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In a career that has encompassed nearly every conceivable
type of part, Oscar-nominated actress has made regular stops in the horror
genre, from her early role in TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE to the
upcoming remake of CARRIE. This week, she’ll be seen as the star of 6 SOULS,
which hits VOD Friday, March 1 and select theaters April 5 from Radius-TWC, and
which she spoke about in this exclusive Fango interview.
Originally titled SHELTER and filmed several years ago, 6
SOULS marked the English-language debut of Swedish directing team Måns Mårlind
and Björn Stein (who went on to helm UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING), working from a
script by IDENTITY’s Michael Cooney. Moore plays Cara Harding, a psychiatrist
whose religious convictions have been shaken by the murder of her husband, and
who staunchly clings to provable scientific facts in her profession—debunking,
in her first scene, the idea that multiple personalities could actually dwell
within a person. A new patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) appears to offer evidence
of the latter, but then tests her faith in the spiritual when his particular
disorder proves to have a dangerous supernatural source.
FANGORIA: In 6 SOULS, Cara Harding describes herself as “a
doctor of science and a woman of God.” Did either facet of the character
especially attract you to the role?
JULIANNE MOORE: No, it was really just that—the fact that
she is living this kind of dichotomous existence. I believe a lot of us are
that way regarding one thing or another. Cara has these two great extremes
where she’s attracted by knowledge, information and fact, but she also, because
she does believe in God and seeks solace in Him, is attracted to a certain
amount of mystery. So the fact that she’s walking around with these two
beliefs, and allows them to co-exist, made her really compelling.
FANG: Did you do any research into the subject of multiple
MOORE: Well, the movie is really about possession, so it
isn’t all about multiple personalities. I certainly have read about it,
particularly as a kid—everybody read SYBIL and stuff like that. There’s lots of
discussion about whether or not multiple personalities actually exist; there
are factions who believe they do, and those who think they don’t.
FANG: One of the interesting things about 6 SOULS is that it
starts off as a psychological thriller, and then gradually moves into the
MOORE: Which I love! The directors, Måns Mårlind and Björn
Stein, were very interesting, because they were so thorough in the way they
built the story. They wanted to very specifically set up these people and what
their dilemmas are, so that by the time the supernatural stuff shows up, you’re
heavily invested in the dramatic narrative.
FANG: Can you talk about the experience of working with two
directors? Was there a division of labor between them?
MOORE: Yes, absolutely! A very unusual division of labor,
because I’ve worked with director pairs before. What they do is—and this is the
first time I’ve had this experience—they alternate days. They’re both available
to you during preproduction, but when you start shooting, you have day number
one, which is Måns day, and then day number two, which is Björn’s day. On Måns’
day, he directs you and when you have a question you speak to him, but if
Björn’s around, you don’t speak to him because he’s preparing for the next day.
You don’t speak to Björn until it’s Björn’s day. It seemed odd at first, but
ended up not being difficult at all, because that’s what they’re comfortable
with. Their personalities do affect the work, as does everyone’s, so one might
be a little more mellow and the other may want more action, but it all kind of
evens out and they have the same taste level, so it wasn’t problematic at all.
I enjoyed it, and I loved them. I would work with them again in a heartbeat.
FANG: From watching 6 SOULS, it’s clear that they’re
visually oriented filmmakers, but also pay attention to the acting and
characterizations. You don’t always find that combination.
MOORE: No, you don’t, and not in genre films especially.
They so impressed me. We had a meeting, and they took out this huge folder with
storyboards in it, and you could see they were incredibly specific in what they
wanted to communicate.
FANG: There’s a duality to the film’s settings as well; it
starts off in urban Pittsburgh, and then the story takes us into the woods with
the hill people. What were those two different experiences like?
MOORE: Well, what I like is the idea that you have what you
know, like where she lives in the city, and you have what you don’t know, when
she drives to this little town in the middle of nowhere, where people have
different rules and a different way of life. Suddenly, you don’t have control
anymore. Things are not the way you know them, so you have to ask how it goes,
who you talk to, where you go, and that’s scary. We all fear the loss of
control, and that’s very present in this movie: The fact that this woman is a
scientist, who has this control and knowledge, and yet there’s a great unknown
out there where anything goes.
FANG: The film is also very concerned with family relations.
There’s Cara’s relationship with her father (played by Jeffrey DeMunn) and her
young daughter (Brooklynn Proulx), the mother (Frances Conroy) of one of the
dead characters has a significant role, and so on.
MOORE: Yes, and that helps you become very invested in these
people. It’s not like you walk into a town and there are all these strangers,
you know? You walk in and see, “Oh, this is the way this woman talks to her
father, and what the nature of that relationship is, and with her brother [Nate
Corddry] and her little girl,” and just how intense all those relationships
are. It ups the ante in the film.
FANG: Can you talk about working with DeMunn as your father?
MOORE: I love him. I love him! He’s such a pleasure to be
with and talk to. He’s a wonderful actor, so nuanced and really special. It was
great, a pleasure to be with him every day. Jeff has this tremendous facility,
and an ease as an actor, so he could roll with anything.
FANG: How about Brooklynn Proulx, playing your daughter?
MOORE: Man, I loved her. She’s a real actress, she really
is. She was such a pleasure to be with, so alert and present and responsive. It
was like having a real actress to play off of, which I find unusual in
children. It’s not something we expect children to be able to do. It’s very
difficult, but Brooklynn as a knack for it. I’m very curious to see her as she
ages, because she’s gotten older now.
FANG: Did she have any issues doing the scarier scenes—and
did you, for that matter?
MOORE: I think it’s the responsibility of the adults [on a
film] to make sure the children don’t get scared, so no, she never was. I would
be horrified if I was working with a child and they became frightened, because
that would be the worst thing in the world to do to somebody. And I didn’t get
scared either—we knew what we were doing [laughs]. We were trying to make you
scared! That’s what’s important; if we’re not able to scare our audience, then
we’re not doing our jobs.
FANG: We’re going to be seeing you in two maternal roles in
horror films this year, with CARRIE obviously being the second. Can you talk
about how those two experiences contrasted with each other?
MOORE: Well, they were years apart, so I don’t really have
any correlation. But one thing I can talk about is how through horror, we can
express what we’re innately afraid of. In 6 SOULS, it’s about loss of control,
and how you can make all the right choices and believe in the right things and
walk the walk or whatever, but there’s this world out there where you have no
control, where somebody can get you. The devil can bring you down, or somebody
could get your family, and I think we all fear that; it’s like, “OK, no matter what
we do, there’s always going to be that mystery out there.” We’re not always
going to be able to fix everything.
Then with Stephen King and CARRIE, he was writing, pretty
brilliantly, about the fear of isolation and bullying. He based it on these two
girls he knew in Maine, one who was isolated by her family’s poverty and the
other by her mother’s extreme religious beliefs, and he wanted to tell what had
happened to them and how they were treated at school, and how traumatic and
damaging that was. He explored that to great effect in CARRIE, and I think
that’s something everyone feels—what if you don’t have a community, what if you
don’t belong? It’s pretty sad and tragic.
FANG: Is there anything about the horror genre in general
that appeals to you?
MOORE: I liked to be scared. I always have [laughs]. I don’t
think violence is scary. I don’t like slashers and the “somebody’s gonna get
you” kind of stuff. That doesn’t interest me. But the great unknown and the
idea of loss of control and the supernatural—I’ve always found that fascinating
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