Phoebe Fox interview
Interviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Society
She never forgives…she never forgets…she never left! So returns The Woman in Black in the highly anticipated sequel to the 2012 hit gothic horror film from Hammer Films. The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death brings viewers back to the creepy and hauntingly atmospheric Eel Marsh House, as the story is set 40 years after the events of the first film during World War II. A group of children are brought to the country and Eel Marsh House to escape the London bombings. Little do the children and their guardians know that by coming into the house, they have reawakened the sinister Woman in Black.
In preparation for the film’s theatrical release date of January 2, 2015, Horror Society recently spoke with the film’s star, Phoebe Fox as she discusses what brought her to the role of “Eve” and some of the challenges of filming a gothic horror film.
Look for The Woman In Black 2 Angel of Death as it haunts theaters on January 2, 2015!
Horror Society: Hi Ms. Fox, how are you?
Phoebe Fox: I am very good, how are you?
HS: I’m awesome. Thank you for speaking with me today. I enjoyed your performance in The Woman in Black 2. I thought you were marvelous in the film.
PF: Thank you. Thank you very much.
HS: To start things off, The Woman in Black 2 is sort of a departure for you. It’s your first gothic horror film. Could you speak on what brought you to the role of Eve?
PF: Yeah, I mean I certainly never deliberately avoided or set out to do any horror. When I got this script, it wasn’t so much the genre I was thinking of…I loved the part. It’s quite rare to get a female lead like that who is so interesting and fully rounded. She’s not driven by being someone’s girlfriend. That is the thing that initially made me jump at the script. But the script is excellent. Then once I seen the first Woman in Black film, I thought it was really well done, it’s very scary and it’s also a great movie. I thought, yeah, I kind of wanted to be part of the Woman in Black family, as it were.
HS: It was a pretty meaty role for you so I’m sure it was fun to play.
PF: Yeah it was. You get to do every aspect. You do the emotional scenes and yet you also get to do all the running and diving into water and falling through floorboards and all that sort of fun action stuff. I didn’t know that I wanted to do actually, but it turns out that is really fun.
HS: It looked like it would’ve been fun. I wanted to ask were the sets for Eel Marsh house as creepy in person as they look on film.
PF: Yeah, it’s a mishmash of different places. By the time we got to the set, we breathed a huge sigh of relief because all of the other places were derelict houses and underground prisons, some really quite scary places in themselves. You still could say if I’m ever going to get haunted, this would be the place. A lot of the fear is probably quite real that you see.
HS: The production designer did a fabulous job with making the locations and sets look appropriately creepy.
PF: Yes, yeah.
HS: Also in the film you worked alongside Jeremy Irvine and Helen McCrory. How were they to work with?
PF: Really wonderful. I’ve always admired Helen as an actress. She’s the actress that I would love to emulate. She’s crossed genres and mediums. She’s amazing on the stage and amazing on camera. I was a little bit awestruck with her. She lived up to everything I thought she would be. She’s a fantastic actress. I’ve never seen anything that Jeremy was in but he’s gorgeous to work with, he’s so generous and he’s delightful. He kept everyone up and kept everyone happy.
HS: You two have a good chemistry on screen together.
PF: Oh good.
HS: For you, what was the most challenging aspect of working on a horror film?
PF: Ummm, I think what surprised me was just how much energy it takes to convey fear. You always as an actress you maybe dread the scenes where you have to break down or the scenes where you get really angry because you know they are tough. The energy required and the concentration required for those things is hard. I never put fear with those and it turns out that it was draining to get that level of terror and to make it come across on camera. I would do some of the scenes where I’m meant to be terrified and the director would keep saying “more, more, more, more terrified, more terrified.” He was absolutely right, you have to make it a lot bigger than you would expect for something on camera.
HS: Yes, for sure. Not to give anything away. You had some water scenes in the film that looked pretty uncomfortable. Was it that bad for you or was it a fun time?
PF: I wish I could say it was a fun time, but I don’t think I take to water very well at all. I was fine when I was splashing around on the set; as soon as they wanted me under the water…we filmed it for three days. We’re talking eight hours a day submerged underwater. Its fine when you’ve got the breathing apparatus on and your goggles, but once they take away your oxygen and they take away your eyes, you can’t see anything and then you have to act, it was really hard, it was really hard. Jeremy loved it; I think I’m much more suited to staying on the land.
HS: It looked like most of that was you, rather than a stunt person.
PF: It was ALL me. I pride myself actually, it’s amazing on how much air you expend swimming downward and there were a couple of time where I thought I was drowning myself. I’d have to give them a little time out from the side pool where I’d sit wrapped up in a blanket, panicking. They would tell me “you have to get back in the pool because we’re running behind” and I found some inner strength that I didn’t know I had.
HS: One last quick question…There’s the old adage, “Never work with children or animals.” Were the child actors fun to work with?
PF: They were they were lovely. They absolutely adored Jeremy and they sort of became like this little gang. I think it’d be fair to say that sometime they ganged up on me. They went through a phase of every time anything went wrong on set, if we were behind or a light didn’t work or a costume was wrong, they’d all chime in with “Oh Phoebe!” That was fun.
HS: Awesome. I know we’re out of time Ms. Fox. I wanted to say it was a wonderful pleasure speaking with you. Good luck with the film, I really enjoyed it. I hope it does well for you.
PF: Great, thank you so much. Lovely to speak to you.
HS: Thank you, great speaking to you too. Bye.
Watch the trailer for The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death here,