Actress Laura Vandervoort discusses her role in The Entitled, working with actors such as Ray Liotta and Kevin Zegers, future projects, and more
Actress Laura Vandervoort is no stranger to fans of genre TV fare such as Smallville, where she played Supergirl, and V, where she took on the alien role of Lisa. Fans of this gorgeous Canadian actress will see her in a completely different role in The Entitled, which was released on Blu-ray and DVD September 6. The actress took time out of her schedule to speak with me about her role in this new thriller, where she plays one of three socialite children who are kidnapped for a hefty ransom by Kevin Zegers' character (Dustin Milligan and John Bregar portray the other kidnapping victims). Here's what she had to say below.
Can you talk a bit about what really drew you into the character of Hailey and the movie itself? It's a very intriguing kind of kidnapping thriller.
Laura Vandervoort: Well, I had wanted to work with the director, Aaron Woodley. He's a great Canadian artist, and I had never really done a role like that before. A lot of the stuff I had done in the past was playing superheroes or extra-terrestrials (Laughs). Initially, I had wanted to play a weaker character, someone who needed to be saved, not someone who was doing the saving. I found her interesting. She wasn't just a rich snob, as the movie goes on, you see that Hailey has her own issues that she's dealing with.
Were any of the other cast members signed on when you first heard about this?
Laura Vandervoort: I believe, when they sent me the script, they had Kevin (Zegers) and Ray (Liotta), so obviously, that sparked my interest. I have always admired Ray Liotta's work, and Kevin is another amazing Canadian actor. When I heard Victor Garber and Stephen McHattie were all attached, that really sealed the deal for me. I had two full days with those guys, doing a scene, and just watching them perform, and how good they are with improvising, it was amazing. Victor really impressed me. He's such an incredible actor. He always stays in character, he's a genuinely nice person. Obviously, Ray Liotta did intimidate me (Laughs), but then I realized he's a really great guy as well. He had a lot of fun joking around with the crew and everything. It was fun.
You mentioned earlier that you hadn't really played a character like this before. What kinds of things would you do to get yourself in the right mindset to play Hailey?
Laura Vandervoort: Honestly, we were asked that for the behind-the-scenes, and it's funny, for those of us who played the rich, irritating, snob characters, we just joked around and said we went around and spent a lot of money and were assholes to people, demanded things (Laughs). You can't really prepare for that kind of thing. You just have to be as unlikable as possible. The great thing about Hailey is that she's actually a redeemable character, once you get past the veneer, the surface of the money and her clothing and her partying ways. She's actually a good character, and it actually brings her and her boyfriend's character together as well. Before they really took each other for granted. But no, there's really no preparation. We were running through the woods for a good portion of it, so I would go to the gym and work out, and the next day we would be running and doing our scenes, because we were the ones being chased.
Can you give us a sense of a normal day of production on this? Was the production fast-paced and was it a serious set or did they keep it fairly light?
Laura Vandervoort: We did this film in a very short period of time. I know there were days where we felt that maybe we don't have enough time, but I felt they really got the best performances out of everyone. Aaron, the director, kept it really cool on the set. When there were very serious scenes, Aaron and the crew were all really respectful of the actors to take their moments to get into it. But, in general, it was a younger cast, the six younger characters, and we all knew each other, in different ways, all being Canadian, so it was a lot of fun. There was a lot of kidding around. There were a lot of night shoots, so you get a little silly and goofy when you aren't getting that much sleep. Overall, Aaron was so great with us, and he knew how to talk to the actors. I've seen the film and I think for the time we had, and with the script we had and the actors, it really turned out well.
Especially with a movie like this, of course it would be great if there was more money or more time, but I think it's cool to see something that does work with those limitations.
Laura Vandervoort: Yeah, exactly. It challenges the actors involved to be as creative as they can with what they are given. Oftentimes, it makes it even better. There are these blockbuster movies that have four months to shoot and a huge budget and they took time with every scene. We really made it gritty and sometimes we didn't have that many takes, so it was very realistic. There maybe was some stumbling of dialogue or somebody trips while running, but that's real, and that's what makes it really cool.
Can you talk about shooting this in Ontario?
Laura Vandervoort: I'm from Toronto, and we shot a lot of it in Parry Sound, actually. We needed the wooded areas for the chase scenes, and the houses and the gas stations, things like that. Again, it's a small community and we're all put up in this hotel, so it did bring the crew and the actors together. On weekends we were all able to hang out and walk around the town, things like that.
Is it cool filming in a smaller town like that, as opposed to a bigger city like maybe Vancouver? Does the community embrace the production even more so?
Laura Vandervoort: The people from Parry Sound were really great to us, very welcoming and willing to be a part of it. I've done a lot of filming in Vancouver, and Vancouver is an incredible place to shoot, but it is a bigger city. You don't get as much freedom to shoot wherever you want.
Can you talk a bit more about working with your director, Aaron Woodley? He's an up and coming director with a few movies under his belt. How would you compare his style to other directors you've worked with in the past?
Laura Vandervoort: I'm still working with different types of directors. A lot of times, doing Smallville or V, you work with the same directors and you don't really get to meet a lot of different types of directors. With Aaron coming from the family and background that he comes from, and having seen his independent artistic movies, I felt he really understood the actors, as opposed to making this specific type of film and doing what he's told. He really got creative with it. Sometimes you feel that directors are above you, in a way. They don't really relate to you. I felt that he really came to our level and experienced it with us. He was always a part of what we were doing, sitting with us at lunch, and everything. I had seen one of his films called Rhinoceros Eyes, and that's kind of what hooked me to the movie in the end. There were all these actors attached and then I saw this film and saw how creative he was. He's just creative and artistic. A lot of times you work with directors who just do what they're told and go by the book, you know. He sees it in another way.
Laura Vandervoort:Ted was a lot of fun for me. We just wrapped that in Boston about a month ago. It has Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis as the two leads, and I played Tanya. I work at the car rental shop that Mark Wahlberg works at. I call it a guys movie. Seth MacFarlane directed it and its his kind of humor, that Family Guy type of humor. I was honored to do most of my scenes with Mark and Patrick Warburton, whose another great comedic actor. This is kind of my first chance to improvise and be goofy and be silly. My characters are usually sci-fi, which is very strict and stick to the dialogue. Seth gave us the freedom to do what we wanted. My character Tanya, other than Mila, is one of the only girl characters. Her role is she's the heart of the car rental place. All the guys are silly and goofy and Mark needs some advice on his relationship with Mila. Tanya is always there to roll her eyes at what the guys are saying, and giving him actual good advice.
Laura Vandervoort: Well, Ted is in some of the scenes that I'm in. Whenever Ted has dialogue, Seth, from behind the monitor, would do the dialogue for us. It's going to be really, really great. The script is amazing and he's so funny, and I was in awe working with Mark, but I managed to somehow still get my dialogue out (Laughs). I also have a little cameo in a movie coming out next year on Valentine's Day called This Means War, with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. That was a lot of fun. I shot that while I was finishing up V. Then I have a Christmas movie on ABC Family this year called Desperately Seeking Santa. It's a cute, fun, romantic Christmas movie, and I recently voiced Mary Jane in the new Spider-Man video games.
Sounds like you're definitely keeping busy. Is there anything that you're looking to jump on in the near future?
Laura Vandervoort: There are always things that I get really excited about, and the minute you want a job, it's that much more difficult to reach. There are a few things that we're hoping will happen, an action film we're hoping to work on, and I've always wanted to do a Western. A period piece, I still want to try a bit of everything.
I'm a huge Western fan. I wish they made more of them.
Laura Vandervoort: Well, first, the cast is so incredible. If you love thrillers, if you love movies that have a little more depth to them than just the blood and the gore, then you'll enjoy this because it has pretty much every element to it. There is romance between my character and Dustin, there the cliques you get in high school, the thriller of the ransom to the fathers, and there's a huge twist I don't think anyone will see coming. It's a good, fun film, and if you're Canadian or want to support the Canadian industry, this is definitely the film to do it with.
Great. That's about all I have for you, Laura. Thanks for talking to me. It was a pleasure.
Laura Vandervoort: Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it.