UKHS – Olá Luciana, I am very excited about this interview, thank you for chatting with us at UK Horror Scene. You truly have a gift because you are not only a beautiful, talented, young actress from Brazil but also a model, singer, writer and producer. Can you please tell us a little about your early life in your native Brazil, growing up in Rio de Janeiro and how you became an actress?
LF – Sure. I was born and raised in Rio as the youngest of four. My father passed when I was very young and my mother raised us on her own. My parents always believed in the empowering value of education and my mother made sure we took an array of classes. I was a curious child and ended up wanting to try everything and did pretty much did
even if just for a few days. I ended up sticking to a few different after school classes like ballet and modern jazz, signing, language learning and swimming. If you live in Rio you must learn how to be a confident swimmer otherwise you’ll miss out.
My mother always made me feel like I could do anything and that is something I still carry with me today. Then as a teenager I discovered the theatre. In Brazil there are no arts programs in school and there is no good structured acting instruction. I always look at kids in America and think how lucky they are to do art so young. I took acting classes at a local theatre in Ipanema after classes during high school and once I was a freshman in college I ran to the University’s theatre for their afternoon program.
It was just a little seed to feed my soul. Then I got a scholarship and moved to New York to finish college in a total unrelated field. I finished the degree I felt I owed my parents and took the job that would keep me around while I used all the little free time I had to act. Then I watched Bill Esper speak about the Meisner technique on a panel and he became my teacher. I remember the first day of class like it was today. He said: “Look around you. Look at the people seating next to you. Your life as you know it is about to change.” He was so right. And here I am.
UKHS – Can you tell us a little about your role as Emily Diaz in the Horror movie ‘The Last Boat to Alcatraz’ and what was it about the character and the script that convinced you to take on the role?
LF – Emily Diaz is a girl from a privileged upbringing who got in trouble by following her bad boy boyfriend. Being a skeptical and non believer in the supernatural, Emily was down to explore Alcatraz as a joke on her boyfriend’s birthday. What drew me to the part is that she was clever and fought till the end to try to survive. I love the horror genre and shooting in Alcatraz was something I could not turn down. I grew up with so many stories of the supernatural and it fascinates me.
The whole idea of this film sounded like fun. Executing it though was not easy. It was spring in San Francisco, we shot nights at Alcatraz island and it was as indie as indie can get. I definitely give the filmmakers credit for being so ambitious with the project and I hope it gets through the post process. This experience made want to go out and make my own movies. I approached a friend about writing a story into a script and a year later we were fighting that kickstarted battle to get it off the ground. We finally get to shoot Don’t Look this May and could not be more excited!
LF – “The Night Crew” is a project that already has a special place in my heart. I got involved the old fashion way. I heard about the film, I auditioned and got the part. The director Christina Sesma and I definitely saw Rose eye to eye and he was amazing at helping me explore the role. Rose is strong, independent, kind, but don’t step on her toes. She can certainly fend for herself. And in this film you get to see all parts of her which makes it for a very human character.
Working with Luke and Danny was the cherry on the Sundae. Luke Goss was a true mentor. He would take time to rehearse our scenes and fine tune fight choreography before we shot to make sure we looked badass on screen. I learned a lot from both watching and working with him. Danny Trejo was the life of the set. He’d been shooting all morning by the time I arrived. I introduced myself and we started cracking jokes. He looks at me and says: “I think I just met my future ex-wife.” The room bursts into laughter. He made acting feel like a walk in the park. I hope to work with both Luke and Danny again in the future. There is nothing like working with dedicated people who love what they do.
UKHS – OK, let’s talk about your new movie ‘Don’t Look’. You are not only starring in this but also producing and writing the movie, congratulations Luciana. The story is about five friends who leave NYC for a weekend they’ll never forget. Where did you get the inspiration from for the story?
LF – “Don’t Look” is based on a true Pennsylvania Dutch family story. The legend says only one death by gun in the family is unaccounted for. The story of a mysterious murder that happens on the family’s garage in the 60s. A gun shot is heard and the body is lying on the floor in a pool of blood. No one thought twice at the time and the scene was erased and the mess cleaned. The cops were never called and what happened in that garage is still a mystery. I listened to this story next to a fireplace after the most amazing thanksgiving meal. The single most American holiday a foreigner can experience. I looked around the room and it dawned on me, as a city child, that I never seen guns, animals hanging on walls, and western pictures.
It was like watching a movie. So the idea for Don’t Look was born. A group of city outsiders come to Amish Town, PA and uncover the family’s dirty secret costing them their lives. Since supernatural things are now so popular as a joke we call “Don’t Look” a good “old fashion” horror. Just people killing people. Back to the basics. The Kickstarter campaign was a success and we continue to look for partnerships and sponsors to make this the best (and scariest!) movie we can make.
LF – Lorena is the glue that brings the group together on this trip down to the countryside. Nicole, her roommate since college, is like a sister to her so when Nicole had to return to the farm Lorena would not let her do it alone. Lorena is always the life of the party but also says it as it is. There is no sugar coating anything. If you don’t wanna hear it don’t ask. She finds a way to have fun no matter what situation she is to her own demise. Lorena is also loyal and definitely will never leave her friends behind.
Her biggest challenge in this film is to believe the risk that they are in. She thinks its a prank since its something she would do; scare them shitless for the fun of it. But then it gets so very real. Lorena’s fight is not only physical for survival but emotional too. She is torn between saving herself or trying to save the only family she has while trying to overcome the guilt of not believing in them. She struggles with the guilt of what would happen if she had done things differently and that is something we can all relate to in our own private lives.
UKHS – You have done many amazing projects as an actress including playing Deputy Lennox in ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and a Mandarin Party Girl in ‘Iron Man 3’ along with many short films and theatre. What is the hardest role that you have had to play and do you go to extreme lengths to prep for your parts and stay in character?
LF – The hardest role was definitely Rose in “The Night Crew” so far. Not only was it a role with great emotional range but it was highly physical. On the first day of shooting (the first scene I shot!) Christian Sesma, the director, walks over and tells us to jump out of the moving car. I was like “got it” and then tried to just look like I’ve done that before. There were many fight scenes and the bruises definitely added up by the end of the shoot. I went to visit my family immediately after wrapping and they were shocked. They questioned if I was “acting” why did I have bruises. All the fights were very real and it takes practice to get it right. Rose was very close to me since I’ve been a tough girl taking care of myself for a long time. So preparing for the role involved understanding Rose’s life story and living it to discover how Rose would experience and express herself.
The writer gave me wonderful insight on her personality and if those elements were true, I asked myself what else was true about her? What if is an important question when developing character. As a Meisner trained actor I live in my imagination, in living truthfully under imaginary circumstances which involves study, day dreaming and action. Many actors lean towards method acting which involves using personal experiences to trigger emotions and to live the situations in real life to generate those emotions. I think opening those gates in your personal life is not healthy and you can only cry about your dead puppy so many times.
LF – This is a tough question! I became a horror fan as a child so its tough to beat those memories. My big sister would have horror movie marathons with her friends and I would sneak in to watch it too. I was terrified of the Poltergeist movies, Friday the 13th and The Chainsaw Massacrer. Chucky to this day still terrifies me! Evil Dead is a classic one I love and I wasn’t very happy with the recent remake. On the other hand that version had some of the best death, kill and resurrection scenes I have seen in a long time! I loved it for that. So instead of picking one scene I recommend people watch this particular remake for its bloody messes all together. I am not particularly fan of remakes in general but it does allow for using new techniques and special effects that weren’t available back then which makes it for a whole new experience.
UKHS – Before you go Luciana I have got to ask you about the World Cup. One of my friends Aline is from Brazil, she loves soccer especially watching Brazil play. Do you share the same passion for the beautiful game and will you be watching the World Cup?
LF – I am a huge soccer fan! When I was younger I used to watch all the games of my local team Flamengo wearing their jersey and everything. I even cried at the end of the games! The world cup is even more intense and I always had a fun group of fellow Brazilian filmmakers I watched the games with when I lived in New York.
Soccer has been a main source of pride and entertainment for the Brazilian people. The country shuts down to watch it in a way that it turns into a carnival but better. The energy and the celebrations on streets make it for the most unique experience. Hosting the world cup will raise that to a whole new level I wish I could be a part of. But I am excited to watch it no matter what. Tickets for the games has been impossible to get for over a year now. I will be for sure with my Brazilian family and friends wherever I am in the world cheering on for my country.
Thank you for the interview and good luck for the future.
Image courtesy: Luciana Faulhaber