6. feb. 2014

Horror-Unrated Retrospekt #4: Vi snakker med Ashleigh Gryzko fra den uhyggelige indie-gyser 'Grave Encounters'.

Efter 4 år har vi valgt at lukke og slukke for Horror Unrated. Med tiden fik vi hevet en hel del spændende og dybdegående interviews i hus, fra de store kendte horror stjerner til ukendte independent filmskabere. Personligt er jeg meget stolt over den række af interviews vi endte med at få på Horror Unrated, og enkelte står stadig som nogle helt unikke. Bl.a. interviewene med instruktøren af 'Don't Go in the Woods', James Bryan og David Winters - manden bag 'The Last Horror Film', som begge velvilligt satte sig til at scanne gamle billeder filmpris-certifikater ind til os som vi kunne bruge i artiklen. Og danske Heini Grünbaum som i 1999 lavede 'Flænset', gav sig rigtig god tid til virkelig at gå i dybden med sine svar. Den dag i dag er det så vidt vi ved, stadig det eneste interview der findes med ham på internettet.
Af forskellige årsager valgte vi at lukke for Horror Unrated d. 12. november 2013, og da undertegnede tidligere har været skribent for denne fantastiske blog, Sørensen Exploitation Cinema Proudly presents, valgte jeg og bloggens ejer at flytte de mange interviews over på bloggen så de kunne få nyt liv, og forhåbentlig blive læst og nydt af nye læsere.
- Claus Reinhold.

HORROR UNRATED: Hi Ashleigh and welcome to Horror Unrated. How are you doing?

Ashleigh Gryzko: I'm wonderful, I hope you are too!

HORROR UNRATED: Thank you, I am. Ashleigh, we’re here to talk about your latest movie, Grave Encounters where you play Sasha Parker, but how did you land this part?

Ashleigh Gryzko: I wasn't in town when they held the first round of auditions so I got a little camera, and had my family and friends help me shoot the audition (in a found-footage style) I thought it would be the perfect way to tape the audition. I sent it in, got a call back and found out I got the role a couple weeks later.

HORROR UNRATED: To my knowledge, this is your first horror film. But had you ever wanted do a horror film before Grave Encounters?

Ashleigh Gryzko: It’s my first feature length horror film but I've done a lot of horror shorts. I love doing horror because I believe it is one of the most challenging, demanding genres. You have to go to very dark places, put yourself through intense emotional circumstances, and you absolutely cannot get away with faking anything. You have to be there, you have to live it, otherwise you are not serving the story or the truths of your character.

HORROR UNRATED: Grave Encounters represents The Vicious Brothers’ first stab at feature length film making. Did you enjoy working with them and how did you perceive them as film makers?

Ashleigh Gryzko: It was a dream working with them, they were so involved in each moment, living the entire experience right along side of us. The incredible thing was how well they worked together, we called them the Two-headed Monster, cause when one got an idea they'd mold together and come out with flawless direction. These guys are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the industry. They are going to be huge.

HORROR UNRATED: In my opinion, you and the rest cast are very convincing in your roles. How did you prepare for the part and how did you and The Vicious Brothers work together on creating your character?

Ashleigh Gryzko: Bringing a character to life starts on the page, its all about story. I begin by dissecting the script, almost like a detective, discovering who my character is, what they need, and what their purpose is within the story. Then I begin to fill in the life, researching, using music, images, finding how they move, talk, what habits and body language they have developed over time. On the day, with all that work done, I just connect to the other characters, the environment, the circumstances and tell the truth. The Vicious Brothers actually put a lot of work into each character. On the day of our table read they gave each of us a big write up on who the characters are, what they like, their history and background, it was awesome. I think collectively, as a group, we really were able to embody every aspect of our characters, thanks to the extra creativity from the Vicious Brothers.
HORROR UNRATED: Many of the horror films in the found-footage genre are improvised when it comes to the acting. Did you also improvise a lot, or did you follow the script or how did you do it?

Ashleigh Gryzko: Oh yeah, we improvised a lot! I mean, we followed the story, but the dialogue itself was ever changing from moment to moment. The fear was palpable; the intensity was just there, so improv became an extension of the characters in the story.

HORROR UNRATED: I can’t help but wonder what it was like walking around in that old abandoned psychiatric hospital, because it certainly looked quite spooky.

Ashleigh Gryzko: It was truly horrifying. The place is haunted. I couldn't go anywhere alone. It got to the point where I would see something walk down the hall, and I'd have to pretend I wasn't seeing these things, so I could last the night of shooting with out losing it. My saving grace was that we wrapped at 7am, so by the time I went to sleep it was light outside, otherwise I don't think I would have slept at all.

HORROR UNRATED: So did you experience any real life paranormal phenomenon or other unexplainable things while shooting Grave Encounters?

Ashleigh Gryzko: Yes. So much! I saw things on a daily basis. I had to be very careful about not looking down hallways, or through windows. Weird technical things happened a lot too. We all did our best to keep calm when we weren't shooting, but I will tell you that the circumstances of the story, and the ones of us as actors shooting this film were almost too similar. When we were in between shooting a scene, Sean (Lance) looked at me and he goes, 'did you hear that?' I looked at him, his face was stone cold serious, then he said “I keep hearing a voice, saying Saaaasshhaaa.. Saaasshhaa” - he was dead serious, he wasn't trying to scare me. I was terrified. Then later on one of the last days of shooting, we were filming in the tunnels, it was just Sean, the Vicious Brothers and me. After we got the take, they turned the lights on and there was a blob of fake blood on the ground in front of me in the shape of a heart. It wasn't there when we started shooting the scene, and there was no fake blood anywhere near where we were either. Guess one of the ghosts really liked Sasha, haha.

HORROR UNRATED: So I take it you have come to believe in supernatural phenomenon or entities after those incidents?

Ashleigh Gryzko: You know, I always have. I've seen unexplainable things since I was a child. I'm pretty sure everyone has, even if they don't believe in what they saw. Do I think its trapped souls, or evil spirits? I don’t know, it could be, and it could be a number of mind bending phenomenon. I think life is a lot more intricate and incredible than we tend to think. Anything is possible.

HORROR UNRATED: Well, I guess you’re right, So, tell me about how the shoot went.

Ashleigh Gryzko: We did two day shoots I believe, the rest were night shoots, we'd arrive around 8 or 9 eat 'breakfast' and start getting things going around 10 or 11 and we'd shoot till 7 am. It was a lot easier to adjust to the night shoots that I expected. The energy was just so high and everyone was stoked everyday, so you wanted to be there. I had to be screaming and crying pretty much everyday, but somehow it didn't drain me, which that usually do. There were any serious set backs, some of the stunts ended up being more challenging than expected, but at the end of the day everything seemed to work out perfectly. One of my favorite memories from shooting, ahahha, it still makes me laugh so hard, we were shooting one of the scenes with us in the lobby, and one actor (I'm not gonna name names) kept falling asleep, which worked since our characters were exhausted, so this person was in and out of sleep throughout the wide shot. When they went into close ups, this actor perks right up and gets into the scene not knowing what was actually going on. It was adorable and hilarious, plus it suited that actor’s character flawlessly. A perfect unintentional choice, haha. In the trailer there's a scene where you can actually watch an example of it. I won't say which scene, but it’s priceless.

Ashleigh Gryzko: I think the hardest scene for me, simply because I felt I couldn't get to the emotional place I needed to, for whatever reason, was T.C.'s death, when we pushed the tub over and was gone. I got there eventually - it was just harder than expected. The other scene that was hard, because I had to be alone and I was really freaked out was the scene where I was in the room with the writing on the walls. It was very hard to be alone anywhere in that place.
As for the most enjoyable scene to shoot? Well, honestly I loved the entire shoot. There was one scene, that's not actually in the final cut of the film. Mackenzie and I were the ghost versions of our characters in a functioning ghost asylum.
Sean had to come up to us and we went nuts. It was so fun to shoot. Possibly because I got to wear a different outfit haha (I really hated my characters pants! Haha) As for a scene in the movie, well I'm not gonna lie - puking up blood was pretty fun!

HORROR UNRATED: Now that the film is out, how do you think the audiences and movie critics have received the film as a whole, but also your portrayal of Sasha?

Ashleigh Gryzko: From what I've seen, and the feedback I've gotten, people love it. I have people e-mailing and tweeting me from around the world. It’s really shocking and incredible. People have been saying very complimentary things to me about my performance and I'm just blown away and flattered more than I can say. One of my best friends just watched it the other night (she is my biggest critic) and she loved it, so I'm stoked.

HORROR UNRATED: That’s great to hear. So, will we be seeing you in a new horror movie in the future?

Ashleigh Gryzko: Yes you will! I'm sure you'll see me in every genre of film. It’s going be an eternity before I've had enough of any opportunity to create a life and tell a story on screen, regardless of genre. Plus my scream is way too good to not utilize, wouldn't you say?

HORROR UNRATED: Oh yes, I definitely will. Okay, I’ll round off this interview by saying thank you so much for your time Ashleigh and we’re looking forward to seeing you again.

Ashleigh Gryzko: Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview with Horror Unrated, Claus. I had a blast.

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