To say that Black Rock would not have been made if not for Katie Aselton is an understatement. Having wrote the story and scripted it with her husband Mark Duplass she then went on to direct and star in the movie alongside Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth. We managed to catch her to speak about making the movie, women in horror and the will to survive against all odds.
Love Horror: Black Rock is most definitely your personal project as you wrote the story, executive produced and directed the film as well as starring in it. How did the original idea come about?
Katie Aselton: I approached the idea initially as an actor… The role of ‘action heroine’ was one I have always secretly lusted for and, until I created it for myself, had never been offered the opportunity to play. Then the idea of actually making this movie, directing it, telling it with a female voice felt very original and also challenging in an exciting, creative way.
Katie Aselton: It was a story that we really shaped together from the beginning. He wrote the original script and then handed it off to me to make a pass and the only thing I really changed was the dialogue. It was important to me that the women not only speak like women, but they speak to each other like they have known each other their whole lives.
Love Horror: The film offers up a very interesting and innovative twist on the typical rape revenge storyline, what are your opinions on that particular genre of horror especially in relation to its female victims/heroines?
Katie Aselton: Beyond any political implications, the scenario between my character, Abby and Henry (played by Will Bouvier) felt like a very realistic situation that could escalate easily to a point of danger and panic.
Love Horror: Did you draw inspiration from any other films in the style or story of Black Rock either horror or otherwise?
Katie Aselton: Deliverance, obviously, was a huge inspiration… Cape Fear, River Wild, and Thelma and Louise. I am a huge fan of the character driven thrillers.
Love Horror: The movie centres around 3 childhood friends played by yourself, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth and the connection and bond between the three of you is not only key to the film but wonderfully portrayed, how did you create that intimate and very real relationship between you?
Katie Aselton: Honestly? I was insanely lucky. Chemistry is one thing you cannot fake. You either have it or you don’t. Lake and Kate came onto this project with an eager openness that you long for both as a director and costar. We bonded immediately and by the end of the shoot we were family. I can’t say exactly how it happened, but I am so glad it did.
Love Horror: The female characters are extremely realistic and naturalistic something rarely seen in horror, how did you achieve that and why do you think so many horror movies marginalise or stereotype women?
Katie Aselton: That’s the great thing about having your own voice as a filmmaker, is that you can enter into a genre and follow that genre’s rules, but you can do it on your own terms. That is what I aimed to do with Black Rock. It was very important to me that the performances were simple and natural and honest and that the women were strong and powerful and stood up for themselves. That’s the kind of movie I want to make.
And to your point of women being marginalized, I think it’s because it is very rare that a woman decides to tell a story within this genre, so if your going to have a man telling this kind of story, very often you are going to get that kind of female character… It’s a bummer, but it’s not unchangeable.
Love Horror: What were some of the challenges you faced directing and acting at the same time and which do you prefer?
Katie Aselton: The action scenes took a lot of planning… the water scene was insanely challenging… we couldn’t have planned enough for that scene and we still felt underprepared. Ultimately, I LOVE acting, but the sense of pride you get after making a film is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.
Love Horror: All the characters go through a massive ordeal emotionally and physically how was the shoot for you and the other actors and how did you get such great performances from them all?
Katie Aselton: Well, thank you for saying that. I think it was a very intense experience for everyone involved. It helped that we shot chronologically, so it was a very natural progression… by the end we were savages!
Love Horror: There is also a strong survivalist element to the movie, how hard was it filming those scenes?
Katie Aselton: I loved exploring the power of someone’s will to survive, the ferocity of loyalty, how far you would go to protect the ones you love… I believe women have more power than we give ourselves credit for… We have been known to lift cars off of babies! That’s kind of incredible. Those scenes were hard, but a fun challenge to take on as an actor and a filmmaker.
Katie Aselton: I think I have to say my husband and two girls… But if I just had to be by myself, I would love a good book, a pillow and a case of wine.
Read our review of Black Rock here and Black Rock is in selected cinemas Now