Recently we had the chance to sit down with actors Nina Kiri, Jorja Cadence and Ry Barrett who talked about their new movie “The Heretics” which was screening at this years Canadian Film Fest.
What were your reactions when you first read the script for The Heretics?
Nina: I think my first reaction would have been, I was really struck by the religious aspects of it and the connotations that came with it. Also, the claustrophobia and the unpleasant psychological nature of it that made me feel uncomfortable, that was something that really drew me in.
Jorja: For me, I was drawn to how complicated it was and how it wasn’t just your average horror movie where you know almost immediately what’s going on. It’s actually a very complex and intelligent story, I didn’t know any of that while I was auditioning which I thought was very interesting, each audition scene was different to the one I’d done previously through the whole audition process. Then when I got the script and read it from start to finish I was like what the hell, this is so different than anything I ever expected, it’s great to have that element of surprise.
Ry: There’s a lot of different elements in it that are exciting and interesting and they all kind of circle the characters and I really enjoy the trifecta of characters, how they all affect each other and play within the story. I thought it was really interesting how each character had their own journey through it, that’s what stood out for me.
Horror has a very loyal fan base. What is it that attracts them to this genre?
Ry: I think people just love to get scared. There’s a lot of reasons obviously, but it’s like going on a roller-coaster, it’s a thrill ride and hopefully you’re going to get that guarantee of going in and getting some sort of thrill or scare. Not only that but it’s a great genre for touching on political topics and metaphors, some other genres have trouble with this but for some reason horror can do it in a way that’ not in your face and it’s not on the nose but you walk away from it after and there’s a different message or meaning there.
Jorja: There’s a lot of things that I think the fans find familiar, like a lot of horror films pay homage through different techniques and aspects of the story to other films that have come before. There’s something really cool about knowing those in-jokes, that brings out a lot of people who want to go out and see this movie because they’re in that special club.
Nina: I think for fans of this genre they know going in they’re going to see something very different than real life and I think that attracts a lot of people. It really is a wonderful escape, a terrifying escape, but still a lot of fun.
Indie films usually face the same two problems, that being time constraints and money. As actors, do you feel the pressure of working on a deadline and does that affect your performance in any way?
Ry: Sometimes there is and sometimes not. I think it depends on the scenes, some are more difficult to nail than others and there’s more aspects involved, if it’s a special effects shot or if it’s very complicated in the setup, time can become an issue for sure. I think time is always an issue but when we’re doing a scene, it’s not even a concern for me, it’s just like we’ll deal with it but I’ve got to be concerned with what’s on the page and what’s being shot right now.
Jorja: You really just have to block it out and do your job no matter what. There are other people on set dealing with the time constraints, the budget and all of that stuff, you just have to go and do what you can. I really think everyone used the resources we had and did a great job, it didn’t feel rushed at all.
Nina: I think I felt it sometimes, I think I wouldn’t have felt it if I wasn’t in so many of the shots and so many scenes. I think because we’re so close and I know the whole Black Fawn family, when someone is feeling the stress you’re going to empathize with them, as opposed to a big commercial set where you are very removed as a cast member from anything that is happening with the crew. So I think I did feel it a couple of times but because everyone is so relaxed about it, it didn’t make me that stressed out.I do remember one very tough moment where Chad and I kind of moved off to the side and I was like oh my god, I don’t know how to do this anymore. For me, it’s the all night shoots so with the time crunch that made it the hardest but that was really the only time.
What is it for you all as actors that makes it enjoyable to work for Black Fawn Films?
Nina: It’s definitely feeling comfortable, it really is. It depends on the role and the film but in any situation as an actor you have to show parts of yourself that can make you vulnerable. Also, you’re the only person who is not doing something technical so to feel at ease around people is so important and because I’ve worked with them before and we’ve all become very close it makes the whole atmosphere comfortable, which is my favorite thing about working for Black Fawn.
Jorja: Yeah, you really get such a great sense of community with everyone in the Black Fawn squad, if you will. I was new to the company, I’d never worked with anyone on the set before and it wasn’t your first day at a new school, it was so amazing to be immediately surrounded with so much love and support, it makes your job so much easier.
Ry: I’ve known the guys for a while, worked with Chad multiple times and we’ve been friends for a long time too, so it’s a very familiar, comfortable, trusting set and project to step into. But even for a newcomer like Jorja, she arrives on her first day and all of a sudden it’s like you’ve been there the whole time, it doesn’t take long to fit in. I also love a lot of the same kind of stuff they love, film wise, style wise so the content, familiarity, being comfortable and a really fun and creative process for an actor to dive into. You get to open yourself up to a lot of things because they are very approachable and you rarely get shut down, sometimes but not often.
What is one thing you would tell a movie fan, not even necessarily a horror fan, to get them to see The Heretics?
Nina: The ride, the uncomfortable, it messes with you emotionally. When I go see films that are psychologically disturbing it really affects me, I think it’s really great to deal with subjects like that because it’s in everybody’s lives anyway so to go away from a movie feeling kind of off, I think it’s absolutely wonderful and that’s a great reason to go see The Heretics.
Jorja: It’s going to take you on a ride, it’s going to be thrilling but it’s going to make you think. It’s more than just your average horror film, not just to scare you but to challenge your mind a little bit. Also artistically, it is amazing. There are so many visual elements, the way it was shot, the production design, everything looks fantastic.
Ry: There’s a paranoia aspect, a cabin in the woods aspect, the supernatural, the cult storyline so there’s an amalgamation of so many different elements but it does it in a very simplified, front to back way. It’s not just for horror fans but non- horror fans as well, there’s a lot there and something for almost everyone.
I want to thank Nina, Jorja and Ry for taking the time to talk with us