This summer, trespassers will be prosecuted with terror. From writer-director Miles Doleac (Demons), comes a spine-chilling new motion picture experience in the tradition of The Green Inferno and Deliverance: Hallowed Ground. A married couple, trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair, travels to a secluded cabin and stumbles into a blood feud between the Native American owners of the property and the neighboring clan, who obsessively guard their land and punish those who trespass on it in terrifying ways.
Doleac (Banshee), Sherri Eakin (Hayride), Ritchie Montgomery (The Magnificent Seven), and Lindsay Anne Williams (The Hollow) star in an Uncork'd Entertainment release. Lindsay Anne Williams, who also produces alongside Wesley O'Mary and Michael Williams, talks to us about her most recent colloboration with Miles Doleac.
Now, before we go any further, I have to ask - how did this working relationship with Miles Doleac begin?
Lindsay Anne Williams: Miles and I had been in a relationship for about two years before we began creatively working together. We had always had similar academic interests, in fact that's how we met, but it took us a while to discover how in tune we were creatively. Once we started, though, we've essentially been constantly creating and working together ever since.
And do you think of yourselves as a Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg or is it De Niro and Scorsese?
Lindsay Anne Williams: Maybe a little more like Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton once upon a time? With a hint of Catherine Martin and Baz Luhrmann.
Which brings us to the obvious question, what has Doleac got as a filmmaker that has you coming back time and time again?
Lindsay Anne Williams: A binding contract...ha! Our working relationship is incredibly collaborative and infuses nearly every moment of our days in some way or another. Living and loving with a person with whom you are constantly able to create art is incredibly liberating. Never a dull moment on our projects.
How did you get into the business?
Lindsay Anne Williams: I've been an actor and performer since I was about 5 years old. I didn't get into film though, until much later in life. I really do have Miles to thank for that. Though I didn't get the role I initially auditioned for, his casting me as "Dawne" in The Historian, was my first role in a SAG feature film.
Was there a role that really set your career off? One that seems to be your calling card?
Lindsay Anne Williams: I wouldn't say anything has "set me off" as yet, but I certainly can scream. Sometimes a little too loudly.
And do you do it full-time? Or do you juggle acting with another gig that puts the T-Bone on the table?
Lindsay Anne Williams: I definitely don't do this for the money, though that is the goal! My day job is as a Client Specialist for the women's clothier Talbots. But I do devote the majority of my time to art and creation. Miles and I run a community theatre organization, on a volunteer basis, in addition to creating our own films with Historia Films. While I only act in films and locally on stage part-time, it's one of my true passions. I'm also a clothing and costume designer. I do that freelance, mostly, but I am working on building that business up, as design is one of my life-long loves.
Let's get to Hallowed Ground - when and how did it happen for you?
Lindsay Anne Williams: Miles and I have been talking about the story for a little over a year, and initially the lead couple was meant to have been the two of us. Eventually things changed along the way and I suggested having the couple, and therefore the leads, be two women. We were asked to participate in a Flash Film Festival for Rails to Reels in Meridian, MS, and chose to make a short film about the preceding conflict that led our couple to the events of Hallowed Ground. It served as something of a prequel and gave us a chance to play with the characters and we also were able to cast the other half of the couple in the wonderful, Sherri Eakin. She's been a friend of mine for some time and the prequel, Light & Shadow, was the first time she and I got to act together and it was a great time.
And was it shot in Mississippi, where you and Doleac are based?
Lindsay Anne Williams: It was shot entirely in Hattiesburg, MS. We actually used some of the land that belongs to my mother-in-law and father-in-law. It's really great to showcase this little piece of our home.
What was Miles looking for in your character?
Lindsay Anne Williams: On the surface, Alice can seem a little callous and selfish. She's a cheater and she's not willing to put in the work with her wife to heal the rift and just wants instant results. But in the lurch, she has her priorities in the right place. Miles loves finding the "gray" in people. None of his characters, protagonists or antagonists, are written to be purely good or purely evil, so I think it's really important to Miles to have an actor who can play up the two-sided nature that is intrinsic in all human beings.
Is it important to play horror as serious as possible - even in the most fantastical moments?
Lindsay Anne Williams: I think it's important to be serious about any kind of film you're making. If your actors haven't bought into the action of the film, how on earth can the audience be expected to buy in? I think horror is pretty easy to get in the head space of. It's pretty hard to not take something seriously when a gun is pressed against your forehead, even if you know it's not a real gun. Something primal gets to take over in those moments. Although, I will say, I am a bit of a jokester on set and I tend not to remain too serious between takes, much to the chagrin of some of my scene partners.
What kind of set does Miles run?
Lindsay Anne Williams: I'm probably the wrong person to ask this. I think Miles runs a very comfortable set. Miles isn't afraid to allow people to discuss their thoughts and ideas with him, but when the bullet hits the bone, everyone knows who's in charge. There's a lot of fun on set but the work still gets done. We always make our day.
What would you like to do next?
Lindsay Anne Williams: I have so many things I want to do. I would love to do a good, old-fashioned, romantic comedy, and we're actually working on cooking one up that won't be too lame or problematic. There's also something very appealing to me as an actor and costume designer to do a film set purely in fantasy. But I do love to scream, so I'll never say "no" to horror.
Hallowed Ground in select theaters June 7, and releasing on VOD/DVD June 11.