A/V Room









The Descent - Natalie Mendoza interview

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. What appealed to you most about The Descent?
As an Asian actor, it's rare to come across a character that isn't written as Asian. Juno is a very full, well thought out character who has this huge spectrum of emotions and experiences, and that for any actor is a blessing.
You don't come across those kinds of characters very often and because it's horror, everything is extreme, which makes it ever more amazing.

Q. What was the best part about working on the film?
The best part about working on this film is being able to express such extreme emotions. Juno is so confident and so cocky at times. She's supposed to be charismatic and all these things, but then she's also got this side that almost falls apart when something emotional happens, so being able to express that and really see if I could do it has been really rewarding.

Q. And the worst?
The worst thing for me is the rain cloud that always seems to follow Juno around - she's constantly soaked to the bone.
I'm like, where is all the water coming from? I don't swim. I didn't actually mention that in my audition. So being thrown into the icy cold water in Scotland was absolutely terrifying. And I also don't drive but thankfully I didn't have to do that. We re-jigged the script a little bit. Those are the two things I have to learn to do this year.

Q. What do you like most about the film?
There's a real honesty about the characters. They're all great girls, but they're thrown into these extreme circumstances and things start to break down and you start to see their weaknesses.
I think Juno could quite easily be perceived as the baddie, definitely when I first read it I thought it was written like that, and I thought no.
I wanted people to empathise with her. I think she's very human, she made a mistake, she wants to rectify that and get rid of the guilt.
The characters are thrown into this hideous nightmare and they all have this moment where you think 'that's not that nice', even Sarah has her moments.
And that's what I love. It's honest. They haven't just made someout out to be the 'baddie' and it's one-dimensional. It's confusing because you see little glimpses of bad and good in all of them.

Q. What was the physical aspect like? You seem to be involved in a lot of the fighting?
It was difficult because I was actually wrestling a guy and that was hard work. I have lots of bruises and burns to prove how difficult it was.
It has been pretty harrowing. I have not had to fight a man like that before and literally throw him. We didn't have enough time to really rehearse because of the hectic schedule, so the direction was basically to just go for it.
So he went for me and I went for him and I have never felt that much rage, having to throw him was so grueling and fighting on the sand was like glass cutting your skin.

Q. How was working with an all-female cast?
Working on a film with an all-female cast has been so much fun. It's such a rarity. I respect all the girls so much as actors. They're all completely different and we have a lot of fun off set as well.
There's a real support actually. I really believe in sisterhood and going caving and rock-climbing together, it was so great to have their voices down the bottom going 'come on, you can do it'.

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