For the release of IFC Midnight's KILLING GROUND, Shannon had the chance to speak with actress Harriet Dyer about her role as Sam, what inspired her to take on this character, and how the Australian weather tried to derail the film.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Harriet, thank you so much for speaking with me today! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about the film KILLING GROUND and your character Sam?
Harriet Dyer: It's about a young couple, Ian and Sam, who have been together for a couple of years and are very comfortable with each other and I think very comfortable in their city world. They've gone camping over New Year's Eve at a very secluded spot on the beach and see an orange tent with no one around. From there tension begins to build with flash forwards and back in time where the audience starts to realize the fate of those campers. Ian and Sam start to get involved in trying to fix all that's happened and the story kind of unfolds from there.
NC: What was it about this script that made you want to be part of this film?
HD: I really like horror/thrillers. I grew up watching some pretty twisted films for a kid. I've never really played someone who's just this strong woman who answers this call to step up. It's a power I can feel inside of her and I thought that was a really cool character trait. I'm also all about playing a woman who has an impact on the story and isn't just sitting there as eye candy or to be killed off in the first couple of scenes. That's an aspect which really attracted me to the story, that Sam is a strong female lead in a mostly male gender film.
NC: Was there anything you had to do to prepare for the role? Were there any challenges you faced while filming?
HD: There wasn't a lot I had to do to prepare because physically I was already fit. Mentally I tried not to ruminate on bush horror or camping thrillers. I just approached the film as though it was going to be a perfectly fine weekend. I think that was the best kind of preparation I could do so that the real shock of all that happens was genuine. In regards to challenges we faced, it was the wettest Sept./Oct. in Sydney in this bushland area just outside of the suburbs. It was just so rainy and as you see in the film, 95% of the movie is outdoors so there was no, "oh we will go to this location and come back to this one later"; we just had to wait it out. They had to put up these little tents where we would stand and watch the rain fall and just wait. The art department would bring out this flame thrower to help dry the ground so that it could match the previous shot and it would always make me laugh (laughs). The producers and Damien Powers, the director, did a really great job of handling these challenges as it definitely could have been a lot worse.
NC: Were you a fan of camping prior to this film? If so, have your thoughts changed?
HD: You know what, I'm not a camper. My family and I never did that growing up, we weren't really the outdoorsy type, I think my mum just isn't really into losing creature comforts (laughs). The only camping that I really did was on school trips. The whole idea of camping just hasn't ever really taken me. Since this film, I wouldn't say I'm drawn more to the idea of camping, especially since the area we filmed in was pretty creepy to begin with (laughs).
NC: Last but not least, are there any projects that you are working on that we should keep our eye out for?
HD: I just moved to America about a month ago and I'm waiting for my green card to arrive so my American projects are still very much pending. There's another TV show that I'm promoting at the same time in Australia and my managers are really excited for me to hit the ground running here so I'm really excited about that!
IFC Midnight will be releasing KILLING GROUND in select theaters and VOD July 21, 2017