Apartment 1303 3D is a remake of the Japanese horror movie of the same name, and is the first independent horror movie to see a 3D theatrical release. The movie is already available on VOD services and starts its limited theatrical run this week, and we were offered the opportunity to interview Julianne Michelle. Continue reading to learn about her time on set, her love of horror movies, and what’s next:
Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us. Apartment 1303 3D is your first horror film. What attracted you to the role of Janet?
Julianne Michelle: Thank you, Jonathan! Janet appealed to me because she’s different from the characters I usually play, who tend to be very complex, conflicted, and often posed with a life defining challenge. In my last film, Awakened (with Steven Bauer, Edward Furlong, John Savage, Stelio Savante, Sally Kirkland, and Bryan Dechart), I play a girl who returns home to avenge her mother’s death and is convinced her father murdered her mother.
In The House is Burning (with Melissa Leo) I play a drug addict who regrets having an abortion and is still in love with her ex boyfriend who is now dating her best friend. In the play, Smither, I played a psychophrenic with seven different personalities. I have done lighter roles such as the precocious school girl in Sweet Lorraine (with Tatum O’Neal), and I enjoy mixing things up. So when I was offered this role, I was excited to play Janet, who is more innocent and naive, a little impetuous, and even a little ditsy. She hasn’t endured a lot of adversity yet, barring her mother’s strange behavior, until of course, she moves into Apartment 1303.
What is unique about Apartment 1303 is that it’s intended to be scary but with traces of humor. I was told to take my character over the top at times just to indulge in a bit of satire to the genre. Where most of us would usually just run for the hills, characters in horror flicks almost invariably choose to be brave and stick around when in imminent danger. Of course they have to be or the movie would be over in 20 min! So we embraced this while offering frights at the same time.
In general, are you a fan of horror films? What are some of your favorites? Or what are some of the movies that scared you into not watching them any more?
Julianne Michelle: Growing up, I watched a fair share. My sister had worked at a studio where they had access to a number of horror films in their archives. So she would send me copies of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen, The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, and countless others including sequels! I would watch these whenever I was home from school sick. Perhaps that’s why I don’t scare too easily in the theatre!
Till this day, my favorites include: Pyscho, Rosemary’s Baby, and Halloween. Watching Halloween during Halloween is pretty much a family tradition. It never gets old. There is something about the older films which cannot be replicated today. Perhaps it is the age that brings a certain eeriness to the whole experience. I also don’t believe that a lot of gore and special effects are necessary to incite a good scream. They can be there, but it must be done tastefully otherwise it’s not taken seriously by the audience. I think that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw franchises did a good job balancing this.
This movie is based on the Japanese horror film, Apartment 1303, from 2007. Had you watched the movie prior to filming? How similar is it to the new movie?
Julianne Michelle: Yes I had watched the movie prior to filming so I could get a sense of what was expected. However, there are a lot of differences. In both stories, my character declares her independence by leaving home and moving into her own apartment which turns out to be haunted. However, in this version, the backstories of the characters are different and more time is spent with my character reacting to the strange occurrences in the apartment. She is tormented and beaten by the ghost. She’s talking to herself a lot as well, as she begins to doubt her own sanity.
Can you tell me about your experience working with director Michael Taverna?
Julianne Michelle: I had a pleasant experience working with everyone on set! Michael certainly had a lot on his plate- directing, writing, and producing the show!
Since Michael Taverna also wrote the script, did you have a chance to provide creative input on your character or improvise during filming?
Julianne Michelle: We didn’t really have an opportunity to improvise because we had to follow the script. I really value improvisation especially with films like this, but everyone works differently.
Where there any scenes you were involved in that were changed or did not make the final cut?
Julianne Michelle: All of the scenes I shot made the cut. However, due to time constraints, there was a scene that we didn’t get to shoot, a scene where I witness a robbery and shooting downstairs of my apartment building.
Have you had a chance to watch the final film? What did you think about the movie and the use of 3D?
Julianne Michelle: No, I haven’t had a chance to see the final film. I plan to watch this week!
Can you tell our readers about your upcoming projects? Do you have plans to appear in another horror film any time soon?
Julianne Michelle: Yes! Awakened, as mentioned above, is a mystery drama with both psychological and supernatural elements in which I play a girl who returns home to find her mother’s killer. I was so fortunate to work with such a talented cast; Steven Bauer, Edward Furlong, Sally Kirkland, Stelio Savante, and Bryan Dechart are incredible. I also wrote and composed a few songs for the soundtrack which also includes original works by Cole Rumbough and Lauren Lawrence.
“Having grown up under the controlling grip of her fame-hungry mother (Rebecca De Mornay), Janet Slate (Julianne Michelle) jumps at the opportunity to move into what looks to be a great high-rise apartment in downtown Detroit. Yet some deals are too good to be true as one night her boyfriend Mark (Corey Sevier) finds her in the middle of the street – having fallen from the balcony thirteen stories above. When her sister Lara (Mischa Barton) tries to investigate the mystery of what happened, she moves into the same apartment and encounters the odd neighbors in the building, including an eerie nine-year old girl who seems to somehow know the real reason for Janet’s fall. Lara soon realizes that her sister’s death might spell the same fate for her unless she can overcome the strange events that are terrorizing the inhabitants in Apartment 1303. Using innovative 3D shooting techniques, director Michael Taverna creates a tense supernatural thriller that is adapted from a novel by Kei Ôishi.”
Apartment 1303 3D was directed by Michael Taverna and stars Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, and Julianne Michelle.