I had a wonderful opportunity to interview Alex Esso, who had a supporting role in Darren Lynn Bousmnan’s Death of Me, she gave great insight into both her character and the film, therefore please note it could contain some spoilers.
BARON CRAZE: Your character seems as the magician’s assistant we the audience know you are too convenient and helpful? How was it for you to keep that secret for a while with regard to facial/ body language or was that more of Darren direction? Curious is your character bound to the island after being healed?
ALEX ESSOE: The idea behind my character is that I’m sort of the Ruth Gordon from Rosemary’s Baby like the really helpful neighbor that always comes by with food and things tow wear around her neck and that was kind of like me I was always doting on her and giving her smoothies to drink and I have a passive, casual air about me and that is what I was trying to play. It was difficult because my part was originally written for a woman in her late 40s and would have been easier to sell the whole mother daughter relationship – it got a little complicated but I think it adds to the off putting aspect to it – it’s unnerving that I’m always with this kid she’s always around but I’m not really warm with her – we don’t hug or anything like that and at one point she calls me by my name and she says “no, it’s mom, you’re supposed to call me mom.” But as far as playing that the best thing to do with those characteristics is to not play them at all and play exactly opposite of whatever it is though if I’m playing someone with an agenda, I play it as if I have no agenda at all. I’m just someone that lives on this island and I’m sorry this is happening to you and I don’t know if I believe that you’re playing someone without any ulterior motive – how would someone who is just a witness act. This isn’t the first time my character has done this to someone – I’ve manipulated plenty of tourists into becoming human sacrifices before this so I think at this point it’s just a well-oiled machine – I didn’t want to give her a Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde moment – I take off the mask and I’m completely different. I also think that this person is not as nefarious they just believe so much in this organization/cult that they’re a part of that anything they do is justified because it’s for the greater good for a higher power – it’s basically the same way people are inducted into cults – same kind of idea.
BC: Other actors have stayed away for their opposition during the movie. Was that something you did?
AE: No, I’m not really a believer in that practice especially with a lot of the stuff we’re doing in this film – it’s very important for actors to trust each other in real life it just makes it so much easier when you have a rapport with someone and to go to those difficult places to have those difficult confrontations so we were very much buddies on set and would go for beers after shooting all day. It was a really nice sense of community – there’s just something about that idea that I’m not going to talk to the other actors because it would affect my performance it just feels like superstition to me – none of these outside things should affect your performance. Your technique should be so good instead of blaming and thinking that I shouldn’t have talked to that actor or been friends with them – it’s like the thought of do you act from the inside out or the outside in it’s kind of a silly rule to have or to be on one side or the other – everything can be used for your performance. I’ve never acted with actors like that but if I did I would have a hard time taking them seriously.
BC: I thought the film was a cross between The Serpent and the Rainbow meets The Wicker Man would that be a fair assumption?
AE: I said the exact same thing when I read the script – it’s pretty much a homage to The Wicker Man.
BC: Enjoy filming in Thailand?
AE: I loved filming in Thailand – the people are so warm and inviting – we had a Thai crew and they were so warm and hard working – they were so eager to do a good job – they weren’t cynical and were excited to be making a movie. I can’t say enough good things about working in Thailand – I would do it again in a heartbeat.
BC: Do you think your character is a villain? Do you like playing that sort of character trait?
AE: Yes, I do regardless of any outside factors or however she justifies it because of her beliefs of the cult, we all know the difference between right and wrong and we know what is or isn’t destructive behavior. I can justify her actions for myself in acting them but I can’t excuse that that type of behavior or that way of thinking in other people… I don’t know if you’ve watched any of the cult films like Wild, Wild Country or The Vow or films like that. I’m thinking we’re getting branded which is weird and a huge red flag to me, people say no it’s about empowerment; but I say no you’re going to burn my skin so now I don’t take this seriously any more there’s always a point that regardless of what I believe someone’s going to die and we all know that wrong.
BC: I wanted to thank you on behalf of The Horror Times for the interview.
AE: Thank you so much this was so much fun – great questions!
BC: Do you have any social media accounts?
AE: My Instagram is @alexessoe and so is my twitter.