Those of you Fellow Fans out there who haven’t seen the anthology V/H/S, shame on ya! From what’s generally considered one of the best segments of that collection, Amateur Night, comes a full-length feature, SiREN.
We were lucky enough to have the lovely star of both the original short and the new feature, Hannah Fierman, drop by and talk to us a little about the film and her devilish character.
LEGLESSCORPSE: SiREN is obviously connected to the Amateur Night segment of the popular V/H/S. How soon after filming that anthology were you aware of a feature being done about your character? Was there ever any doubt of you reprising your role?
HANNAH FIERMAN: We talked about making it into a feature from the start before the short was finished. Making it a found-footage feature just seemed too tricky, motivating the camera the whole 90mins.
I discovered they were in the works writing the feature when Ben approached me at the premiere. He walked up to me and said “Sorry I keep staring at you. I’m not trying to be creepy. It is just that I have been watching your segment from V/H/S over and over again for a script I’m writing.” He was not creepy at all btw! I said “Well if there is a part in it for me please let me know”, and he was like “Wait! You don’t know? I’m writing a feature based off of Lily!”. So that’s how I found out (laughs).
They actually asked me to audition for the role again — it was very awkward in the casting waiting room.
LC: I can imagine! So, did you do any kind of research relating to the mythical creature you portray? Either the succubus, the siren, or the “Lilith” — of which the character seems to be a combination of?
HF: Of course I did! There are a ton of different myths out there about the origin of the succubus. One really far-out one said that the succubus are actually male rapists who are damned to take on the appearance of a she-demon with an uncontrollable lust, thus themselves being raped over and over again for all eternity — by their own nature, trapped. It’s wild what you can dig up!
LC: Your performance as Lily is so terrifying, yet so innocent — a tough combination that you pull off beautifully. Was there any kind of inspiration or process that you used to get to that place as an actress?
HF: Thank you! Yes, I knew it was important for her to be vulnerable and sympathetic — for the juxtaposition of her savagery to be understandable, and in some regards forgivable. I tried to make her appear innocent and animal-like. I watched videos of bats and mimicked cat-like movements and expressions as best I could without seeming over the top.
LC: What was going through that impressive makeup process like? In the chair for hours? A lot of actors tell us that while tedious, being in FX makeups is often liberating in some sense — did you find this the case?
HF: FX makeup can liberate an actor, I totally agree! I have had FX make-up help transform my character. It was not the case with SiREN, however — I found the face applications distracting. You see, it was very humid in Savannah GA (where we were shooting) in the summer, and my prosthetic kept sweating off — the nails and toenails popped-off regularly and had to be reapplied. The body-paint, however, did help mentally. I did not feel naked with it on, and at times the paint was so thick it felt like a sticky body-suit.
The toughest part is sitting in the SFX make-up chair for so long. It takes patience and stamina to sit still for 4 or 5 hours and then jump right into such a physical character. It was worth it, however — it looked fantastic on screen!
LC: I agree with that! Now, describe working on the film for us — your castmates, director, the crew, the outdoor shooting, the fantastic “hidden club” — it had to be demanding in many ways, but it looked like it could have been a lot of fun as well.
HF: It was a physically demanding role and shoot. My favorite part was flying on the cables. My least favorite part were the biting gnats and chiggers that live in the swamps where we were filming.
LC: Do you have any particular memories of the shoot you’d like to share?
HF: At first they asked me to lip-sync to the siren’s song, but it didn’t feel natural to me — so I asked them to turn it off and just sang it. I ended-up singing the siren song in the score as well, which was fun!
LC: Do you think we’ll be seeing anymore of Lily in future films?
HF: I hope so! (laughs)
LC: What projects are you working on now?
HF: I just wrapped on two movies Haven’s End (a sci-fi thriller) where I play a Goth chick named Hannah, and a short film called Dandelion, also sci-fi, where I play a cyborg prison warden named Anubikis.
We’d like to thank Hannah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak to us, it was a real pleasure. Best of luck to her in her work, and those of you out there who haven’t yet, check SiREN out!