Genre newcomer Gretchen Lodge stars in Lovely Molly, opening in limited release today. Directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project), the film is a portrait of Molly Reynolds, a newlywed with a troubled past who returns to her long-abandoned family home.
Frightful reminders of a nightmarish childhood begin seeping into her new life and soon she begins an inexorable descent into evil that blurs the lines between psychosis and possession. Shock Till You Drop spoke to Lodge about her starring turn in the film which also marks her feature debut.
Shock Till You Drop: With the audition process, did you have to do anything unique to land the role?
Gretchen Lodge: Well, I think the unique thing about the New York auditions was that Eduardo was there. From the very beginning to the callbacks, he was there all day. He was very involved and didn’t hold back on the tough scenes to do in the audition. He wanted to see the range. The callback was a bit frightening because it was intense.
Shock: As an actress slipping into a role like this, you have to let your guard down moreso than other roles.
Lodge: I loved the part from the get go. After I did the first audition, we talked a bit, had the callback and talked a bit more. Eduardo was conscious of the fact that it was going to be a tough part. He was the one that was e-mailing and wanting to make sure I was comfortable with it. That allowed me to have faith and trust in him. I felt that during the auditions. Once we started rehearsing and shooting, he pushes his actor and sees how far you can go, but he makes you feel safe. It was a nice balance.
Shock: Daunting, I’d say, for your first feature. What is your background?
Lodge: Theater. I’ve been doing a lot of theater. I trained and did theater in London and have been in New York six or seven months before I auditioned for Lovely Molly. I was looking for a change and wanted to work in film and to get to do one was incredible.
Shock: Did working in film live up to your expectations?
Lodge: To look at this film on paper and to see some of the scenes that I thought were going to be challening and then to get it off its feet was…it was just exciting. Had it been a different group of people doing it, I don’t know if it would be the same. But this was a special group of people who banded together and we had a close-knit cast and crew. It was really easy to take it off the paper and put it onto film. There was a lot going on – the lip bite scene, prosthetics. That was a challenge to take off the paper. But it was fun because you’re not only having the character relationship going on but you’re able to find what you can come up with in yourself and play with the special effects.
Shock: On set, was there a discussion about what you guys wanted to particularly embrace from the possession sub-genre and what you wanted to avoid?
Lodge: I can only speak personally, but we had discussions about what we wanted to add in as far as real life…like, when we first started going into it, we were looking at real-life possessions and exorcism footage. We had a month before I was cast and then rehearsals, so I had this whole diary and Ed provided us this family tree to which we added our own research. We had the joy of the rehearsal time to get to know each other and Ed’s style. There wasn’t a discussion of what we were going to avoid only because the chemistry between everyone was so natural. And it was a nice to have the freedom as an actor to explore what we did ahead of time.
For more on the film, including a series of videos exploring Molly’s past – visit this link!