“Evil, strong, ruthless.” – Meet Blanch, Beast No More’s intriguing new villain.
Before you see the exclusive images from Aaron Warwick’s Beast No More below, we asked actress Erin Connor (The Suicide Theory, Rise, Space/Time) to share her on-set experiences filming the new Australian horror thriller.
Some mystery still surrounds the film’s plot but what we do know is that it follows Mary Jane (Jessica Tovey), a young biologist who focuses on lepidoptery who has her world turned upside down when her son is killed in a grievous accident.
Fleeing the troubled “real world” she embarks upon a solitary bush project. In the isolated and surreal landscape Mary Jane starts experiencing strange phenomena. She believes it can only be one thing – her dead son trying to make contact. When the real culprit is finally realised it is not the ghost of Mary Jane’s son. She is however given the chance to become a mother again, but at what cost?
“I thinks its fun and amusing that I got ‘Best Dressed’ and ‘Top of the Beauty Looks’ on this years AFO AACTA’s red carpet,” Erin Connor told Cinema Australia. “Then I got to play the ugliest role you’re likely to see in Australian cinema, and I loved every minute of it.”
The film’s producer, Jennifer Van Gessel told Cinema Australia she had sympathy for all her cast and crew during filming.
“The location is brutal. It’s the toughest location you could probably imagine. I can’t say where it is because the people who own it don’t want the public to know you can come here. It’s so hard that it’s difficult to keep food and drink cold and you can’t drive cars in and out. Thankfully it looks incredible on camera,” she said.
According to the producer the footage is looking amazing.
“Everyone we’ve shown it to have reacted really positive,” a relieved Van Gessel said. “We’ve had all the usual problems with low budget films with money and crew availability. At the end of the day we’re creating something that looks amazing and something we truly believe audiences are going to love, that’s what keeps us going.”
Interview by Matthew Eeles
How was your overall experience working on Beast No More?
There’s a certain wonderful energy that comes with being on the set of an independent production and Beast No More was no exception.
So much dedication from all members of crew and the actors. One leaves the set with a buzz, I’d make a fortune if I could find a way to bottle that stuff.
Tell us a bit about the character you’re playing in the film?
On the surface Blanch is seen as an incredibly evil, strong, ruthless woman but she carries a deep history of pain, abuse and regret and is driven by this in later life and it’s somewhat sad and frightening at the same time that she is living her life with her sisters in the manner that she is.
What attracted you to the role?
When I was first contacted by Jennifer Van Gessel about playing ‘Blanch’ not only was there a prequel comic based on ‘Blanch’ for this thriller movie but also ‘Blanch is the cherry on top’ for this movie.
You don’t often get to play the strongest character in a screen play that also has depth and such a rich back story that made me react like a kid in a candy shop, busting to get on set to play her in the 3rd and final act of this thriller Beast no More – it was a proverbial ‘lotto ticket’ for a female actress to be cast in.
How was your experience working with producer Jennifer Van Gesselt and director Aaron Warwick?
Working with Jennifer Van Gessel was fantastic, it makes me smile to know that Australian Film has a gem. She’s a multi talented, passionate and driven woman (this is prob why she doesn’t get much sleep because there is so much she can and wants to do!).
And Aaron Warwick on paper seems young, but this director blows that age thing out of the water. He’s worked and lived all around the world and this director and writer is one of the best I’ve ever worked with. He’s incredibly smart, he understands the actors process, he’s calm and doesn’t miss a beat, it makes for the best work to come from set, he’s a visionary.
And notably I had some tough scenes with sensitive issues and to have a director like Aaron for them made my job so much easier.
I can’t wait for Jennifer and Aaron to reap the rewards that are surely coming their way for they make a stellar combo.
Jessica Tovey and Dan Ewing are a pretty big deal in their own right. How was it working with both Jess and Dan who are the leads in the film?
Wow, Jess is just brilliant to watch. To witness this intuitive amazing actress in her element.
Then facing off with her in our scenes was a real treat, she totally embodied he character MJ. I can’t wait to see the final edit.
And Dan is an obviously handsome well known Aussie favourite but he’s a total professional. I couldn’t have asked for a better male to act across in what was quite frankly a confronting and disturbing scene.
It was the kind of acting that you had to drop your insecurities and totally trust in the other actor and our want for giving this movie our all.
I’m thrilled that I had Jess and Dan to work with.
What kind of reactions do you hope audiences are going to have to the film?
Well I’m hoping the audience find it moving, gripping and I must add that I enjoy characters that push the audience a little, that push society to think about the effects of our behaviours, to be a little uncomfortable perhaps… but in a good way that evokes thought.
Perhaps from the audience watching Blanch they’ll have some empathy for the way a woman is because of horrible circumstances.
And on the fun side, I hope the audience are on the edge of their seat the way a great thriller movie should take you.
Do you have any funny anecdotes or experiences from your time on set you’re willing to share?
Because of elaborate special effects makeup on myself and some of the other actors, it would take too long to remove and reapply when we’d need to break for lunch, so we thought surely the small town of Berrima wouldn’t be too freaked out if we went with our deformed and other gross makeup looks and costumes into town for a counter lunch at the local pub. Haha let’s just say that I think the story of Beast no More will forever be a tail told at the local pub in Berrima!
Beast No More is anticipating a 2017 release.