If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
Scotland-born actress Pollyanna McIntosh has been dividing
her time between Britain and the U.S. for nearly a decade now, acting in
independent films of every type, including genre features like 9 LIVES OF MARA
and John Landis’ BURKE AND HARE. It was her turn as the eponymous feral female
in Lucky McKee’s THE WOMAN, however, that has brought her the most attention,
and there will no doubt be more as the film hits DVD and Blu-ray today from
In THE WOMAN, a sequel to the Jack Ketchum-based movie
OFFSPRING from encoring producer Andrew van den Houten, scripters Ketchum and
McKee turn the Woman from a villain to a victim, captured and imprisoned in a
cellar by small-town lawyer Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers). As Cleek enlists his
family (including his emotionally abused wife Belle, played by McKee regular
Angela Bettis) to assist him in his brutal attempts to “civilize” the Woman,
the lines between civilized man and animalistic monster become blurred, then
savaged. Throughout, McIntosh rivets the attention without ever saying a word.
FANGORIA: First of all, how does an actress from Scotland
wind up in the wilds of Michigan making OFFSPRING?
POLLYANNA McINTOSH: I did a movie called HEADSPACE, the first
movie I did in America after I came here in 2003. It was my first-ever American
audition, and I ended up playing the role of Stacy in that. Andrew directed and
produced that, and he went on to produce and direct OFFSPRING, and he sent me
the book one day and just said, “Read this.” And I couldn’t put it down.
FANG: How did you go about bringing the character of the
Woman to life in that film?
McINTOSH: I worked out a lot, and spent some time in the
woods on my own. I studied animals at the zoo, which is kind of depressing, and
viewed documentaries. I grew my hair out every way you can, and just tried to
let myself become unencumbered by civilized expectations, propriety and all
that kind of nonsense we have, especially the female kind.
FANG: In the book OFFSPRING, the Woman dies. Was it always
the intention to let her live in the movie?
McINTOSH: No, it wasn’t, actually. The screenplay was
written similarly to the novel, adapted by Ketchum himself, but halfway through
shooting they just thought I was having too much fun—that’s how they put it. So
they kept her alive, and thought they could continue her somehow.
FANG: How long after you’d finished OFFSPRING did you first
hear that THE WOMAN was going forward?
McINTOSH: I’d say it was about another year before I heard
we were going to do it. Then I started speaking with Lucky; we talked on the
phone and via Internet for about four months about the project.
FANG: Were you familiar with McKee’s work before you met him
on this film?
McINTOSH: I wasn’t, until Andrew set up a meeting between
us. But as soon as I knew we’d be working together, I got ahold of MAY and THE
WOODS. I was aware of MAY before, but I never considered myself a horror girl,
and thought, “No, that’s not for me.” [Laughs] Of course, when I watched it, I
realized it was a very different kind of film.
FANG: When you watched his previous films, you no doubt saw
a lot that would suggest he’d do a good job with THE WOMAN, since there’s a lot
of emphasis on female characters.
McINTOSH: Yeah—Lucky is a sensitive guy, and I think he can
see things from a woman’s perspective because he gets that we’re all equal. I
also believe he understands the position women often find themselves in, and
that women often put themselves in, and that as a guy there are certain
restrictions on how you’re supposed to act as well.
FANG: Once you started working with him on bringing back the
Woman, was there anything McKee went for that was different from what van den
Houten did in OFFSPRING?
McINTOSH: I’d say they’re very different directors
stylistically, and also in the way they work with actors. Andrew and I knew
each other already before we did OFFSPRING, and we had a pretty funny time on
that movie. I was going through a separation from a relationship I was in, and
Andrew and I were old friends, so he was pretty much the only one who knew what
was going on, and he was really sweet with me off set. And then on set, I’d be
like, “Andrew, I’m not going to do that!” [Laughs] Because we knew each other
so well; he’d be like, “Come on!” And I’d say, “Nope! Talk to you about it
later!” The other actors didn’t quite know what to make of it, because we were
like brother and sister.
Lucky and I had already discussed THE WOMAN for months
before we began shooting it, and he decided to leave me to do what I was going
to do, because we were on the same page. I pretty much felt like we were
telepathic by the time we started shooting, and on the same page as far as
themes and mood were concerned. I don’t remember one moment with Lucky where he
was, “No, no, no…” or where I was like, “Do I…?” It was just an indescribable
sort of thing.
FANG: The Woman looks like a very grueling character to
play. How difficult was it physically?
McINTOSH: Well, I worked out pretty hard, so I was nice and
strong. And I made sure I was stretching a lot, doing yoga, because I wound up
putting my body through a lot, but I was never in any pain. There was some
discomfort, but I was never in any pain whatsoever.
FANG: You have a very antagonistic relationship with Sean
Bridgers in the film.
McINTOSH: I know, but I love him and I loved working with
FANG: How did you get that anger and antagonism going with
someone you get along with so well off-set?
McINTOSH: It was so easy. I was so clear on my character and
so was he; it was just like stepping into a room together, you know? We were
always there, and could step out of it just as quickly. It was just really fun,
being both his friend and his playing partner.
FANG: How about Angela Bettis?
McINTOSH: She’s such a focused actress, and was so committed
to her role, and such a pleasure. I love that face-off we have. It was really
fun because she wanted to do her own stunts. Everybody was like, “Don’t hurt
each other!” and I would say, “Can I throw you on the ground?” and she was
like, “Do it!”
FANG: There are some pretty shocking scenes involving the
Woman and the Cleek children, too. Was there any hesitation or any kind of
restrictions put on how intense things got when doing the scenes with the
McINTOSH: With Lucky, it was really important that we didn’t
actually say or do anything age-inappropriate around them. You’ll notice in the
film, if you watch what the kids are witnessing and what they’re actually there
for in the individual shots, they don’t see or do anything, really. The only
thing was some of the stuff that Zach Rand goes through [as Cleek’s son Brian].
But when it got really intense, he wasn’t there.
FANG: There’s that scene where Brian assaults the Woman…
McINTOSH: He wasn’t there for all of that, either. It was
really wonderful the way Lucky handled it all. And I got on so well with those
kids. I had such fun playing Scrabble with them, and I felt very motherly
toward them. There was a really fun scene where Brian offers me a cookie before
everything goes all to hell, where I got to jump out at him, and I scared the
shit out of him [laughs]! It was wonderful.
FANG: Were you surprised when the movie got the vehement
response it did at the Sundance Film Festival?
McINTOSH: Yeah, I think it was a bit of a shock for
everyone. Not that it only happened that one time, but it was pretty intense. I
felt very badly for Lucky, and it was so unthoughtful, you know? So backward. I
mean, the film was written with a dark humor in it. Nobody was applauding or
laughing at moments when serious points were being made, but if you don’t have
kind of an ironic sense of humor, you shouldn’t be at Sundance, you know?
FANG: Do you think you’ll work with these filmmakers again,
maybe bringing the Woman back for another round?
McINTOSH: We’ve talked about what they’re going to do,
because it’s important to them for the story to be different this time. It has
to be worthy of a sequel; we’re not going to just bash these things out. We’re
not the studios; we’re not going to insult the intelligence of our audience
just to rake in some cash. We’re not making a lot of money here, we’re trying
to make something good, so… It might be a little while, but hopefully we’ll be
able to get [a sequel] done properly.
FANG: Are there any other horror roles that you would like
to play or that you’re up for right now.
McINTOSH: I’ve just finished a movie called LOVE ETERNAL,
based on a Kei Oishi novel called LOVING THE DEAD. It’s actually not very
horrific, though I believe the novel is. There’s a bit of death and darkness in
it, but it’s more of a dark romance. My role is a woman who has lost her
6-year-old son in a car accident, and she’s covers her grief and depression by
showing a lot of false hope. It was quite an exhausting film to make; I carried
a lot of grief with me for a couple of months.
FANG: As grueling as THE WOMAN, or not so much?
McINTOSH: More so. Because in your heart, you carry that
weight a lot. It’s difficult.
FANG: It’s interesting; you mentioned before that for THE WOMAN
you could turn it on and off, but it sounds like you couldn’t on this one.
McINTOSH: You know, I was in this shark-fishing competition
once, and I pulled in this 6-foot mako, the fastest shark in the ocean. And the
first thing it did as we were trying to get the other lines out of the water
was go after another mackerel, and eat another fish. That shark was just intent
on survival; it was going to get that fish so it could keep living, you know?
It wasn’t going, “Poor me, how could I be the one chosen by this mean human to
be hurt, and don’t they understand that my babies need me?” It wasn’t thinking
that, it was thinking survival, survival, survival, and that’s where the Woman
is at. It wasn’t a lot of weight to carry with me, whereas with this latest character,
oh my God, that pain was always there, and she’s always hiding it, always
covering it, always smiling. It’s like, I would get back to my hotel room and
be like [big sigh, then laughs]. It may sound lame, but it’s true.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment