Girl In Woods is out and available now on VOD and Digital HD now. You can read the review here.
We had the chance to sit down with the star of the film Juliet Reeves-London, and her real life husband Jeremy London, to chat about the film. Thank you so much to them for taking the time to talk with us!
Slightly spoilery warnings! This is a great film to see, don’t spoil it for yourselves. Go and watch it, then come back and read this. If you’re the type to ignore the warnings, that’s fine too. You’ve been warned!
SQ: How was it working together on the film? Was this the first you have worked on a project together?
Juliet: This was the first we’ve worked together on something and it was great actually. Jeremy was really supportive. Of the two of us he’s the more laid back one and I’m the more high strung one. So it’s nice for me to have him around because he keeps me from being too stressed out. It was good having him there.
Jeremy: Yeah I loved working with her, we actually feed off each other quite well. We were lucky enough to play two people who were in a romantic relationship. So we were able to add our own chemistry to that, which always comes across on camera really well I think.
SQ: Now Girl in Woods went through a full shoot before Jeremy and Charisma Carpenter came on board. Then there was a significant reshoot after you came on board?
Juliet: What happened was we had shot the movie a couple years prior to finishing it. I had worked really hard on it. I auditioned for it on a whim. I hadn’t worked in a few years, my oldest son whose seven now was really small, and I got the audition notice from Jeremy Benson (The Director). When I read the script I thought, “Well I’m not prepared for this.” I hadn’t worked in a little while, I’m a little rusty. When I saw the script it was a little scary because I was the only person in a lot of the scenes. For an actor that’s a lot of work. So we went and shot a majority of the movie. Then it just sort of sat there for awhile. Like they couldn’t figure out what to do with it, I’m not real sure. Then Jeremy, my husband not the director, and I asked to see the footage and he saw some things that maybe could have been added. Some elements that were kind of missing.
Jeremy: Yeah. It needed some work. I saw what hard work Juliet had put into it, the basically tortured her (laughing) poor girl. She busted her ass and her acting was excellent. Her part was riveting, but there was something else lacking in a lot of the other areas. I was just really bummed out for Juliet, because I felt in my mind, nobody was ever going to get to see the movie because there really wasn’t a movie there yet. So I took the risk and rolled the dice and called Jeremy Benson and Mark. We all talked about what I saw, and what I thought it needed. Then rather than them telling me to shove it, which is what I would have expected (laughs), they were actually really receptive to it! They looked at all the changes and went back and thought about it. It really did an amazing job at finding itself. They did all the hard work, I simply made some suggestions. It was cool seeing them be so open minded about it. Fortunately it worked out.
Juliet: They’re really humble for filmmakers. They’re a rarity to me, because I work with a lot of independent filmmakers. It seems like the earlier they are in the game, the less criticism they are able to handle. Then the more they do it, they start to realize those things can be constructive. So with Jeremy Benson and Mark talked with Jeremy London, when he kind of told them they needed to rework a little bit, they were gracious actually instead of offended! That was really cool.
SQ: So that was a good husband then, hopping in and helping out.
Juliet: Yeah he really did. I’m glad. It was good having him and Charisma in the movie. I was terrified being in it so much anyways, it was really nice to share the screen a little bit (laughs)! I loved having them on board.
SQ: Now you were on screen as three different versions of yourself. How challenging was that? You were also running all over place in the woods, in the forest and across streams, there were all kinds of outdoor exposure to the elements. How challenging was that aspect of it?
Juliet: Well, I’m pretty girly but I’ve always loved the outdoors. I’m the kind of person who likes to go hiking and canoeing. When I agreed to do the movie, of course I was tentative about all of the emotional stuff in it. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take on so much, but Jeremy Benson insisted on meeting with me more and talked with me about it. He did say the terrain is going to be difficult, there’s going to be a lot going into it. I thought, “Yeah yeah yeah. I’m tough.” I had no idea just how hard this would be! And I told a lot of people, most days on set were so physically taxing that I felt my emotional performance was almost second to surviving! (laughs) I mean, I almost drowned, almost got bit by a rattlesnake. I laid on the ground a lot, and I’d look down on the ground and see spiders and snakes next to me. Going up and down cliffs. We watched the movie and there was this scene of me running up a hillside and I probably did that 30 times! So yeah it was exhausting.
Jeremy: That was the stuff where I could tell, man she really really put alot into this and got tortured and nobody is going to see this movie because it just wasn’t there yet. I thought it was tragic! I really felt I had to take the chance and stand up for her here a little bit. Otherwise all this hard work could go to waste, and that would be tragic.
SQ: So it was you Juliet that had a now famous incident with a snake on the shoot?
Juliet: Yeah! (laughs) I’ve always been really terrified of snakes. We saw quite a few small ones on the shoot, but this is one thing I’ll never forget. Probably one of the scariest moments of my entire life. I was walking from one of our little sets, it’s hard to call them sets because it’s all woods (laughs), from one location to the next and I was walking and talking with one of the crew behind me and not really looking forward at where I was going. I knew there were some rocks that I was going to have to scale over a little bit. So I stuck my hand out and for a second and I wasn’t looking, but I had this feeling like something wasn’t right. I looked down and it was not a gray rock, it was a giant rattlesnake rolled up! It was gray, so it was kind of camouflaged in the rocks. Thank god I looked down, because I almost put my hand right on it! And I swear to you, I felt all the blood race out of my body. I was just shaking all over, and I remember Jeremy Benson saying, ” Get the camera! We’ve got to get the snake!” (Laughs). I know that he was concerned, but he wanted to get that snake! I totally get that, but it was really, absolutely terrifying.
SQ: How was it taking on this character in particular?
Juliet: I talked with Jeremy Benson a lot about what he wanted to see, and finding out what I had in common with the character and what I didn’t. So I could try to figure out how to make that leap. We all have issues and things from our past we’re trying to work through, and I took what I had and tried to line them up more with Grace. Her things were more heightened than mine, but she took things harder than I ever did. So I had to change myself from someone who fights things and pushes past it, to someone who really lets things rock her. So that was kind of how I put myself there.
SQ: So you played several different versions of yourself, you get to cannibalize your husband. Not something everyone can say they’ve done.
Juliet: He was delicious. (laughs) Cook for him, fatten him up. (laughs)
SQ: How was it working together in that regard, once the bad thing happens to the character Jim. He was kind of buried though right?
Juliet: Putting myself in Grace’s mindset, whenever I would see the corpse it actually affected me a lot. I was in her mindset and living through it. It would affect me quite a bit actually. It’s like he was there. (laughs)
SQ: So is this something you would want to revisit? Obviously it was left quite open for a sequel.
Juliet: Yeah I think it would be fun to play Grace again, but even crazier. I think it would be more fun now. Especially if she’s established as some sort of monster in folklore. You know the way they ended it, I think it would be a blast to play her. Out of all the sides of her personalities I enjoyed playing the mean one the most, because I think that’s the least like me. My friends and family that have seen it were like, “Holy cow, I didn’t know you had it in you!” Of course some of them laughed, because it just wasn’t like me. (laughs) I’m definitely more of a goofball and I’m very rarely mean, at least intentionally (laughs). I think it would be fun to go full into playing her just totally crazy and completely let go that way. That would be a blast!
SQ: And this was definitely a setup for a franchise too. Most slashers now have the main character already established as a killer of some sort, but Girl In Woods is more of an origin story of Grace.
Juliet: Yeah, which is cool. I love horror films, and I watched a lot of them growing up. I remember they would sometimes just do that later on, like part three or four. They would go somehow into the origins of the character, but I think it’s really cool that they started with the origins here. So yeah, I think there’s a lot of directions they could go with it too.
SQ: So what about upcoming projects?
Juliet: Well Jeremy and I run an acting class. We live in the Biloxi, Mississippi area and we have a class here and in New Orleans. We’ve relocated from L.A. I’m a southern girl, so we’re back down here for various reasons. Jeremy writes and directs. We just did a short film the he directed called “Monsters Anonymous”, it’s a comedy. I’m in it. It’s about the classic horror movie monsters worried about being washed up and not being scary anymore and going to therapy over it. It’s really good (laughs). We had a great time making it. I love horror films of course, but comedy is a close second favorite genre to work in. I absolutely love it.
SQ: Now, where can people go to find out more about you both? Your acting class, your various projects.
Juliet: Our website is LondonArtsActingStudio.com and that has all the class information. Then on twitter, he’s @sirjeremylondon and I’m @mrsjulietlondon. That’s basically how we keep in touch with people.
Again, a big thank you to Jeremy and Juliet London for taking the time to talk with us. It was a real pleasure. Now get out and watch the movie!
Thanks for reading!
-Ray Nichols, Editor in Chief, SQ Horror Magazine