Lovely Molly
Gretchen Lodge makes her screen debut this weekend in the latest from "The Blair Witch Project" helmer Eduardo Sanchez, the possession/psychological horror thriller "Lovely Molly." Lodge gives a ferocious, fearless and deeply intimate performance in a film that strays from the found footage genre Sanchez helped to create, instead rendering a much more personal horror film that utilizes first person camera footage as one of the many tools in the telling the story of Molly, a young newlywed who begins to lose her grip on reality. Or does she? Lodge is firmly the anchor of this film, which revolves entirely around her, and she never for a minute loses her magnetic grasp on the audience, who can't look away, despite some of the shocking and primal moments. Our review from SXSW said, "she commits to the character -- so mousy and serene early in the movie and so terrifying and feral later on -- with gusto. This is a role that would have scared a lot of people off – it's emotionally, psychologically, and physically raw – but she seems more than up to the challenge. She makes you, if not completely understand what Molly's going through, at least put yourself in her position." 

Lodge in the role of Molly is much in the tradition of classic horror films that have introduced new talent with a brave, awe-inspiring performance by a young woman -- what would Sissy Spacek be without "Carrie"? Mia Farrow and "Rosemary's Baby"? Jamie Lee Curtis and "Halloween"? Sigourney Weaver in "Alien"? Perhaps Lodge may be inducted into their legion after her turn as "Lovely Molly."

We took a moment to sit down and chat with Lodge in Los Angeles this week, on the eve of "Lovely Molly" hitting theaters after its almost year-long festival run.

Lovely Molly
“Lovely Molly” isn’t just your first starring role, it’s your first role in a film. What were you doing before this and how did you get the role of Molly? How did you get into a role like this?

I did theater growing up. I thought I would do Shakespeare for the rest of my life, because I love Shakespeare, and I just thought I would sail along in my life until I was 95 just by doing Shakespeare. But I ended up doing other theater things when I was in London, and then moved to New York. I was sort of just seeing what was going on in New York, really. I moved there for a change of scenery and of everything, and I got cast in a film called “The Scar Collector” which filmed in New Jersey. It was really fun, it was supposed to be a narrative and ended being more images and sound and stuff like that. I was filming that at the same time that the audition for this happened. 

So you just went to an open casting call and got the role? 

Yeah, there was a casting in Backstage and I saw it and was like “I wanna do that.” Ed was actually there, I know that he was trying to be as hands-on as possible. He was at the very first audition, not just at the callbacks, which I think was really cool, because we had one of the first-person monologues where Molly talks into the camera as the very first audition. I think it was probably very necessary that he feel that connection with the people who were auditioning.

I had a month and a little bit between finding out and starting rehearsals. It was a lot of on-my-feet research really, a lot of reading, I had my nose buried in a book and a lot of going out and meeting people and researching various treatment facilities, because I wanted to research all of the different aspects of what could possibly be going on. I spent the month beforehand doing that and trying to get every symptom, every behavioral aspect, watching a lot of reference material at the New York Library.

Was most of your inspiration for the role through clinical research or did you have any creative influences or iconic performances that you looked to?

I made a point of not watching anything because there were a lot of things that came to mind when I first read the script, the story of a very strong but troubled woman who goes through this journey, and there are these people beside her, going through it with her. But, I made a point not to watch anything that made me think of it, because I didn’t want her story to be a knock-off of someone else’s work, and I also didn’t want the interactions between the characters to be artificial. I didn’t want them to be something that I’d seen, someone who acted like this with their onscreen husband, onscreen family. I wanted it to be totally from the ground up. It was a combination of clinical type research and just weaving the story along, making up my own backstory and then also reading the backstory that we were given when we started rehearsals. And then also a lot of it definitely evolved once we all met and started developing bonds and seeing how we really interacted with one another.