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SUBJECT: The Uninvited

Poster artwork and logo On location withÖ

Emily Browning & Arielle Kebbel


In Paramountís new Horror flick The Uninvited, Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel portray sisters, Anna and Alex, who are stunned when their motherís ghost warns Anna that her former nurse Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), who is now engaged to her father Steven (David Strathairn), has evil intentions. Now the sisters must convince their father that his new fiancťe is not who she pretends to be.
In 2008, during a break between scenes on the set, on Bowen Island in Vancouver, I spoke with Emily and Arielle about their new movie.

Q: Did you watch the original film, Changhwa Hongryon?:
Emily BrowningEmily Browning: I watched it just after I read the original script ages ago. And I really liked it. I think it was really beautifully shot and really cool but so confusing, so I see why there's room for a remake. With the first one I had to take breaks from it and collect myself and figure out what was going on.

Q: The original movie was not linear. How about this one?
Emily Browning: There's flashback stuff and there's weird stuff, but it's not as scattered as the other one.

Arielle Kebbel: And also I think we both agreed when we saw it that there was a lot of touching between sisters and a certain, very cool intimacy that they had in their relationship. And it was really important to both of us that we kept that in telling our story.

Emily Browning: There's a few things that we had to take from the original movie and do something similar. But at the same time we're not making the same film in an English version. The original film is awesome. It's really excellent, and I know it has a huge fan base. So, we're not trying to make the same film again, but we have taken a lot of elements from it.

Emily Browning and Arielle KebbelArielle Kebbel: I think itís really interesting that what Emily wanted to do with the character. Alex is supposed to be the stronger one, and Anna is the weak one, that's how it's scripted. Alex is the sarcastic one, so it would be obvious to make her the badass girl that hates the world, and to make Anna the weak insecure girl. And, in fact, they crossover quite a bit, although Alex is sarcastic and frustrated with the household situation. She's really hardheaded and she has a fun spirit and a zest for life about her. And Anna is really strong, and it was really important to Emily to not make her weak.

Q: Emily, playing such an intense role, are you keeping to yourself or are you able to go in and out of character?
Emily Browning: I think if I stayed in the role the whole time, I would go insane. I think that's really important if you're going be doing a dramatic role, but you have to know when to get out of it and when to be in it.

Q: Did you do a lot of rehearsals before you started shooting?
Emily Browning: We rehearsed quite a lot, and more intensely than I've rehearsed for anything before shooting it. But they listened to us, and it seems like we have a lot of input.

Arielle Kebbel: Yeah. I think we've been very fortunate because we have spent time talking about the dialogue. I have a bit of a different lingo than Emily has because she's Australian. But we also do have some of the same sort of common teenage words or slang words that we both use. And when we discovered we both used them, we thought it would be cool to throw that in the script, just making a bit more relatable to the teenage audience that is going be watching it.

Emily Browning: No matter how good writers are, I always find that it's really hard for a writer to write a teenage character realistically, and seem like they're talking in a contemporary way. And they listened to us, because no matter how fantastic this scene is or the whole storyline is, sometimes the teenage writing is a little bit off.

Q: Emily, can you talk about your fight scene with Elizabeth Banks?:
Elizabeth Banks and Emily BrowningEmily Browning: Well, it was intense, it was the first action thing I've ever filmed, there was some bludgeoning involved with it. I could not imagine shooting an action film and having to do scenes like that every day. I was sore for the week after the fight scene, my whole body was in pain. And it's not even a long scene, it's really quick. And it'll be entertaining for a few reasons. It's two girls in not very much clothing beating each other up on the ground.

Q: Have you done any green screen?
Emily Browning: The directors, The Guard Brothers, very much want everything to be real in the film. It's not a special effects film at all.

Arielle Kebbel: I think they've brought a certain elegance to the film and to the screen. It doesn't have that big kind of American thing, there are not any special effects really, except maybe tiny things they need to touch up, not really any CGI.

Q: As representatives of the target demo, could you explain the popularity of the genre?
Arielle Kebbel: When you say genre, are you talking specifically of Asian remakes or just Horror in general?

Q: I'm speaking about Horror, teen slasher films.
Arielle Kebbel: I donít think that's what this is, which is why I was attracted to it. I mean, I definitely did the horror with The Grudge 2. This reminded me when I read it of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle or What Lies Beneath, where you have those thrilling moments where it takes your breath away.

Emily Browning: It's not gory, I think it's more of a thriller. It's a twisty story. And that's why I was worried about this interview, it's so hard to talk too much about it, because you canít give anything away.

Arielle Kebbel: The audience is going to experience different things, and I think it's important to both of us that they just experience it.

Q: But you are fans of scary movies?
Emily Browning: Yeah.

Q: Why?
Arielle Kebbel: We're extremists. It's an adrenaline thing, I suppose.

Emily Browning: Why do teenagers enjoy roller coasters? I think it's definitely an adrenaline thing. What's cool about this film is that people who like films that are written cleverly will enjoy it. But it also has this sort of fear elements that is that same kind of thrill-seeking thing. Itís the reason that people watch slasher films and things like that.

An unhappy ending?

See also interview with David Strathairn

Written by Judy Sloane
January 2009
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Visit the official The Uninvited site
Images above © Paramount Pictures
Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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