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Jessica Alba • Alessandra Nivola
DIRECTOR: David Moreau and Xavier Palud

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
Remake of the 2002 Chinese Horror movie Gin gwal, Sydney Wells (Alba) is an accomplished concert violinist. Also blind, she undergoes a double corneal transplant and her sight is restored. But Sydney’s happiness is short-lived as unexplainable shadowy and frightening images start to haunt her. Going to ophthalmologist Dr Paul Faulkner (Nivola) she tries to convince him that her anonymous eye donor has somehow opened the door to a terrifying world only she can see now.

U.S. RELEASE: February 1 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


Jessica Alba“It was intense having to play the violin and having to play somebody who is blind and becomes sighted and starts to lose her mind a bit. It was quite challenging and definitely why I wanted to do it. I like Horror movies and I’ve wanted to do one for a while. I’ve read many over the years and, to me, this one, the psychological thriller aspects to it, I felt like it was intelligent and complex.”

Alessandra Nivola“I thought the directors, David Moreau and Xavier Palud, would bring a style and flair to the movie. I liked that they had generated suspense in Them without a lot of special effects and pyrotechnics. It seemed like they might bring some class to this. I’d never worked with a pair of directors, and I wasn’t sure how that was going to play out, because it seems to me like a job the requires ultimate authority, all roads lead back to the director, and they have to make decisions really quickly. It turned out to be incredibly smooth, David is charming and speaks English really well, and Xavier was more of a poetic soul and more retiring. David would generally be the one talking to us actors in between takes and Xavier was glued to the monitors, helping set up the shots.”

ALBA on whether she saw Gin gwai and if she took anything from Angelica Lee’s performance:
“No. I definitely did my own interpretation. I appreciated her take and how stoic she was and how quiet her performance was. But she comes from an Eastern way of looking at ghosts. It’s kind of part of the culture, the mysticism, and it’s a little more accepted. In Western culture, it’s crazy and ludicrous, and it’s like you’re losing your frinkin’ mind. There’s no way. So we approached it with more of a Western mentality, where everyone thinks she’s going crazy and she starts to question her own sanity.”

“I did watch a little of the original film, but I didn’t want to be rehashing the performance that the nice chap who played my part in the other movie was doing.”

“I haven’t seen a ghost but I’m not closed-minded about it. I think there are too many things that have happened to people in my life who are close to me, and too many things that people see and hear that I don’t really know if you can say point-blank that it doesn’t exist.”

“Jessica is kind of goofy and has a good sense of humor about herself, and is not really that vain or precious about her looks. I guess you can afford to be when you look like her. She had a lot of pressure on her doing this movie, because it was her first big female lead role and she was very committed, I think she was there a couple of weeks before I was trying to go around with a blind person just to get a sense of how they were physically, but at the same time she never took it so seriously that it was obnoxious.”

ALBA on the physical challenges of doing the movie:
“A lot of running. The running at the end was quite tough because it was freezing. It was below zero when we were shooting it. It was so cold and I had this little jacket on and so that was tough.”

"I have no snobbery about any kind of genre movie, I think there’s room for it all and this came along and I liked the sound of these directors, I knew Jessica a little, and so it sounded like fun.”

ALBA on the scariest movie she’s every seen:
The nightmares continue...“I saw Nightmare on Elm Street when I was five. I snuck behind my parent’s couch and I watched it. I didn’t sleep in the middle of my bed until I was 13 because I thought I was going to be sucked in.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #693, March 2008 cover

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