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Captivity - Elisha Cuthbert interview

Elisha Cuthbert in Captivity

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ELISHA Cuthbert talks about appearing in torture thriller Captivity and working with director Roland Joffe. She also reveals what it was like being buried in sand and force-fed body parts (no, really)...

Q. What attracted you to Captivity?
A: The director really. I had this really great meeting with Roland [Joffe] and we hit it off immediately. It was raining in California on the night in question and we met at a hotel but were told that there was no valet parking because of the rain. I said: “How about an extra 20 bucks?” And he said: “You’ve got parking, ma’am.” So I walked in and I was completely dry. And then Roland walked in and he was completely dry, so I asked him how much he’d given them and he said 20 bucks. But then the producers walked in and they were soaking wet. Immediately, we knew we’d hit it off.

Q. How emotionally draining did you find the role?
A: It was hard to come down at the end of the day. It was hard to get home and sleep. I was constantly going – either crying, or breathing, or screaming, or running – so there’s a lot of energy put into it. When I got home I was wired. And we were shooting in Moscow too…

Q. How was shooting in Moscow?
A: It was different. It felt secluded, it felt different from other films. It definitely set a tone for everything. I realised I learned a hell of a lot about making movies – I had to over compensate a lot. Normally on a set there’s so much dialogue, but suddenly that was all cut out.

Q. Captivity has already furthered the debate surrounding torture porn and violence towards women, where do you stand on that? Did you ever have to think twice about some of the elements in it?
A: I never thought about it as violence against women. I thought of it as a woman who goes through a very violent experience and fights her way through it. If anything, I had that clear in my mind every moment of filming. I swear to you I did it with House of Wax, I did it with The Girl Next Door, I tried to do it with Kim Bauer – it was tough, but I tried – and I really did it for this one. As far as horror porn goes, it’s certainly not what I or Roland set out to do.

Q. The horror comes from the fact that the film was partly inspired by the statistic that 350,000 people go missing every year, often without a trace…
A: Yeah and I think that the sad thing about it is that the horror does come from a very real place. This is about a real woman going through a real situation, it’s not about vampires or CGI. I think that scares people. But this genre is so much fun and we are pushing the envelope, so there’s going to be some controversy. But it’s great that people are talking about it because we have made a scary movie.

Q. How scary was the scene with the sand to film?
A: It was uncomfortable more than scary but it was a little traumatising. We shot it over the course of three days. The first day it was up to my knees, as I was waking up, the second day was coming up to my waist and I was constantly trying to get out, and then finally the last day was the hardest because I kind of had only so much room to breathe. So, uncomfortable first day, scary by the third.

Q. Are you at all claustrophobic?
A: I realised then that I had some issues with it. But it was more about the sand because it gets everywhere – in your ears and your eyes. You can’t CGI that. It was very intense.

Q. And tell us the truth, what were you really forced to drink when your character was fed the cocktail of body parts?
A: Everyone’s been asking me that! It wasn’t good. It was a combination of Bloody Mary and strawberry daquari with tonnes of strawberry in it. It was kind of a bad mixture but it did the job. [Laughs]

Q. Away from Captivity, you’ve just completed a romantic comedy with Jesse Bradford…
A: Yeah, I was just in New York shooting a film called My Sassy Girl. It’s a remake of a Korean film and it’s quirky and romantic. It’s so nice to be part of a romantic comedy that’s really smart.

Q. What about 24 The Movie. Are you still interested in reprising your Kim Bauer role?
A: When it comes to 24 there’s a telephone here and I’m just waiting.

Read our review of Captivity