Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel “THE I IN EVIL”, and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
Q&A: Actress Hannah Fierman on “V/H/S” Spin-off Film, “SiREN”Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
For horror fans, Hannah Fierman may be best recognized from her terrifying turn as the creature from the unforgettable “Amateur Night” segment of V/H/S. With her haunting catchphrase (“I like you.”) and a wicked physical performance that has earned praise and permeated through the horror community, fright fans have been excitedly awaiting for the spin-off feature film that gives a deeper look at the character, entitled SiREN. Now, with the film finally set to be unleashed upon horrorheads, FANGORIA caught up with Fierman to talk about reprising this now iconic role, shedding light on her mysterious creature performance, and more…
FANGORIA: What was your first reaction when you learned there would be a feature adaptation of David Bruckner’s “Amateur Night” short from V/H/S?
HANNAH FIERMAN: Well, I remember hearing that they had planned to work on one almost immediately after the short was finished. I remember trying to brainstorm and come up with ideas that would help turn the short into a feature, and I thought that, no matter what, it would be a really physical endeavor. Although I tried to think of ideas of how to do that character again, I eventually realized it was just going to be a very different movie. The short was its own thing and it had done very well, but one of the reasons it works so well is the mystery of it, and it would have been hard to recreate that same mystery.
Later, I found out that they were working on SiREN at an L.A. screening, and I noticed that someone kept staring at me at a gathering beforehand. Eventually, this guy comes up to me and goes, “I’m sorry that I keep staring at you; I’m not trying to creep you out. I’m working on this feature and I’ve been watching your short over and over again.” So I said, “Oh, well, if there’s a role in it for me, let me know,” and he goes, “No, no, no, you don’t understand. I’m writing the feature based on your character.” That was Ben Collins, and that was the first time I had heard about SiREN as a project.
However, at that point, I hadn’t been cast yet, and at a certain point, I thought if it didn’t have the same writers, the same director, or the same cast, I thought it would be it’s own thing. But when Gregg Bishop came on board, he asked if I would read for it, and I went to the audition in this room full of girls who were trying to look like me. That was weird. [laughs] There was a part of me that kept thinking, “What am I doing here?!”
But that’s how the role came about, and though I had known potentially about the film for years, I was curious to see how they were going to pull this off. I thought the screenplay from Luke Piotrowski and Ben Collins was very creative, and while it’s a little similar to the original storyline of “Amateur Night,” SiREN is it’s own movie, too.
FANG: What did you most appreciate about bringing to the character this time around?
FIERMAN: Well, I think it’s cool that my character got to sing, and that the audience now knows she’s a Siren rather than people being confused by what she is, whether she was a succubus or a vampire or whatever. That was an element about the character that had a lot of mystery around it, so the singing aspect was really cool. I actually did all my singing in the feature, but they left out my credit! So I want to make sure that everybody knows no one sang for me in the movie; that was all me! [laughs]
I guess you can say the character was expanded upon in SiREN, but I feel like the character is very simple and misunderstood monster in both the short and the feature. Although the films have very different atmospheres about them, my character was fundamentally the same, jumping between feeling threatened or not. She has a very animalistic nature, and I don’t think that’s very different from V/H/S.
FANG: Can you talk a little about the shooting process? Obviously, SiREN must have been different for your performance of this character, going from found footage to traditional filmmaking.
FIERMAN: Yeah, that’s true, but for the short version, we rehearsed it so much. It was a short, so we didn’t have much to rehearse overall, but I think the burden was more on the guy with the camera on his head. He had to really hit his marks, but acting in those scenes were pretty easy for me. In the short, I got to look directly into the camera, and that was a lot of fun.
With the feature, the process was a lot harder because it was all night shoots for an entire month. The short was very intimate, and I got to work with a bunch of friends and people that I knew, and we didn’t shoot for any more than six days. Meanwhile, for SiREN, I was around this entire crew, naked, for a month, it was hard! [laughs] Although I will say everyone was very professional, and there were no issues, of course. But the problem really came with stamina and keeping up the energy, and when you had a day off, you really got turned around. So it was more difficult physically to shoot the feature rather than the short.
FANG: What was most memorable about working on SiREN for you as a performer?
FIERMAN: Well, getting to do more flying time with the wire work was so much fun. Also, getting to work with this cast was really fun, especially Justin Welborn, who really stole the show and did such a great job. They all just made the job much easier. When you’re working with professionals on-and-off-camera, who respect their roles as artists and know how not to be assholes, it’s a dream, and this cast was really a dream cast. Chase was so fantastic as well, and he was so supportive during some of the more difficult scenes in SiREN.
I really liked working with Gregg as well; I hadn’t worked with him before, and I really would like the opportunity to work with him again on a project where we might have a little more time. He didn’t really have much time to prepare for the film, and we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the character together before we had to start shooting. Everything was so fast-paced that I wish I had more time to get to know him as a director, but from my experience working with him, he was great.
SiREN, starring Hannah Fierman, hits select theaters on Friday, December 2nd, and on VOD/DVD on Tuesday, December 6th from Chiller Films. Stay tuned for more coverage on SiREN here at FANGORIA.com!