of Uwe Boll, can you tell us about his latest movie that you’re producing, "Dungeon Siege?"
SW: There were two elements that were great. We had a great cast: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Leelee Sobieski, Claire Forlani, and Burt Reynolds. It was an amazing cast we managed to put together, combined with Tony Ching doing our action — Tony did "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers," so the action in the film is absolutely amazing.
It’s a "Lord of the Rings" genre in essence, a medieval style mythical genre, but with some spectacular action. Tony brought a stunt team with him from China, and they coordinated an amazing action unit that shot here for three or four months, so the action in the battles is quite spectacular. Jason Statham is a natural acrobat and martial artist, so he wanted to do all of his own stunts and all of his own fighting and it works very, very well in the film. The action in that film is just marvelous.
Our "White Noise 2" set coverage continues with RT’s conversation with director Patrick Lussier, as the horror editor-director talks about working with Wes Craven and promises twists and turns in the upcoming thriller sequel.
Patrick Lussier‘s career in horror films has included an extensive editing collaboration with fright master Wes Craven (chopping the "Scream" trilogy, "Red Eye," and more), as well as helming his own "Dracula 2000" movie series. Now Lussier’s inherited the reins to "White Noise 2: The Light," along with all the (not-so-positive) expectations that job brings. RT’s Senh Duong and Phu Bui-Quang sat down with Lussier to learn more about the "White Noise" sequel, Lussier’s career segue, and the current state of horror cinema.
Rotten Tomatoes: So Patrick, have you seen the first "White Noise" film?
Patrick Lussier: Yeah. I’ve worked for Geoff Sax — I edited his "Doctor Who," so it was kind of funny to follow in his footsteps with the sequel to his film.
RT: The first movie dealt with EVP while the second one is more about premonitions.
PL: We definitely leap away from EVP pretty quickly, you know. There are elements of it, but it’s more about one man’s adventure as he goes on this journey and what happens to him after this near-death experience. He kind of becomes his own EVP receiver; he can see things other people can’t see.
RT: What is it about the script of the sequel that attracted you?
PL: When I read it I was completely surprised. It starts out being one kind of movie, and halfway through it becomes very different. It has twists and turns and things that aren’t expected, and ends in a way that is completely shocking. You can’t imagine that you would ever end this movie in the way it does.
RT: Katee [Sackhoff] said this takes a more realistic approach to horror films.
PL: Yes. It’s very character driven. The best horror movies are about people you care about, as opposed to just cannon fodder that gets killed. So it’s not that kind of movie, it’s very much about characters that you can fall in love with, be passionate about as an audience member, and then watch their journey to a very frightening environment.
RT: Did the audience and critical reaction to the first film cause you to approach the second film in a different way?
PL: I think when they were talking sequel, they wanted to do something different — they didn’t want to just leave off the first film. They realized that what they had was an incredibly strong concept, so they wanted a sequel to the concept. That’s why ["White Noise 2"] is a stand-alone adventure — it doesn’t really play on the events of the first film, except for a few tiny connections. The thematics in the world are very similar, but everything else becomes different, and it’s very much its own adventure.
RT: In your previous films you worked as an editor. Now you’ve started directing. When did you decide to make that transition?
PL: I was very fortunate to work for Andrew Ronin and everyone at Dimension Films. After cutting "Scream," "Mimic," "Scream 2," and "Halloween: H20," they offered me the chance to direct the third "Prophecy" movie with Christopher Walken and Vincent Spano, which was great. They said, "Hey, do you want to do this?" I said, "Sure!" So it kind of came up like that.
RT: Has your editing experience affected your directing style at all?
PL: Yeah, [as an editor-director] you can shoot less. You know which parts work and which parts don’t…you can be very specific with the actors, very specific about construction, how the scenes will work, how they’ll play out, how they’ll be fabricated, so that you’re not having to guess and say, "well somebody will figure it out later." You can figure it out before you do it.
RT: Are you editing "White Noise 2" as you go along?
PL: Yeah, Tom Elkins, my editing sidekick, is cutting right now, and I’ll join him and we’ll both cut the film together once we finish production.
Because of my editing experience, sooner or later you always want to sit in the chair and start hacking away at the material. I love editing; it’s a great thing to do. It’s also great to do it with a partner, because they will see things that you didn’t. You’ve shot it in a very specific way and sometimes they see different things in the footage. So it’s great to have an extra set of eyes. It’s a good partnership.
RT: You’ve worked with Wes Craven too. How is your relationship with him, and did he influence your work?
PL: I cut for Wes for years, since ’91; the "Nightmare" movies, and all the "Scream" movies, and "Music of the Heart," "Red Eye," so it can’t help but influence you. He’s got such a keen sense of horror and how it works and such specific thoughts about it. It becomes ingrained with you. Wes is a master with that stuff. For Wes it’s not about style, it’s about performances and story and character. That’s what is key to making everything else work.
RT: Horror films have been doing well lately, with Japanese horror remakes and other remakes. Since you’ve been through the whole trend from the 80’s up to now, what do you think is the state of horror films?
PL: It seems to be changing. It seems to me like the PG-13 ghost stories are working out well, and then there’s the R-horrors which are "how extreme can you go?" like "Hostel" and "Saw." It’s about how far you can push the ratings.
But horror is cyclical…different things repeat themselves. ‘"Emily Rose" worked, let’s go with more of that. "The Grudge" worked, so let’s make more of that.’ If "The Omen" works, we’ll see more spooky kid stories. And if it doesn’t, we won’t.
RT: Lastly, do you believe in EVP and premonitions?
PL: Sure. I believe people are balls of energy — it’s gotta go somewhere, it can’t just evaporate.
RT traveled to Vancouver last month to visit the set of "White Noise 2: The Light," starring sci-fi faves Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff. Check in daily for the four-part set visit and sit-downs with Fillion, Sackhoff, director Patrick Lussier and producer Shawn Williamson. First up, Katee Sackhoff talks action movies, "White Noise 2," and her willingness to give up her firstborn to be a part of "Indy 4." Are you reading this, Lucas?
Katee Sackhoff is known to drooling sci-fi fanboys as tough captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on TV’s "Battlestar Galactica," and now she’s making a temporary detour onto the big screen with the supernatural sequel, "White Noise 2: The Light." RT’s Senh Duong and Phu Bui-Quang sat down with the lovely Katee and dished about "White Noise 2," working opposite Nathan Fillion, kicking ass alongside Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and what "Battlestar" fans can look forward to with Starbuck’s love life.
Rotten Tomatoes: So Katee, how did you get involved in this project?
Katee Sackhoff: I read the script, and I loved it. I was shooting another film at the time. We were doing night shoots till 5 in the morning, so at like 4 in the morning I’m reading the script cause I had a meeting with Patrick Lussier, the director, the next day.
KS: So I’m reading the script at 4 in the morning going, "Ok, ok, ok this is really good!" and like slept for a couple hours, got up, met him at Starbucks, had a huge espresso, and then, just kind of got involved that way, and told my managers I was really interested.
RT: So are you a fan of horror films?
KS: I am. I love having the crap scared out of me as long as I’m not alone, like in my house by myself watching it and then I have to go to bed. If I’m gonna watch a scary movie by myself it’s usually during the day, ’cause then I can watch a cartoon afterwards or something before I have to go to bed.
RT: Because it’s sunny outside…
KS: Exactly. But I live kind of in the middle of nowhere, so when it’s dark out you hear the coyotes — "oh my God, I’m gonna die!"
RT: Can you tell us a little about your character in the film?
KS: My character is a nurse who ends up meeting Nathan Fillion‘s character, Abe, at the hospital under some pretty bad circumstances, and they find a common ground. They’ve become soul mates, you know, kindred spirits in a sense because they’re going through such a very similar thing. Something that he’s going through in his life right now with the loss of his wife and his son is something that she had experienced a couple years before, so she seems to latch onto him and try and help him through the process of grieving and getting over it.
RT: Have you worked with Nathan yet?
KS: No, I haven’t, but we have a common friend, and so I knew of him for many years, so as soon I found out that it was with Nathan — I’m such a big fan of his, I loved "Firefly," I loved "Serenity" — I was really kind of excited to work with, you know, Mr. Hotpants (laughs). He’s called Mr. Tightpants or something like that, so I was pretty excited about it.
I think all my scenes are with Nathan, so we’ve definitely worked together and we get along really well. We don’t take ourselves very seriously, there’s a lot of goofing around. So we basically just kind of goof around with each other and they say "action" and then we have to cry.
RT: So were there any "Battlestar Galactica"/"Firefly" duels?
KS: Like who? Like could Starbuck beat him up?
KS: (Laughs) Maybe. We’ve talked about it briefly, but I think that the fans are really excited about it just because I think that it brings in a built in audience, which is really nice. You know I know that a lot of my fans are eagerly awaiting for it to come out and we haven’t even finished shooting yet, and the fact that Nathan’s in it just, you know, an added bonus, and I think his fans are vice-versa. It’s really exciting, I think everyone’s gonna really enjoy it.
RT: We were reading on the internet and there are all these fans that just because the two of you are in it are really looking forward to the sequel.
KS: Yeah, there’s either people that are really looking forward to it, or there’s people that you just can never win over, the people that still don’t like me because I’m a woman (laughs), that are like, "no, she’ll never be Starbuck so I’m not gonna see this either," You’re always gonna have that, but I think that people are really excited about it because it is Nathan and I.
RT: How did your character in "Battlestar Galactica" prepare you for the role for this?
KS: The characters are very different. You know, Starbuck is extremely capable, and she’s very quick with the tongue and even faster with the fist, so she’s a very tough person. Sherry, my character in "White Noise," she’s just as capable, just in different ways. She’s kind of the damsel in distress, which is very interesting for me.
There’s a scene where I get in a struggle with a gentleman, and it was really hard for me because I’m so used to playing Starbuck who would give him a dropkick to the face. So it was really hard for me to be the victim and scream like I didn’t know what to do and be like, "Oh my God, a knife!" You know, that was pretty hard.
So it’s been very different for me. The director’s been amazingly approachable and he’s helped me so much because I’m so used to playing that tough character that it’s nice to have someone sit there and go "Cut. Katee, don’t look like you’re gonna beat Nathan up. You’re supposed to be kissing him right now." So little things like that have helped.
RT: Have you seen the first "White Noise?"
KS: I did. I was a big fan of the first "White Noise." I love Michael Keaton, and I was terrified, absolutely terrified the whole time I was watching that movie. And in the very end when he gets beat up by the ghost, I couldn’t figure out quite what was happening for like the first two seconds, and then all of a sudden I went, "Oh my God, they’re breaking his bones!" I was freaking out like, "That’s so gross! That’s horrible!" Oh God, it was so scary. So I was really excited to do this next one.
RT: So in this one, the emphasis is less on EVP, and more on premonitions.
KS: Yeah, it’s more on premonitions and I guess death’s design and [what happens] if you interfere with that. It’s got a little twist of Final Destination in there, but it’s definitely got a lot of the original in it as well, as far as the EVP is concerned, but there’s definitely that whole "if you interfere with death’s design you’ve got to equal things out a little bit," which is kind of eerie.
I think that’s what’s so interesting about this type of horror film as opposed to the last one I did, "Halloween: Resurrection," which is totally different because it’s some guy chasing after you with a butcher knife that’s died 50 times and keeps coming back. How realistic is that? But this is so realistic that it is more terrifying. Because there are people that do believe in EVP, and that’s really kind of freaky. I think this is a little bit more of a psychological thriller as opposed to a campy, gory, blood-all-over-the-place thriller. A different kind of scary on the seat of your pants.
RT: It’s probably easier on you.
KS: It’s the first job I’ve done where I’ve actually been clean with no blood and bruises and cuts, and like, gunshots wounds. So I’m really excited about that, that I actually get to look normal for at least the beginning of the movie.
RT: I was looking at your filmography and you did a movie with Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
KS: I did. Are you a Don "The Dragon" Wilson fan?
RT: Well I’m a huge martial arts fan so I’ve seen some of his films.
KS: Right. This was called "The Last Sentinel" and it’s the film I did right before this. It’s a very, very low budget independent film where I think myself and Bokeem Woodbine are the only ones that really talk in the movie. It’s me doing long monologues with Don "The Dragon" Wilson fighting in the background. Jesse Johnson was the director of that film, and Jesse Johnson did "Pit Fighter" which was his first film. He is a stunt coordinator that’s done all the "Mission Impossibles;" he’s a brilliant stunt coordinator.
We had a million dollar budget with 50 million dollar stunts, and I got to do all my own stunts. And that was my big thing and that’s why I did the film. I was so excited to do my own stunts and work with Jesse because he is such an amazing stunt coordinator and I loved "Pit Fighter." So it should be good. I have no idea what it’s going to look like, but I know the fighting’s going to be great because I had to learn to knife fight for it. So it was pretty interesting.
RT: So are you more interested in the action-type movies?
KS: Action comes easier for me. It’s a lot easier for me to scare somebody and hit them than it is for me to make them cry or make them laugh. But it’s definitely more challenging for me to do roles like Sherry in "White Noise" that are more just normal people, because then that’s just selling the reality of the situation as opposed to the fantasy of it. It’s different, but I’m a mixture. I keep saying my next movie’s gonna be a nice little romantic comedy with no blood, no death, no guns, no killing, no ghosts, no robots that are gonna kill you.
RT: You’ve said that you want to work on the prequel for "Indiana Jones."
KS: I would give up my firstborn to be in the next "Indiana Jones." I grew up watching "Indiana Jones" and was such a huge fan of that trilogy and Harrison Ford. Yeah, I would literally give up my firstborn — granted, I don’t have one yet so I don’t really know if that’s an option, but I would love to do that.
I love action films. I love movies where things blow up, I don’t know why. I was born in the 80’s, and so I think that my generation is very over-stimulated so if something doesn’t blow up or if it’s black and white I don’t want to see it.
RT: When you started acting eight years ago did you ever imagine that you would be in one of the most popular sci-fi TV series and now a big budget sequel to a popular film?
KS: Isn’t it weird? It’s so weird how life works out. I got into this business because it was the only other career I could find that I didn’t need a college education for, other than being an athlete which is what I had done and I had gotten injured so I had to figure out something else to do really quick.
RT: What did you do before?
KS: I was a swimmer. So I had planned on going to Stanford and swimming and going to the Olympics and doing the whole thing, and then I got hurt and it was like," Ok, what do I do now?" In the back of my mind I guess it was always like," It’s never going to happen." Because you never really hear of anyone that makes it. You always hear horror stories of people moving to Los Angeles and coming home a year later. So I always knew I had the drive and ambition for it, but I think that this business has so many other things that go into success that you have no control over, so you never know. I wake up every day and pinch myself, and I’m so lucky to be where I am. Then again, I’m extremely ambitious and my goals and my ambitions are so huge at this point that, you know, we’ll see where it leads.
RT: What was your first major break?
KS: It was in Portland, Oregon where I’m from. I went down to be an extra in a movie that my mom had seen in the newspaper. And one of the girls that they had cast in Los Angeles didn’t show up, or they forgot to cast the role, or something like that, but they had to shoot the scene that day, or the next day, or something crazy. So they decided to just start auditioning extras and I called my mom and was like, "you’ve gotta get down here right now because I’m only 17 and I’ve got to sign a contract." So my mom got down and I got the part. And so that was my first job and it was with Kirsten Dunst.
RT: Which movie was it?
KS: It was for Lifetime, called "Fifteen and Pregnant." Everyone thinks it’s a documentary. Other than that, I’d have a firstborn to give to Harrison Ford for the part. So I did that role and the director of that film, Sam Pillsbury, and his wife really took an interest in me and convinced my mom to let me move to Los Angeles. I moved to L.A. 3 months later and they introduced me to an agent and a manager. That was the next job and I got a series like 6 months later, so it was so quick. I’m glad I didn’t go to college.
RT: What upcoming projects can we look forward to seeing from you?
KS: If you’re an action fan, or a fan of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, "The Last Sentinel" is gonna be a huge film. I think that fans of "Firefly" and "Battlestar" and fans of the original "White Noise" are gonna love this film. It’s well written, the direction by Patrick Lussier is amazing, so this is gonna be a great film. And we’re getting ready to start the third season of "Battlestar," we start in a week. But that’s what I have going on right now and we’re working on other things for my next hiatus which isn’t for 9 months, but, you know, we’re working things out, things are in the can.
RT: What kind of stuff can we look forward to on "Battlestar Galactica?"
KS: Well, Kara Starbuck has an unlikely love affair with a gentleman who everyone is aware of, but whom no one would ever think of as the person that she would end up with, even if it’s just for a little bit. As we know, Starbuck moves on very quickly from man to man. People should also look for a nice little haircut that’s gonna take everybody back to what she looked like in the original, which I’m not too proud of or happy about, but you know, I’m gonna look like a boy again and that’s ok. And again lots of special effects, guns, and fights, and I’m sure Starbuck will not disappoint. She will beat up a few people at least in the next season, so we’ll see. I’m sure they’ll be happy about it.
In the original, abysmally rated "White Noise" (which boasts a 9% on the Tomatometer), a widower (Michael Keaton) believed he could communicate with the dead through household recording devices. The sequel, "White Noise 2: The Light," seems to shy away from that dubious phenomenon and instead employs a much more fictitious, "Final Destination"-ish plot.
From Sci Fi Wire: "After a near-death experience, Fillion’s character discovers he has the psychic ability to see who’s going to die next. "He can see things, but people think he’s crazy, and he just falls apart," Fillion said. "And, yes, there is some of the recordings of the dead on machines and all that.""
Nathan Fillion next stars in the creature feature "Slither," which opens March 31, 2006.