From 10th - 12th March, our fabulous writer Sophie Steele had the opportunity to represent rrramble at Glasgow Film Festival 2023! You can read all about Sophie's time at the Festival from our rrramble visits Glasgow Film Fest post.
Stick around to hear about Sophie's interview with Joelle Farrow, lead actress in new Canadian slasher film Here For Blood.
Over to you, Sophie!
I'm just gonna say it: I want Joelle Farrow to be my new best friend. She was the easiest person to chat to, honestly, it felt like a zoom catch-up with an old uni pal - not a Very Professional Interview with the leading lady in the up-and-coming Canadian slasher Here for Blood.
We started off praising her co-star Shawn Roberts for his comedic timing on the delivery of his lines, and she confirmed for me he was just naturally funny in person as well with his wit and his banter (honestly, some people are just the universe's favourite!). Joelle had nothing but great things to say about her other castmates as well, especially the 12 year old Maya Misaljevic, sharing that she was mature for her age and incredibly professional. We discussed the nuance of the gender roles being 'swapped' in comparison to stereotypical horror films. Maybe I’m just a horror nerd, but I was interested to know if it was intentional, and how that affected with the filming process. I asked if filming for Here for Blood felt different from other projects Joelle has worked on, and after reminding me me this was her first 'actual' horror film (as most of her previous works had been more psychological and thriller) she said there definitely was a different feeling on this set than other projects she has done before.
Joelle informed me that ‘when (she) first read the script (she) really loved Phoebe immediately, she’s logical, she’s very type A, she’s the voice of reason’ and that those character traits are something that really attracted her to the project, along with it being very funny. To be honest, I think fans of slasher films are starved of genuinely smart and nuanced, dimensional women characters - we usually are given a tough, badass who never seems to be panicking. Joelle's portrayal of Phoebe provides us with someone who reacts naturally in this sort of a situation, whilst also allowing for those type A personality traits to really shine through in her performance. She goes on to discuss how she loved how the film ‘didn’t take itself too seriously’, it was fun to make and fun for the audience to watch. ‘I think it’s cool to see female characters in a horror movie be that power and that voice of reason’ Joelle summarised, and shared that upon receiving the offer, this quality unknowingly pulled her to accept the project, and she did not realise that this was why until after filming had started.
We had some fantastic conversations on the strong female characters within this film and how they developed and impacted on the storyline. I wanted to gain a glimpse from Joelle of her experience in working in the horror genre more broadly, and if she found any different challenges she may not have faced before. She explained how the shoots were predominantly night shoots, as they are in most horror films, which means ‘you want to be working with great crew and great cast when going on these night shoots because they are long and they can get really tiring, and I think something about this project, the cast and crew were amazing…everybody operated as a team.’ She spoke fondly of the cast and crew experience on this film, and gushed about how refreshing it was for her to have that network of support on those long shoots. It is always an encouraging thing to hear women and people in general having a positive experience on set, alongside a cast and crew that facilitate that positive atmosphere.
At this point, we took a slight detour in conversation and gushed about horror filmmakers we love at the minute, including some films we found incredibly jarring…once again, it was like chatting with an old friend. She was a super lovely and down-to-earth person, and it was genuinely a pleasure to chat with her. I finished off the interview by (once again) asking the all-important questions – How do you navigate being a women in the predominantly male-dominated film industry? She responded with one word: cautiously. First of all, she explained how - whether you are a man or a woman - to be an actor you have to have an almost unhealthy obsession with being an actor. It’s not a job that can be half-assed, and actors experience a great deal of rejection. ‘Make sure you have a really good support system and a really good team behind you that believes in you…it’s an industry where you need to be able to trust the people around you and, especially as a female, you need to trust your scene partner, your director, other people on the crew and the cast, there is just an extra layer of caution and sometimes a little bit of fear.’ She provides a really interesting insight into navigating the industry here, and gave an honest response, which is rare and appreciated. She goes on to explain how as a woman in the industry ‘you really do want to make sure that you are wanted in certain films based on your abilities and not feel like you have to prove yourself…although that happens a lot.’ Joelle rounded off her point by stating that she might have got lucky with her first experience on a horror film set, reiterating that Here for Blood really had that trusting and comfortable atmosphere on set.
Catch Joelle’s great performance of Phoebe in Here for Blood. This film is ridiculously fun. If you’re interested in seeing some sexy masked men in leather and studs, or if you love some hilarious and creative kills accompanied by buckets of blood (or all of the above), then you don’t want to miss it.
To catch all things Glasgow Film Festival, head to the rrramble visits Glasgow Film Festival post, or click the 'Glasgow Film Festival' tag below.