How the star of horror movie 'SiREN' turned into a monster (on purpose)
Actress Hannah Fierman admits she had mixed feelings when writer-director David Bruckner (The Signal) approached her about a playing a mysterious, ferocious, and at times completely clothes-free, lady-monster in his “Amateur Night” segment of the 2012 horror anthology, V/H/S.
“I was a little iffy,” she recalls. “You know, somebody comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, want to be a naked demon girl in my movie?’ It’s like, Gosh, do I? But David is such an amazing storyteller. It was so interesting the way he described it, and I wanted to work with him anyway because I’d seen his previous work, and I thought he was a brilliant director.”
Fierman’s ultimate willingness to place herself in Burckner’s hands paid off. The actress’ performance as the terrifying — but also somewhat tragic — “Lily” proved to be one of the film’s most memorable turns and she is now reprising the role in the feature-length tale SiREN (out in theaters Friday and on VOD, Digital HD, and DVD, Dec. 6). Directed by Gregg Bishop (V/H/S Viral), the film costars Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End, the upcoming Beyond the Gates) as a groom-to-be named Jonah whose brother and two of his friends treat him to an evening at a whorehouse out in the boonies whose charms include Fierman’s imprisoned femme very-fatale. After Jonah falls for Lily’s siren-song, he helps her escape and all Hell breaks loose, as Lily proves to be less a damsel-in-distress and more a winged, fanged, and tailed monster delivering death from the sky. “My character is a demon, who was summoned from another dimension by bad people,” says Fierman. “You’re seeing her coping with an environment that is completely alien to her. She gets into a lot of trouble.”
Much of the film was shot in the swamps of Georgia during the summer. “Ugh, it was really gross,” says Fierman. “Very very humid, and we were shooting in this thick dense fog, and there were bugs and chiggers, and we were shooting in the sulphur swamp, so it smelt like rotten eggs the whole time. It was insane. My prosthetics were actually sweating off.” Indeed, the way Fierman tells it, the fact that she was once again naked for much of the production was pretty much the least of her worries. “Well, the whole cast and crew were absolutely professional,” says the actress. “It wasn’t that big of a deal, the nakedness, except for the exposure to the elements. It wasn’t cold at least. When we made ‘Amateur Night,’ it was cold, absolutely freezing. But during SiREN that wasn’t a problem.”
Fierman’s dedication to the cause is doubly impressive given that she finds horror movies almost too terrifying to watch — even those in which she appears. “V/H/S scared the s— out of me,” she says. “It was funny because, I knew what was going to happen, and it still scared me! It was me and it still scared me! I had my face in my boyfriend’s shoulder half of the movie. I was like, ‘Can I look now? Can I look?’ [Laughs]. SiREN was scary too, but I’ve gotten a little used to it now. But, yeah, I thought there were some really terrifying parts. I thought there were some really funny parts too.”
And some singy parts, as Fierman’s character uses her vocal abilities to render her enemies helpless. “I was telling Gregg, the director, “By the way, I sing,'” says the actress. “And he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, okay,’ and basically just ignored the fact that I’d said that. On set, they wanted me to lip-sync to this woman singing and I found it very distracting, faking it like that. I didn’t think it looked real. I was just like, ‘I’m furious, I’m a singer, I can just sing this, and it will look more real.’ So, they turned it off, and I sang, and they were like, ‘Oh, that was way better.'”
Despite Fierman’s fear of the genre, the actress reveals she would be happy to play Lily for a third time. “Yeah, I would,” says the actress, whose other recent credits include starring in the drama Hold Me. “I’d be interested to see where they went with it. It would be cool to see them do something completely different, maybe explore where she’s from. Maybe there’s a whole bunch of her. That would be interesting to see!”
Watch the trailer for SiREN, below.