Olivia Cooke Central STAFF   April 10, 2014

THISISFAKEDIY.CO.UKWe speak to the star of The Quiet Ones and Bates Motel plus reveal a new clip from the film.

Legendary horror studio Hammer have teamed up with Lionsgate for the chilling film The Quiet Ones, out on Thursday April 10th.

Inspired by true events, The Quiet Ones is the story of single minded Oxford Professor Coupland (Jared Harris) who takes his best students off the grid and embarks on a dangerous experiment to create a poltergeist. His theory is that paranormal activity is caused by negative human energy and conducts a series of tests on a disturbed young patient, Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke). Needless to say, things take a turn for the terrifying…

We caught up with down to earth rising star Olivia Cooke for an intimate roundtable interview ahead of the films world premiere to discuss her part in The Quiet Ones and her future projects including the hit TV show, Bates Motel.

Your performance in The Quiet Ones is very intense. Did you ever feel that it might affect you in the long term?
No. We all had so much fun off camera, we were always laughing which is really bad! Jared [Harris] would make me crack up all the time. In the seance bits where we’d be holding each others hand, I’d look over to Jared and he’d raise an eyebrow and be like [mimics stifling a giggle], my nostrils would start flaring and I’d be like, “God Jared!” There was a time I came home where I was battered and bruised everywhere but I lay in bed and thought, “I’ve done really well today, look at at all these bruises” [laughs].

Was it easy to switch off in the evenings when you film something with such intensity?
I felt it was really easy. I think it depends with different actors what their method is but I’m quite happy to leave [the character] once the make-up is off and I’ve washed all the grease out of my hair. I just felt fatigue and just physical exhaustion because it was a really heavy stunt load.

Did you do much research into the real events or did you stay away from that and stick to script?
I kind of stayed away from that because I wanted it to be an original character. You get so many films like that where they’ve got a young girl in a smock like The Ring and I just didn’t want anything to alter my perception of Jane Harper.

How did you prepare to get into the character of Jane Harper?
I lost a bit of weight in order to feel just more gaunt and more feral. It was such a long time ago, we filmed it two years ago and it was my first film and I don’t know if I ever really had a method [laughs]. I just read the character and thought, “I relate to this in some way.” It was just a part of me that I’ve always had this kind of vulnerable, feral but also ferocious and manipulative person that I just tapped into and was just able to portray it. I never went to drama school so there was not a point where I was like, “Right I’m going to go through all these methods and blah blah” I just kind of did it.

As you said it was your first film but you’re working with people like Jared Harris and Sam Claflin. Did you take any advice from them or watch what they were doing?
There was one point in the film where I had to do the bath scene and I went to Jared [nervously], “Right Jared, I’m doing it now. I’m going to do it.” And he was like, “Just don’t let them take advantage of you.” And that was all he said but they were all really supportive but let me just do my own thing.

You didn’t go to drama school so how did you come to be in this industry?
I did Oldham Theatre Workshop for ten years. Then I got an agent in Manchester when I was 14 because I thought it would be a really cool thing to do. I was picturing agents like Men in Black [laughs]. Then they put me up for really cringy commercials and modelling. There was a casting director next door called Beverley Keogh who really fought for me on a lot of things so then she got me the job playing Christopher Eccleston’s daughter in Blackout and then I got a mini-series after that and then I got my agent in London and then I was put forward for The Quiet Ones.

Is cinema where you see your career going?
If any form of acting comes about, if the role’s good and I connect to it and I really want it and feel passionate about it then it doesn’t matter which form it comes in.

Do you spook easily? The film is quite intense and claustrophobic.
I used to but having done Bates Motel and now Ouija which I filmed and is based on a Ouija board [laughs], when I watch a film now I’m kind of, “I know how they did that.” It’s just kind of ruined it for me! I do love watching my friends shit themselves though.

How aware are you of the Hammer legacy?
I was aware of Hammer but I’d never watched any of their films because the only time I really watched scary movies is when they’re in the cinema because I don’t really like to watch them on my own. So I knew of The Woman in Black and Let Me In and I thought they were really, really great movies and I felt in very safe hands when I joined this project.

You’re going to be one of Hammer’s Scream Queens…
I know! I’m gonna be like a Hammer Heroine! When we finished the film they got me a leather bound script and Simon Oakes [Hammer CEO] wrote, “You’re our new Hammer Heroine” I thought, “God it’s amazing that he considers me that.”

So what does scare you?
Going to toilet at night and having to put all the lights on, that really scares me! Stray dogs scare me. When you’re walking along and you just see a dog and it could be the nicest looking dog ever but it’s not got a lead on so I just worry that it’s gonna bite me. Death, illness, being a hypochondriac that sort of stuff but not really paranormal stuff. I don’t know if I really believe…

Obviously you’re in Bates Motel and while we’ve yet to see Norman turn into the serial killer that he does would you say that stuff freaks you out more?
Oh yeah. I think actual, tangible things that could physically harm you scare me a lot more than anything supernatural and kind of abstract.

How’s Bates Motel going? Is it something you’re happy to continue with?
Definitely. We’re waiting to find out if Season Three goes again and we should start filming that this Fall. This Fall! Urgh. AUTUMN! Oh God that’s awful! So hopefully, fingers crossed.

With Bates Motel just starting again in the UK it’s been quite a big couple of weeks for you. It must be exciting when things come out at the same time.
Yeah it’s actually a really big year for me. We filmed this two years ago so I was always expecting it the next year then the next year but now finally it’s coming out and then all of a sudden I’ve got a film in the summer, a film in October then I’ve got the series. It’s just really mental.

Could you tell us a little bit about your upcoming film, The Signal?
It follows 3 MIT students travelling across country to move me to Caltech and they come across a hacker that’s been hacking their computer system so they’re like, “Fuck it. We’re gonna track him down and tell him what’s what.” And they track this guy down and really unfortunate events happen and they wake up in this underground facility treatment centre. Everyone’s in hazmat suits and they don’t how they’ve got here and things take a turn for the unexpected! I can’t give it away.

You do appear to have an inclination to take on darker projects which is quiet refreshing to see as a lot of the time young, pretty actresses are pushed or moulded into romantic flicks. Have you ever felt any pressure in that regard?
No I kind of hate those kinds of roles where it’s just, “She’s good looking maybe she should just be the cheerleader or the romantic interest.” I dunno I think I maybe like to torture myself a little bit too much.

Can you see yourself mixing up the genres a little and doing some comedy for instance?
Oh definitely. I’m doing a comedy in June called, Me or the Dying Girl. I play the dying girl obviously! [laughs]. There’s an element of dark but it is more of this awkward coming of age story but I think I’m moving away from horror, because I’ve done so much in the two years that I’ve actually been acting so I think I’ve exhausted it. I think no one wants to see me do that role anymore!

What advice would you give to up and coming actors who are in school at the moment?
Just don’t let anyone tell you that you need to have a plan B because I never did. I tried to have a plan B but I don’t know anything else that I’m good at. So really, just hone in on the one skill that you think you’re best at and just make that work.

Of all the industries you could get into, self-doubt could creep in quite quickly. You’ve got to learn to take the knocks…
9 out of 10 times it’s not because of your ability, there are so many things that have to go right for you to get a role. Like do you gel with the other actor? Do you look right? Do you look old enough? But you’ve just got to believe in yourself and who you are and how you want to be perceived and hopefully someone will give you a chance somewhere.

You’re working a lot in the U.S. how often do you get back home and are you planning on working here anytime soon?
I hope so. I really want to do something over here in the future it just happens that I’ve been riding this wave in the States and people have taken an interest in me. And the projects that I’m getting are so unlike anything that I would ever have expected to do. I never really get to go home. I go back to my Mums in Manchester for three weeks and she gets on my nerves and then it’s like I’m 16 again. I need to get something in London so I can actually settle down. I want to get a flat here and not have to go back to Manchester all the time. Manchester centre is really nice but we live in Oldham so it’s like where people go to die, it’s not that exciting [laughs].

Have you got a place in the States?
No I refuse to get a place there. I don’t want to live there. It’s really nice to work there and have that but I don’t want the novelty to wear off. I don’t want to get used to that and I don’t want to become affected.

The Quiet Ones is set in the seventies. Is it fun doing a period piece and to go back to a time that you weren’t around in?
Definitely. But I was really upset because I was in a smock for six weeks and Erin [Richards] would come out of wardrobe in all these beautful outfits and I’d be like, “For fucks sake look at me and look at you.” But there’s one moment in the film where I get to put on this really beautiful green dress with wellies so I had my moment!

You work with Lawrence Fishburne in The Signal, do you still get a little starstruck?
No one thinks a girl from Manchester’s ever gonna got to the States and do all this work with Lawrence Fishburne and Vera Farmiga and people like that. I’m not in awe in the moment but afterwards I’m like, “Oh he’s from The Matrix!” It’s crazy. And he’s really cool. He came up to me and was like,”What’s up baby?” And I was like, “Oh my God Lawrence!” [laughs].

Was it the same with Jared on The Quiet Ones?
Me and Jared got on like a house on fire. There’s something with me and older men, we just really become fast friends which is really strange [laughs].

Did you find having a theatre background helped with preparing for the long takes that you had in The Quiet Ones?
Yeah I think the discipline of that really helped. I did amateur theatre not to anything like Jared’s pedigree but knowing a show from back to front and knowing a really long take from back to front is something that you really need a lot of discipline for just to know it through and through and to be able to just tap into a concentration that you rarely get to use in daily life. We didn’t have any sound effects to hear so John the director would be like, “Scratch. Scrape” and I was like the worst at corpsing and was [mimics trying not to laugh] and I was squeezing Jared’s hand so hard and then I see Sam [Claflin] walk off camera and he goes like this [indicates shoulders shaking with laughter] and I just [lost it] and John was like,”Jane!” He called me by my characters name and I was like, “I’m so sorry.” I think people were pissed off with me but I couldn’t help it!

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