True story: I got a press release telling me that Silent Hill is the most graffitied poster in New York City. That poster is everywhere in town, and the big mouthless expanse of Jodelle Ferland’s face does make a tempting target. But is there a graffiti database where they compare the vandalism done to different posters and ads? Interestingly, all that graffiti was done before anyone saw the film – see Russ’ review here for reasons why he might do some graffiti of his own.
Jodelle is part of the new crop of precocious kid actors. In an alternate reality you all know her from Terry Gilliam’s Tideland, where she stars. But that film hasn’t been able to find US distribution, leaving its future in a weird, weird place.
In Silent Hill, opening today, Jodelle plays a young girl who gets mixed up in one spooky town. This week I had a chance to talk with her on the phone – and so did my friend and colleague, Daniel Robert Epstein, who contributed to some of the following interview. Yes, it’s so hard-hitting it took the two of us to get this one done.
Q: Are you a horror movie fan?
Ferland: Well, I do a lot of them!
Q: That’s why I was asking. You’re in so many horror movies.
Ferland: The ones I’ve been in or general?
Q: In general.
Ferland: It depends on the horror movie. I don’t like really, really scary ones. I do like being scared when it’s not too much. I like filming them too.
Q: Is it different filming a scary movie than a regular movie?
Ferland: It’s not really. The horror movies on are on much scarier sets and have make up and scary monsters. It’s not scary when you’re filming it.
Q: So you don’t get scared on set?
Ferland: No. Creeped out, but not actually scared.
Q: I know some people who visited the set for Silent Hill and they said they were really creeped out by the nurses.
Ferland: I only saw those in the preview. The only thing I saw was what they called the Grandchildren. I saw one of them. It was creepy.
Q: Have you ever played the video game?
Ferland: I played it once just for an hour, though, so I didn’t get into much scary things.
Q: Are you a video game person?
Ferland: Not really. I like video games, I just don’t play them often.
Q: What kind of games in general do you play?
Ferland: I guess I don’t really play very much games. [laughs] I don’t play games much.
Q: What do you do on your downtime for fun?
Ferland: I go swimming. And I read. Oh yeah, and I draw! I go bike riding. Those are some of my favorite things to do – but obviously I do more!
Q: How did you get into acting in the first place?
Ferland: I started when I was two. What happened is that I was two years old and my brother and sister used to act. They don’t anymore. They were practicing their monologues and I was beside them, I guess. I don’t remember. So a couple of days later it was just me and my mom home and I was upstairs and she was downstairs, and she heard someone talking. So she went upstairs and she saw me at the top and I was doing their monologues! [laughs] I was only two and I couldn’t read yet, so I was listening to them and I memorized it. My mom took me to the agency – I was already with the agency, but she asked that I do speaking roles, because I had just been doing little commercial stuff. And then when I was four, two years later, I did my first starring role in a movie, Mermaid. That’s how it started.
Q: So your brother and sister stopped acting… do you think you’ll keep on acting as you grow up or do you plan to retire some day?
Ferland: I really don’t know but I can’t think of any reason why I would stop.
Q: You like it a lot?
Ferland: Oh yeah! I can’t think of any reason why I would stop, so I probably won’t.
Q: The studio sent me a press release saying that your poster is the most graffitied poster in New York City.
Ferland: Yeah, it probably is because there’s no mouth and people like to draw mouths. I’ll go see if it’s true, because I’m going to the subway to see the poster. I’ll see if anyone drew any mustaches on it. If anyone did I’ll bring a skin colored marker and color over it! That probably wouldn’t work, though.
Q: Do you find that poster creepy?
Ferland: I was sort of surprised when I saw it at first. It’s not that creepy because it’s me, I know that it’s a photo that they made look like I have no mouth. I was a little creeped out at first because I never saw myself without a mouth.
Q: That doesn’t happen in the movie?
Ferland: No. Because the movie is called Silent Hill they wanted to make me look silent. But that doesn’t happen in the movie as far as I know.
Q: Have you seen the movie yet?
Ferland: No, I haven’t seen it yet.
Q: I’m a big fan of Sean Bean – do you have a lot of scenes with him?
Ferland: I have like two scenes with him. Because mostly I’m in Silent Hill and he’s looking for me and I’m running away. I have like three scenes with him. It’s not like Radha [Mitchell] because I worked with her the whole movie.
Q: What was it like working with her?
Ferland: She is definitely one of my favorite actresses I ever worked with.
Q: What is it about her that’s so great?
Ferland: How do I describe Radha? One of my favorite people to work with, but why? [laughs] Just because she’s special!