The two actors talk about the torturous process of making Eli Roth's horror flick!
Derek Richardson is a funny guy. It just seeps out of his pours. And he has a likable face. If you hated his first film, the sequel Dumb and Dumberer, then you might get off on watching him be tortured and killed in Eli Roth's new Miike-ish faux-snuff film Hostel. But after you meet him in person, you kind of feel bad for his cinematic fate. He's basically a good guy. And doesn't deserve the pain. But newcomer Barbara (how do you say it) Nedeljakova sure likes to give it too him in spades. The duo recently sat down with Movieweb to discuss their coy on-screen relationship…
Barbara, how did Eli discover you?
Barbara Nedeljakova: He found me in a Prague casting agency and invited me from my picture.
You were already pursuing acting?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Yes.
Do you have a long career in Prague film?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I've been acting for six years. I have a contract with a marionette theater and I did auditions and got some parts in Czech movies between then and now, small parts. This is my biggest part yet.
What was it like being the femme fatale?
Barbara Nedeljakova: It was an incredible experience for me. I had a really good time, so much fun on the set and it was really good to work with these people. Derek here, as well as the various other actors were really good, so it was easy to play with.
How did you feel about the film's portrayal Slovakia?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I think this is a really interesting vision of Slovakia. It's not really that scary of a place. It's actually nice, beautiful. The people are friendly and look normal, not scary. It's a little bit different than reality.
Derek, how is it being the dupe to the femme fatale?
Derek Richardson: Oh, geez, it's good. To have a beautiful woman lure you in, and Josh is that character who has no idea what's going on, I don't think anyone really has any idea until late. She was fantastic, just made all the scenes easier. Here's this guy who's kind of reserved and kind of dorky, and he goes in and gets this beautiful woman. How real is that? Probably not so much. He's just like, "We need to come. Here all the time." It's fantastic.
Is it weird watching you die?
Derek Richardson: Yeah, a little bit, but ultimately it's just a movie. I mean, it's weird because just seeing it, just knowing those days are really tough and long and draining, and then seeing it up there. It's not me. I'm worried about my mom seeing that stuff. She'll freak out. That won't happen.
How did you explain how you were spending those couple months?
Derek Richardson: I got eight drills in me the other day and my neck got slit. Yeah, I just wouldn't tell her. We had a lot of sex, smoked a lot of pot and I got killed.
Has your family seen it yet?
Derek Richardson: My sister saw it the other day at the screening. She loved it and she actually watched all of it. She only covered her eyes once! It's a great little movie.
Were there any moments that freaked you out?
Derek Richardson: The eyeball. I had read the script so I knew it was coming but the eyeball really killed me. The Achilles- - the Achilles in any movie always kills me right from the first time I saw it in Pet Cemetery . I can't put my legs over the bed. But yeah, the scene that killed me was when Kana really sees her face and then realized she can't live and jumps in front of the train. That just kills me.
Barbara how did you get involved in puppeteering?
Barbara Nedeljakova: It was through my friend. I met her and she was like, "We're looking for people. We're going to do a new play and it's a marionette theater." I never had any experience with that so I just signed up for an audition and it was really fun. I had no idea how to manipulate with those marionettes and it took me probably six months to learn how to do it. I started to work on the play Don Giovanni, Mozart. It was really fun. We can joke around behind the stage and do silly things and people don't know anything about it.
Will you miss that if you don't get to do it anymore?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I'm going to miss the people who I worked with because the same group whom I worked with for five years, so it almost feels like family. We know each other, we talk about everything so yeah, But this is fun!
What was your first meeting with Quentin like?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I met him the first time at a festival, and it was really fun. He was a really nice guy and really obsessed with movies and talking about movies. It was so many geeks and I have no idea what they're talking about. I really wanted to join the conversation but I didn't understand. So it was just like trying to be focused on the conversation but I realized that my English wasn't well enough to understand. But I really like him. I think he's a genius and I really like his movies.
Given the language barrier, how did Eli explain his views on nudity in horror films?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Nudity in horror, it wasn't that difficult to understand what he wanted. He explained that because we had a conversation that it was my problem in the beginning that there was nudity. I was fine with violence. It's just my problem with nudity and we found a way to be both satisfied and comfortable about it. He did a compromise for me that I thought in some scenes, it's not necessary to be that, so I was thinking that I could be wearing a bra and t-shirt and he said okay, we can do that.
How hard is it to have a long scene of dialogue when you're sitting there topless?
Barbara Nedeljakova: It was long (laughs). It felt so weird. I was trying to find some way that I can be just profile, not really front. Yeah, I would just think about it as acting. It's supposed to be there and I don't know.
In the film they say that it costs $25,000 to kill an American. What would you spend $25,000 on?
Derek Richardson: Probably a bar tab somewhere. I definitely wouldn't kill people. Wouldn't go to a whorehouse. What would I do? I'd probably travel. Probably go down to Chile. I don't know. For random. Or I'd get a bar tab?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Bar tab?
Derek Richardson: Yeah, you know, you go to a bar; you're like, "25 grand for the rest of my life."
What would you do, Barbara?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Because I'm moving here, I would probably spend this money on all this stuff. Find an apartment, car and all the things that I have to deal with.
What doors has Hostel opened for you?
Barbara Nedeljakova: If this movie does well I hope there is going to be another opportunity to be in other movies.
Are you having meetings while you're here?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Yeah, I was talking to some managers and I'm going back to Prague and then I'm moving here, so just when the movie comes out I'm going to have some meetings with agents.
Is any of your family moving with you?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I don't know. It's really difficult to get a visa now, so I don't know if it's going to be possible. But I would like to. They've never been here.
So Derek we heard that you had trouble with the exchange rate?
Derek Richardson: Did Hernandez bring that up? By the way, that was all him because I remember, I was changing money and this guy's like, "Oh, do it with me. Do it with me." And I was like, "I don't know, you think I should do it with this guy? Why not do it right here?" And he's like, "This guy's got a better exchange rate." I'm like, "Do you think so?" He's like, "Just do it, dude. Do it." And I was like, "All right, Jay Hernandez, I will." (Laughs) So I did it and as soon as I brought it to the thing, there was a big sign that's like, "This money isn't real. It's from Turkey or something." And he's like, "Dude, I'll buy you a dinner, it's cool."
Barbara Nedeljakova: So you found this guy?
Derek Richardson: Oh, but yeah, later on we found him. I thought Jay was going to beat him up. He's like, "Give us are money? We know who you are!" And then he gave us half of our money back. We're like, "We know you've got more. Open up your pockets." How random? But you know, Prague is pretty small and that guy goes from kiosk to kiosk just being like, "Hey, you need fake money? I got it for you." Freakin' Hernandez killed me on that one. I still have the bill. I brought it back just as a reminder, like yeah, I got screwed in Prague. But yeah, it was so funny. And we were like- - the first week, we're such tourists. That can happen anywhere. I'm surprised that didn't happen in the movie.
What other horror movies do you like?
Barbara Nedeljakova: The Shining.
Derek Richardson: The Shining is a classic. I like The Vanishing. I don't really know if that's billed as a thriller or a horror movie but that movie's so perfect. Eli gave me a bunch of movies like Audition with crazy torture scenes similar to some of these but not really. The needles, oh my god.
Did working with Eli open you up to a whole new world of horror movies?
Derek Richardson: Absolutely. Yeah, he's like an encyclopedia of just movies. So like the Wicker Man, which I love and had never seen before, and then Audition and then just weird ones like Suicide Girls. If you have knowledge of those films, you can see some of that clearly in Cabin Fever, but that seems more like glorified B movies kind of stuff. This stuff is just like hardcore horror, like Audition felt with the exploitation and all that. You see the head- - there was a shot, in the subway, in that suicide, where the head blows up or she falls on the train and it's very similar to the one in Hostel except they don't show that. Because it doesn't look real (laughs).
Did you get to meet Takashi Miike?
Derek Richardson: I didn't which was too bad because I'd just been starting to watch his movies. I was like, ‘This guy's crazy.'
Barbara Nedeljakova: I did. I have a scene with him. It was very interesting. He was a nice guy and then I found his movies, Audition, Ichi the Killer.
Derek Richardson: He really pushes the envelope. He also sent me Visitor Q. Oh, my dear lord. Every scene you're like, "What is she doing with her breast?" Every scene continues to top him. I feel like it's kind of like this movie. When I first read it, I was like just right from the toe getting cut off to the eyeballs, continues to top itself.
Barbara, what was it like seeing yourself killed on screen and have audiences cheer?
Barbara Nedeljakova: It felt great. I think that scene's really good, my death. And that people really hate me and cheer for that, it makes me just feel good. They really hate me. I have done my job. It's supposed to be like that.
Are you worried you'll be typecast in these roles?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Yeah, maybe they will. We'll see. I'm fine with that, being evil. I can be evil again.
Anything coming up after Hostel?
Derek Richardson: No, I need something. Just been sort of reading. I just want to do something that's not another horror movie and maybe a comedy or something. Something that's just different than the last thing.
You don't prefer horror?
Derek Richardson: No, I love doing this movie. This is my favorite thing working on, but comedy's fun. You don't have to get tortured and just be miserable for day. It's lighter if it's good. There are so many bad comedies out there. I've been in one .
Better being tortured than the torture of?
Derek Richardson: The torture of the box office, yes, definitely. What are you going to do? The reviews, 19 on netcritic or something.
So you did read the reviews?
Derek Richardson: I didn't read them all, but someone showed it to me and I was like, "This is awesome." I don't generally read reviews but someone was like check this out. It's the worst reviewed movie ever. I was like, "Thanks buddy."
At what point did you realize it was not turning out well?
Derek Richardson: You kinda know when you read it. When you read something, you're like, "Oh, we're going to make the best of this." And then when you're doing it though, you're like, "Oh, these scenes are- -" You don't know. You're not directing it. You're not- - you feel like there's some chemistry, some good chemistry, you feel like it's going well. When you see the test groups, you know. The laughs aren't there. You're screwed. That's when you get it in front of an audience. Same for Hostel. When you see people clapping and really excited when they're driving you over, you're like, "The audience is into it." You just gauge it that way.
We heard the stuntwomen that were hit by the car were really tough.
Derek Richardson: Oh yeah. When you get hit, you get nailed, that woman got nailed and fell on the ground on the cobblestones. I saw that. She hit so hard. I was just like, "Are you okay?" She has the pads on but not really.
Barbara Nedeljakova: And she was like nothing. "Yeah, okay, let's do it again."
Where are some cool places you've traveled?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I've been traveling, like I've been doing this promo tour around the US and it's kind of cool because this is my first time here and I'm here only these three weeks, so I haven't seen so much of the city but I think many places like Boston, Washington, Chicago are cool cities.
Favorite US City?
Barbara Nedeljakova: From what I've seen, my favorite is probably Boston and Chicago. And I like Los Angeles.
When did you start learning English?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Two and a half years ago and I really didn't- - I learned French before and I didn't understand English. It was really annoying me that I could not understand and talk to people that I worked with. So I just decided to really intensively start learning English and I took school for a year where I had English every day for four hours. I had an exam with a Czech teacher and speaking with a teacher from New York City. It was the best thing because it's every day. It was intense.
Hostel is in theaters everywhere now.