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Women in Horror: Soska Sisters talk Isabelle inspiration of “AMERICAN MARY”

by: Samuel Zimmerman on: 2013-02-04 23:01:43

With its U.S. release on the horizon in 2013, American
audiences will finally get a load of AMERICAN MARY. A great progression from
the so-called Twisted Twins’ first feature, Jen and Sylvia Soska’s study of an
underground surgeon has the potential to be something special. While wholly
enjoyable for genre fans of all makes and sizes, AMERICAN MARY seems poised to
be a defining picture for adolescents and young adults teetering on the edges
of darker, weirder, stranger interests. It’s an exciting prospect made more so
by its star, Katharine Isabelle, who just so happens to have headlined a film
of that exact nature in 2000: the wonderful werewolf picture GINGER SNAPS.

As I suspect some will be affected by MARY, so were the
Soskas by GINGER. At the 2012 edition of Austin’s Fantastic Fest, Fango sat
down with the Canadian filmmakers and their star for a lengthy talk. Excerpted
below, for Women in Horror month, is a brief bit about the circle of inspiration
that lie in AMERICAN MARY’S production and what happened as
fans-turned-filmmakers met Isabelle.

SYLVIA SOSKA: I’m a huge fan of Katharine Isabelle. This is
like a fan thing. I had made my expectations of her so high. Jen and I, one of
things we were ridiculed and called we the Fitzgerald sisters. I hadn’t seen
GINGER SNAPS at the time. So, we rented the movie and we watched it and
thought, actually I don’t mind being called this. It’s actually really cool.

JEN SOSKA: We fought over who would be who.

SYLVIA: And then I met her on set. I was an extra and she
was there for JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. I really loved watching Kataharine. So,
I’d watch her career and I never saw that Ginger, that I wanted her to do.

JEN: That mature role. She did such a stellar job as Ginger,
it was such a defining role and that’s what people wanted to see her do again
and again.

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SYLVIA: Also, she’s not hard to look at, so there’s a lot of
things where they would focus on that, but not what else she could bring from
her acting talent. So, when we were writing this script and this role of Mary,
we wrote it for her in particular. The thing is I loved Mary so much by the time
the script was done— we put so much personal stuff into that—I didn’t know if I
was going to like her. This is a lot of assumption: “She talked to you for a
few minutes on a set and was nice and you love GINGER SNAPS.” I don’t get along
with anybody, especially not women. A lot of the time, it’s just difficult and
I’m socially awkward. So, I was in the bathroom trying not to throw up when she
came in and I thought I put so much pressure and I didn’t know if I was going
to like her and I thought we were going to hate each other. Jen forced me to
sit next to her.

JEN: She wanted to sit at the other end of the table, as far
from her as possible.

SYLVIA: She came in and I had really high expectations and
she blew them out of the water, completely. She was so professional, so down to
earth and she wasn’t just listening to everything I said. She had her own
interesting thoughts and levels that she brought to the character. The fact
that I could watch somebody that I admired, that I was a fan of, doing a script
and a character that is my favorite thing that I’ve ever written. It was just
one of the best experiences, ever.

KATHARINE ISABELLE: She was very, very generous with Mary,
because that character was—especially for someone as weird as Sylvia is—it must
be difficult for someone to take everything that you would ever love and admire
and create this character, and then give it to someone you don’t know, along
with the title role in the movie your parents mortgaged their house for. To
give it to you and not be a weird, possessive cunt about it, was fucking so
generous. Generous isn’t even the word. It was an astonishing act of humanity
to give that to me and actually let me do with Mary what I wanted to do. 

Keep an eye on Fango for much more on AMERICAN MARY as it nears release. 

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