Back in April I got the chance to chat with the beeeeyaautiful Sara Foster while she was over in the UK promoting her new fright flick – the rather good “Psych 9”. It’s out on DVD in the UK this week, so I thought now would be a great time to publish the interview (that and they wouldn’t let me post it until now). “Psych 9” is about a woman working the night shift at a weird hospital, and as this is a horror film, things go a bit funky. It also stars one of the most underrated actors ever – Cary Elwes – and Michael Biehn, but it’s Sara Foster who demands the most attention. Not just because I don’t fancy Cary Elwes or Michael Beihn, but mainly because she’s suitably impressive in a role that requires her to be centre of attention for pretty much the entire film. It’s a long way from 90210, something which we also had a chat about – so if you’re interested, read on:
(If you’re not, well, then, umm, er, go away then.)
GO: How did you come to get involved with “Psych 9”?
Sara Foster: I think that the actress they had lined up fell through, so I was offered a go! My agents talked to me about it and then to the producers about possibly giving me an audition. They said they wanted to see my reel, so my agents sent it – they liked the reel and said ‘Alright, let’s have her come in and audition.’ I did it, they came back and said ‘Ok, we like your audition, we think you can do it,’ and I said ‘Thank you very much for nothing!’
GO: Really? Oh no!
SF: I didn’t think I would get the job and when I did get it so many thoughts went through my head. So I said ‘Thank you but no thank you!’ All the thoughts were saying I was scared and intimidated – this kind of role is not a supporting role, you have nobody else. If you can’t hack it, if you can’t hit the emotional beats when you need to hit them – in pretty much every scene – the movie won’t work at all, so it’s a lot of pressure. It’s a pressure that I have never had before – I was afraid, so instead of saying yes, I ran away and hid! But then everyone in my life said ‘You have to do this, you never know when this opportunity may present itself again. You are totally afraid of this, but you only live once – go for it.’ So I did.
It’s safe to say that my confidence has definitely changed after doing this. My first break out was a movie called “The Big Bounce” with Morgan Freeman and Owen Wilson – it was not a great movie, I was not good in it, and I was in a bikini a lot of the time. I was grateful for the opportunity – extremely grateful – but you get type-cast and pigeon-holed, as in ‘She’s ok, but she’s not really good.’ It’s hard being a young girl in Hollywood and being blond – you automatically can’t act and you’re automatically a fake. I’d never got a platform before to show that ‘Wait a minute, yes I can!’ So with this movie I was grateful for the opportunity to finally show it.
SF: Sure, to dive into it the way that I did – I knew that the only way it was going to work was to eat, sleep and breathe Roslyn. So I did just that, I spent two months basically shut out from the outside world.
GO: What about when you had to go a bit…
GO: Yeah, like in the mental scene in the chair?
SF: I just went for it – I also had a good relationship with the director and he gave me a lot of freedom to go for it. I don’t work well with directors who are breathing down my neck and hanging on every word and every beat – it just shuts me down. This is the kind of role where you cannot be shut down otherwise you are not going to get through, but we had a good thing, Andrew and I.
GO: What was it like working with Cary Elwes and Michael Biehn?
SF: Obviously they are major actors, they have been around forever – in “Terminator”, “Princess Bride”, “Kiss the Girls”, “Saw” – they have done many great films, so it was really nice. It is definitely nerve-racking but I found that with these guys, they are the most humble and kind of helped me the most. It’s the actors new on the scene that have more attitude and ego. Cary and I had a lot of hard stuff to do together, we had heavy, heavy scenes. It has to be a team effort with this kind of scene and has to be done together – he was helpful, not in the sense that he would take me aside and give me tips, but in that he almost didn’t do that. It was like a reverse psychology, a reverse effect – it was like letting me do my thing, it gave me more confidence. A few times he would come over after a take and say something as simple as “You nailed that,” and that’s more helpful than anything to be honest.
SF: He’s so funny! But the mood on the set was…
GO: It’s not exactly a comedy is it!
SF: No! I had never experienced a set like that. I’m used to light sets where everyone is laughing, smiling and joking around, but with this one I spent a lot of my time in a corner with my iPod. We weren’t drinking beers on this set! That being said, Cary and I developed a really nice friendship, we got to know each other and we went through a lot together on that movie.
GO: Was it a set or was it a real hospital?
SF: We had 3 to 4 locations. The majority was shot at Barrandov studios [in Prague], the main hospital was a set but other parts of the hospital – the therapy room and the bathroom – were in a different location, that was in an old mental institution.
GO: I guess that must have been pretty scary!
SF: Yeah! There’s an eeriness to Prague. In the winter it’s creepy, even though it’s one of the most beautiful cities – there is so much history there – but the cobbled stone streets and dark skies in the winter, it was scary for sure.
GO: The scenes in the old mental institutions – was it made to look dirty and run-down or was that how it actually was?
SF: Well the stages were obviously clean, but the other locations were a mess. At one of the locations, there were homeless people living there like the day before we started shooting.
GO: Really? Wow! “Psych 9” is obviously a horror film, but what made you choose that certain type of horror? What if you had been given a main role in a slasher movie – would you have gone for that?
SF: I don’t tend to watch those kind of movies – I don’t like violence! I’m not really good at watching people get maimed and decapitated, it’s not really how I would like to spend my free time. But who knows, some of the greatest movies ever made are horror movies – I mean Hitchcock was a genius, so if Hitchcock was around and he wanted me, I would be free! Or Stanley Kubrick – that’s the kind of gore I could handle!
GO: So it’s always the script that matters?
SF: Yeah, it’s always contingent, absolutely. It’s hard for me to speculate – I don’t know, if the right horror movie presented itself and they wanted me and I was right for it, I would be open to it for sure.
GO: Moving away from horror – obviously you’re a big part of “90210”…
SF: I’m so evil on that!
GO: Yeah, i was going to say! Is that the kind of part you like to play? Because it’s completely different to “Psych 9”!
SF: I am slowly really broadening my horizons here with my craft. I was not drawn to “90210”, I was drawn to this character Jen – I mean there’s no other villain like her on television. I do not know of anyone who is capable of being as malicious, vindictive and evil as she is, so it’s definitely fun to go to work and live vicariously through Jen because I don’t have a bone in my body that is capable of what she does – and she goes to sleep fine at night!
GO: If I was an actor I think that would be the kind of part I’d like to play – although obviously a male version!
SF: Oh, it’s great fun – I keep telling the writers “Please don’t ever make her nice!” I think there has been talk of softening her up a bit but I mean, you can’t!
GO: Have you ever thought about doing any other TV?
SF: I love television, I mean some of the best writing is happening in television right now – I love it, so yeah.
GO: Have you had any other offers for TV recently?
SF: There have been things but right now I am so committed to “90210” because I’m so committed to Jen – I mean, I created her from scratch, I’m attached to her and I want to bring that to fruition, I want to see where we can take her. I wouldn’t want to leave right now and do something else, but maybe when it has run its course, when there is nothing left for Jen to do then it will be time.
GO: Do they let you run wild with the character? Like you did with “Psych 9”?
SF: No, with television there’s not as much freedom to ad-lib and do your own thing – it’s more structured, you can’t get away with as much, you’ve got to go by the book. I sometimes try the odd thing, like, maybe she wakes up one morning [puts on a British accent] and she has a bit of a British accent! And they say ‘Yeah, ok, you can do that!’ They let me get away with a few things here and there but for the most part, no!
GO: So what’s next for you?
SF: I finished a movie recently that’s coming out at the end of this year called “Demoted” – it’s an office comedy and it’s laugh out loud all the way through, so it’s a little different from “Psych 9”! It stars Michael Vartan from “Alias”, and also David Cross and Sean Astin – it’s really good, I’m really proud of it.
SF: I would love to get on the tube and take it to Wimbledon, because it’s usually so crazy when I am there, so I’d like to go when there is nothing going on, see if I can hop a fence and walk through the grounds and do something illegal. I also want to go to Top Shop – that is a major priority! I have a long list of things I have to bring back for my sisters. I need to get a cheeseburger at Wolseley – these are the important things.
GO: It doesn’t matter about Psych 9, obviously.
SF: (laughs) No! I would also like to cure cancer at some point, but I don’t know if that is in my cards.
GO: Great, well I think that’s everything for today then.
SF: Nothing else for me? (sarcastically) FINE!
GO: Thank you very much for chatting with me today!
SF: Thank you! See you.
GO: Thanks, bye!
“Psych 9” is out now on Region 2 DVD from Universal