Based on the graphic novel of the same name, The Scribbler follows Suki (Katie Cassidy), a young woman who is confronting her destructive mental illness by using an experimental method, called The Siamese Burn, that’s designed to eliminate multiple personalities. Surrounded by a colorful cast of characters who keep ending up dead, Suki begins to wonder just which personality might turn out to be her. Directed by John Suits, the film also stars Garret Dillahunt, Michelle Trachtenberg, Michael Imperioli, Gina Gershon, Eliza Dushku, Billy Campbell and Sasha Grey.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Katie Cassidy talked about how she fought for this role, how hands-on the development of the character was, how much the tattoos and piercings helped her become Suki, that she wanted to burn the wig when she was done with the shoot, working in Linda Vista Community Hospital, which is said to be haunted, the most challenging aspect of the shoot, and how much fun it was to fight Michelle Trachtenberg. She also talked about finally getting let in on the big secret on Arrow, and how great it is to be a part of the bigger story now. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Collider: How did you originally come to this?
KATIE CASSIDY: It’s interesting because, during that time, I was stuck in a rut. I hadn’t read anything that I really felt passionate about, or anything that I really felt challenged by, or that was interesting to me. I picked up this script and started reading it, and I fell in love with the character. I was extremely passionate about it. I thought about all of the different elements, and how diverse each one of these personalities was. I was ready to take on something different, and I really wanted to. It’s hard, sometimes, to convince people that you’re right for the part. So, I called my agents and manager and I was like, “I really, really want this movie.” And they were like, “Okay, we’ll set up a meeting with the director and producers.” They were like, “We don’t think she’s right for it.” And I was like, “Just let me do my thing. Let me come in for a meeting.” So, I went in overly prepared. I had done research and wanted to give them my take on Suki and these characters, and what I thought. They obviously were pretty blown away by my presentation, and we seemed to be on the exact same page of what movie we were making. So, the next day, I ended up getting the offer.
This story is based off of a graphic novel, but did you also have some lee-way in creating the character?
CASSIDY: The thing that was great about it was that they really let me bring Suki to life. Obviously, it was based off of a graphic novel, but they actually let me, personally, cut the wig, which was fun and interesting. It was very hands-on for me. That was awesome. It was great. As an actor, you’re supposed to be able to form yourself into different characters and different roles. It’s a transformation, and this was awesome. After even the table read, when they got to hear it out loud, they felt even more like, “Okay, she’s got this. She’s definitely headed in the right direction.” When we started shooting, (director) John Suits saw that I was just completely, 100% in it, and he just let me do my thing.
CASSIDY: Some people have this vision of me on a red carpet being all glamorous, but that’s not who this character is, whatsoever. I was definitely myself. I’m pretty casual. I dress a little bit like a tomboy, and I didn’t wear any make-up. I just went in, in my regular clothes, and I was just myself. I gave them everything that I had to say, and that was it. I didn’t really dress the part, or anything. I talked a little bit about what I felt that she looked like and her movements and body language, but that was about it.
Once you did find the final look for the character, was it difficult to get used to seeing yourself with your hair like that, and with all of the tattoos and piercings?
CASSIDY: No. In a weird way, being in that wardrobe helped me, as an actor, to become that character. It didn’t seem weird, at all. It didn’t feel weird, at all. If anything, I was more comfortable, once I was in the wardrobe, to behave and act the way that this character does.
You wear the skeleton costume for a good portion of the film. Did you have a certain level of comfort in that, or were you ready to burn it by the time you were done?
CASSIDY: I think the wig was more something that I was ready to burn because it itched really bad and was hot. The skeleton costume was fine. It was pretty comfortable. Wigging, day in and day out, and after shooting day after day after day, gets warm and starts to itch.
What was it like to work in and spend so much time in Linda Vista Community Hospital, which is supposedly haunted? Did you know anything about the history of that building, and did anything creepy happen while you were there?
CASSIDY: I didn’t have any creepy experiences, but it’s funny because a lot of productions shoot in places like that. People think this industry is all glamorous, but when you’re here, it’s not. That was not the first time I’ve shot in a spooky, dirty place. It actually happens quite often because it makes for a great setting and back-drop. It’s fun. It makes things a little bit more exciting.
What was the most challenging aspect of this shoot?
CASSIDY: Transitioning from one character to another. I sat down with someone who actually suffers from multiple personality disorder and I watched them go in and out, and it was a very subtle thing. I wanted it to be as realistic as possible. After sitting down with her and watching her, I didn’t want it to be something too dramatic or drastic. I developed seven different characters, and I did backstories for each one. I think you see three of them in the movie, and you hear seven voices. I wanted to keep it honest and grounded. It’s obviously a higher concept, but when she slipped into The Scribbler, I wanted to make sure that Suki and all of her other alters were very real. The transitioning was definitely tough and a bit nerve-wracking, but at the end of the day, I tried not to think about that, and just tried to be in the moment.
How much fun was it to do the fight scene with Michelle Trachtenberg?
CASSIDY: It was really fun. It was pouring rain, but fight scenes are always really fun and very physical. It was great. I love Michelle. I’ve worked with her before. She’s lovely, and we had a blast.
On the last season of Arrow, you finally got let in on the big secret. How relieved are you to finally be included in Team Arrow, and does that make things feel different for Season 3?
CASSIDY: Oh, absolutely! It’s great to be a part of the A-story. I love working on the show. We have a wonderful crew and wonderful cast, and I just get to spend more time there and time with them. It’s awesome. I’m having a blast. I think this season is going to be insane! The fans are gonna love it.
The Scribbler is now available in theaters and on VOD.