You may know Ariel Winter from Modern Family, but she has proved her acting skills in a whole other genre this year, with the release of cinematic horror game, The Quarry. We caught up with Ariel to chat all about the game, filming her scenes in motion capture and more!
So for those who haven’t checked out the trailer, how best would you describe the new horror game The Quarry and in particular, the character you play, Abigail?
The Quarry is a cinematic, third-person, choice-driven narrative game. It’s a horror game from 2K and Supermassive Games and our director, Will Byles - so awesome - and it’s basically about the last day of summer camp. A group of teens who are camp counsellors decide, ‘why not stay and throw a little bit of a party? We don’t have kids, we have no rules, we’re all fun and awesome’ and we decide, nothing bad can go wrong, we’re just out here having a good time and we’ll leave tomorrow! Obviously, it doesn’t go like that, because why would it? Everything has to go wrong, as it should.
So, it’s a super awesome game that we did motion capture [for], which is so crazy and cool. My character is Abigail and she is super creative, super artsy, a little bit shy, she’s not the most confident one in the group; she likes one of the guys in the group but she’s not like some of the other ones who are gonna go up and be like, ‘hey let’s get it!’ She’s super talented, focused on her art, super herself and a bit sarcastic.
I can’t wait for people to play it, I think it’s gonna be something really cool for them - a new experience - and they made Until Dawn which was huge and people loved it, and it was incredible so, I’m just excited for people to get to play, and get to play as Abigail but also get to play as all the other characters!
What really makes the game stand out is that choice-driven narrative, how you can change the fate of the characters by your decisions…
Definitely, and it’s not like you just play the game once and it’s done. You can play the game so many different times with so many different outcomes. You can be playing this game for a really long time and I think that’s cool because sometimes, the games I like, I’m like ‘oh it ended, I’m done’. I think that’s a great thing and I think people are gonna be really excited about it and, I’m excited about it, just to see the work be brought to life. It was such a cool experience.
I know you’ve starred in video games in the past but I believe this is the first time you’ve done so whilst also performing in motion capture, so what was that whole experience like?
It is so strange. At first, I was like, what is going on here? I get there, and it’s long days of scans, they scan every area of you, I’m in what looks like a giant orb with lights in every area of the orb, the lights and cameras are creating the orb and it’s crazy and it’s like, every flash, the cameras are everywhere getting every tiny bit of my face; I’m doing all these facial expressions and saying all these weird sentences and, you just do it and you’re like, ‘oh my gosh, how is this gonna look? What is this gonna be? This is crazy, how are they gonna put this together like this?’
When you’re actually shooting and it’s not just the scans and you’re in the velcro suit with all the markers on you and the helmet with the camera on your face and you’re doing a scene where you have to kiss somebody, but really they’re over across from you… and just seeing the trailer now and the screen grabs, it is so incredible how they do all this… this is so incredible and amazing and I can’t believe they’re able to do something like this. The talent they have and the vision, it really is so amazing to be a part of something like this. While it’s a weird experience because it’s new, it was really cool and I was like, ‘wow I look kinda crazy, this is awesome!’ It really was such a special experience to be a part of something like that.
Have you always been a fan of horror?
Yes, I love horror movies, Paranormal Activity and stuff like that, I’ve seen all of them. As it gets to the end you’re just watching it because you’re a fan, like Paranormal 8 (laughs), but yeah I’ve always loved horror!
With video games, I’ve always loved video games but I’m very bad at them! So, I’m one of those people who, if I start it and I’m so bad, I get discouraged and I’m like, ‘I’ll never be good!’ But I’ve always liked horror so, this is gonna be a whole new experience and memory for me because, as I get older and now I’m dating a guy [Luke Benward] who loves video games and he’s really good at them, it’s now a new opportunity for me to get into them in a real way and now I have a video game we can play and, I’m in it! It’s a way for me to see it and, if I’m bad at playing me, that would be awful!
You started your career at a young age, so what advice do you have for up-and-coming stars in the entertainment industry?
I would say, I think the main thing I have to say now is, have a thick skin and, I know that’s hard, because it’s like ‘okay sure I’ll have a thick skin’ and people are like, ‘stop thinking about it, it’s totally cool’ and you’re like, ‘well I can’t stop thinking about it’. But, just remember that the industry is full of rejection.
Make sure you love it and you are dedicated to it and you are willing to put that time and work in and, also know that, somebody not wanting you for a project doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Rejection is a normal part of life, it happens and just remember, if you go in and do your best, awesome. [If they don’t cast you] it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be acting or, you’re never gonna get something, just be patient and dedicated. There’s a lot of people out there trying to make this happen for themselves.
After you go in for an audition, try not to think about it, go back to your normal life, have a normal life while you do it because it is so hard and people get caught up in the Hollywood lifestyle or, just get so focused on, ‘I have to get this job or my life is over’, I think that leads people down a really difficult path and it’s hard for people to accept. There’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t get the project. There’s a lot of things that go into it and, sometimes the most creative people aren’t really that creative, they may love somebody but not cast them because their hair is blonde and they want dark hair!
That’s an important thing I think people should remember and, also just be yourself and have a life outside of it, because it can swallow you whole for sure.
We like to ask all of the people we chat to for Female First three questions! First, which women in your life that you admire have helped shape you as a person?
Definitely my sister [Shanelle Workman]. My sister is a wonderful person, I lived with her from 14 to 18 and she really just changed my life. I was home-schooled before her so I didn’t have a lot of social skills with people my age, because I’d been acting since I was four so, I was always around adults and so then getting around people my age I was like, ‘how do I talk to you? I don’t know, I’m stressed!’ So, she put me in real high school which was super awesome and she got me into therapy and that’s awesome; therapy’s been really helpful in this industry but also in life, and she just always tried to get me to focus on myself and being a good person and also, following what I want in life and that that’s not selfish, to want something and put your mind to doing it.
So probably her and then my studio teacher on Modern Family - she and I were just so close because she’s just a special person and she put so much effort and time into helping me not just academically, but in general, she just cared so much.
My best friend Heather, I admire her and I aspire to be like her in business and just in general; she’s so caring and loving and smart. I’ve had a lot of really wonderful people in my life.
I worked with Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: SVU and that really, I know it’s weird to say, I know I only worked with her for 14 days but, she is so in tune with people and intuitive, she got me immediately and was like, ‘I understand you and I’ve been in your position’. She just guided me and gave me advice on things that I hadn’t gotten from someone like her ever so it was just really cool. I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of great women that have helped me in my life for sure.
Secondly, who have been some of your favourite women to work with?
Obviously the ladies I worked with on Modern Family were awesome and, I worked with them for a very long time, they’re family to me which is amazing to have that relationship with people you’ve worked with for a long time. In the industry it’s hard to be able to say you love the people you work with, because a lot of them can be awesome but a lot of them can be not awesome! So, we were very lucky on the show.
Finally, what does the idea of ‘woman’ mean to you?
Strong, badass, capable, smart. There’s so many wonderful things… being a woman is just a superpower, it really is. We have all the tools we need to be anything we want. I don’t wanna whatever, but we have endless love and care and just see things in sometimes I think a much gentler way, which I think the world needs.
So I just think being a woman is really, really special and obviously being anyone that you wanna be or that you are in this world is super special, but I definitely, obviously am very proud of being a woman who’s been influenced by other wonderful women and, being your own woman is unique. There’s all sorts of qualities of being a woman that are amazing; just being a woman and there are all types of different women, and I think that’s great and to be celebrated. You are who you are.
The Quarry is available now on PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
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