Happy Horrordays to all! As the end of the year draws closer, I had the pleasure of speaking with Hannah Fierman, the star of SiREN aka one of my favorite frights of 2016. Based on the V/H/S short “Amateur Night,” SiREN is directed written by David Bruckner (“Amateur Night”) and directed by Gregg Bishop (V/H/S: Viral). Hannah reveals her experience with makeup F/X and character development. Look for SiREN on December 6th.
JL: What initially interested you about the V/H/S short “Amateur Night” and the character of Lily?
HF: It interested me because I had seen David’s [Bruckner] work and for quite some time we were mutual friends. We had a lot of the same friends and I just simply wanted to work with him. I trusted him. If you know David— if you’ve ever met him— he’s not like anybody on any idea because he’s just such a great creative storyteller that he gets really excited about it no matter what it is.
JL: Did you know then that “Amateur Night” would be turned into a feature-length film?
HF: Oh, no. We had no idea it was going to go anywhere. The reason I did it was because I wanted to work with David and my friends. And I knew that it was going to be a collaboration with five other directors at the time. But mostly what I was hoping for was to get in front of six different directors and have them see my work, and hopefully they cast me. That was my biggest hope. So, we had no idea.
JL: So, it was only recently that there were talks of turning the short into a feature film?
HF: No, David started talking about it immediately, actually. When we were doing the short, we were talking about how we could possibly make it into a feature. We liked the idea a whole lot but it seemed like a really difficult endeavor because the short was so unique and stood alone. It was hard to bring in the whole found footage genre. We just couldn’t get our head around making it a feature and I think it was really smart to go away and turn it into a proper narrative because making a feature-length found footage movie has so many restrictions.
JL: You’re the star of SiREN but you don’t really have any speaking parts in the film. How did you prepare for this role?
HF: It didn’t really take that much as far as preparation. It was just sort of stressed upon me. I knew that the feature had been written years in advance but I didn’t know that I was going to be cast in it until I think about a month prior. So, I just brought with me whatever I had brought to the short and the character that we [David Bruckner and I] had developed. And I figured that’s what they wanted. That’s the whole point of the spin-off. It’s because of that character. So, I didn’t want to change her at all. In fact, I was a little precious about it because they [David Bruckner and Gregg Bishop] kept wanting to make her talk too much but that’s not the character. The character is a minimal misunderstood monster and she speaks very infrequently, and I think [talking] takes away from her nature. There were times when I had lines and I just didn’t say them. Nobody corrected me because they were distracted by whatever they were doing, so I managed to cut out quite a few lines from there.
JL: One of the things that stood out to me about this film was… I love the makeup F/X for your character. How long did you have to sit in the makeup chair for your transformation?
HF: It took forever, it was so grueling. I was there four hours and sometimes five. For the short, it was longer. For the short, it took five hours. Those stupid feet. I would have the feet on the entire time even though you couldn’t see my feet for most of the movie. Every time I would walk on concrete or if I was in the hotel room on the bed, the sheet would rip off these silicone feet. And every time they would rip, I’d have to be back in the chair and it would take thirty minutes for them to dry before I could get up again. It was really frustrating. After SiREN, which was much less intensive makeup than the short— about an hour less— I swore that I would never do heavy-F/X makeup again. But I totally lied. I went and did it again for the next movie that I did. You have to have stamina for that.
JL: What is your favorite horror movie?
HF: Oh, I don’t know. It’s such a broad genre. I really like The Sixth Sense but some people would argue that that’s not really horror. But I think it is. It’s on the lighter side but it scared the shit out of me. I think that’s probably my favorite one.