With most of this year’s film releases moved to 2021, things have been looking quite sparse when it comes to new movies to watch recently. But luckily, that doesn’t mean we have to go entirely without any new scary films just in time for Halloween. Today, we have quite a treat for all the horror fans out there: Carmilla – the latest adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 vampire novella – is finally out from today. Quite appropriately for our current times, it tells the story of a young girl who lives in total isolation when a mysterious guest suddenly changes everything. To find out more about the film, we spoke to the film’s newcomer stars Hannah Rae and Devrim Lingnau and discovered quite a few exciting behind-the-scenes secrets along the way. Keep scrolling to read the full interview.
Considering that this started filming back in 2017, you must be super excited for it to finally come out?
Hannah: Yes! It feels so long ago – even my hair is a completely different colour now, so it’s really weird watching it back. It should’ve already come out in April this year normally, so we’ve been waiting a while now.
Can you introduce our readers to your characters?
Hannah: I play Lara, who lives in this massive estate with her governess. She’s always been on her own, her mum died when she was quite young, so all she’s ever known is her governess and her dad. She’s very happy in her own company but I do think she is lonely, she just doesn’t know it until Carmilla arrives.
Devrim: Carmilla is a very sensitive young woman and, just like Lara, also very alone in this world. She’s really interested in getting to know people and soak up their energy. That’s what to me still makes her appear like a vampire, although in this adaptation she actually isn’t one. Emily Harris, our director, gave me the task to write my own backstory for Carmilla. That helped me a lot.
And can you give something away about your characters’ relationship on screen?
Hannah: For Lara, it’s a coming-of-age process. When she meets Carmilla for the first time, she is so fascinated by meeting her because she just doesn’t know any other girls her age. She wants to know everything about her and be with her all the time, like a kid with a new toy. Everyone has a first love, and Carmilla is definitely Lara’s.
What do you think makes this story different from other period dramas?
Devrim: The difference is that it has lots of topics that are actually very contemporary in my opinion. It’s about the fear of the unknown and strange, which is very current in our times right now. There’s a big ambivalence between fear and fascination generally and this film very nicely shows how destructive the fear can be.
Did you guys read the gothic novella the film was based on?
Hannah: I actually read it when I was auditioning for the part, alongside the script. I then realised that the script was so different to the book, so I didn’t finish it. The story of the book is more about a lesbian vampire relationship and this film isn’t that.
Was it ever actually scary on set while you were filming?
Devrim: I think the place we filmed at was actually quite mysterious, especially when we shot at night. The scene in the lake when I step out the water – the atmosphere when we filmed that was really interesting. It wasn’t scary, but you could already feel the tone of what it would look like in the film.
Speaking of the location, can you tell us a bit more about that?
Hannah: It was this huge house, which was actually really creepy! But it was stunning and it definitely helped us that it was all filmed in one place.
Devrim: Actually, a week before everyone else joined, we were already there with the director and spent some time in the places at the estate we were going to film in. That was really helpful for us too.
What was your favourite scene to film?
Hannah: There’s a bit in the film where I dig into the magician’s stomach and when I read the script I had no clue how they would do that. The amazing makeup artist that we had created a prosthetic stomach, which was an exact replica of the actors stomach. Then below that were sponges soaked in fake blood. We only had one practise version and two actual ones, so we only had two tries to film the scene. That was a fun experience.
Devrim: In the finished film, I really enjoy the scene of us both outside in the garden at night when Lara gives Carmilla the rose petal. It wasn’t actually that nice to shoot though, because it was quite cold and intense. But it all worked beautifully in the finished film.
The costumes in the film are amazing, what was your favourite thing about them?
Hannah: They were amazing. It was hard wearing the corset under everything though, because even at lunch we had to keep it on. Wearing a corset also definitely changes the way you walk and move too, so that was a great challenge and experience.
Devrim: They actually sewed us into the dresses! So we couldn’t loosen them throughout the day. The corsets were tailor-made for our bodies which was really cool too.
The film was directed, produced, written and edited by women- did that make working on this even more exciting for you?
Hannah: Definitely. It was really empowering to be around loads of women in a film environment. It felt like we had that extra support around us constantly, which was great for the more intimate scenes between us.
Devrim: It was something really special and I’m really proud to have been a part of this.
Why should people watch this movie?
Hannah: I think that it resonated with everyone and it’s kind of timeless in the sense that I now watch it and find things in there that resonate with things that I felt last week. Everyone can take their own bit of it. It’s also so refreshing to see this female female relationship and to support the LGBT community with this.
Devrim: It’s also worth watching it several times because there are so many layers and tiny elements to it. I think it’s beautifully done and a really special piece of film. In 2020 especially, so many things in this film will really resonate: the distancing from others and how that affects your life.
Available to watch in cinemas 16th October and video on demand platforms 19th October