February 1st marks the kick off of the eighth year of Women in Horror Month and we are beyond excited to start the festivities by speaking to actress and performer Bonnie Morgan. Bonnie is known for taking on the iconic role of 'Samara' in the horror film RING 2 and the latest addition to the franchise RINGS, which comes out this Friday. We had the chance to speak with Bonnie on what it was like to play such an iconic character and how her background in stunt work and contortion played a pivotal role in making Samara who she is today.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Bonnie! Thanks so much for speaking with us today, and wouldn't you know it, it's the kickoff to Women in Horror Month! This weekend, RINGS, will be released nationwide and you play the iconic character of Samara. For those few out there that aren't familiar with who Samara is, could you tell us a little bit about her?
Bonnie Morgan: Sure! Samara was a little girl brought home by parents who desperately wanted a child but couldn't have one of their own. As she got older, things went devastatingly awry for the couple, and they even suffered terrifying hallucinations; believing the little girl was the cause, the mother finally decided to suffocate the child and dispose of her in a well on the property. What she didn't know is that when Samara hit the water, she wasn't dead. She lived for 7 days in the dark trying to escape, and finally died...alone, scared, and seeking revenge.
NC: This is your second time delving into the character of Samara, what has it been like playing such an iconic character and what initially attracted you to the role?
BM: Samara is one of the first horror icons that really scared me! She terrified fans literally around the globe! But she was the first to really get to me! To then turn around and be asked to play her... to become the very thing that terrified you as a kid is about the greatest full circle to come to as an actor. Please excuse the ring...full circle pun haha.
NC: One thing that makes Samara so terrifying is the way she moves about. As a contortionist, you have been able to twist and turn your body into some horrifying positions. How did your movements come to fruition for the film?
BM: I was tracked down on the second RING movie as sort of a coup to help the CG department out of the final sequence. CG was kind of all the rage and I was told that they really wanted to WOW the audience with something really "scary and different and spectacular!" The visual effects department was convinced that production couldn't find anyone who could rival their digital concept.
Well, the director, Hideo Nakata (who had directed the original RINGU in Japan) was quite opposed to the idea, as he is a horror purist. Believing that "real is scarier," he wanted to see something practical instead of another computer generated monster. I was then tracked down by a department head who had known me since I was a kid. He called me, and we all had a sort of clandestine creative meeting, after which time they asked me to film something at home to present to the grown-ups. And thus, the "spider crawl" was born in my living room! To this day, most people assume that it is a CG creature... I'm pretty proud of that.
NC: The RING movies have become such a huge franchise. What are you hoping to bring to RINGS that audiences haven't been able to see in any of the previous films?
BM: I am such a Samara fan and I hope to pay homage to Samara, respect to her origins, and to play her proud for her fans. I'm honored to have added to her with my own movements and have my ideas seamlessly integrated and so welcomed by her fans and her original director. I really hope this journey down the well continues to surprise and terrify her audiences.
NC: Your career so far has spanned both film and television, and there seems to be a heavy emphasis on the horror genre. Have you always been a fan of the genre? If so, what is it that you like so much about it?
BM: I have played many characters, both in and out of makeup, but I was always one of those kids who rooted for the monster! Seriously, who is having the most fun in the horror movies? The screaming pretty girl or the monster chasing her through the fog? I get to have such a blast being the scariest thing in the room! Playing all strange manner of monsters and creatures chasing, slithering, and at times, flying through crazy adventures chasing some new damsel in distress, often to her doom!
What can I say, some girls dream of being princesses in castles, I dreamed of being the dragon on the tower or the monster under the bed...and sometimes even a pixie in Neverland. Playing them is not easy work - the hours are long, it's physically and mentally demanding, you can't be claustrophobic in any way, and I've been buried alive and almost drowned more times than I'd like to admit, but it is a most wonderful, creative, challenging, exciting occupation and I really love what I do and what I create.
NC: It definitely sounds like you do! Last, but certainly not least, what can your fans look forward to from you in the future?
BM: I'll be playing Judy Punch this season on the Sundance Channel's "Hap and Leonard" airing this spring. And though I can't say the title, I've signed on as part of a well-knwon SciFi franchise that I'm really excited about!
If you would like to learn more about Bonnie, as well as her upcoming projects, make sure to follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bendybonniemorgan, Twitter @bendybonnie and visit her website bonnie-morgan.com.