Rita Artmann – (The Killage – 2011).

I recently got the chance to talk to Rita Artmann about her role in ‘The Killage’. Here, Rita talks about how she got involved in the project in the first place and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…

Hey Rita. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Killage‘. Thank you for asking me.

What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?

The film is a shock horror/comedy about a group of social stereotypes that go on a weekend “getting to know you” work retreat. One of the group turns out to be a homicidal maniac and starts killing people in a variety of creative ways. The remaining recruits have to work out who the killer is, how many of them are left and how they can get out of there alive.

Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…

I play “Emily” – her stereotype is the “hot but paradoxically smart chick”. She is probably best described as the “forlorn heroine”. Unlike the other recruits that catch the bus up from Brisbane, she drives up to the camp from Melbourne having to relocate for this new job. Emily is the most “normal” character is the film. She thinks of things the others don’t and comes up with an escape plan. She is also the only one who is really concerned about the other characters and whether they get out alive or not. As the film goes on you can see she has clearly had enough which is why it is so great to have her show a little attitude later on. I had a lot of fun playing Emily, creating the typical “horror film female” and playing up to all the “horror gags”.

How did you get involved in the project in the first place?

I auditioned for ‘The Killage’ in 2009 (six months before the rest of the cast) and was cast as Emily. Originally ‘The Killage’ was going to be shot in September of 2009 but the production failed and the crew abandoned the project. Joe Bauer (writer/director) asked me to come on board as producer as well as actress and we started the production from scratch. The only other actor that stayed from the old cast was Andrew O’Sullivan who plays Jock.

How would you say this film is different and unique?

‘The Killage’ was fantastically written. The first time I picked up the script I read it from start to finish without putting it down. Usually with a feature film script you put it down a few times before finishing it. The comedy is evident throughout the whole film but it is not written for the gags. There is a proper story line which the film sticks to and it is also a great whodunnit, with lots of red herrings. The gore in it is great as well – although the methods in which the characters are killed are deliberately unrealistic and quite funny, the gore side of it is spot on. It is different to many Australian films because it doesn’t try to oversell the “Australian identity” but still manages to showcase some beautiful scenery. I also love that the film shows off so much unknown talent. The actors are brilliant too.

The film stars your good self, Joe Bauer, Michael Gerard Bauer, Dryden Bingham, Daniel Johnston and Meisha Lowe – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?

Everyone was fantastic. It was a pretty high pressure shoot as we shot the whole thing in two weekends. two nights and three days and then three nights and four days. There wasn’t much sleep on the first weekend – only a few hours a night – and by the second weekend there was no sleep at all for key cast and crew. The first weekend was also plagued by rain but the crew held it together dragging lights in and out every 15 minutes. The second weekend was hilarious. By the first evening the supporting cast had been wrapped and we had a much smaller crew, so there weren’t as many people on set which meant everyone had to work twice as hard. At one point we had two scenes happening at the same time with the sound recordist running back and forth between both scenes happening at either end of the corridor. All sleep was forgone and we lived on cans of V and caffeine pills. I had so much fun working with the cast and crew over this weekend. I remember it was about 3.30am on the second “morning” when Dryden Bingham, Daniel Johnston and I had to shoot our “dark room” scene. It was being shot at a cabin that was a bit further away and all of the crew and remaining cast that had come down to help had fallen asleep on the beds so we were covered in blood and screaming and there’s ten people sleeping like babies around us.

Joe Bauer is a brilliant person to work with both as an actor and director. It’s great watching him jump from behind to in front of the camera and because he was editing the film it made it easier to shoot, rather than covering every scene from every angle we just took the shots he knew he would need, which saved us a lot of time.

Let’s talk a bit about you Rita. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?

As long as I can remember I have wanted to be an actress. I was reciting books before I could read – Mum would read them to me, I’d memorise it and recite them back to her. I was about 3 years old when one of my parents’ friends asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I remember having had this conversation with my Mum and Dad but I couldn’t remember the word for my chosen profession so I pointed at the TV and said “That’s what I want to do, be the person in the TV”.

I love the way you can express yourself as an actor. Becoming a different person is a fascinating experience. Acting allows you to learn so much about yourself, others and the world around you.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?

If you can picture yourself doing anything else, do that instead – it’s a long, brutal road. If you can’t see yourself doing anything else than never give up! You will go to hundreds of auditions and you won’t get the roles for all sorts of reasons, many of which aren’t within your control. You need to be able to handle a lot of rejection but it prepares you for the future. Make your own work – you are a business, if you don’t employ your own services why should anyone else? Making your own work is great because you can cast yourself as anything and show off all your skills.

What is currently on your I-Pod right now?

Ha ha. If you’d asked me this six months ago I would have said “What I-Pod?” but my sister decided I needed to be cooler and bought me a Nano for my birthday. She knew I’d never get around to changing or adding any music so she filled it up with my all time favourites like Tracy Chapman, The Eagles, Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and the Backstreet Boys. I’m totally one of the cool kids.

If you could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), who would you choose and why?

William Shakespeare – I am the biggest Shakespeare fan. I would love to talk to him about his work and the controversy surrounding it. Stella Adler – I studied the Stella Adler acting technique and would love to be able to talk to the amazing woman who created it. My grandmother, Doreen – she was always so supportive of my dream to become an actor – she died shortly after I started studying so I would love to have the opportunity to catch up and thank her for everything she did for me.

If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?

  • A toothbrush!!
  • A blanket – I get cold everywhere!
  • Seinfeld DVD box set – you can watch it all day and it never gets old 😉

What’s coming up for you in 2012?

‘The Killage’ has just screened at the Gold Coast Film Festival. In December I am flying to Germany for the International Comedy Film Festival in Berlin to watch ‘The Killage’ there. I have just finished work on a TV show called ‘The Void’ which is currently on air in Brisbane so I hope to have a bigger release for that next year as well and start work on another feature.

I hope my career will take a few steps forward in 2012 and that I can continue to work with such talented and creative people.

Thanks for the interview!

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