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Mercedes McNab!!!

Actress Mercedes Mcnab is no stranger to fantastic material, and her most well-known and popular roles have been genre-blenders, most notably horror and humor. Those projects have offered strong writing-and a chance to show off how good she is- and Adam Green’s HATCHET, an old-school slasher with memorable characters, adds another to the list. We had a short, smart conversation with the talented Mercedes recently. Enjoy, and be sure to be at the theater September 7th! - by Adam Barnick - 9/07

What are your earliest memories of the horror genre?

I think Sleepaway Camp might have been one of the first ones I saw. There was a transvestite or a hermaphrodite, is that the one?

Yep! The reveal at the end.

I’m sure when I was really little, that was pretty shocking and that’s probably why that stuck in my mind.
Were you a fan of them growing up?

I was pretty scared of them and wasn’t really allowed to watch them all that much; didn’t see that many which is maybe why Sleepaway Camp stuck, because that was the craziest one.

Can you tell me a bit about your character in Hatchet?

My character is an opportunistic, social-climbing girl who’s from Los Angeles and wants to be an actress. She gets hooked up with this so-called producer to further her career; she plans on trying to manipulate him into getting her a job and it all goes haywire when they end up taking a boat trip in the Bayou, to see ghosts-that’s how my character meets all the other characters-And then all havoc breaks loose.

How did you get involved with the film and what about the project appealed to you?

I really liked the script in general; how funny it was, and how much you actually didn’t want the characters to die, it was done well. I liked that aspect, and that it wasn’t just a torture-type film. I don’t like those; they’re just unpleasant and they make me feel really uncomfortable. (laughs) This wasn’t like that. It was a fun horror film. You’re laughing one scene, screaming the next, and then laughing again. You don’t leave thinking someone’s following you home to kill you. Also that’s nice because you can leave that on set, instead of going home with it; freaking yourself out.
I was going to ask if the vibe on set during the fear scenes lingered or you could leave it behind. Were you able to get used to Victor on set? I know a lot of people were genuinely scared whenever he was there.

Adam had certain tricks- he never wanted us to see Victor Crowley until it was the first time seeing him was captured on film, which I thought was a really good idea. He built up this image in your head and let your imagination run wild. It was so built up as to how scary he was gonna be that it really helped all of us give that appropriate reaction.
Kane never showed us Victor unless we were doing a scene with Victor. He kept himself covered up so we couldn’t get used to it. Otherwise you get desensitized. By the end of the film you’d be back-slapping Victor Crowley and that wouldn’t be very good. (laughs) Kane really helped out with that.

It seems like you really bonded with the ensemble cast.

Definitely. It sounds so cliché that ‘we got along so well’ but we really did. And that’s also a cliché to say that, too. (laughs) But we really did, I made a best friend out of Joleigh (Fioreavanti), and we all still keep in touch. Adam is so sweet and passionate and devoted, he chose the people that felt the same way he did.

You’ve dealt with makeup and prosthetics in other films and shows as well; is something like that freeing, or a help to you, or do you consider it an obstacle or a challenge to get a performance across?
I think it helps, definitely. (When) playing a vampire, if I just had fangs it would feel pretty silly- with the prosthetic piece over my brow it makes it look much more ferocious. I think it’s more intimidating when you have that on; it makes YOU feel more intimidating, it’s easier to play that character; if I had to play it looking exactly the way I do, it would feel almost comical. When I think prosthetics can be hard is when you’re doing an emotional scene and you can’t see or move your face; you kind of look like you’ve had a lot of Botox done or something. So it’s harder to push an emotion through that; it helps in certain ways and it hinders.
Have you followed Hatchet on its festival run, and seen how it does with audience’s response?

Yeah, and Adam always gives us a full report; we all want it to do as best as possible, we’ve been keeping our eyes and ears open, seeing what’s going on, I try to make every possible screening or event that I can, but when I’m working it’s hard.

I noticed you had acted recently in a film that your co-star, Joel Moore, directed! Was this just after Hatchet? Because I know he and Adam went on to direct Spiral.

Yes! That was after. (The film, a short, is called Miles from Home and premiered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in 2006.)

What do you have coming up?

There’s a new movie called XII, I I did a comedy called The Pink Conspiracy. Right now I’m finishing up a new movie in Vancouver, called Thirst. I’ve been really busy, been a good year!

Are there certain things as an artist or roles you’re striving for?

I think ultimately everyone wants to be challenged. So that’s pretty much what I look for, something to give me a challenge, something that I’ll enjoy doing and enjoy the people that I’m working with.
What would you say to potential audience members who might check out Hatchet?

I think it’s a rollercoaster ride. It’s fun; you’ll enjoy yourself, like when you’re a teenager. Everyone is yelling and screaming at the screen, it’s a pleasure. It’s just fun. C’mon, it’s only an hour and a half of your life, (laughs) but it’s a good, fun hour and a half.

Any potential advice for those trying to navigate Hollywood?

A famous actress, I’m not sure who, was asked the same question and she said “Take Fountain.” (laughs) Since Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard were always so trafficked and Fountain was the alternative. So that was her advice. Not mine, I’m stealing it from someone else but I thought it was quite funny when I heard it. It’s always hard to give advice, you know? Who am I to give advice?
Any talk of working with Adam on future projects?

Ideally, there’s another project he’s thinking about right now where he wants to work with all of us again, fortunately. There’s another project that he thinks all of us could do, together, and there’s another one that he’s doing, there’s a really amazing scene I’m trying to get once that gets started, in his upcoming comedy God Only Knows.

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