There’s been a lot of talk about upcoming horror film HOUSE OF BAD, mainly because it has proven to be a far cry from what most viewers were expecting from the synopsis. What starts as your framework for a sibling-rivalry feud that results in murder brought upon by cabin fever, instead turns into a tense horror that takes several unexpected turns (review to come later). We were fortunate enough to catch up with a few of the cast members, starting with lead actress Heather L. Tyler, and ask them some questions. Tyler portrays protective eldest sibling Teig, who does her best to maintain everyone’s safety in an otherwise unfortunate scenario.
Interview with Heather L. Tyler
Jonny Dead: First of all, can you tell us a bit about your character in House of Bad?
Heather L. Tyler: Teig is the ultimate big sister. She’s had a rough past, grew up in a violent house and has some of those tendencies in her blood. She’s been in and out of prison…she’s never really had a break in life, even from an early age. This film starts with her desire to finally find a way out. Her instinct is not just self-preservation, it’s also protection of her sisters, even if she has to kill for it. She can be domineering because it’s what’s required to survive.
Jonny: Did you take any inspiration from other films for this character?
Heather: I like to find inspiration in real life events, and the way we as human beings react to extraordinary circumstances. Raw instinct and emotion is felt physically – we have physiological reactions – I try to connect to that physicality, first. Which was great in preparing for Teig, since she is such a tough and physical person. The characters that came to mind (and that Jim Towns would refer to, on occasion) were Sarah Connor (“Terminator”) and I also loved “Haute Tension” and could relate to the main character’s (Cecile de France) plight with duality and her physicality…
Jonny: What did you think of the script when you first read it?
Heather: I know I’ve said this before – I was confused when I first read the script because Producer & co-writer, Scott Frazelle, asked me to read the script looking at the main character. To me, that was Sirah – I read it from her point of view. Obviously, it was Teig that they wanted me for, which was great because she was the character who scared me, I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to play someone quite like her.
Jonny: What was life like on the set? There’s a tense atmosphere to the film, did any of that affect you outside of filming?
Heather: Mostly, it was relaxed and friendly, very collaborative – you tend to get that luxury working together on lower budget films. In fact, some mornings, I would recline outside in a lounge chair in the sun waiting for the first scenes to finish. One day, I came to set wearing a sundress and hat and picked oranges and lemons from the trees in the back yard. That was right after we’d shot a particularly violent scene the night before, and I guess the crew had been a little scared of me?…so they were like, who is this person?!?
One night close to the end, weary and emotionally drained, we had to get a last scene done, it had been rewritten the night before and we had just shot two other emotionally & physically wrenching scenes that day…I really felt the toll that night. I wanted to do my best work, and we were in this really confining space…we got through it, but I imagine I was a bit of a bear once I got home…my honey is super-sweet and usually had dinner and wine ready for me!!
Jonny: What is your favorite element of House of Bad, and what do you think fans can take from it?
Heather: There are these moments of humor, sarcastic comments siblings make to each other, things said in extreme circumstances. I think it’s fun to watch the influence of Mom and Dad come out in the girls, the audience can probably appreciate the horror elements more after seeing these hints of real terror that plagued the sisters and watching them basically cabin-fever each other to death! Fans should also know that we did our own fights and stunts, with the intention to make each as much like a real fight as untrained, non-martial artists, everyday sisters would do.
Jonny: Are there any new projects we can look for you in?
Heather: I’m currently on set for the feature film, “The Last Word” with acclaimed British director, Simon Rumley. It’s set for theatrical release in 2014 and is a terrible tragedy based on a true story of a young man wrongfully convicted and executed in Amarillo, Texas. It’s a supernatural horror film not to be missed. Audiences can also catch me in FX’s series, “The Bridge” with Demian Bichir, a dark new cop thriller that premiered this fall. Funny that I seem to be in a string of dark tales recently, although I have an extensive comedy background…maybe that’s around the corner *winks*.
Make sure to look for the HOUSE OF BAD DVD release on December 3rd, and look out for more interviews with other cast and crew members here to come!
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