White Settlers

White Settlers

Pollyanna McIntosh is back on the big screen this week as she stars in new horror White Settlers.

We caught up with the actress to chat about the movie, working with director Simeon Halligan, and her cult performance in The Woman.

- You are about to star in new film White Settlers, so can you tell me a bit about the film?

Well, it's a tightly scripted thriller about a couple moving from the rat race of London life to an old farmhouse in the Scottish borders.

On the first night in their new home, Sarah is a little skittish about bumps in the night and Ed brushes her fears off as nothing.

However, Sarah has reason to fear and they will both have to fight for their lives to make it through the night in this unknown territory.

- You take on the role of Sarah in the film, but what was it about this character and the script that drew you to the project? She is perhaps more vulnerable a character than you have played before, was that a draw?

Being a Scot it was a pleasure to read something set in Scotland from a Scottish writer so that was intriguing before I'd even opened the script.

Then I did read it, at night, and I couldn't put it down. Nor could I get to sleep afterwards. A strong female lead is always appealing and Sarah is a little different to the sort of women I am expected to play so yes, that helped.

Lastly, I admired the DP, the producer and Simeon (the director) 's passion for the project.

- Can you talk a little bit more about Sarah and how we are going to see her develop throughout the film?

Sarah is in charge in her relationship, she feels she needs to be to get Ed to grow up but she's also a little manipulative and can be cloying.

As the couple settle in to their home you see the complexities of the couple's relationship, however; they play power games with each other.

As far as her arc alone, she starts off with cocky confidence in making the decision to move into their Scottish home, then becomes needy and fearful on their first night before being faced with real danger and finding she can step up to the task of fighting the bad guys.

I'd say her strength dips a little when she teams up with her husband but I won't tell you how she ends up as no spoiler alerts here.

Sarah and Ed may have to learn to think things through when taking advantage of others' losses and weaknesses; I like to think they could stand to learn that about each other too.

- There are plenty of stunts in the film as Sarah really is put through the ringer - how do you find that side of things?

I learnt a lot. I also think the bruise cream market may have spiked during the filming of White Settlers.

- Simeon Halligan is in the director's chair for the film, so how have you found working with the filmmaker? This is only his second feature film.

Simeon cares about his actors and I enjoyed seeing him really get into the filming. I'm sure he'll make many films.

- How collaborative a process has it been between the director and the actors? How open was Simeon to the actors bringing their own ideas to characters and scenes?

He was open to it and Lee and I enjoyed that process of bringing ideas to it.

It's always tough on a low budget indie to have as much time to try things out as you'd like but he and the crew were patient and hard working under the tough conditions.

- The movie has been dubbed the 'Scottish referendum horror' so what do you make of the film being linked with events in Scotland at the moment?

I think it's bizarrely timely and though that tag is a little silly considering the importance of the referendum, it may bring people to see an entertaining thriller that they wouldn't have got to hear about otherwise.

I just hope people don't come under false pretences; this is not a political movie.

- The movie that really helped put you on the map was The Woman, so how did that role come about?

The Woman came off the back of a film called Offspring in which I played the same character. They saw how much fun I was having with her and decided to keep the character alive (she was supposed to die at the end of Offspring).

Then the producer showed the film to Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum and asked if they'd like to take her further in her own story. Lucky for me the guys loved the idea and wrote the film for me.

- Amazingly, The Woman is a non-verbal role for you, so how difficult was that for you as an actress? And how much did you relish that challenge?

I absolutely loved that role. The whole thing was a great challenge and her lack of words felt very natural. She was animalistic so it all worked for me.

- The Woman has gone on to become somewhat of a cult hit, how surprised were you at the success of the movie?

I knew we had something when we were filming. I would go over to the editor and director's digs in the evenings and see how it was coming together.

Sundance was a wonderful surprise though and after that screening, when I first got to see it as a finished film I wondered if people would love it as much as me.

To my delight I have heard from many people around the world how affecting a film it was for them too.

- Finally, what's next for you going through the rest of this year and into 2015?

I have a British horror coming up in the style of the old Amicus films called, It's Walls Were Blood where I'll be playing opposite Steve Oram from Sightseers and working with director Paul Davis who I made a great comedy short with before: Him Indoors.

The character in this one is wild and will be a lot of fun. There's also a couple of other films looking good for this year, an Irish thriller and an American drama.

Right now, I'm concentrating on finishing a 3rd draft of a film I've written which I will direct. It's called Perfect and it's a comedy.

White Settlers is released in select cinemas and available on VOD from 6th September.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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