It’s no secret that looks can be deceiving, something The Vampire Diaries‘ Nina Dobrev has first-hand knowledge of. This is especially true of her upcoming film, Flatliners, a remake of Joel Schumacher’s cult classic in which Dobrev’s character is put through the ringer, to say the least — from burns, to resuscitation efforts, you name it. During a recent interview with EW, Dobrev proved there’s more to playing an unconscious person than meets the eye.
First though, the most striking (literally) of her stunts is one Dobrev admits might not even make it into the final cut: a burn that engulfs half of her character’s body. Though technology has made obvious leaps and bounds in the nearly three decades since the original Flatliners, these flames weren’t just courtesy of CGI.
So how was Dobrev set alight? “Well, first of all, your wardrobe gets fireproofed, which is a certain chemical that can’t really burn. They dip your clothes in it and let that dry. And then they put this jelly stuff all over your skin and underneath,” she explains. “They put gas on your arm — well, they did on my arm — and then they come at me with a blowtorch, right before they call ‘Action.’ They call ‘Action,’ they light my arm on fire, I have to act like I’m on fire — which I am — and react to the scariness of it, which wasn’t too hard,” she laughs. “And then, after a few seconds, as it moves up my arm, they call cut, and they run in with fire extinguishers. So it goes from hot to cold very, very quickly. … We did that…five or six times at least? You also have to get it from different angles.”
Weeks of training at the hands of medical consultant Lindsay Somers helped the cast to accurately portray med students and how the human body would react to certain procedures or scenarios.
In terms of resuscitation, Dobrev explained, “When you get shocked by the paddles, you have to lift your chest, but the rest of your body has to stay limp, so it was pretty tricky to stay as still as possible, and breathe as little as possible, keep your eyes open, and still have a limp body whilst your chest moves.”
As if that doesn’t sound uncomfortable enough, she revealed, “You have a tube in your mouth, you’re hooked up to an IV, and somebody is performing CPR on you — the chest compressions. And we [were] faking them, but you still have to put a lot of energy into when you’re faking it. So I remember leaving set and my whole chest was bruised underneath my bra, from the chest compressions. And the hours [were] so long, and you’re doing it for so long, but it’s still really, really fun. Definitely a full-body workout.”
Flatliners hits theaters September 29. Watch the trailer above.