Q&A: Alice Eve Talks “COLD COMES THE NIGHT”
Among the glut of often derivative or uninspired psychological thrillers in the marketplace these days, Tze Chun’s COLD COMES THE NIGHT is a visually striking and intense story of blue-collar intrigue that follows a Russian hitman, a corrupt police officer and the desperate, deceptive woman between them. The latter role is inhabited by Alice Eve, markedly playing against type in this brutal and suspenseful indie film.
The beautiful British actress, whom genre fans may recognize from THE RAVEN and ATM and who also co-starred in STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS and MEN IN BLACK 3, delivers a restrained performance in COLD COMES THE NIGHT (in select theaters and on VOD tomorrow, January 10 from Stage 6 and Samuel Goldwyn Films)as the story sends her to darker, more morally complicated places than one might expect. Working against actors such as Bryan Cranston and PROMETHEUS’ Logan Marshall-Green, she more than holds her own. FANGORIA spoke to Eve about her challenging new role.
FANGORIA: What specifically attracted you to join an independent psychological thriller like COLD COMES THE NIGHT?
ALICE EVE: [Laughs] Well, when you put it like that, the fact that it was an independent thriller, I guess! I liked the role of Chloe because I thought she demonstrated incredible, reserved strength, and to find that in a film is always a pleasure to investigate.
FANG: One of the more interesting aspects of COLD COMES THE NIGHT is how it doesn’t stick to a single genre, bouncing between drama, suspense, film noir and action. Did you find such a genre-bending project more challenging for you as an actress?
EVE: Yeah, actually! Well-observed. I hadn’t anticipated the amount of action they had in the movie. We did a few stunts, and I actually enjoyed that, even though I wasn’t anticipating it. There’s something about getting your hands dirty from doing a day’s work where you feel like you’ve exerted yourself physically that’s pretty rewarding. So there was a lot that fulfilled me creatively on COLD COMES THE NIGHT.
FANG: You have some great power-play moments with Cranston and Marshall-Green throughout the film. How was it working with those two?
EVE: Well, obviously, Bryan Cranston is a consummate professional, and a completely committed actor who immerses himself in the role. He was up there in the Catskills, and that was a full-on experience. We were living in and working out of a motel, like different fish. Logan Marshall-Green was very interesting to work with, and I really enjoyed watching him dance through the takes. His interpretation of Billy was very free and raw. So working with both of them were very different and great experiences.
FANG: Was there anything specifically that you wanted to bring to Chloe that wasn’t necessarily on the page?
EVE: Well, we all worked quite hard as a group on bringing Chloe together. Bryan did extensive notes with Tze on the script before production on an e-mail chain, and then we met up and discussed the role. I suppose the thing that interested me most about Chloe was her lack of choices, which therefore gave way to her unwavering commitment to every situation that came up, as well as the fact that she had to live so very much in the present, because there was so very little to look forward to or look back on. That’s what I wanted to explore with Tze, and then there were things we would work out on the day [of shooting] if they weren’t working. But we had pretty much done our groundwork before we got to production.
FANG: Did you find it refreshing to play a unglorified, blue-collar type of woman with complicated, desperate motivations?
EVE: Yes, and it was a stretch for me. I’m an English girl from London and I don’t have any children, so to play a single mom from the East Coast of the United States required imaginative commitment. Tze had me speaking in an American accent the whole time we were there, and we were filming in the motel we were living in, so there were many things that were life as well as art. The experience of being in the Catskills and being lonely was realistic as well as something we were making.
FANG: Considering the amount of studio work you’ve done in the past, was it invigorating to work on an independent project for a change, especially considering the expectations and pressures of bigger projects?
EVE: Yes, and the year I made COLD COMES THE NIGHT, I also did a movie called SOME VELVET MORNING with Neil LaBute, and both were small, personal, intimate, creative endeavors that were basically between two or three other collaborators and I, and that is incredibly rewarding. Although studio movies are a wonderful privilege and great to be a part of, there’s also something about jumping down the rabbit hole and taking a risk, perhaps because there aren’t those expectations and there isn’t the same pressure, so you can explore your creative boundaries. I feel a little bit limitless in that way, and that, in turn, is a safe environment.
FANG: Did you ever find it problematic to get onto the same psychological wavelength as Chloe, especially when she becomes morally compromised in the crimes?
EVE: Yeah. With the choices she makes, it’s like what I was saying about making an imaginative commitment, since she is in a situation where she has very little choice. She only has the choice to live in the moment and respond to the circumstances presented to her. So yeah, there were times when I had to wonder why she would make her decisions—but I wasn’t in the position she’s in. She’s compromised, and she has someone more important to her whom she has to protect and love, who she probably loves more than she loves herself, so everything she has to do, she does for her child.
FANG: I couldn’t help but be somewhat reminded during this film of your last genre effort, the horror film ATM, given the limited cast and sporadic moments of brutality. How would you compare your experience on that film to COLD COMES THE NIGHT?
EVE: Well, ATM was filmed in Winnipeg, Canada, in one location, and we were shooting nights the whole time. That was a very different experience on many levels, but I don’t consider COLD COMES THE NIGHT to be a horror movie. It’s more of a psychological thriller, and they were different experiences.
FANG: In working on independent genre features, have you learned anything specifically in terms of acting techniques that help you in roles such as this one?
EVE: In terms of operating in an independent universe as opposed to a slightly more protective studio universe, I learned more about that working with Neil LaBute. Mainly, that’s because when you do a film with Neil, there’s a lot of dialogue that you’re holding at any given moment, and that’s an incredible, almost theatrical practice for being free, even when you feel constrained or pressured. You maintain the ability to respond and react in an almost authentic way, even though you haven’t got the right environment for that.
FANG: Do you have any other projects currently in the pipeline?
EVE: I made another movie with Neil last year called DIRTY WEEKEND with Matthew Broderick, and I also just finished a film directed by and starring Chris Evans called 1:30 TRAIN, although I’m not sure if that’ll be the final title.