[Interview] Ella Balinska for RUN SWEETHEART RUN
In Shana Feste’s latest film, RUN SWEETHEART RUN, when her boss insists she meet with one of his most important clients, single mom Cherie (Ella Balinska) though initially apprehensive is relieved and excited when she meets charismatic Ethan (Pilou  Asbæk). The influential businessman defies expectations and sweeps Cherie off her feet. But at the end of the night, when the two are alone together, he reveals his true, violent nature.

Battered and terrified, she flees for her life, beginning a relentless game of cat-and-mouse with a bloodthirsty assailant hell-bent on her utter destruction. In this edge-of-your-seat dark thriller, Cherie finds herself in the crosshairs of a conspiracy stranger and more evil than she could have ever imagined.

Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew chatted with actor Ella Balinska about her role as Cherie in RUN SWEETHEART RUN. During their talk, they discussed everything from the power of menstruation, the female experience and the danger that can come from that, and more.

Hello Ella! It’s such a pleasure to speak with you again. To start, can you tell us a little bit about your character, Cherie, and what attracted you to this role? 

Ella Balinska: Absolutely! I play Cherie. She is a single mother working at a law firm and she is very much someone who has [had] life happen to her and hasn’t reached her full potential at the beginning of the film, and has to immediately address that fact swiftly in the movie [Laughs]. The things that attracted me to this character and this film, in particular, is I read the script in one sitting and I immediately needed to meet the creative behind it, Shana Feste, and hearing her story as to why she wrote it and the themes behind it that she really wanted to get across. Especially the fact that her vision of the way she wanted to shoot it too was something that I was really excited by. So I was like, sign me up.

The cat-and-mouse game that you and Pilou Asbæk are tangled up in is rather intense. How was it working off of each other and were there things you both did after completing an intense scene to help blow off steam? 

Ella Balinska: Pilou Asbæk is such a gentleman to work with on and off set. In scene, however, he is terrifying [Laughs]. He is an actor who possesses the superpower of spontaneity. Moment by moment, I honestly did not know what was coming next. He’s absolutely fantastic in that way for his character. Obviously, he was completely safe [with me] and always communicative of any extremes he might hit, but when they were coming is something else [Laughs]. I think Shana definitely green-lit him with that. There was definitely for me, in particular, a sense of fight or flight where I was just constantly in this crazy, heightened state. And I think for him as well, playing the antagonist to that point was quite extreme, but I’m sure he could speak of that better than me [Laughs].


From start to finish, one of the big focal points of the film is menstruation. Historically, talking openly about having one’s period is seen as taboo. Was that an important element for you in taking on this role? 

Ella Balinska: It’s definitely something that at first, when I read it, I was like, wow, this is really a lot. I’m also in the same society in which we are made to seem like that is a taboo. Being able to portray a character that is so smart that she uses that as a mechanism for her survival was something that I was really excited to play. It was less so about the imagery and the iconography of the action, but more so her smarts and quick thinking to do so. And I’m really glad that women like yourself are in a place where they’re seeing that and feeling empowered.

The character of Cherie goes through such a transformation compared to when we first see at the beginning of the film. What was your experience like in fleshing out such a complex character? 

Ella Balinska: It was heavy a lot of the time. The female experience can be one that is extremely hard. RUN SWEETHEART RUN is an awesome horror movie at its core, but we’re using this as an opportunity to put a lot of those things on display. I just heard Producer Effie Brown say that one person’s experience is another person’s reality, you know what I mean? Like that could be a singular thing. There’s some things that are going on all the time for some people and we really wanted to stay true to the authenticity of each moment and not glorify anything that happens to her for the sake of genre. If anything, we wanted to be really, really cautious about making sure each moment that happened we were being a hundred percent truthful to each moment.

Ultimately, after folks watch RUN SWEETHEART RUN, what do you hope they take away from your character?

Ella Balinska: I sincerely hope that whether it’s all of the things or one of the things, one of the things that I said to her, or one of the things that she says, sparks in someone watching that they can reach their full potential. I think there is so much power in vulnerability and you are your own superpower if you really fully embrace the full capability that you can get to. I sincerely hope that you don’t have to go through any of those things. However, whether it’s a big change or a small change that you want to make in your life after watching this film, then I’m delighted.

RUN SWEETHEART RUN arrives on Prime Video on October 28. For more on the film, check out our review.

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