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Lesbian Vampire Killers – MyAnna Buring interview

Lesbian Vampire Killers

Interview by Rob Carnevale

MyAnna Buring (pictured on the left) plays Mathew Horne’s love interest, and kick-arse lesbian vampire slayer, in the new horror comedy Lesbian Vampire Killers. She talks to us about the appeal of the project, keeping her clothes on, lesbian smooching and working with James Corden and Mathew Horne.

Having also appeared in Neil Marshall’s horror classic, The Descent, she also recalls that experience, gives us an insight into the forthcoming sequel, and some of her work in theatre.

Q What was the appeal of Lesbian Vampire Killers? Because I gather you had to do a double take when you first got sent the script?
MyAnna Buring: [Laughs]. Yeah, when I first got the script, saw the name and was told that I was going to be reading for the lead girl, who’s Swedish, I thought I was going to be reading for porn. I thought my career had hit a low. But then I read it and thought it was such a laugh… it had a lot of great comedy elements as well as a real nudge and wink to the Hammer horror history and I loved that. It made me want to get involved. I also liked the fact that, typically in Hammer horror films, the female leads are gloriously underwritten – as they are more commonly in any horror – and they also stick out for being scantily dressed. But in this movie, she was feisty, fun and got to join in with the boys and become a killer. I saw her as a kind of Velma-style character from Scooby Do… but just a little more sexy. So, that was a laugh to portray.

Q. How was working with James Corden and Mathew Horne?
MyAnna Buring: It was great, they’ve got a really great rapport and you can tell they’ve worked together for a long time. It comes across on and off-screen.

Q. But they seem to be quite generous in that they don’t hog the limelight and give their co-stars space to shine as well…
MyAnna Buring: They have to because otherwise you don’t get to tell a story. It becomes about one actor. With all storytelling in any film, if one person is trying to grab the spotlight it’s not fun. It makes for a rubbish pancake mix [laughs]. But they were both great and really generous. It felt like a team effort.

Q. You mentioned women in horror traditionally being scantily clad. Did you sigh with relief when you saw that you’re one of the few characters in the film who doesn’t have to bare any flesh?
MyAnna Buring: I must admit I was a little bit relieved. I started beaming when I realised. There is a little bit of me on show… but it’s just my midriff that you have to put up with.

Q. But you do get to snog a female co-star…
MyAnna Buring: Absolutely. I get two snogs…

Q. How as that to film?
MyAnna Buring: It’s always a bit weird and I always feel a slight bit of embarrassment because you’re being asked to snog someone you barely know. Actually, to be fair, I knew Vera [Filatova] from drama school, so that was interesting. But when it comes to doing a scene like that, you just get on with it. It’s got to be done, so you try and do everything you can to make it as un-awkward as possible. In fact, when Vera and I did our scene, her husband and my boyfriend were on-set making sure we didn’t get carried away and enjoy it too much [laughs]. But he needn’t have worried, I’m still happy with my boyfriend.

Q. I guess the fact that you knew Vera helped to overcome some of that embarrassment because it meant you could joke with each other beforehand?
MyAnna Buring: Vera is divine and so sexy, but absolutely without a doubt it does help being able to be mates beforehand. It means you can have a laugh.

Q. Was the set generally light-hearted?
MyAnna Buring: It was a very light-hearted set, absolutely. It was also quite nice that there were a lot girls involved. It became a sort of girl gang in the end, which was lovely, because they are absolutely rocking stellar ladies. It’s really fun when you work with people like that and [director] Phil [Claydon] is the nicest man to work with. He’s awesome and, as a director, he’s quite a young man but he’s a phenomenal storyteller. He immediately made you feel really safe and made it a fun environment to work in. We had a lot of laughs.

Q. Did you get all of the in-jokes and movie references that Phil dropped in?
MyAnna Buring: I got a lot of things. But Phil’s in-depth referencing goes way beyond a lot of people’s knowledge, except the hardcore horror fans. So, while I did get a lot of stuff, and was really aware he was constantly nudging and winking, I didn’t get everything.

Q. Was there anything from The Descent?
MyAnna Buring: Having me in it… [laughs]

Q. How much did The Descent change things for you and put you in the spotlight?
MyAnna Buring: For me, that was my first flm and one of my first jobs three months out of drama school. I’d done some TV but I was then cast in The Descent and it was an amazing experience. Neil Marshall took a bit of a punt taking someone with so little experience and putting her in this film. All the other girls had some experience, so it was an amazing thing he did for me. Since then, people at least know I’ve done a film and know what I’m doing. So, it was hugely, hugely helpful. And a lot of people know and like The Descent, so it helps with other projects and in terms of getting work.

But I didn’t really feel I was thrust into any particular limelight afterwards and it’s not something I’m interested in so much. I just want to keep on working and finding a good quality of work. Sometimes, you end up doing things you never expect, such as making a film called Lesbian Vampire Killers. I thought I’d be doing more theatre, so I’m chuffed to be doing film work as well.

Q. Are you in The Descent 2?
MyAnna Buring: Very briefly… through flashbacks.

Q. I did wonder given that you seemed to have perished in the first one…
MyAnna Buring: A lot of people have been saying that to me! I haven’t actually seen it yet myself, and am looking forward to seeing what Jon Harris has done with it. The bottom line is I think it’s mainly for people who enjoyed the first one. And even though a lot of the shock factor has already been experienced this time, I think it will be good. Shauna Macdonald is such a terrific actress.

Q. Are you a fan of horror in general?
MyAnna Buring: I am a fan. But as I get older, I seem to prefer doing it to watching it. My imagination is getting more and more vital and vibrant. I watched The Ring and couldn’t watch a video at home on my own for a couple of weeks afterwards!

Q. You mentioned theatre… you’re also Associate director of MahWaf Theatre Company…
MyAnna Buring: Yes, it’s a group I formed with two old friends when we were still students with the aim of putting on plays in a professional capacity that we wanted to see. We’ve done mainly in-house writing and Ben Woolf is our artistic director. It’s a great thing to do because you become aware that you don’t have to wait for the phone to ring. You can do things yourself and feel empowered if you put your mind to it. Being able to work with friends helps as well. It requires a lot of work, of course, and it can be tough but it’s also very rewarding.

Q. Have you got anything coming up?
MyAnna Buring: Nothing theatrical… I’ve been so busy with Lesbian Vampire Killers. I’ve also got a film called City Rats opening in April, which is completely the polar opposite of LVK. I’m playing a suicidal girl. It’s been made by a group of young people who have pro-actively been producing and writing their own material and I’m flattered to be involved with them. The ethos behind it is an ethos I support… so I’m really chuffed to be involved with them.

Read our interview with James Corden