s h a r n i v i n s o n
I'd already clocked Sharni making a run for it from the nice hotel in central London we are sitting down for a chat in. Luckily for us she didn't get very far. Tall, gorgeous and extremely friendly, Sharni is instantly likeable. The animal mask that the intruders wear in the film in is on the table so she freaks me out slightly by wearing that for a bit then we get down to the nitty gritty...
Tell me about how it felt when you first came across the character of Erin
I picked up the script and saw the title You're Next and I thought this is either going to be the worst movie I'd ever seen or why hasn't anyone used this before it's a great title for a horror movie! I did some research into the director and the cast. I then realised that 99 percent of it falls on this character's shoulders and I like that challenge, I don't like sitting around on set all day
She's such a dream of a character isn't she? I really liked the survivalist aspect of it, a clever device that meant you could believe she would be so tough.
I think that's what Simon Barrett was really looking for, when he writes scripts with Adam Winguard the thing that's beautiful is that they don't watch movies that they like and say how can we do tit better they actually watch movies that they don't like and they figure out why it didn't work and try and figure out a way to do a fresh spin on it so it will work. It was just a really unusual experience because originally she was written as an American and then when I came in and auditioned they changed it to an Australian. I didn't know it was supposed to be funny until we started shooting and then I was like 'is this a horror or a comedy??' It was so confusing and then Adam's style of shooting is so unique that you don't even know what he's capturing when he's shooting the movie, whereas with a studio movie you’re aware this your close up, this is your wide. With You're Next even after shooting the whole movie when I sat down to watch it I didn't know what to expect because I didn't know what shots he was getting so it was a really pleasant surprise.
A surprise when you watched it?
It was almost like I was able to watch it as if I wasn't in it, even though am I in it because I had not idea of what he had captured. It was really special. It's a weird experience, I felt like I could watch it from more of an audience perspective.
That's nice and you must have had a good level of trust in Adam Winguard?
You know I had no idea how this was going to turn out. I knew Adam's style of directing and that he edits all of his own movies too so he had a very good visualisation of exactly what he needed to capture – he was always thinking well ahead of the game. The trust we had in him was huge, I'd seen his previous film A Horrible Way to Die and I was like....whoa...wow.. OK this guy is out of the box, he's really thinking out of the box and when it comes to horror. I feel like we really need to see a fresh spin and this is the director that could give us that.
You've said you like a physical role and this seemed very physical and I'm guessing a lot of night shoots?
All night shoots!
Tell me about the logistics of the physicality and the shooting schedule
Six night shoots a week so we were on the whole vampire-esque schedule of waking up to a 4.30pm alarm, shooting through the night and wrapping at 7.30am so it was a very physically demanding role in terms of the hours on set but (laughs) I'm just such a high energy person that it didn't ever come into play for me that that was going to be a problem. I got my physicality from sports that I'd played growing up and from movies like Step Up where I was so challenged physically that this was a breeze compared to something like that. The challenge of You're Next was getting the mentality of the character correct because she comes from a survivalist upbringing so it was more getting your mind onto that exact way that she would have been brought up and it's almost with her that she has a kind of sixth sense and if glass broke or you hear a noise she's the first to respond because it's just a natural instinct inside of her that she's not even aware of – she's been taught. I wanted her to surprise herself too as we are going along, with each kill it's not that she's so trained she's done this a hundred times, I played it like she's had all the skills there but she's never had to utilise them. When she's doing all these crazy kills in the film she's constantly shocking herself but is like, you have to do what you have to do. Erin is going along on the ride with the audience
It's such good fun some of the stuff Erin does
Oh yeah, its fun
So we must talk about some of your other cast members, AJ Bowen in particular and improvisation – I'm presuming there was some?
The script was written for AJ and thank goodness because I don't know many people that could have played it that well – if any; he's genius, he's one of the best actors I've ever worked with. The improvisational aspects of these actors is what makes them so good because they will change it up every time so your reactions are real and in the moment, you're never really having to act, you're just having to respond which made my job a lot easier! Also a lot of the actors we had on set are also directors. We had three directors in there in Ti West, Joe Swanberg and Amiee Seimetz so they have a broader visual concept of what we're trying to achieve and how that can be done.
Sounds like an amazing experience, you must feel lucky to be part of it...well not lucky but..
Yes so lucky. You know these roles aren't written often..
Yes! And to get this script with such a strong female character especially for a horror movie, we're not used to seeing women portrayed in such a non-sexualised way. There's no skin in this movie, we don't try and pose tough or anything. We just try and find a natural quality in her that audiences could relate to and respond to really so yeah I feel really lucky that not only was this script written but I got the chance to play the role.
Well you nailed it, it's you that everyone is loving in this film. So to continue this theme I wanted to ask about the two different endings you filmed. ..
This is not the original ending....
And in the other ending...
That would have been awful. I would have hated that!
In the test screenings 96 % came back.... 4% went yeah kill her but the rest....I mean I remember that very vividly being on set filming that ending, I come from the land of sequels (Step up, Blue Crush) so I am always thinking two steps ahead of the game in a sense. It wasn't that I was thinking we will be doing it, it was just why not give us ourselves the opportunity. I was thinking this girl isn't go through all of this really to die at the end is she?? That would have been upsetting so I'm really glad we managed to shoot the two different endings and she does stay alive.
Just to finish up – what's next after You're Next Sharni Vinson?
This has been an up and down roller-coaster, we filmed this is 2011. You go through every emotion with an independent film like this hoping it will get the release it deserves and you know if we could to do another one it would be the role of my lifetime. In the meantime I want this to get out of there and hopefully this will change people's perceptions of me. Before this I was the Disney princess from Step Up or Cassie from Home and Away so it's a very different role. I'm seeking action kind of roles, this is exactly the kind of character I want to play, in this film or others. I've got Patrick coming up with Charles Dance, a role I loved, an empowering female so I hope when people see this and that they'll get a good idea of when I'm wanting to go.
I have no doubt she'll get there.
You're Next hits cinemas on the 28th August, you can read our review here