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Interview: Newcomer Gretchen Lodge Talks Inhabiting 'Lovely Molly,' Dark Playlists & Dream Remakes

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist May 18, 2012 at 3:55PM

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?
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Lovely Molly
Knowing Ed did “Blair Witch Project,” were you nervous, did you have any expectations of what it might be like? Preconceived notions going into the shoot?
No, and I think maybe the reason why is that when I did my very first audition for him I didn’t actually realize he was the ‘Blair Witch’ guy. I did my first audition for him, and then I found out before the callback, while I was doing my research on him. I feel like if I had known at the very first audition I did for him, it would have been different. But certainly after I found out, and when I went back for my callback, during that time, there was a week and a half in between, I rewatched “Blair Witch Project” and was like this is interesting, because I didn’t have the whole script of “Lovely Molly” at that point, but from what I saw of it, it would be a very interesting take, because he seems to get something really special and really raw from his actors, so it would be really interesting to work with him on this totally scripted piece because ‘Blair Witch’ was so much improv. That totally intrigued me. 



Because you go into so many raw, emotional, primal, dark places in this film, did you have any ways to access that? To get into this incredibly troubled person who is going through this traumatic experience. Was it just being on set with Ed or are you just able to do that?


I had a really dark playlist, which is really helpful, I have to say. So dark playlist, and also just sitting on the stoop of a house that’s in the middle of the woods. Ed was so great about it because he just let me brood around the place. He was just like “go and brood.” It was a really great space to just be able to do that. I was never, never called out of character, and when I was in it I had the opportunity to access these points because I was never called back from the brink. I had the space and the time to be able to do that. I would just spend afternoons exploring the woods and then go to shoot. I know the other actors felt the same way, the ability to be able to immerse ourselves, and then go straight to set, just have the opportunity to be in that world completely, was totally there, and it was helpful.



What was the hardest scene for you to shoot? 


The hardest one definitely was the scene between Molly and Tim in the basement with the screwdriver. That was really tough. It was really tough because it was working with props and feeling like this isn’t working, this doesn’t look real. The space down there was so claustrophobic and it was just such an array of things making it difficult. We were down there nonstop, it seemed like this nonstop day of just everyone crouched down in this terrible little basement. That was definitely the hardest one, because it was always sort of like bam, bam, bam do the scenes, there was plenty of time bookending them to get in and out of them. That one was just like some sort of... it was hard. 



You created Molly and did all this research. Did you ever feel like you had to get away from her in this experience, or did you feel like you had to be accessing Molly the entire time?

I started off thinking “I can be her all the time” and it was really helpful, but towards the end it was too much, because then her situation becomes more and more unstable and more and more unsafe, it was like my hotel room became unsafe for me because it was too much. Molly artwork that I was making was all over the walls, the hotel became unbearable, because I felt like it was too much. I was like “I don’t want to go crazy.” I had that thought, but that’s crazy because she’s her and I’m me, but they did start to gel a little bit. I was doing this thing where I had a Molly wardrobe that I wore nonstop, I brought jeans and Molly shirts that I got specifically for rehearsal and downtime. I brought hardly any of my normal wardrobe, a few things. Towards the end I started putting on my own clothes as a comfort, I just wanted to be myself. 



What’s it like interacting with audiences at festivals after they have seen the film? Are they afraid of you? Are they shocked? Do they say weird things to you? 


Well at SXSW, I was waiting to do the Q and A afterwards, and some people were filing out because they had other things to go see, and I was standing by the doorway, waiting to go in, and this one guy walks down in front of me, and I was just in regular clothes, standing there waiting, and he walks down the hall and he was like, “Oh my god, that’s really creepy that you’re just standing there and I just saw you in there.” I wasn’t even looking, I was just looking down, and he must have just thought I was this crazy woman. I was like “no no no, I’m nice, come back in!” Everyone’s always “oh you’re much taller than I imagined.” I get sort of nervous afterwards, certainly when people are asking questions, because it’s sort of a free for all, you have no idea, people could say anything. But the audiences we’ve had so far at the different festivals that I’ve been able to go to have certainly been really great and really supportive. They haven’t warranted all of my angst and anguish.

This article is related to: Lovely Molly, Gretchen Lodge


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