One of the most talked about horror films in the past year has been CLOWN from director Jon Watts and producer Eli Roth. In preparation for the Blu-ray and DVD release, Abigail sat down with actress Laura Allen to talk about her role as Meg and what it was like to be a strong-willed and overall badass chick in CLOWN.
Abigail Braman: CLOWN was definitely one of my favorite horror movies from this year – would you mind telling us a little bit about your character in this film and the role that they play?
Laura Allen: Sure! I play Meg – when we first meet Meg it’s the very beginning of the movie and she’s hosting her son’s birthday party. She has a secret for her husband, which she’s excited to tell him. What we know about Meg early on is that her marriage is flawed, she works as a dental hygienist and is a very typical suburban mother. But, things start to go awry very quickly once the clown suit comes into play. The situation also quickly becomes a journey for her about survival in keeping her family together while also trying to understand her husband and this frightening situation. She then becomes complicit in making bad choices in order to get rid of the demon that’s taken over her husband.
AB: What I like about Meg as a character is that she’s more complex than the typical movie spouse who runs away and doesn’t believe their significant other when something crazy starts to go down. What was it like to play a role such as this one?
LA: It’s interesting because I had my three month old with me on set – I don’t know if you’ve been a mother before but when you have a three month old you don’t sleep – you’re sleep is all disjointed and you’re constantly tired and very reactive. Your primary concern is the survival of your little one. So, this is all going on for me while we shot this film for six weeks up in Ottawa, Canada, where it’s dark most hours of the day – I think we had like three hours of daylight and it’s so cold. I also had my mother with me on set – there was a lot that was really wonderful and having my little boy with me really informed me about Meg. You’re reactive but there was a real backbone to Meg and that’s what appealed to me from the beginning. She makes really logical choices despite all the grotesque things that are happening to her husband. She really loves him and wants everything back and she wants to tell him that they’re having another child. There’s an emotional truth to her, I think, and there’s a real struggle too – she’s got a conscience about what it’s going to take and she has to become complicit in these horrific acts.
AB: What was it like having to act alongside of an actor dressed as this terrifying creature – is that ever distracting while on set?
LA: I mean, I’ve had a friendship with Andy Powers since around 2004, so it was wonderful to show up on set and see Andy play Kent. Meg is chasing and trying to find her husband for most of the movie, so when she finally sees him, and what he’s doing (I don’t want to give away any spoilers) in the kitchen, and he’s in the full bloom of this transformation, I think it’s almost like a slow motion astonishment, because he’s no longer her husband and it’s someone that she has to either kill or be killed by. So, it’s really just reacting to those eyeballs, his hair and skin tone, and even the screeching sound of his fingernails. There’s not a lot that you have to imagine, it’s all pretty much right there in front of you. When my mother was on set, there were times where she didn’t want to walk into the room, due to seeing false intestines, or a decapitated animal – it’s disturbing, even though the entire cast and crew are all very caring and light-hearted. But yeah, there’s still some imagery that we can’t unsee.
AB: Was there anything in particular you had to do to prep for this role? I interviewed Andy Powers a little bit ago and asked him a similar question and it’s great getting to know everyone’s process behind approaching any given role.
LA: I feel like my mother on set has never served me so well as it did on this film. There’s something that’s just very primal about protecting your young, that it was true for Meg as well. When you have a crying baby, you’ll do what it takes – even some of the actions and choices Meg makes, some of them may be selfish, but they’re primal. I think having my baby and mother there was definitely an inspiration.
AB: As far as overall experiences go, what was it like working with this cast and crew?
LA: I certainly felt lucky to have met Jon Watts on one of his first projects. He made this fake trailer and it was really ballsy to attach Eli Roth’s name to it. There was this confidence and vision in Jon Watts that was instantly apparent. I showed up on set and was taken right into the visual effects trailer where they had charted out the transformation of the clown, and you see four levels of it (and even within the four levels there were sublevels): his eyeballs, the hair attachment, the fingernails, his outfit. I didn’t physically see any of that in the script, but when I got on set and met Jon, it was very exciting and bigger than I imagined.
AB: Well I for one am a fan and I hope that CLOWN gets all the recognition it deserves. Thank you so much for taking time out today to speak with me and for those who are interested in seeing CLOWN it will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 23 and is currently available on iTunes and On Demand.