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The Descent - Shauna Macdonald interview



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. How did you prepare for The Descent?
A.
We all did a course of climbing. I also did some private tuition for climbing; even though it doesn't specifically state in the script that 'Sarah is a climber' I wanted to look like I could climb.
We also did white water rafting training, and went caving. I didn't really prepare mentally, I just prepared what I thought the journey of the character was going to be. It's quite dramatic, the change she goes through - it's not really full circle, it's more spiral.

Q. What has been your best and worst part of the filming process?
A.
The best part of this film so far has been going to Scotland for the white water rafting scenes. The worst part has been getting so filthy that you need two showers at the end of the day.

Q. Do you have any fears of your own that needed conquering in order to play the role of Sarah?
A.
I can get my head around most things but the dark does scare me because I have quite a vivid imagination.
I'm also a bit claustrophobic so it was a challenge when we really went caving. I had to concentrate on breathing.
During the scene where my character gets trapped in the fissure, although you don't really feel like you're trapped because filming stops and starts all the time, and it's mostly polystyrene, it was actually really sore crawling through it all morning, really fast. The pain of that actually helped me act the hyperventilating more than anything else!

Q. How was it working with Neil Marshall?
A.
It's good working with Neil because he's very free to change things. He actually encourages coming to set with an open mind about things, even in terms of the dialogue.
Sometimes I've found that frustrating in other situations, getting new lines on the day or someone suggesting you try it completely differently to how it's written, but in this experience it has been really enlightening and lots of fun.

Q. How would you describe the crawlers?
A.
If a Clingon and Spock had a child, but it was totally hairless, and a bit shorter and quite sinewy, and was cousins with Gollum, that's basically what a crawler looks like.
My character is the first to see a crawler and when I saw it, I was fascinated more than scared.
Neil kept us apart from them, but because we knew they were Geordie lads dressed up with KY jelly all over them, we knew it wasn't going to be that scary!
But the suspense was fantastic and close up they are actually terrifying. They have these contact lenses and a certain way of moving that is quite horrendous and each time we meet them we notice something else horrible about them."

Q. What sort of audience do you think The Descent will appeal to?
A.
I think this film has got a broad audience. You've got the girls, so boys will like the film, but it's not just chicks with picks, so to speak. It's got a proper storyline, proper journeys for the characters, as well as great action sequences and great effects. So I think everybody, young and old, will like it - but nobody with a faint heart, though!

The Descent: Our verdict

The Descent: Neil Marshall interview

The Descent: Natalie Mendoza interview

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