Known for her work on such television series as “The Disappearance” and “Intelligence”, award-winning Canadian actress Camille Sullivan is taking on the dangers of all that the wilderness has to offer in Shawn Linden‘s survival thriller, HUNTER HUNTER. In the film, Camille plays Anne, a wife and mother who, along with her family, live in the remote wilderness where they earn a living as fur trappers. When her husband Joseph (Devon Sawa) leaves the family to track a wolf that he believes to have been taking their traps, Anne and her daughter Renee (Summer H. Howell) must learn to survive on their own until his return. However, when they hear a weird noise outside their cabin, they meet Lou (Nick Stahl), a man who has been severely injured and left for dead. The longer Lou stays and Joseph is away, the more paranoid Anne becomes, and the idea of a mysterious predator in the woods slowly becomes a threat much closer to home.
Prior to the release of the film, I had the opportunity to speak with Camille Sullivan about her role as Anne. During the interview, Sullivan discussed everything from the scene she was most nervous to film to why she considers Anne a fallen hero.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today! To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character and what interested you in the role?
Camille Sullivan: Anne chose a remote life in the wilderness with her husband and daughter some time ago but is beginning to question if their lifestyle as fur trappers is really sustainable. But Anne is a woman who does what needs doing, so she continues to try to maintain their home and piece of security as well as she can. When that security is threatened, however, Anne embraces her own brute strength to protect them. That is one of the things that appealed to me about this character. Her journey is so full. She is motivated by love but embraces her brutality when it becomes necessary. I was also really drawn to the physical demands of the character. It’s a rare role for a woman and I feel very blessed to have had it come my way.
What was it like working in the wilderness? What were some of the challenges you faced? How did Director Shawn Linden help prepare you?
Camille Sullivan: If it looks cold on camera, it’s because it was. The atmosphere set the scene so perfectly, it made my job easy. Also, it was beautiful. At times the weather was a challenge. There was a big snowfall mid-filming that I wasn’t sure we would recover from. Nothing matched and we had to miss a day, but then it all came together. The setting is such a huge part of the film. Our DP, Greg Nicod, was fantastic. He did such an incredible job. And the isolation of the woods adds a great deal of tension. We really get a chance to become intimate with the characters. Shawn was my guide as to the wilderness though. I am a city girl through and through and have zero experience in the great outdoors.
I loved how the film focused on the strength and determination that Anne and her daughter, Renee, possess. How was it working so closely with Summer H. Howell?
Camille Sullivan: Summer is such an incredible young actress and person. She was a dream to work with. Not only was she professional and always totally on her game, she was so much fun and we laughed near constantly. I also love the relationship in the movie, we both go on our journey of learning to trust ourselves and trust each other and become closer for it, even in the midst of all the chaotic events unfolding. Shawn was really wonderful about listening to our input during filming and giving us space to explore the relationship as well, and I think that adds to the authenticity on camera.
When looking back, or even while filming, was there a particular scene that you were excited to see come to life on the screen?
Camille Sullivan: I think, like everyone else, I was looking forward to watching the ending. I just couldn’t really imagine it in my mind when I read it. How it would look. Also, it’s so explosive and also emotionally challenging for me as an actor. It was one of the parts I was the most nervous about. I hoped we could pull it off. And I think we really nailed it. If I do say so myself.
What do you hope people take away from Anne’s journey?
Camille Sullivan: When I thought about Anne’s journey, I thought a lot about the idea… (loosely quoting) “If you stare too long into the abyss the abyss stares back into you.” She finds the strength she needs to do what needs doing but loses herself in the process. She’s a fallen hero, in my regard.
HUNTER HUNTER is now in select theaters, on digital & On Demand. For more on the film, check out our review here.