Recently debuting a new trailer Mark W. Curran’s ABANDONED DEAD is a dark supernatural looking thriller about a security guard trapped in a haunted medical clinic. Our own HNIC Travis got a chance to speak with said guard played by the gorgeous and talented Sarah Nicklin. After countless attempts of phoners and more he was finally able to track down the busy thespian and get the inside scoop on all that is ABANDONED DEAD. Enjoy the Q&A and look for more on ABANDONED DEAD soon!
OK so you are quite difficult to catch up to young lady did you have a busy summer?
I did. I had a great summer. Worked on The Abandoned Dead, another feature called The Sins of Dracula, a handful of short films, an episode on a TV series, and also was a guest at a horror convention.
So how are things going with Abandoned Dead so far are you guys close to finishing up production?
We wrapped shooting in July. I know that the director and editor have been working on getting a rough cut together and then I’m going to have to do a bunch of ADR for this one, which we haven’t gotten to yet.
The new trailer recently came out and looks fantastic how do you think it looks and what’s the response you have heard so far?
I think it looks great! I was honestly really impressed with how it came out and so far everyone that I’ve shown it to or that has seen it online has said the same thing.
How did you get involved in Abandoned Dead and tell us a little bit about your character Rachel Burke?
I responded to a casting call and auditioned for the project. I couldn’t be there in person, so I sent in a taped audition and was cast off of that. Then I was working on Sins of Dracula up until 3 days before we started shooting, so we didn’t have time for rehearsals, so I didn’t actually meet the director Mark Curran until our first day of shooting.
Rachel is a survivor. She starts off the film with a lot of personal demons and issues stemming from some childhood abuse. Throughout the film and her time in the medical clinic she is forced to confront these demons as everything around her starts to gradually fall apart.
Playing a security guard has it’s own vibe of creepiness around it, did you do any research on playing that type of role? Maybe speak to an actual guard?
Actually Mark Curran is an ex-guard! So he had some insight into what that was actually like. For this one oddly enough a lot of my research came from a video game, which I’ve never done before. There is a game called Outlast that is super spooky where you play a reporter that is coming to a mental hospital where everyone has been killed to try to figure out what happened. The whole game is very dark and creepy and slow paced and gruesome, and while you’re not playing a security guard, it’s still pretty similar in that you are digging around the building searching for answers.
So with all the films coming out for you, ever have an instance where you mix up your roles?
Haha! No, that’s never happened to me. I have a theater background and I’m very good at multi-tasking and memorizing, so I’m able to keep each project in “separate mental files” even when working on multiple at once.
Tell me how a young girl who started in theater came to be a scream queen in these gross little films?
Well, it wasn’t really intentional – I just sort of fell into it. And for the record I do a lot of non-horror work too, but the horror stuff has just gotten more recognition (I only mention that because a producer once said to me “I wish I had known you do things other than horror because I would have loved to have hired you”). I do have an affinity for horror and very much enjoy the genre – both watching it and being part of it, but that wasn’t and isn’t my only goal as an actor. I just want to work and at my level there are a lot of horror movies being made since they’re the easiest to sell, so that’s where I get hired a lot. Plus work begets work, so the more work you do in horror the easier it is to continue to work in horror. The trick is to not get stuck there 🙂
How’s the rest of the cast and working with Mark did you guys becoming a family on set?
We all got along really great on set. To be honest, I was a little “method” on this one, so I would separate myself from everyone in one of the examine rooms and just sit there in the dark waiting until it was time to go. Since this film has such heavy emotions for the majority of it, it would have been too difficult for me to be hanging out and making jokes with everyone and then have to flip a switch and be scared and upset and emotional, so instead I just tried to stay in the character as much as possible, and she really ddidn’twant to be in that environment. They all probably thought I was some weird dark brooding unfriendly actor for most of the shoot haha.
What is the first thing you noticed that was different working on this film as opposed to others?
One of the biggest challenges and difference for this set I think was keeping the continuity of the film. The film itself almost takes place in real time (ish), so going from one scene to the next, there is pretty much no time lapse in between. And since everything was shot out of order, that meant keeping really good notes on my script about where I was emotionally in each scene so that when we are shooting two scenes that are in order several weeks apart, that I can keep the continuity and have it make sense. We didn’t have a continuity person on set, so I did this with props etc. too. There are multiple different times when I’ll walk down the same hallway, so I would always have to be checking – which time is this – where am I coming from? Which hand is my flashlight in this time? Where is my baton this time? Plus the script was also being rewritten and reworked as we shot based on the restrictions of the location, so there were times where we had already shot the scene prior and the one after and in the prior scene I had a prop and in the next scene I don’t, so we would have to figure out somewhere that I had to lose the prop in the new scene to make it all work and not have to do reshoots, even though there were a few scenes that we did end up having to do that for.
Tell us something you hope fans will experience after seeing Abandoned Dead?
Well I hope they’ll enjoy it and be a bit scared! I also think that the film has an interesting message and examination on mental health and will be curious what the audience’s opinions are about that.
We would like to thank Sarah and Mark for helping us conduct this interview and look for more on ABANDONED DEAD in the near future right here at HMUNCUT.