Rachel Blanchard Interview

The actress talks about her threesome with Kevin Bacon & Colin Firth and her new controversial film, Where the Truth Lies

When the very private relationship between Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis became very public, it was only a matter of time until a book about their lives went into publication.

Not ever fully identifying the two stars, Rupert Holmes wrote the book Where the Truth Lies. Director Atom Egoyan recently made Holmes' novel into a film starring Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, and Alison Lohman.

The film became very controversial because of one scene involving a threesome between Colin, Kevin, and Rachel Blanchard; it was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA.

Atom, along with the stars and producer, Robert Lantos decided to release the film as unrated.

Rachel and Robert talked about making the film; Rachel also gave up a little info on her upcoming film with Samuel L. Jackson, Snakes on a Plane.

Check out what both of them had to say:

What attracted you to this role?

Rachel Blanchard: I've been a big fan of Atom's for a long time and when I got the script I was really excited because I knew he was involved and then I read the script and I really liked the script on its own. In terms of the character of Maureen, even though she didn't have a lot of screen time, she had a really interesting art; when you play the young girl a lot, you can be in the movie a lot and have nothing to do, so I just found her really interesting.

Playing a role like this, how hard was it to transition to your next role?

Rachel Blanchard: I don't think I did this to make a transition specifically, but I think as a person, it's a natural evolution of wanting to play different characters.

Was there more of your work that was shot and didn't make it to the final cut?

Rachel Blanchard: There was one scene where I was in a lobster crate, in a fantasy sequence, but I was still dead.

How awkward was it to shoot that pivotal scene with the two guys?

Rachel Blanchard: For me, it wasn't awkward at all; the night before, I thought I should be a little nervous, but I wasn't. So maybe I should have talked myself into thinking that I was a little nervous so when I got on set, I could have been completely caught off guard by something. The scene itself was certainly complicated, but Atom, Kevin and Colin were such gentleman that they were in the same boat as well, so it made me feel at ease.

What was comfortable about doing a nude scene like this?

Rachel Blanchard: I was never apposed or sought out nudity, but it was necessary in this film. If they didn't have the nudity, but they still had the scenes – because sex is used as a power tool in this movie – I feel it would have felt self conscious and I think the scene is meant for you to feel uncomfortable.

Besides from that one scene, how was working with Kevin and Colin?

Rachel Blanchard: They were fantastic, they never made me feel like the small newcomer at all; they're just amazing actors and I found them really interesting to just watch and it was a great experience.

Did you get any tips from them?

Rachel Blanchard: Not specifically, but just watching them I realized what a difference it makes when you're working with people who can really act.

How did you prepare for this character?

Rachel Blanchard: Because she didn't have a lot of screen time, I wanted to do something for her so I started to create a journal. I have a friend who's a journalist and so I was really intrigued on what was driving this girl and a lot of that was in journalism.

How hard is it to play dead?

Rachel Blanchard: I'm actually really good at it; I used to practice it as a kid.

Why do you think this film got the rating it got?

Robert Lantos: It has a lot more to do with the political climate in America today than it does with the film. It wouldn't have had this rating five years ago. There's nothing graphic in this film on screen; you can look at it, but you won't be able to see it, it's not there. There's nothing graphic sexually that's not about the story telling. If you try to appeal to the MPAA from an NC-17 rating - which is a kiss of death – we actually made cuts in the film. But the threesome, if you try to start making cuts, then you won't be able to find out what the story is about. Cause if you can't see what's going on there, then the rest doesn't make sense. And in our final appeal, they voted to uphold – or rather 6 out of 10 MPAA voters decided to change – but you need a 2/3rd majority to overturn a previous decision and it wasn't quite enough. So we then we said ‘to hell with them' and ‘take your rating back' and we decided to release the film unrated. We put everything back in so what you're seeing is the original cut.

Is unrated any less of a kiss of death?

Robert Lantos: No, except it's a statement saying that we don't accept this. Since THINKFilm is not a member of the MPAA, they have the option of doing this.

What was the casting process like?

Robert Lantos: When Atom and I started going over the cast, we had to distance ourselves from the book, because the book is clearly about Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. We didn't want to make a film about specific people and get into opening up a whole can of worms. So we needed a way to cast the film where no one would be able to say it was anyone specific. That's when we decided we would cast one American and one British, and Kevin is one of the greatest actors working in America. He can not only act, but he can sing and dance, and the part called for that, so that was a natural. And for the other, we needed someone who is the opposite of who he plays, and that is Colin Firth; he's so identified with playing the gentleman, romantic lead and in romantic comedies, and so by reaching out to him, we were giving him an opportunity to play something he is expected to play.

What do you play on Snakes on a Plane?

Rachel Blanchard: I play this rich, obnoxious socialite, who ends up getting thrown into economy and throws a fit. Then after all the turbulence on the plane, I see the value of life.

Do you have scenes with the snakes?

Rachel Blanchard: Everyone has scenes with the snakes. There was a 20-foot python that was a little scary, but they were all non-venomous so… There's a bit of puppetry, a little CGI, and some real snakes; there's a snake room with over 500 snakes. I was more nervous with the snakes than the nudity, with the scene with Kevin and Colin.

Where the Truth Lies opens to limited release October 21st; it's unrated. Snakes on a Plane slithers onto the big screen in the summer of 2006.