Interview with 2011 Fright Meter Award Winner for Best Actress , Pollyanna McIntosh of "The Woman."

Photo by Steve Thorton

For those who have seen Lucky McKee's visceral horror film The Woman, which was nominated for the 2011 Fright Meter Award for Best Horror Movie, there is no doubt that Pollyanna McIntosh completely deserves her Fright Meter Award Best Actress win for her incredible performance.  Her portrayal of The Woman is a paramount example of an actress not holding back and completely embodying a character both physically and mentally with zero reservations.  It is a performance that certainly not any actress could have pulled off or would have even been willing to try.  But McIntosh embraces the character's primitive, barbaric characteristics and delivers a jaw-dropping performance that has the potential to become a genre classic.  She certainly deserves her spot among some of the iconic performances that have won this category in the past.

Fortunately, Pollyanna was gracious enough to take time to chat with us about her experience while filming The Woman and her thoughts on the horror genre.  Read below and enjoy the interview with this immensely talented actress.

First, congratulations on your 2011 Fright Meter Award nomination for Best Actress for your amazing performance in "The Women."  For those who may be unfamiliar with you, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you mate. I'm a Scottish bird who grew up around the world with a big family. Stories have always fed me and I've been fooling around writing them and acting them out since I was wee. The horror genre has welcomed me so openly with this latest film and I feel very lucky to be part of something that seems to resonate strongly with so many.  

How did you become involved in Offspring and more specifically The Woman and what about the films made you want to be involved?

I made a movie with Moderncine called Headspace (my first audition when I moved to America) and they then thought of me when they were adapting Ketchum's book Offspring into the film. I was asked to read the book to see whether I wanted to do it and I couldn't put it down! I'd never read a horror book before and I was so drawn to the intensity of the Woman character and the detail that Ketchum put into her inner thoughts. He gave me such a gift with that role.
The Woman was written for me because of how happy Moderncine and Ketchum were with her in Offspring. She was supposed to die but they said I was having too much fun and saw a sequel possibility.
The Woman is such a primal, non-conventional character.  How did you even begin your decision in how you would portray her and what challenges did you face in your performance?
I really enjoyed tapping into my animal side. It's been probably the most satisfying character to play as I could immerse myself completely in research seeing as I was granted a lot of time and a lot of freedom.  
Lucky McKee has established himself as a revered figure in the horror community, having directed the highly lauded May.  What was it like working with him? 
Lucky does the work. May, The Woods, Red, he says they were all building to The Woman. He's earned that reverie and if you are a person who likes to collaborate I can't imagine a more appealing partnership. He's damn smart and a shitload of fun. The oddest part of the collaboration can be traveling around the festival and premiere circuit and if we didn't get on so well that would have been very different. 
The Woman is a difficult and disturbingly brutal film to watch at times, often because of the atrocities your character experiences at the hands of her captors.  What was the atmosphere like on the set and what was your relationship with your co-stars during filming? 
The crew and cast were honestly across the board fully committed, focused and creatively facile. It was a joy to see everyone work together for the same goal of making the best film we could, untethered by the usual limits of an indie budget, not always comfortable conditions and tight six day weeks. If anything our limits made us more daring. So the atmosphere was intense, familial and often punctuated by bursts of laughter or woops of jeers and cheers whilst remaining professional, calm and focused. Once I got into character people would leave me alone which worked well for me but as soon as it was lunch or a break we'd be up to some nonsense again. It was fun. Sean and Angela are family now as are many others.  
What is your most memorable experience from filming The Woman?  Any interesting behind-the-scenes stories you can share? 
I hate this question! Most "funny" stories are only funny to cast and crew but I will say taking prom style pictures with Sean Bridgers whilst we were both covered in blood was pretty funny. The "calendar girls of The Woman" invented photo shoot was fun daftness too.

In general, are you a fan of the horror genre?  If so, what are some of your favorite horror films?
I wouldn't describe myself as a horror fan as it's not my go to genre but Rosemary's Baby and The Shining and The Omen had strong influence on me creatively, emotionally and idealistically. Funnily enough the gender issues they brought up for me were probably what connected me to them the strongest. Those are the kind of horrors that would interest me going forward in the genre as an actress.
What scares you? 
Small mindedness and meanness being encouraged in children. Certain elements of LA society scare the shit out of me. 
So what’s next for you?  Any upcoming projects?
I just wrapped on Prevertere by the enormously talented and prolific Brian McGuire. (check out his previous films if you haven't already: On Holiday, Evetything Will Happen Before You Die, Carlos Spills the Beans)
Next is Filth by Jon S Baird (Green Street Hooligans). It's based on the Irvine Welsh novel. He's a great Scot. I hope this year continues to bring odd and interesting projects. I'm stalking Pedro Almodovar as we speak...
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.  Any final comments?

I'm on Twitter PollyAMcIntosh and Facebook Pollyanna McIntosh if you want to keep up with me. And just a big thanks to all who have supported this movie and said nice things about my work in it. The generosity of spirit I've experienced at screenings has been wonderful and confirming of how easy it is to make someone feel good. That's been a great wee gift.
Thank you.



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