I recently got to talk to Suzan Crowley about her role in ‘The Devil Inside’. Here, Suzan talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how she got into acting in the first place…
Hey Suzan. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Devil Inside’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The story starts 20 years ago when a woman telephones the police to say she has murdered three people, all members of her church group. We see the site of the murders as police footage and the arrest of the woman as news footage…fast forward to present day, and that woman’s daughter, Isabella, discovers her mother was undergoing an exorcism at the time of the murders and is now incarcerated in Rome’s Centrino Hospital For The Insane, she also finds out that the Vatican has a school for exorcism. Isabella travels to Rome making a video diary of her journey, meeting two young priests who are performing exorcisms outside the Vatican’s purvey. When she meets her Mother, Maria for the first time in 20 years, she is trying to find out if her Mother is insane, or indeed possessed…and that’s when the fireworks begin…!
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…you’re pretty much what the film revolves around aren’t you?
I play Maria Rossi, the Mother!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I live in Los Angeles and so was able to audition for the part. What was strange was that: for only the third time in my career, I was cast direct from the audition tape, without meeting the director, as William Brent Bell was already in Romania in pre-production!
How would you say this film is different and unique?
This is a ‘found footage’ genre film which is very difficult to make, for the reason that: every shot has to establish why there is a camera there…I really like that at the beginning of this film the viewer might believe they are watching a documentary, and it’s only when you meet Maria in the hospital that you think ‘oh hang on…’! I also think the starting premise of the story is great: that the Vatican has a school for exorcism, and that there are definite parameters for what constitutes possession.
As an actress (in what people and critics would consider a scary film) – what has the reception been like for you?
Quite surreal; in fact I had no idea that they were going to use the still of me on the poster and my husband almost crashed the car when he saw the billboard outside Paramount. Everyone asked me what it’s like having your face everywhere, to which my response was: “Thankfully I don’t look like that in ‘real life’”. But it was truly amazing to have a billboard outside Paramount Studios, I feel like Cinderella, finally getting a ticket to the ball:…”Ready for my close up Mr. DeMille!”.
Here’s a photo of the billboard outside Paramount!:
Even more surreal: when the movie opened in the U.S. in January it knocked both ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ and ‘The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo’ off the top slot for the opening weekend making over 33 million $s…which for a film that cost under one million to produce is extraordinary.
The film stars Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama and your good self – with William Brent Bell onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew onset? Any good anecdotes?
Really great! We’re all good friends…a lot of laughs were had! Most of the film was shot in Romania and when I arrived in Bucarest everyone was already working.
The first time I actually met Fernanda [who plays my ‘daughter‘ Isabella] was on the first take of the first scene when Maria and Isabella meet in Centrino Hospital…William deliberately wanted the first time we met to be literally the first time we met! We were shooting in Veterinary Hospital and during one scene I felt one of my toes dislocate, as soon as William called ‘Cut’ I took off my shoe and sure enough the toe was standing at right angles to my foot…very weird! Everyone was freaking out but it didn’t hurt at all, just looked extraordinary; the medic was called, but quick as a flash, a vet rushed out of a nearby clinic and yanked the toe back into place.
Let’s talk a bit about you Suzan. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
When I was about 7 or 8 years old I had a great book that was a pop up of a film studio. It was fantastic, little pop up camera and lighting rig and set, with all the crew and actors in their jobs. I just loved that book and reading practically everything from Enid Blyton to CS Lewis and EE Nesmith, but all the time I was at school I wanted to be a vet and then ultimately a marine biologist.
However, the summer after I’d done A Levels, I’d applied to Camp America as a camp counsellor for swimming and riding and to The National Youth Theatre. By a stroke of luck the NYT replied first and accepted me…and it was definitely at the NYT that I realised I wanted to be an actress [and film producer!] Michael Croft and Paul Hill encouraged me to apply to theatre school and I changed my course entirely and went to Bristol Old Vic.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far?
All of them. It would be easy to say a famous name is my favourite actor, but while I’ve been lucky enough to work with some big names I’ve genuinely had as much fun working with ‘unknown’ actors in theatre.
What is currently on your I-Pod?
U Roy, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Duffy, Joan Armatrading, Cold Play, JayZ, Adele, Pretenders, UB40 and Manu Chao.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things could you not live without?
Bacon, tomatoes and red wine.
What is your favourite word?
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
This Summer I am recording three different novels as audio books: all written by Robin Maxwell: ['Jane', 'The Secret Diary Of Anne Boleyn' and 'The Black Irish']…and hoping for a sequel! More adventures on the way am sure! Find out on Twitter @SuzanCrowley1.
Thanks for the interview!