Ginger Nuts of Horror
"I swear to god I'm a nice person but I sure play a lot of bad bitches.".... Pollyanna McIntosh
Here at Film Gutter, we're more than a little familiar with the works of Jack Ketchum – The Girl Next Door remains a staple of many 'most disturbing films' lists out there, but for me even more striking is the stunning cannibal duology of Offspring and The Woman. A particular highlight of both of those movies is the superb, animalistic performances by Pollyanna McIntosh as 'The Woman' who plays such a key role in both movies. We had the opportunity to chat to Pollyanna about both those movies, and plenty more besides...
Alex: Many of our regular readers will know you from the Jack Ketchum/Lucky McKee duology Offspring and The Woman. What was it that attracted you to that project in particular?
Pollyanna: It was the writing. I just really loved the book Offspring and it was such a flattering part to get offered, it showed a lot of faith from my director/producer, Andrew van den Houten and I was excited to be let to run wild with the character. I think that was the first part I ever got offered without an audition, in fact. Then they decided I shouldn't die as intended in that film and so the idea of a sequel was born. When Lucky McKee came on board to co-write and direct The Woman I knew we were going to make something special. There was no question I was going to miss that!
Alex: Your performance in both of those movies was incredible - how on earth did you find that place as a performer to become so wild and animalistic?
Pollyanna: Thank you so much! I think we all have that primal side. Getting in touch with that character was a joy in preparation and in performance too. I'd recommend a holiday to animal camp to anyone!
Alex: Offspring for me is a hugely disturbing movie, and that's from someone who watches a lot of disturbing movies! Was there anything in the script or any scenes that made you feel uncomfortable at all?
Pollyanna: The whole film script made me feel uncomfortable!
Alex: The Woman for me is one of the most striking movies out there about gender relations - I don't think it's even been explored so viscerally. What was your own take on the message in that film?
Pollyanna: It seems to make a big impact on people and it does on me. I think the clearest message to take away is that trying to control and contain women does not work. The rage The Woman visits on her victims seems to speak for a lot of women.
Alex: Exam is another personal favourite of mine - a wonderfully twisty thriller. What was it like to feature in that one - was it a claustrophobic experience shooting a movie set in one room?
Pollyanna: You know that's a good question, it could have been but the walls all came away for maximum shooting potential so we were rarely fully enclosed. The creative team on that film was so talented, the camera and lighting departments such geniuses that I learnt a hell of a lot doing a one room film with them because the cast were rarely off set and rarely far from the crew so we heard all the machinations of preparation for each shot. It was a great bunch of actors too. Fun.
Alex: What can you tell us about your forthcoming movie, Native?
Pollyanna: It's a very sparse and beautifully themed sci fi with talented leads in Rupert Graves and Ellie Kendrick. I play the leader of a futuristic society. She's rather cold. I swear to god I'm a nice person but I sure play a lot of bad bitches.
Alex: While much of your work to date has been in films, you've recently been doing more TV work - including comedy Bob Servant Independent and kids' show MI High. How was it working in that sort of setting?
Pollyanna: So much of my British TV work has been with the BBC and they're an amazing institution we have. Working in TV is a faster paced, sometimes frustratingly so, setting but I've really enjoyed the cast and crews I've worked with. I love doing comedy and I've done a fair amount for TV now.
Alex: What can you tell us about Hap and Leonard, which is another series that you have out now?
Pollyanna: Hap and Leonard is a great new series on Sundance TV (available on Amazon Prime in the UK) based on Texan writer Joe R Lansdale's book series of the same name. It's set in East Texas in the 80s and is a buddy story of two unlikely best friends; Hap Collins (James Purefoy) a white, straight, divorced, ex hippie now jaded after spending time in jail for protesting the war and Leonard Pine (Michael Kenneth Williams) a black, openly gay, Vietnam veteran with anger issues. They run in to trouble thanks to Hap's revolutionary ex wife Trudy (Christina Hendricks) and the trouble begins and ends with mine and Jimmi Simpson's characters: Angel and Soldier. Angel is a lover but also a fighter. She's the muscle and Soldier's the talker. We make a fun pair of colourful killers.
Alex: You premiered the show at the Sundance Film Festival - how was your time there?
Pollyanna: I had a great time there thanks. The audience reaction was fab and having been to the festival a couple of times before I enjoyed going to old haunts and bumping into lots of filmmaker friends. It's really a great place to celebrate film.
Alex: Can you tell us anything about what you're working on next?
Pollyanna: I'm in the middle of production on my directorial debut, Perfect, which is a dark comedy and am in pre-production on a crime drama called Reciprocal Beat which I co-wrote and will play a meth addicted mother in (Liam Cunningham is the bad guy in this one. We worked together before in Let Us Prey and he'll be great in this role). I'm in the middle of making a video game too which is a lot of fun,