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Angie Kent has been a small screen favourite since she first appeared in Gogglebox back in 2015.
Since then, Kent has survived a season of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! alongside fellow Goggleboxer Yvie Jones, stole hearts in The Bachelorette Australia, and danced alongside fellow small screen darlings Celia Pacquola and Claudia Karven, and footballer Travis Cloke, in season 17 of Dancing With the Stars.
Kent has now turned her attention to the big screen, giving an impressive performance as film student Nadine in The Possessed – a new gore fest written and directed by Australian horror maestro, Chris Sun.
Cinema Australia’s Matthew Eeles caught up with Kent to discuss her role in the supernatural thriller.
“I was brought up really Catholic. We were often not allowed to talk about that side of things, just because you don’t mess with the Devil. But I’m a very spiritual person. I found my own religion. I guess you could call it my own way of living and feeling and thinking.”
Interview by Matthew Eeles
You burst into living rooms all over Australia via Gogglebox on Channel 10 and Foxtel in 2015. You’ve been on one hell of a journey since then.
I first started watching people, watching me watch TV with my best mate Yvie, and never in my wildest dreams did I think that all these other kind of adventures would come my way. Obviously I’ve had quite a fruitful little television career, and now this movie. It has been wild.
Did you imagine back then that six years later you’d be starring in an Australian horror film? Did you have aspirations of becoming an actor back then?
I never would have thought that I’d be starring in a film on the big screen, working next to somebody like John Jarratt! I used to watch him when I was in high school. I always loved John. I studied film and television production. I’ve always been in the industry, but I always wanted to be a producer or a director and make my own documentaries, or work in theatre. That’s what I wanted to do at university. I just loved it. And then it kind of just happened. I never really thought about being in front of the camera, but it just happened, and I just kind of went with it.
Had you ever seen a Chris Sun horror film before?
Yes! I watched Boar. Boar was out when I was in the Bachelorette mansion, so I didn’t get to see it at the cinema at the time. But I watched it last year when my manager started asking me would I want to audition for Chris’s next film? And I was like, “Oh my God. Why me?” I kind of watched all his stuff then, and I was like, “yeah, I like this!”
Is horror a genre that you enjoy?
I actually was frightened of horror, so frightened. I could only watch it if I was with somebody, or if I had lights on, but then I just got into it. I wanted to do a lot of background research into horror before going into this film. I wanted to study looking scared, genuinely scared, not looking stupid scared, or not being too over the top. I ended up becoming obsessed. I had two weeks quarantine before I had to fly back to Queensland last year to film The Possessed. I just spent those two weeks just fully channeling all these horror characters and watching back-to-back horror films. Now I’m obsessed.
What were some of those films you were watching, and the actors you were studying?
I had a list in one of my diaries because I watched so many, but I watched The Exorcism Of Emily Rose. Because I needed to learn how to contort my body. I could never do it like Jennifer Carpenter did in that film. The I became obsessed with Toni Collette in Hereditary. That movie is amazing.
Collette was robbed of an Oscar for that role.
She is just incredible in everything she does, but to see her in a role like that was just amazing. She can do anything.
How confident were you that you could pull off this character considering you’d never acted before?
I feel the character was similar to the way I was back at uni. I was a real film nerd. She’s a lot more quiet than me. A little bit more reserved. I’ve still got this real dorky side to me, but I’m probably more advertently loud about it. Whereas Nadine’s quiet and she’s a bit more serious. She takes herself quite seriously, whereas I don’t. I kind of channeled old versions of myself, but then characters from movies and I just wanted to give it my all. I was worried about learning lines because I’ve always just had to be myself. And I’ve never been any good at audio cues and stuff like that, because I’m just so used to saying whatever comes to my head. But I did really well with learning my lines. I was surprised at how well I did. [Laughs].
You really seem to come alive in this film whenever you’re in a scene opposite John Jarratt. How exciting was it for you to act opposite someone of John’s caliber? I mean, this is Mick Taylor.
I know, I was so nervous when I first got there. I was worried that because I was around actual actors that they were going to look at me think, “She’s done four reality TV shows and can talk on radio and talk in interviews. Who is this person?” But it was great. And John was great to work with. At first I thought he was going to think I was bringing the team down but that wasn’t the case all. We became a family. It was really great.
A lot of people will be wondering how this role came about for you.
Well my manager, Shane, works with Melissa Tkautz, who worked with Chris Sun on Boar, and my manager has worked with Chris off-and-on with theatrical releases. Chris mentioned that he was casting for The Possessed and Shane had me in mind. I didn’t know if I’d be any good, but I audition anyway. It was a film audition over Zoom, because I was in Sydney and he was in Queensland and I couldn’t get back up there to audition in-person. He loved the audition. I just had to act all scared and do the monologue to camera. And he was like, “Yep. She’s Nadine. It’s hers”.
Tell us about working with Chris as a director.
Chris is so passionate and I feel that he is one of those directors that just gets on with the job. I obviously haven’t worked as an actress on any other set, but I’ve worked behind the scenes. And I’ve had a little bit to do with other directors, and Chris is just hands-on. He really gets in there and he really is very passionate and the more blood, the better. You see Chris’s eyes really shine when there’s blood in a scene because he just loves gore. You can feel his energy and it’s quite contagious.
He is a very passionate man. I don’t think there’s any better word to describe him.
So passionate. One of the most passionate people I’ve worked with and he’s just so Aussie. He’s full on Queenslander where they get right in there, and there’s no filter. But I work well with people that aren’t super rigid and don’t have a filter because I’m a little bit like that too. That didn’t overwhelm me and if anything, it made me feel more at ease.
I’ve spoken to Chris quite a few times over the years. Does he swear as much on set as he does with me on the phone?
Yep. [Laughs] He loves to swear. [Laughs]. Every second word is the the F word. But you know what? I love a cheeky C bomb too. [Laughs].
The film is inspired by Mark “The Accidental Exorcist” Gardner. Do you buy into that whole spiritual world and demonic possessions?
Look, I was brought up really Catholic. We were often not allowed to talk about that side of things, just because you don’t mess with the Devil. But I’m a very spiritual person. I found my own religion. I guess you could call it my own way of living and feeling and thinking. I very much believe there’s another rhelm out there and that you’ve got to be careful because you do see it. I obviously worked close with Mark and he’s great though.
Was he on the set?
Yeah, he was on the set every day he was there. He wanted to be there to see how it all was and to see if it’s going to come across right. It’s his story, right? And he was great. He was so down to earth and he offered his advice when he wanted to. It always meant a lot when he did. Yeah. It helped because we really want to do the story justice and portray it in the way that he sees it.
Whenever a film like The Possessed is made, we hear these spooky stories about paranormal things happening on set. Did anything like happen with you during the shoot?
Well, Mark could kind of suss if there were bad entities or bad vibes around, but he actually had another friend who was more of an energy clearer. He would come on set and clear the space because we were dealing with demonic spirits and working in a room where the Pentagon was and all that. Let’s just say you could take home bad vibes. I had to get a full clearing because when I went home I had something sitting on my chest when I was sleeping and speaking tongues in my ears. I could hear it, but I couldn’t see it. I had to go in to see this guy. I didn’t want to tell people because I thought they’ll think I’m crazy. And then he cleared me and he confirmed that I took something home with me.
Do you feel better after the clearing?
I do. I didn’t know if it was a placebo effect or not, or whether it’s real. Whatever he did, it worked for me.
I’ve been on film sets before. As exciting as they are, there are also these long moments of sitting around doing nothing. How did you find the whole filmmaking experience? Is it something that you want to continue to pursue?
I loved it. I love anything that has to do with entertaining people, telling a story, educating or just learning myself. There is a lot of waiting around. [Laughs]. There’s a lot of respecting the other person’s time to perform, learning lines, continuity. There’s so much that goes into the making of a film. You don’t just do it once. You do it eight times to get my close up, to get Lincoln’s close up then to get John’s close up. It was a lot. And then obviously adding prosthetics. And that takes hours and hours and hours of redoing it and really channeling being frightened. It’s full-on. I love it. I would do it again for sure.
I never miss an episode of Gogglebox. I love watching that show, and I loved watching it when you and Yvie Jones were a part of it. Do you still watch it?
I do. I do, when I can. I know there’s been quite a few changes with the Goggleboxers. I will always hold Gogglebox very close to my heart. I mean, I did it for four years. We did eight seasons. We won three Logies. That’s a huge part of my life that I’ll cherish forever and I’ll always, always support it. And I do try to tune in when I can.
The Possessed is in cinemas from November 5. Visit the The Possessed Facebook page for screening details.