addison timlin is about to make you scream, in the town that dreaded sundown
The new horror queen talks slasher flicks and her lead in upcoming teen novel adaptation, Fallen.
"Halfway through the movie I had no voice left but I felt I'd totally got my horror scream queen down," laughs 23-year-old Philadelphian born actress Addison Timlin, who this week joins the likes of Neve Campbell and Jamie Lee Curtis in giving good scared-out-of-my-life face at the cinema as the star of the meta slasher film The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
The film, from an idea by American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (soon to be seen with his Sundance rave Me, Earl & the Dying Girl) is a low budget, beautifully realised slasher flick set in the sleepy town of Texarkana. Timlin plays girl-next-door Jami, who finds herself on the trail of a local serial killer, who is either a. connected to a series of real life murders in the area after WWII or b. connected to a real slasher film of the same name from 1976, also based on the same series of real life murders in the area. Just when you thought the horror genre couldn't get more meta than Scream, The Town… shows you how.
The actress doing the running and screaming in The Town… may be about to enter a scream filled world of another kind with her next big role. Timlin is the lead in Fallen, a film adaptation of Lauren Kate's YA novels, that gives Twilight a run for its money in the emo doomed romance stakes. She plays Luce, a troubled girl sent to reform school where she forms a tricky relationship with a boy called Daniel (Jeremy Irvine) who turns out to be her former lover from past lives and a fallen angel who can't get close to her lest he kill her.
So then, tough times for the characters she plays but Addison Timlin is an actress very much on the up.
What did you think when you read The Town's meta premise?
It is a bit out there but I thought that within the genre it was a pretty new idea to reference a cult classic and bring it back in a way that references it without remaking it. That sort of meta remake was really interesting. The 1976 movie affected the people of the town itself. Someone mimicking what had happened years and years before and then making that into a movie was really fascinating to me.
Did you know anything about the 1976 film beforehand?
We shot the movie in Texarkana and the director had gotten one of the original 16mm copies. It was very cool to have that real thing and have the experience together and to have the feeling of what the first film was. I wasn't familiar beforehand. I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to the horror genre stuff but this film has made me see how incredibly emotional these situations are for an actor.
Was it scary to film?
It does really feel scary. It's my job to put myself in the situation and honestly [laughs] there were a couple of moments where I would get spooked, especially with the running and chasing in the woods. When you're doing terrorised running, looking over your shoulder or freezing in panic, that fear or adrenalin was really powerful.
The 1976 film is based on a series of unsolved murders in the Texarkana area at the end of WWII. Did that reality impose itself on filming in any way?
When we were in Texarkana the local people in the town, for them it was all something very much a big part of their lives. This town is very much stuck in this wanderless world; there are these old abandoned storefronts and streets you imagine would have tumbleweeds blowing through. I think the town would see it all as a very defining thing about where they come from.
Did you practice your horror face beforehand?
No, I actually didn't. I was really mostly concerned with the screaming. I never in my life screamed that shrill, terror scream. It's just a bizarre thing to practice. It felt that if I did practice, even if I was alone in my apartment, someone would hear or I'd be too self-conscious. The first thing I did it was when we were shooting. It was such a primal reaction to this obviously totally fictional movie situation.
Do you have a go-to Halloween costume?
I don't. I always want to do something great and I leave it too late and haven't thought of anything clever to get it together in time. I like the quirky or offbeat Halloween costumes. One year I wore just a black dress and put movie stubs, popcorn kernels and candy wrappers on it so I was the floor in a movie theatre. That was fun.
How was it working with Alfonso?
He's hilariously funny. We had such a really great rapport and were able to find the levity and lightness and silliness when you're doing long hours, working with heavier material, covered in blood or you're knee deep in a swamp. In the Louisiana 100 degree heat you want to be working with someone you feel connected to and who is supportive. And he really was.
You've finished filming Fallen. How was that?
I've seen a close to final cut of the film and I think it's going to be really beautiful and will really please fans of the book series and appeal to an audience who haven't read the book or think it's something you wouldn't like. It pushes the genre in a way.
Tell me about your character Luce's relationship to Daniel in Fallen for people who haven't read the books.
When Luce gets to reform school she meets someone she feels instantly connected to, like she's known him for a very long time. As time goes on, some spooky things happen, some under worldly things that have her piece together the idea that she's someone who has lived multiple lives, which she is now able to recall. The deep connection to this person is how all of that unfolds.
You worked with Jeremy Irvine on this. What was the most British thing about him?
Oh my gosh, what British thing doesn't he do? We did have a lot of jokes about him making fun of me for my Americanisms and me for his Britishness. I was obsessed with the way he pronounced 'anything'. We made a really great team, I feel very lucky that he's the person I'm on this adventure with.
The Town that Dreaded Sundown is out Friday 17th April.
Text Colin Crummy
Film stills from The Town That Dreaded Sundown