First of all, let me just start by saying a huge thank you Suelen for chatting with us at UK Horror Scene. We really appreciate it, thanks!
UKHS – Suelen, you are a very beautiful, gifted Brazilian film, television, stage and commercial actress. Can you tell us a little about your early life in Brazil and how you got into acting?
SR – Thank you UK Horror Scene for this great opportunity and for your interest in my career, I am very happy to do this. I was born in a small town in the South of Brazil, my family are Italian descendants and I remember that growing up I didn’t have a lot of contact with the world outside the bucolic life of the countryside. However, my parents were quite young, I had a lot of freedom and I was a very creative child. I am the oldest of three. My parents always worked really hard, times were hard but they found their way to give me the best they could. I was a shy child and my mum enrolled me in a dancing school before I learned to read and write and soon after I was in the theater, I was probably around six years old.
That’s when I discovered my love for performing arts. I did many plays as a kid and nowadays I see the importance that the ludic had in my life. Despite of all our difficulties I was a happy kid. My passion for horror also started when I was young. When I was around eight years old I guess I played a “Mummy”. It was a lot of fun and I remember that there was another girl playing my Siamese mummy sister too. We had to roll ourselves from top to bottom in fabric stripes and spend the whole time stuck together because we had one of our arms wrapped together.
UKHS – I am very impressed with all your training as an actress and stage work and would just like to said “congratulations” for receiving an award for Best Actor in a Comedy Play for ‘Laughing All the Way’ which you performed in 2009 at the Short Play Comedy Festival Kick It. I know theatre is probably harder to do as you have to get it right first time and looking at video clips of your stage work you gave an outstanding performance. Do you prefer acting on stage or screen?
SR – Thank you so much, that is very kind of you to say. You know, as an actor to accept, create and perform a character is already an honor. It is a type of work that requires so much, not only training, technique and research but also to know about oneself as a whole experience of being human and that’s quite a job. The theater is always a magical place, it is raw and present in the moment. There is no takes, it is astounding. The stage is a great challenge for an actor as well as it is the screen I think. There is a subtleness about the work with camera that is demanding to me and I absolutely love. Everything you do, every thought you have, every little muscle you move tells the story and shows who you are and that really fascinates me, you can’t really pay attention to that kind of detail on stage. It is a different experience and it is powerful. Did I answer your question?
UKHS – Yes, thank you! It’s clear you have a passion for both and this is great. OK, moving onto your screen work, I would like to ask you about your film projects including ‘Friends of Friends’. Did you enjoy filming in Rio de Janeiro and what challenges did you and the film crew face filming in Brazil?
SR – I would love to work more and more in films. I have done some great little projects where I have collaborated with some really nice and talented people. I had a rich experience in Rio it is a beautiful place, geographically speaking and this movie had challenges as most of all the productions have because to make movies is not easy.
It was a low budget production and one of my scenes was shot in the cemetery. It was a short scene which we had a little trouble shooting, but in the end we got what we needed and we were all thrilled. The preparation in making a movie is as important as the commitment to the work.
It is a great responsibility when you work with a crew and with limitations such as time, money and location. It is a lot of pressure, you depend on one another, people get tired, things get challenging but no matter what we are working together to tell a story and that’s what really matters.
SR – “Then There Was” is an independent feature which was shot in a beautiful location in Connecticut NY and tells the story about a global blackout that forces different kind of people to face the struggle to survive a society that is falling apart . It is a very interesting theme and Beatrice is one of the camper leaders who is there to help other people. She holds herself together trying to assist as many people as possible until things get really ugly and she needs to confront her limits of desperation. The world around her starts to crash, people start losing their minds and she has to affront her need to help with her own survival.
SR – I love zombies, I love horror and to be honest I loved horror before I even knew about movies. I grew up close to a graveyard and I was a very curious kid, so one thing that used to excite me was to escape at night and walk around the tombs to be scared and this is something I have never told anybody. I got to watch really great horror classics at a very young age like The Amityville Horror (1979), Ghosthouse (1988), IT (1990), Suspiria (1976), Poltergeist (1982),The Exorcist (1973) and Friday the 13th (1980). So you can imagine that to play a Zombie to me was an absolute blast and YES I would love to do more horror, I was always a big fan of Japanese horror as well.
They are gory, psychologically disturbing and in my opinion one of the most scary movies I have ever seen was Ringu from director Hideo Nakata.
To be honest, I think horror is a particularly difficult genre to find good stories because they can easily fall into comedy or simply not have the structure to support the tension to give the audience what they look for: fear and terror. As a horror fan, I know the loyalty I have to the genre. I hope for a good story to land in my career. Yes.
SR – This is a really good question. I think a great horror flick must have an element, a force, an evil that comes from beyond what we already know, something that gives us the feeling of impotence, neither explained by science nor physics, nothing predictable and far away from boring common logic, it needs a suspended disbelief that is clever and intriguing. We watch horror movies because they cause us fear, what we fear is not necessary something rational.
A good horror movie takes common fear of death, the dark and the unknown, for example, it exploits and acts upon them. And of course someone has to die in a classic horror, it doesn’t necessary need to be gore, maybe someone’s hanging upside down with guts spilling out? But it is important that death is explicit at some point or we will subconsciously hang on the hope that the character will be alive somewhere.
UKHS – If you were stranded on a desert island, which three items would you want to have with you?
SR – Oh Gosh. I would want to have fresh water, a Swiss Army Knife and a friend. How’s that sound? This was not so easy to answer.
SR – Haha! Yes. Hostel from director Eli Roth. There is a lot of gore and torture, I watched it more than once.
UKHS – I know you love football, how proud are you as a Brazilian to be hosting the world cup in your native country and can Brazil win the world cup?
SR – You know part of me is proud and another part thinks that Brazil is not quite ready to be hosting the World Cup. Despite of all the problems faced in the country as well as the polemic caused by the World Cup works expenses, I do think Brazilians are great hosts. We are part of the history of the sport, you can’t know about football without knowing Pelé, Garrincha and Ronaldo. And football has the power to bring joy to this country like anything else. I wish we were internally more prepared for it, I hope that people won’t let hatred and anger to overcome this opportunity to show to the world our true spirit, our contagious happiness. I hope if there will be protests that they can be made with the heart and civility and not with violence and vandalism. People are rebelling against the government and some institutions with more intensity now.
The country is facing a lot of issues, some are old others not so much. I like that people are asking for changes. We are in the year of presidential election there are a lot going on but it shouldn’t be taken out in the World Cup which is supposed to be a reason to celebrate, specially if we win… . And can Brazil win the world cup? I think yes. Brazil has a great team and Felipão is an awesome coach. I have faith in them and I hope not to be disappointed.
UKHS – Finally, 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?
SR – Every role is a new universe. Life is complex and to build a character is to build a life. I once played a young mother, widowed, addicted to crack that every day after I performed I used to collapse. One time I got home and the next thing I knew it was the next day and I had fallen asleep on my sofa fully dressed as I got home. When I get a role I do whatever it takes to prepare, whatever I need, everything that my instincts ask to have that life under my skin. I take every opportunity to dive in, create and live that person. It changes with every role and I do like to stay in character, to breath and to sense as the character, even if that requires me to stay private for some time. I think the most important prep to me is to connect with my heart.
UKHS – Suelen, thank you. It was a pleasure talking to you . Thank you for your time and keep up the great work as an actress. We wish you all the best for the future.
Suelen Romani’s IMDB page is HERE
You can also follow Suelen on Twitter HERE