Sara Malakul Lane talks to TMS about her new horror film, Sun Choke and the upcoming Kickboxer movies.
TMS: What do you want to tell people about this new release, Sun Choke?
SL: It's significant because it's a female driven horror movie. You don't see that very often. Purely, all the lead characters are women, which is really interesting. Secondly, it's a very bright horror movie. The way he lit the movie and the way it was shot, it's not a dark and brooding movie like what's usually associated with horror. It's bright and colorful. There's a lot of light. You think it's a love story but it's actually psychological horror. It's an interesting choice that he made.
TMS: When I was looking at the film on IMDB, it said it was a dramatic thriller. There was some confusion there for me. Or does it walk that fine line between the two genres?
SL: I think it does. There are some psychological thriller elements but it's also pretty gory. It has the blood and the violence. The intention is really to throw a little confusion at us. You don't really know what's going on. That's the whole point. That's what makes it so scary.
TMS: If you had to choose, what's your favorite kind of horror? Possession? Haunting? Slasher?
SL: Probably one of the scariest movies I've ever seen is called Funny Games. It's a home invasion movie. That kind of movie is really scary to me because I feel it could happen to anybody. It just feels so real. You could easily put yourself in that situation.
TMS: That movie is truly horrifying.
SL: Yeah, to me that's the most terrifying movie ever. Ghost and crazy men in masks, they're pretty scary. But these are two normal guys that come to the door and ask for eggs, you know? They don't hold back. A little boy is killed. An animal is killed. It's really fucked up.
TMS: Everything that happens in that movie can happen in real life and that's what makes it more horrible.
SL: Yeah, exactly. You take a vacation by the lake and this could totally happen to your family. That's what's so scary about it. After watching that movie, it just sticks with you for days. I think that's the whole point of horror.
TMS: So, you transitioned from being a model to being an actress. How did that happen for you?
SL: Actually, I was acting at a very young age but I wasn't acting in the U.S.. I was acting in Thailand. I did a lot of soap operas. So I actually transitioned from acting to modeling. I was acting as a kid at 13-14 years old. Then, I modeled and I was known for that. I was a bit more successful at that.
TMS: What were your favorite parts of working on Sun Choke?
SL: Sun Choke was a great movie to film because it was so contained. It was a small cast and was so intimate. I love working with women and Barbara Crampton has always been one of my idols. She's such an icon. We didn't actually share a scene together but I learned so much from her, her life, her struggles with being in Hollywood, and owning her age and sexuality. It's altogether very inspiring to be around her.
TMS: You've been extremely brave in the roles you've picked, including some excessive scenes of violence and nudity. How do you deal with baring your persona and your body in rape scenes and horrible situations?
SL: I think that's what we do as actors. I don't think we should ever hold back. So, I think just being naked on screen, physically that may be a big deal to people. But, even if you're fully clothed and you're baring your soul that's even more intimate to me. Clothes on. Clothes off. There's no difference.
TMS: Being fearless on screen as you've been, has there ever been a scene that made you uncomfortable or made you not want to finish the scene?
SL: I think it's always going to be uncomfortable with these types of movies and you just have to embrace it. There was one scene in Sun Choke that was one of the most uncomfortable. It's a sex scene but it was filmed from the point of view of a character that's creeping on us, he's looking through the window. Usually when you're doing these sex scenes or rape scenes, there's 6 or 7 crew members in the room. With this scene because they were filming it through the window, it was just me and the other actor in the room doing a sex scene essentially. That was uncomfortable.
TMS: You're playing the female lead in the new Kickboxer movies. How did that come about?
SL: Just like anything else in Hollywood, it came out of the blue. I went and spoke with the producers and they wanted someone that spoke fluent Thai. That definitely helped in getting the role.
TMS: What's it like working with Jean Claude Van Damme? I've heard he can be complex to work with on set?
SL: (laughter) He's great. He's a legend. He's amazing. We just saw the screening for the first one we shot. You just can't deny that he's a fucking movie star. He's just so good on screen. As a person, he's a little crazy. But, we're all a little crazy. He's very charming though.
TMS: I think it's gonna be really cool to see him go back and do something that basically kicked off his career. (no pun intended)
SL: He's absolutely amazing in this and I'm not just saying it because I'm in the movie. Honestly, I was blown away by him. This is an amazing martial arts movie.
TMS: Did you have to train in martial arts for Kickboxer?
SL: I play a cop so I'm kinda weaponized. (laughter) I have a gun. I didn't have to do a lot of kicking and punching. I can't compete with those guys. They all did their own stunts. It's insane. Wait til you see this movie. It's crazy. I honestly don't know how he's still alive and has two legs (laughter).
TMS: If you could star in one remake, what would that movie be?
SL: Casablanca. That's one of my favorite movies of all time. Classic. I don't know if you could really remake that one though. Or The Shining.
TMS: Along those same lines, if you could pick someone to work with, who would it be?
SL: One of my favorite movies ever was directed by Robert Redford in the '80s. It's called Ordinary People. It's such an incredible movie. I think it was the first movie he directed. So, I would love to be directed by Robert Redford in something like that. That's the movie that really made me want to be an actor. And then of course, Clint Eastwood. I would do anything for him.
I've just heard so many good stories about how Clint Eastwood runs his set when he directs a movie. The days have to end at a certain time because he's very much in to playing golf. He likes to spend time with his family. The sets are very friendly. I think it would be a really fun experience besides the incredible artistry involved.
TMS: We thank Sara for taking the time to talk to us. Look for our review of Sun Choke here @ TMS.
Sun Choke will be in limited run theaters on August 5th and VOD on August 2nd.