During the Overlook Film Festival back in April, Shannon had the chance to check out the punk rock horror film, THE RANGER, a film that has quickly garnered well-deserved praises from critics and fans alike. A few weeks later, after battling a nasty bout of pneumonia, she had the chance to talk with the star of the film, actress Chloë Levine, where they discussed everything from her latest role as Chelsea, a tough-as-nails punk rocker who has to face a terrifying past, to taking on complex characters, to dealing with ticks out in the woods.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Chloe, thank you so much for speaking with me today! To start things off could you tell us a little bit about your character Chelsea in THE RANGER?
Chloë Levine: THE RANGER is about this young girl, Chelsea, who grows up to be this punk. Her and her friends are very much into this crazy drug called Echo. They get themselves into a bad situation where they have to run from the cops, and are forced to take refuge in Chelsea's family's cabin in the woods, where they run into a park Ranger who Chelsea knew as a kid. Chelsea and the Ranger have this really interesting relationship because of something that happened when Chelsea was little, and, I feel like that is all I can say without spoiling anything!
Nightmarish Conjurings: What was it about writer/director Jenn Wexler's script that interested in the role and did you do any particular research to get into the head-space of Chelsea?
CL: I was initially attracted to the complexity of Chelsea. She's going through so many different things at once, in a way that I think most people can relate to. There are also bigger themes in the script of identity and trauma and how if you try to bury something within you it will come out eventually. Jenn and co-writer Giaco Furino explored that idea in an interesting way that gave the story a real weight but also there is a ton of humor, and ridiculousness, which I was really excited about pairing these two things.
Jenn also gave me a playlist of songs for Chelsea which was fantastic because music is a big part of my process. I would listen to these songs and run or do some kind of physical activity because I wanted to feel fierce and strong while I was in Chelsea's head. Memories are a huge part of the movie as well, and I spent a lot of time thinking about this one memory that Chelsea has, and making sure it was ingrained in me by the time we were shooting.
Nightmarish Conjurings: You first came on my radar as Sophie in THE TRANSFIGURATION, which you were fantastic in. Both Sophie and Chelsea are dynamic and complex with more to them than meets the eye. Do you find yourself drawn to films or projects that have much deeper themes and meanings buried beneath the surface?
CL: Thank you! Yes, I am very much attracted to dynamic and complex characters. I love a challenge like that and also acting is, you know, storytelling and the characters that are complex most mirror real life. I think mirroring real life to the point where the audience sees themselves in characters (which is the ultimate challenge) is the sort of things that gets me excited.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Since the film takes place in the woods outside of a cabin, did you run into any difficulties while filming? Is there a particular moment in the film that was your favorite or that you were looking forward to seeing played out on the screen?
CL: Nothing super crazy happened. We shot in upstate New York in April of 2017, and it was a particularly cold Spring, which actually wasn't the best. There were also ticks! I feel like everyone was so obsessed with the tick issue, it was kind of funny.
I have a few moments in the film that are my favorites! But without spoiling anything: There is a scene where the punks are sitting at a diner and were all sort of figuring out what the next move is. We had rehearsed this scene the first time that we had all met each other (a few weeks before shooting) and it was like immediately we had all melted into the roles in our friend group, it felt really special and just easy. When we got on set it was so much fun and we were just sort of playing. I was really looking forward to watching the scene because of that. And in the movie it's one of my favorite scenes too, everyone's intentions are so clear. It's lovely.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Last, but certainly not least, do you have any projects on the horizon that we should be keeping our eyes out for?
CL: I am currently working on this movie called ALASKA with writer/director Racheal Cain Stephens. It's about a young woman who moves to LA to become an actress and the mental obstacles that she faces with her own consciousness while she's dealing with things that happened to her in her past, and how that effects who she wants to be. I'm also working on an Untitled Netflix Series, which I'd love to tell you about but I'm sworn to secrecy, but it's going to be awesome!