Recently, we had the chance to talk to two of Black Fawns “Queens of Horror”, Tianna Nori and Rachel Sellan, while they were at Toronto’s Fan Expo.
So was acting always what you both wanted to do or did you discover it later, like a happy accident?
Rachel: Ever since I was young I always wanted to be on screen. There’s nothing else really out there that I want to do, people have asked well, what else are you going to do with your life but I just want this, I just want to act. If it doesn’t work out I’ll just start writing things and have my own little audience of people, aka my family but yeah, I’m definitely one hundred percent all in.
Tianna: When I was three years old I opened my mouth and said ‘I want to be an actress’ and nothing has really changed since.
What is the attraction for both of you in regards to the horror genre?
Rachel: I love great horror films, anything that is mind bending, that jumps out at you and freaks you out. It’s really hard to find films like that though, most horror movies I watch I end up laughing when it’s supposed to be scary so it was really great to be part of something like The Sublet, watching it with my friends and family, they were blown away with how well it came together.
Tianna: I’m a huge fan of psychological thrillers and real horror movies because they’re more relatable and that’s something I’m definitely a fan of.
Do you think part of the reason the indie horror films have such a huge fan base is because they seem much darker, much more real?
Rachel: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, watching The Sublet, it drags you in more and more, you might be a little puzzled at what’s going on and then you don’t even realize how much you are into it, how much you believe what you are seeing. The indie horror community is like a big family so that definitely helps make the experience, from an actor’s point of you anyway, feel very real.
Tianna: I agree, the independent scene is a community, the actors, producers, directors and fans, and you have people that want to see you grow as an actor, which is amazing, and see the directors and producers grow as well, so I think it’s really the community aspect that draws it in. I do find that a lot of films in the horror indie scene, the fans do want to see a lot of blood and gore and guts so I can’t really answer about the more real aspect of it but for psychological thrillers or horror it’s a broader and bigger audience.
Is that part of the reason why you enjoy working with Black Fawn, the community and family aspect and what it brings out in the two of you as actresses?
Rachel: Absolutely. It is like been welcomed into a big family and being on set, you’re having a lot of fun most of the time, then you’re jumping into something crazy and then your laugh about it after. That made it a lot easier for me, I’m pretty new to it so coming in everyone was so welcoming and friendly and as an actor that makes for a great atmosphere and so much easier to relax and concentrate on doing a great job.
Tianna: The Black Fawn Film family, they’re some of the hardest working guys in the indie scene and so working with them, you’re working just as hard and with as much passion, and working long hours like that becomes a bit easier when you’re surrounded by these guys.
Does a movie like The Sublet, which is much more psychological horror, make your jobs as actresses easier or harder?
Tianna: I love psychological horror and thrillers so for me as an actor I like the prep and doing all the research and giving people the respect they deserve, that might have experienced that in their real life. With The Sublet, we almost shot it in chronological order, which was amazing for my character because I could start off with me being in a happy state and progress until the madness in the end and so for me I love that journey, I love going in deep and being in character full time and experiencing it that way.
Rachel: For me, I was only there for a few days but watching the film, it was amazing to see how it all unraveled. I didn’t know what was happening so when I saw it I was shocked, especially hanging out with Tianna off set, laughing and then going on set and having this crazy scene together.
What is the hardest part of working on smaller independent films?
Rachel: I don’t know if there’s anything really hard about it, I mean for both of us this is what we’ve wanted to do our whole lives so it was like just jumping in and saying ok, let’s do this, if a bump happens you get over it and move on. I think if anything it was more exciting than difficult, it really was. Of course, my character had a French accent so that was a bit difficult, because there are so many French accents and I wanted it to be consistent and believable.
Tianna: I really love the pace, I do and for The Sublet I believe I was cast a week and a half before shooting so the ninety page script had to be memorized but also for my character, I needed to do a lot of research on post-partum depression and psychosis and try to watch a lot of haunted house movies and pay my bills at the same time. I guess all of that together would be not necessarily the hardest part but definitely challenging and I thrive on that kind of pace so I loved it.
So what do the two of you have coming up next?
Rachel: I just finished filming another feature called We Came to Wreck Everything and it was weird because I’ve always done horror films and this was a gangster type of movie so it was nice to branch out to something new. Other than that it’s the actor’s life, running around, going to auditions and hope somebody picks you up for their project.
Tianna: I’ve been working mostly in the U.K. for the past year, so I’ve wrapped up a movie called Therapy, another movie called Injustice and also one called Intervention, so those will be coming out in the next year and yeah, besides that just auditioning, and of course bouncing back and forth from Canada to the U.K.
I want to thank Rachel and Tianna for taking the time to speak with us.