DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Residual Mind Noise - Interview With Sarah Michelle Gellar

Matt Adcock meets Sarah Michelle Gellar

I meet Sarah Michelle ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Gellar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London, on her whistle stop European tour promoting her new film ‘The Grudge’. She is one hot female… literally – she walks in and immediately says “wait a minute, it’s too warm in here” – after a couple of seconds fiddling with the air conditioning she’s ready to begin.

So, I ask her if The Grudge is the scariest film she’s made?

“Absolutely, one of the reasons that I signed on is because I wouldn't sort of categorise it as your typical horror film. Everyone loves to go to a movie and be scared. And the scariest things are the ones that could actually happen, like some of the things in The grudge. Those are the moments that frighten you to the core and resonate long after you’ve left the theatre.”

Did she get to scream a lot?

”No. And you know, and that's what was really cool. American horror films, we automatically think of large-breasted girls running in the woods in the wrong direction. Think of me and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” But Japanese films in that genre are based in such reality. They're more psychologically scary to me, and so because of that you base things so differently. And so it isn't so much screaming as being frozen in absolute fear and not being able to find your voice.”

So did anything freaky happen while filming?

“Well nothing like my cat from childhood coming back to life and haunting me, but then I didn’t have a cat when I was a child… But we did have to go through this ‘purification ritual’ on the set which the Japanese crew took very seriously – the set was ‘blessed’ so that evil spirits were banished. It was quite jovial on set though, but I’ll tell you, that scene where they drowned that kid in the bathtub, when I saw that the first time, I was like, ‘Oh my God, they drowned him’. In America, they would use a dummy, but that was a kid in the bathtub being half drowned.”

How was it working with the Japanese cast, like the little boy who has already starred in the Japanese version of the film?

He’s an interesting little boy, but an odd child, I think it was hard on him because there are no child labour laws and when the American actors were turning in for the night, he was being made to do more scenes. Someone should go out an unionise Japan!

Like all classic horror movies, The Grudge it has an obligatory shower scene, how was filming that?

"Everyone loves doing stuff in the shower don’t they?
Not when you're in a shower for seven hours with 17 Japanese men and ice-cold water - you don't love doing a shower scene. It was cold."

Finally, having made both, which are scarier American or Japanese style horror films?

"Well I think Japanese films leave a lot more to the imagination. It's a lot more about setting it up and letting you take it to that place where it makes it scariest for you. It's not gory, it's not bloody, and I think because of that, it's much more chilling."
The Grudge is certainly chilling stuff, and it has scared almost $100million out of moviegoers worldwide. Sarah Michelle Gellar is every bit as cool, calm and gorgeous as I suspected she might be and so it’s hard to be-’grudge’ her the success!

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