Throughout these interviews, I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to chat with a number of some of the most talented women in the horror world. Some are more well-known than others and some spend their time behind the camera while others shine in front of the lens.
Meg Saricks is relatively new to the genre, but take one look at her in the feature film ‘Nailbiter’ and there’s no doubt she is a star in the making.
With a definite presence in front of the camera, Meg reminds me of a young woman who was getting her first chance with horror some thirty-four years ago as Laurie Strode.
Saricks is a natural with all the qualities of a future scream queen. Her best quality is the fact that she remains humble and personable, which probably went a long way to me getting the chance to chat with her for the interview you are about to read.
Patrick Rea’s latest project that is drawing rave reviews for great reason (a review of the film will be going live at www.mangledmatters.wordpress.com later this week!), ‘Nailbiter’ is about a mother and her three daughters who find shelter in a stranger’s cellar during a tornado only to find the real fight for their lives will begin down there. Saricks plays Jennifer Maguire, the oldest daughter, in the film, who just so happens to be the family bad ass.
Read on for more Meg Saricks awesomeness!
1. ‘Nailbiter’ was about as awesome a horror flick as I’ve seen in a long time. What was your experience like on set?
You know, this was the first time I ever did anything like this, so
unfortunately this movie has totally ruined me for the future (in the
best possible way). I just kept hearing over and over how rare this
experience was (ie: how much everyone got along, how efficient
everyone was, etc.) so I feel incredibly lucky to be a
part of it all. We shot for about 6 weeks or so during the summer of 2009.
When you’re with the same people, day in and day out for at least 12
hours a day, you really start to think of them as family. And then we
took a break and started back up again a year later in the summer of
2010 for a few more weeks- and I just remember how good it felt being
with everyone again. Through the months of not working on it, I really
grew to miss everyone- so it was really great just to… be with family
2. You are in every high tension scene in this movie. That being said, what
was your favorite scene to shoot in the film?
That’s true, and although the high tension scenes were fun (albeit
being cold and rainy sometimes) I would have to say one of my favorite
scenes to shoot would be the car scene when we’re driving through town
and watching everyone board up the stores before the tornado hits. It
was such a small scene in the movie (and not high tension), but
filming it was so fun. We shot it the summer of 2010, and it was the
first scene we shot with all of us girls back together. I just
remember laughing so much with them and just driving around this
strange town, not completely sure what we were supposed to be doing,
but just laughing almost the entire time (I think maybe even during
some of the takes, but I assume those didn’t make the final cut). It
was just a really good time and even thinking about it now makes me
3. I love that the four survivors and main actors of the film are women. It
was like ‘The Descent’ in a cellar.
It’s funny that you mention “The Descent” because that was definitely
one of the movies Patrick told me to watch beforehand for research.
And I love that Kendal Sinn and Patrick Rea wrote a script centered on women.
Often you see women fitting this sort of “bimbo-esque” mold, so it’s
refreshing for this film not only to portray one strong woman, but
four. I feel very lucky to have been able to have worked along side
this talented group of ladies. I have an older brother and (being the
youngest) I always wanted a younger sister, so it’s great I got two in this movie. I still have all the sweet notes and pictures
Sally made me throughout the process of filming. And Emily and I are
actually fairly close in age (only about 6 years apart), so we fell
into this loving teasing relationship (like many sisters have but without any actual sibling rivalry). And Erin was really wonderful. She’s far too young
to be my actual mom- so she definitely took on a “Lorelai
Gilmore-esque” role and was just a great person to go to for advice on
anything and everything. She’s a rock star in my eyes, and it was an
honor to have gotten to know her through this process. All of them are
really incredible, and, like I said, it was wonderful working with
4. You’ve worked with Patrick Rea on two projects. How did you get connected with him? What’s he like to work with?
Oh, Patrick is great- it really is a lot of fun to work with him. I think I’m the same age as his sister, and he’s the same age as my
brother, so we definitely fell into this fun brother/sister
relationship where we’d tease each other and give each other a hard
time. It was a lot of fun. Since we had spent so much time together on
“Nailbiter” building this understanding and trust, we knew what to
expect when we began working on “Hell Week.” Patrick could say to me,
“you know what to do,” and I did. It’s really great to work with
people who not only have passion for what they’re doing, but also have
a very clear vision of what they want. He and Hanuman Brown-Eagle together make a
really great team. Patrick knows what he wants and Hanu knows how to
make it look good. When you’re working with them, you can really trust
that they’re not going to make you look bad, which is always nice.
5. As an official bad ass in ‘Nailbiter’, you’ve certainly got a bright
future as a woman in horror. Do you see yourself carving a niche in the
world of horror or do you want to branch out to anything and everything?
Ha! I love that! I certainly never thought I’d be considered a bad ass
in anything, so that is quite a compliment! Of course it took me a
while to get there. In fact, I was having trouble believing that I could be this heroine character while filming, and it was Erin who
told me that I just had to own it, so she gave me the nickname
“Megourney Believer.” I didn’t have much of a choice after that! So
even though I’ve loved “being a bad ass” (and certainly wouldn’t turn
this kind of role down if it were offered again), I’d also love
to branch out and explore every and any character this industry has to offer. I just want to keep growing and learning, so I’d love to take
every opportunity I can get!
6. What are some of your favorite horror films?
Well, this is a big question. Growing up with an older brother, of
course, I insisted that I was old enough to watch all the movies that
he could… and then I’d end up spending the night with my parents
afterwards. There is something about those horror movies where the
villain doesn’t walk or run but can still get ya (ie: Jason or Michael
Myers). And especially if they don’t talk, that’s scary because
they’re lacking that human quality/need to communicate, therefore, are
immune (for the most part) to reason (versus Freddy- who for the most
part I just found amusing). Also “The Mist” and “War of the Worlds” I
find scary, not because of the monsters necessarily, but how people
react in those kinds of situations. Human nature can be absolutely
terrifying, and you can’t really pretend that away. But I would have
to say, the movie that you couldn’t pay me enough to watch without
squirming or closing my eyes is, hands down, “Arachnophobia.” Now, I
heard someone say that that movie is actually a comedy, but there is
absolutely nothing funny about spiders jumping on girls faces while
they shower. Nothing! Still, to this day, I do a spider check before I
enter my own shower… just in case…
7. Do you have any interest in writing your own screenplay or directing a
film sometime down the line?
Oh I just couldn’t say 😉 It’s funny you ask though, because as I was
growing up, even though I knew I wanted to be an actor, I still toyed
with the idea of being a part time writer, and ended up writing a
bunch of (unfinished) novels and short stories, etc. But as I’ve grown
older, that part of me has sort of faded away and my passion has
definitely focused on acting. However, I certainly wouldn’t want to
count it out if I were inspired. Same with directing- right now, as
silly as it sounds, I really like being told what to do rather than to
tell others what to do. But if that changes, I might consider it. I
guess it all depends. I’m open!
8. When you aren’t acting, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
Well, I grew up dancing (which was the stepping stone for me into
acting), and I actually ended up getting a concentration in dance in
college. And since graduation, there’s a studio in Lawrence that I try
to get to when I can. Lately my schedule hasn’t really allowed that,
but I would definitely love to get back into it. Other than that,
working out, traveling, and keeping up with friends as best as I can.
I still have the same friends from grade school back home in Chicago, and then the friends I made at the University of Kansas have ventured off to the coasts
(either LA or NYC) so sometimes it’s difficult to keep in touch- but
we’ve made it work.
9. What projects are you currently working on?
After “Nailbiter” I worked with Patrick again on the short “Hell Week” which is still making its festival run. I also just wrapped a film called “Dire Digest” which is a compilation of short films that make up a feature, so I’m looking forward to that
hitting the festival scene as well as a couple of short films (“Black
Friday”, “The Etiquette of Impotence”, and “Random Acts”) which are finishing up in post at the moment. I’m also working on a web series, “Camera Guys,”
that may morph into a feature of some sort. There are also a few other
projects in the works, so I feel very lucky for the opportunities I’ve
had so far and am definitely looking forward to the future.
10. What words of advice would you offer a young woman interested in becoming an actress?
Well, as one of my acting teachers in college used to say: ‘if there’s
anything else in this world that you could do, do it.’ As crappy as it
sounds, it is so true. If there is anything else that could make you
happy other than this, do that. Because, to be frank, this business can suck and
really take a toll on you if you’re not whole-heartedly in love with all of it. There’s ups and downs in everything, so if you couldn’t imagine being happy doing
anything else, then fight for it and try to enjoy the ride as much as you can. Take
classes, take every opportunity you can where you can grow and learn, watch your work and try to be open to learning from your mistakes, read, and most importantly be respectful to everyone- including yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to check your shower for spiders- seriously, nobody wants a spider face shower time. Nobody.
It’s true. Nobody likes a spider invading shower time.. thanks very much to Meg for her time and awesomeness with this interview!
Keep updated on Meg’s projects via her IMDB page:
‘Nailbiter’ is currently flying high on the festival circuit. Here is a list of upcoming dates to look forward to:
AMC Kansas City Film Fest, Kansas City, Missouri: April 11-14th
Chicago Fear Fest, Chicago, Illinois: April 13-14
Palm Beach International Film Festival, Palm Beach, Florida: April 11-19
All Things Horror Online Presents, Somerville, MA: May 11