Interviews: Rachel Nichols Talks Pandemic, Positivity, and Zombies

Rachel Nichols is looking for a guy to save her from the zombie apocalypse. Is that you?

TMS: Looking over your resume, we can see you've done a lot of different things. There's a lot of tv, a lot of movies, and quite a few series. Also, you've done a few horror films. What would you say is most fun about working in the horror genre?

RN: You know, there's just something I'm drawn to. I've always loved the horror/thriller genre. I remember reading IT. I will never forget reading IT and being forever scared of clowns. There's just something about the energy....the excitement.....the rush. I love getting startled. When you're working on a film, you start to sweat a little bit. I really really like that. 

TMS: According to IMDB, I can see you're doing a remake of Inside, which is a pretty popular body modification horror film. A lot of remakes these days are met with consternation. What do you think will be different about this one and how has it been working on that project?

RN: Intentionally (I'm sure you'll understand), I did not watch Inside. I had a meeting with Miguel and I've seen some of the other stuff he's done. Honestly, I think it's going to sound lame and cheeky but I like his vibe. He was very collaborative with me. He wants to discuss characters. I think his take aesthetically is going to be exceptional, different and interesting. 

TMS: What drew you to this project?

RN: I like the characters. I like the script. And I'm no stranger to horror. I did P2 now many many years ago. And I like the idea that I'm going to be in Barcelona for seven weeks. 

TMS: We published our review of Pandemic today and shared it everywhere. There's a lot of interest in this movie. Considering you did GI Joe. You did Amityville. You did P2.  You were in Star Trek. You've basically covered every genre known to man. How would you define Pandemic?

RN: This is a combination genre. It's got that zombie apocalypse thing going for it. It's got the horror/thriller thing going for it. As far as story, it's about 4 people from very different worlds all with goals. It's very character driven. It's why I like The Walking Dead so much. Yes, there is the zombie element in Pandemic but the story is the most interesting part. It's a bit of hybrid. I think that's why there's so much interest in it. 

TMS: What makes this stand out from other zombie flicks as of late?

RN: I like the first person perspective. I thought that was really cool. It's a cool concept shot in a cool way. 

TMS: When we reviewed it, we definitely labeled it a zombie movie. So, what do you think of the whole zombie craze right now? Do you think it's gonna keep going or die out when people finally get sick of it?

pandemicRN:  I'm fascinated by it when it's done well, when it's not just blood and gore, and it's character driven and the acting is great. I've made this joke before but it's not really a joke anymore. Growing up it was cute. Zombies aren't real.  No disease is going to take over the earth. You know what? Now, given the shows that there are and the movies that there are and the current state of the world and all the new diseases....I'm no longer looking for a guy with a six pack. I'm looking for a guy that can save me from the zombie apocalypse. 

TMS: (laughter) 

RN: I'm fascinated by the genre. When it's done well, it's impossible not to watch. If it's done poorly, I have no interest. I think it's got some legs. I remember in the days when hurricane movies were big or natural disaster movies were big. There's definitely a cycle until it gets popular and then it gets beaten to death until people aren't interested anymore. This one's been going on for a while. So, it seems to have some legs. 

TMS: Going back to genres, which do you personally enjoy the most?

RN: There are a couple. I'm a sci fi girl and I'm a horror/thriller type of girl.  Sci fi. I do consider Pandemic to have that element in it as well. The sci fi fans are incredible. And the horror fans are incredible. They're loyal. They have conspiracy theories. And they want to participate. They're just so very loyal if you do something well. I like the rush. I like the excitement of the sci fi and action that I've done. 

TMS: Alias, Rush, Continuum. With all the tv work you've done, what do you think of programming right now and where do you think it's headed?

RN: I am so excited about tv right now. I am so excited.  I am so excited about not just all the different channels, but the online streaming, the Netflix, the Amazon, the Hulu's just opening up the entire environment and it's giving access to so many people. If a decade ago you said this was going to happen, you would have thought 'it's never going to work'. Now it's turning the industry on its head a little bit. 

TMS: Do you think it's a good thing turning the industry on its head or is it going to hurt movies overall?

RN: I think it's a good thing. I believe it's a good thing. I know a lot of people are hesitant about theatrical release at the same time as video on demand. I'll use Jurassic World as an example. I wanted to see Jurassic World. Did I want to see it on my tv? No. But you'll have people that went to the theater that buy it on video on demand because they want to see it again. I think it's just making it accessible to so many more people. Maybe there's not a theater in your town but you want to have access to it at some point. I want to believe in the positive. I'm a positive person. All this is changing the industry for the better. 

TMS: They came out last week and said they were going to possibly offer a 50 dollar a month streaming program to watch brand new theatrical releases at home. I thought that was going to cause an industry meltdown. People were freaking the hell out. 

RN: I read that article too. I still totally believe there are always going to be people that want to go to the theater that want that experience. Hey, if you can't go to a theater and you can see a movie from your sofa, I embrace that. I have to believe getting our industry to more people is going to be better in the long run even if it looks like a bit of 'terrible-ness' in the beginning. The beginning might be rocky but the long term effects would be good. 

TMS:  If you could work with one person on a dream project, who would it be?

RN: I'm a huge Emma Thompson fan. I find her just glorious in everything she does. So, I would choose her. I would like it to be something lighthearted. I would like to do......(laughter) just something with Emma Thompson because she's the BEST. 

TMS: Lighthearted would be good. You've done a lot of heavy stuff. But I guess GI JOE was kind of silly. 

RN: Maybe one of these iterations, they'll hopefully invite Scarlett back. 

TMS: Let's end this with a very serious personal question. What is your favorite horror film?

RN:  Silence of the Lambs. Yes, Silence of the Lambs followed closely by The Exorcist. 

TMS thanks Rachel for spending some time with us today. Check out her latest movie, Pandemic in theaters on April 1st and On Demand services on April 5th. 


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