In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, Karli Hall and Amanda Kathleen Ward talk surviving in the woods from psychotic killers in They’re Inside. Hall and Ward discuss being in a state of constant tension throughout They’re Inside as sisters, Robin and Cody.
When two sisters, Robin [Karli Hall] and Cody [Amanda Kathleen Ward], go to an isolated cabin in the woods to film a passion project, family secrets start to get in the way…as do masked strangers filming a passion project of their own.
With They’re Inside now available on VOD and Blu-Ray, Karli Hall and Amanda Kathleen Ward reveal how they found the personal truths behind their roles, getting into the headspace of their characters, and diving into the movie-within-a-movie aspect. Check out our review before we head into the actor’s studio to discuss the craft of moviemaking.
Villain Media: How did you become involved in the project?
Amanda Kathleen Ward: I did a self audition tape for this project. I got a callback for the role. It was pretty cool!
Karli Hall: Same for me. It was a self-submitted thing online. I sent in a self tape. Actually in the callback, we were paired together; Amanda [Kathleen Ward] and I. We did the callback with Schuyler [Brumley] and JP [John-Paul Panelli]. And I remember going in the callback saying, “This going to be so great!” [laughs]
VM: They’re Inside has such a documentary vibe. Tell me about acting to the camera, speaking to the camera, but not.
KH: It took some time getting used to for sure. You’re supposed to be aware of the camera. In a typical film, you would just ignore it. For me, once I got into my character, I got the feeling of making a movie in a movie. It comes naturally. I did what Robin would do. If she was going to look into the camera, she would make an expression. Then I would do that. Generally, I got used to it pretty quickly. It was nice to be aware of the camera and act like that.
AKW: The film becomes another character in the story, especially for my character, Cody. In the beginning, she loves the camera. She’s all about it. She adds things that are happening. There’s another force against her. It’s more a relationship to play with in the film.
VM: They’re Inside has an interesting theme about using art to replicate real-life intimate instances. Audiences can relate especially with All That Jazz and Fosse/Vernon. Cody and Robin have different viewpoints on the topic. Did you agree with your character or did you have to build towards it?
KH: I had a discussion about this before we started. With Robin, she uses her experience to make this art form. She goes through it on her own. It’s still therapy but it’s kind of selfish. It’s to find that truth in her. She was trying to deal with these horrible experiences in her life. Art is a good way to do that; it’s a blessing. It’s a wonderful outlet, but it was hard. The way Robin was doing it, felt icky at times. I don’t agree necessarily how she did it. It’s great that people can find a really positive outlet; whether it’s negative or not.
AKW: With Cody, it’s an interesting relationship. She’s so optimistic. It’s an opportunity to fix the relationship in her life. But as it developed, she feels like it’s this huge invasion. It’s so personal. She’s never dealt with her personal truth in a healthy way. To project that on-screen, for a lot of people, it became so much larger than herself. I can connect with her. Who wants to share their darkest secrets? She felt like it as a invasion of herself. Her personal truths, which she had buried, were being revealed. It’s so ironic. It could have been a moment in Cody’s life where she dealt with these things, but that’s not the story we told.
VM: How did They’re Inside change you?
AKW: I think we both learned a lot about being able to cry! [Laughs] It’s such a great learning experience! That’s what so cool about being an actor. It’s an art where you can always learn more. It’ so amazing to be in an art like that. Fo me, I loved being with these characters. It was fun thing to live in and explore during the shooting. It’s always fun to see the final edit. I learn what I could work on in the future.
KH: I remember coming into it. This is the first feature film where I was the lead. Oh man, it’s going to be hard. The arc is there, but it’s different from any other project; a small or large role. You do the work. You read who this person is. You find it inside you. I learned to let go of the fear a little bit, and just give myself over to the project, to the character. It became an amazing learning experience for me! I hope to take what I learned to more projects.
VM: How can the readers of Villain Media find your movie?
AKW: We know this!
KH: You can order it on iTunes.
AKW: I think we’re doing Amazon Prime as well.
KH: Good one! You see! We have this great rapport!
VM: I don’t what to say much about the ending, but it’s such an intense scene and you both bring in your A-game. Tell me about being in that moment.
AKW: I think JP [John-Paul Panelli] did a really good job setting this up for success. He would organize the days where our scenes would progress in order. It would progress to slow intensity to high intensity. So we’re slowly building up to that day, so that each scene would be more and more intense. He also created a scale because Cody is the most emotional character in the film. What number was she at for each scene? What was driving her from the scene before? What else do you think, Karli?
KH: It was interesting. We’re all together in this twisted portrait. That was all shot on the same day. It was a different feel for me. It was a little bit difficult. I never felt uncomfortable. We were doing scenes that required taking us to a dark place. It was easier to get there. I was feeling that heaviness. Robin was trapped in this room. All that intensity wasn’t hard to get there. Everybody was great off-set. We were focused. It was a different feel and atmosphere.
VM: What are you working on now?
KH: Yeah Amanda!
AKW: I just shot a commercial. Woking on other films. I’m excited for what’s next!
KH: I’m working in a couple of workshops. It’s going great! Commercials to be released. Classes are really important, not just for connections and networking, but primarily woking on our craft.
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]
They’re Inside is now available on VOD and Blu-Ray.