Known for her roles in series such as “Bloodline”, “Chicago P.D.”, and “Dirty John”, actor Jules Willcox has found herself in the role of main protagonist Jessica in John Hyams survivalist thriller, ALONE. For the release of the film, I had the chance to speak with Jules 1:1 where she discussed how she was able to relate to her character as well as being able to tap into the sensation of unbridled fear.
In ALONE, Jules Willcox plays Jessica, a grief-stricken widow who flees the city in an attempt to cope with the loss of her husband. When Jessica is kidnapped by a mysterious man and locked in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest, she escapes into the wilderness and is pursued by her captor.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Jules! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character Jessica?
Jules Willcox: Jessica is a woman who has just suffered a loss in her life and is trying to escape her grief by getting out of town, out of Portland. Not only is she confronted by what’s happening in her emotional life but also by her fellow man and nature.
Were there aspects of Jessica that you were able to easily relate to?
Jules Willcox: I think we’ve all experienced grief on some level – maybe not losing a close person but even with what people are dealing with right now, I think there are versions of grief. The film, to me, is very much a metaphor for grief. We don’t think we’re going to survive it, we don’t ever think we are going to get through, but we have to fight and scrap. I wanted to honor that part of Jessica because so much of the film is about moment to moment just how to survive, but there’s also that inner life that she’s struggling with as well.
Throughout the film, we watch as your character continuously gets beat down while going through some horrific scenarios. What helped you tap into that fear?
Jules Willcox: Part of it is empathy for people who have experienced something like that. Look at the whole booming true crime industry, horrible things happen to people every day and so just empathizing and honoring that in other people who have been through something similar. There’s that and then it’s also that sort of magic of if this is happening to me, really, what would I do? Marc Menchaca, who plays The Man, is just such a wonderful actor and so present and so natural. You wouldn’t think it but he’s just a big sweetheart and very funny. We had a lot of trust. That tension is real and palpable, as soon as cameras were rolling we were in it.
Piggybacking off of that, what were some of the more challenging parts of filming?
Jules Willcox: The basement scenes were really, really hard because we also…I broke my foot shooting the film. After my foot healed we had to revisit those scenes and I had to get right back into that headspace and I was like, “Oh really, do we have too, it was just so hard!” (laughs). Actually, it was so perfect – it was challenging emotionally but it was also so satisfying to do it and get through it. And then the other thing…the white water rapids, that was really intense physically. I can’t tell you anything else though because it would be a spoiler (laughs).
For more on ALONE, check out our review here. ALONE is now in theaters and On Demand. **Editor’s Note: Nightmarish Conjurings does not condone seeing movies in theaters at this time due to the pandemic. Please consider VOD and/or Drive-In options.