Depending on what area of the world you live in, The Loved Ones may have been released in your country years ago. For those in the US, however, it was just released on DVD last week and I had a chance to briefly talk with Robin McLeavy about taking on the role of the unforgettable Lola:
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Can you tell me how you became involved with The Loved Ones and what drew you to Lola?
Robin McLeavy: At the time, I was playing Catherine the Great with the Sydney Theater Company. We were performing political coups in the play and killing people, so I already had a hand in the murdering side of things [laughs]. I don’t normally go for horror films, but as soon as I read that there was a female antagonist, I was instantly excited.
I really enjoyed the script and loved how sociopathic she was. I auditioned for Sean and figured we later realized that he and I went to the same high school for a moment. We did a few auditions, and Sean and I were on the same page creatively. I really loved how unhinged Lola was…
How did you develop and fine tune Lola from what was initially on the page to what we saw in the film?
Robin McLeavy: My initial instinct is to work with what I know and then do a lot of research to get away from that and be more creative. I was weary of becoming slightly sociopathic when I took on this role, because I’m a little prone to influence. I read Oliver Sack’s books, talking about how vivid mental illness can be and that the illusions in your mind can be like a wonderland. I love the way he doesn’t judge, but observes and describes mental illness.
Sean also put together a lot of reference material of Cinderalla-type characters and the young female obsession with being feminine and girly. He actually based Lola on his five year old niece who refuses to wear anything, but pink. I started observing little girls to get that kind of vulnerability and keep Lola naive in a sense, so you could get really inside of the character instead of judging her as a pure sociopath. We said all throughout the shoot that Lola is a normal girl, she’s just misunderstood [laughs].
Playing Lola appeared to be a very physically demanding role. What were some of your biggest challenges while filming?
Robin McLeavy: I really loved shooting fight sequences, so I loved the fight in the kitchen with Xavier when he escapes and punches me in the face. I love the physical stuff, but the challenge was working in that space. When you have twenty or so people in that small room, plus lights, it starts to get really hot and claustrophobic, so that was challenging.
The toughest thing shooting this kind of movie was where my mental state resided every evening when I went to bed. I actually developed a twitch in my eye and took up smoking, which I don’t do normally. I had some weird nervous ticks developing, so I’m thankful that it was only a 21 day shoot.
This movie filmed back in 2009 and has been screening around the world since, so you’ve been promoting and talking about this movie for quite some time. Have you been offered many horror roles over the last few years? Is being typecast something you’re worried about?
Robin McLeavy: Yeah, Lola will not leave me… [laughs]. I have been offered other horror roles, but I specifically did not want to take on anything for fear of being typecast. However, I did Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but I was playing Nancy Lincoln, so that worked well for me, but still let me get involved in a horror film.
“Hell hath no fury…like a prom queen scorned in the horrifying thriller THE LOVED ONES, debuting on DVD (with UltraViolet™), On Demand and for Digital Download on September 11, 2012 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Winner of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness People’s Choice award, THE LOVED ONES is “brutal, bloody and black as all hell” (Rolling Stone) and “a beautiful, fresh and engaging horror film that’s a must see” (Bloody Disgusting). When Brent (Xavier Samuel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) rejects his classmate Lola’s (Robin McLeavy, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) invitation to the prom, he sets off a chain of events that leave him the victim of her twisted revenge. Now he’s the only guest at Lola’s terrifying and demented prom, and must fight to survive what could be his final dance. Will Brent live through this nightmare of drills, nails, glitter and syringes…or become one of Lola’s “loved ones”?”