In the horror thriller The Apparition, opening in theaters on August 24th, frightening events start to occur in the home shared by young couple, Kelly (The Twilight Saga’s Ashley Greene) and Ben (Political Animals stars Sebastian Stan). They discover that they are being haunted by a presence that was accidentally conjured during a university parapsychology experiment when the horrifying apparition feeds on their fear and torments them no matter where they try to run.
A while back, Collider was invited to participate in a set visit for the film, where actress Ashley Greene took some time to talk to the handful of outlets that were there for the shoot. During the interview, she spoke about how her character fits into the story, what it was like to do part of the shoot in Berlin, what she enjoys about the horror genre, her favorite horror films, keeping her character pro-active and strong, how this was one of the most emotionally and physically demanding roles that she’s done, and the other genres she’d love to get to work in. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Question: What is this film about and who do you play in it?
ASHLEY GREENE: I play a character named Kelly. Throughout the film, you see myself, Sebastian and Tom Felton. We play Patrick (Felton), Kelly (Greene) and Ben (Stan). It starts out very normal, and you focus on the relationship between Ben and Kelly. We’re a young couple that’s in love. We’re moving into my parents’ investment home and setting up our lives and figuring out what we want to do with our future. And this experiment, that some people were involved with, goes wrong and comes back to haunt some people. My character, specifically, is dealing with this experiment that’s gone wrong, and is trying to figure out who and what was involved, and is trying to figure out the intentions of the people around her, what exactly they’ve done and what she has to deal with. The good thing about the film is that, up until the very end, you really are right there with the characters and don’t know what’s going on. There are a lot of twists and turns.
What is the nature of the experiment?
GREENE: The experiment doesn’t involve my character, Kelly, but one of the characters in the film is basically trying to do an experiment to push boundaries and see if there is a way to create something that doesn’t exist, simply by believing in it. This character does a lot of research and has a lot of machines to see if he can create something and, in the process, disturbs something far worse than a ghost.
What was it like to work in Berlin?
GREENE: Berlin was very cold, but awesome. It was absolutely beautiful, and nice to be away from everyone and everything. It puts you in this little bubble and you’re basically forced to focus. We have a really small cast, and it was a really good opportunity for all of us to bond and really get to know each other. I definitely have really good memories from Berlin.
Was Joel Silver on set, at all? Did he show you around?
GREENE: He did come to set and he was there for a little bit, but he had a couple of different films going on, so he bounced back and forth. But his assistant, who has been working with Joel for years and years and years, was the one who showed Sebastian [Stan] and I around.
Are you enjoying working within the horror genre?
GREENE: I am. Even though Twilight is in the vampire realm, it’s completely different than any vampire film and I don’t think would be really classified as horror. With The Apparition, the nice part about it is that they are certainly making it more of a psychological thriller than slasher horror. I don’t have too much interest in doing that. But, when they make it more psychological and it’s something that really scares you to the core, watching films like that, for me at least, is much more interesting and it affects you much more. Because The Apparition is something I’ve never dealt with before, it’s interesting to see how you relate to something and how you portray something when you haven’t quite experienced it yet.
Do you have any favorite films or books in this genre?
GREENE: I had to do some research when I started this. We very much wanted to relate this to something like Poltergeist. That’s a classic film. I had watched it a long time ago, and then watched it again, right before I did this film. I happen to love the film. In its time, it changed a lot of things. It was a fantastic film! Watching it now, I can still enjoy it. I also watched Rosemary’s Baby. That was a really good, interesting one. These are films that were ahead of their time and changed what we do in horror films.
Have you noticed any visual homages to those films, while you’re shooting?
GREENE: Definitely. Todd [Lincoln], the director, gave us a whole list of films, like Don’t Look Now and those films that I mentioned. They want it to be very elevated. They want it to be very realistic. The shots are just beautiful. I think you’ll see a lot of similarities to those films.
Is there anything in this film, like the clown in Poltergeist, that might freak people out?
GREENE: There’s not as much of a statement in this film, as there was with the clown. But, things that happen in the film, as a whole, are going to affect people in their house, alone, when certain things happen, whether it be creaks, sounds or banging, or that people try desperately to just dismiss and say, “Oh, that’s just me being paranoid.” People, for some period of time after watching the film, are going to be a little more easily freaked out and jumpy, and question things a little bit more than they do now.
Is your character more pro-active, or is she one of those girls who stands there and screams?
GREENE: Absolutely not, hence why I don’t want to do a normal horror movie. I don’t think I’ll ever take a role, in any film, where there’s a girl who’s just standing there screaming, or not being pro-active. One of the reasons I liked this role is that my character is very pro-active. She’s a very strong character, and has just as much say in what’s going on and what we’re going to do, as any other character in the film. It’s something that we’ve been very mindful of, spoken about and collaborated on, throughout the whole film. You do always see the male as the stronger character, and Ben happens to know a little bit more about what’s going on than Kelly does. There is a tendency to let the guy lead, and for the girl to scream and cry. There are a lot of emotions that are happening with my character, but she’s not a stupid girl.
Is it a very physical role?
GREENE: It was physical. It’s probably been one of the most emotionally and physically demanding roles. Doing the whole Twilight thing, there’s a little bit of fighting, but it’s different. We’ve gotten a little banged up and shaken around, and there’s been a lot of bumps and bruises and sore muscles.
But, you do scream in this, don’t you?
GREENE: Not really.
Not one screaming scene?
GREENE: I have fought, tooth and nail, to not have this girl running around, screaming and crying the whole time. If it is screaming, it’s not the typical, “Look at me, standing there screaming.” It’s more of that noise that’s just forced out of your body. It’s not the typical scream. I think silence is sometimes a lot scarier than someone screaming.
Do you enjoy getting to do the physical work and stunts?
GREENE: I do. As much as the studio, the insurance companies and everyone will allow, I try to do all of my own stuff. For me, I think it’s very important to go through what these people are going through, to the best of my capabilities, so that I can portray it. You can say, “I remember when I slammed into that door. It hurt like hell!” You know what your muscles feel like. It hurts, but it’s better to have sore muscles than to fake sore muscles.
How has the script changed since you first read it? Have you stuck close to it, or have you gotten to improvise, at all?
GREENE: There wasn’t a ton of improv. There are always little happy accidents from the acting god. Things fall when they’re not supposed to you and you react to it, and stuff like that. We have gone over and written and rewritten and analyzed the hell out of this script. One of the biggest concerns was that we wanted an audience to watch this film and never have the chance to go, “That stupid, stupid girl. That stupid guy. Why didn’t you just do this?” One of the scariest things is that you will find, 99% of the time, we do what any normal person would do, and this thing is just relentless. That’s the terrifying part about it. We’ve gone over the script so many times, and it’s really been a big collaboration, which has been amazing. Todd Lincoln, who also wrote it, has been so open and so incredible about communication with Sebastian and I, and Tom. We all sat down and brainstormed and said, “What would we do?,” and exhausted every possible option, and then went with what we thought was the best.
GREENE: Luckily, we get along. We’ve done this whole collaboration and spoken to each other about where exactly we want our characters to go and who we are, but everything that comes about is one of those things that is like, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” We start off as this very happy couple who have moved in together. They’re an everyday couple. They play video games. And then, there’s these little things that try us, and I think it’s the same as any other relationship. Nothing is ever perfect forever. It starts off really honeymoon style, and then there’s little things that just make you look at the other person and go, “I didn’t know you’d act that way. How well do I really know you?” There’s definitely some of that, in the film.
Is there another genre that you would really like to get the chance to explore next?
GREENE: Yeah. I have a very different story than most people, about how things happened for me. It happened very quickly, and so I’m getting all of this recognition and I really haven’t done a lot. There are so many things that I haven’t done yet. I love film. I love everything about the adventure of it, and I want to do it all. I’m like a kid in a candy shop, right now. I want to do everything I haven’t done yet. I think I’ve covered drama. I definitely want to do a comedy. I think a musical would be really fun. I ’m itching to do an action film. You do a movie and, even if it’s not a comedy or it’s not an action film, you get a little taste of it, and then I want to do it full force. So, we’re trying to choose the right projects that let me do things and create a career, rather than sticking to one thing.