Daniella Alonso Interview, Hills Have Eyes 2

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We caught up with Daniella Alonso on the set of The Hills Have Eyes 2. What started with the Carter family, clearly didn’t end with the Carter family. As part of a routine mission, a unit of National Guard soldiers stop at a New Mexican outpost only to find the isolated research camp mysteriously deserted. After spotting a distress signal in a distant mountain range, the team decides to commence a search and rescue mission into the hills.

Little do they know that these are the very hills that the ill-fated Carter family once visited, and that a tribe of cannibalistic mutants lies in wait. And this time, there is an even larger force of evil at work that is intent on the soldiers’ very destruction.

Q. This is your…how many films have you done before this?

A. A few, like 7 or 8.

Q. Was your first reaction this script that it looked like fun?

A. Oh yeah, I did a horror film before this and I had the time of my life, it was so much fun and I just loved it, so when I got this script I was excited because seriously it’s so much fun.

Q. Are you a fan of the genre?

A. Oh yeah, but I’m a chicken, too. But when I watch, I’m the girl that screams and has to pause it for a minute because I’m petrified you know, but I enjoy it, but I think working on a horror film I was thinking now I’m going to see what’s going on behind the scenes you know, and the cast, and I thought I wouldn’t be scared, but I was petrified, so it doesn’t work.

Q. What can you tell us about your character, is she a powerful character?

A. She is, she’s very strong, she and Amber are the only 2 women in this National Guard Unit and she’s also a mother, a single mom. She’s here to do her job, Missy is no nonsense she doesn’t take any shit from the guys and she’s here to do her job but not to make friends, she just wants to do her job and get home to her kid.

Q. What did you bring to your character?

A. Definitely what I can relate to her is that she’s very hard worker and always tries to be the best, and I’m very focused in what I do, so I really tried to bring that all out in her, so if they’re running up a hill she is always trying to be first…

Q. Is there a rivalry between her and Amber?

A.  No I don’t think so; I think there is a rivalry between her and the guys. At first Amber is just another girl shoe’s like whatever I don’t care, but it’s the guys who mess with her like Stump that she doesn’t’ like, and the actors were so good and would do things that would really annoy me so I thought I could use that, but she’s very quiet, keeps to herself, and thoughtful, and she’s not a dumb girl, and when it comes time to act she can focus and turn on the switch…

Q. Did you do any back-story of your own to give back-story to the character that wasn’t in the script?

A. It’s kind of funny because the last movie I did I was a marine, and I found out I got this part on a Friday and got on the plane on Saturday, so I really didn’t have that much time to prepare, but luckily the film I had just finished I did a lot of research for that, and sometimes on the set I was like “Semper Fi” and they’re were like that’s the marines…

(Laughter)

Q. Do you use method acting?

A. You know what, I studied at Lee Strasburg in New York, and now just meeting all the people and taking all the method classes in LA I’m kind of digging that, it’s working more for me, especially stuff like this, I’m not in the military, it was just crazy actually by putting on all that gear and then watching stuff about our troops in Iraq, it really changed things for me because I don’t look at them as just running around in their uniforms I know that that is like 30 pounds and a gun that weighs so much.

Q. How does your character being a single mother affect the film?

A. I think her main goal is to get back to her son. Even early on during training, or whatever happens in the film her thing is I have to get back to my son because I’m the only one who is there for him and nothing is going to make me not get back to him and it gives her a lot of strength even at times when she would normally just fall apart.

Q. You play a soldier, but do you feel that there has to be vulnerability for the audience to relate to the character?

A. That’s funny you ask that because for me, I always try to find that side of the character, it’s not something that comes easily, but it’s something I enjoy doing. And for this part it was a bit of a challenge because it was sort of the easy way out because otherwise it would have been harder if I would have played against that, and by doing that it helps her strength come out.

Q. Who have you gone up against?

A. Chameleon, and Hades…

Q. Are you in the falling down the tube sequence?

A. No, I’m so bummed, I saw the guys coming back all wet and I was jealous.

Q. DO you like doing the physical stuff?

A. I do, I actually take Karate and tae-kwon-do. And so I love sparring and grappling and all that physical stuff. I studied a hybrid form of grappling, sparring, and self defense, it’s more of a get yourself in shape and if you want to take it to the next level, so you’re really learning valuable skills with self defense, and I really enjoy it.

Q. How do you feel about the way women are generally depicted in the horror genre?

A. I think it’s changing a little bit, one of my favorite recent films was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I thought Jessica Beal’s character was really strong, she wasn’t, you know, they do have that sometimes, but in Wrong Turn they have Elisa Dusk and she was really strong too, but they do have that one character that’s sleeping ar4ound and smoking or whatever, but generally the lead woman is a really strong woman.

Q. Is it easier for an audience to root for a woman?

A. Well that’s like anything right, I mean you don’t want to see horrible things happen to a woman, or see them get hurt, but with guys maybe that’s different.

Q. Did you have weapons training?

A. We did we had a week of hardcore weapons training, we did everything, our guys were great. We shot all the guns, learned to take them apart…

Q. Does that help?

A. Of course, I’d never shot a gun before, and I’m from New York, so we don’t really have guns there…

(Laughter)

A. But you know what I mean (laughs), so I’d never shot a gun before and was afraid of the jerk-back motion, but after a few days of learning the rules and then going to shoot it was like nothing…and that helps so you know what you’re doing when you have to use it onset. And I like doing all that stuff, because I hate when you’re watching a film like a Leslie Neilson film that I was watching on TV and there is a girl running with an AK-47 like it’s nothing and I’m thinking, “That’s not how you run with a gun”.

Q. You’re from NY and moved to LA, so how is that transition working for you?

A. I’ve only been in LA for about a year, I was born and raised in the city and just learned how to drive to move out to LA, but it’s beautiful and I’m adjusting, and it’s been an easy transition and the people I know there are really, really cool, and you can meet so many people, but New York is great though, it’s a different energy I think.

Q. Were you in theater in NY?

A. I did some theater, but mostly TV and film.

Q. What were some of the films you’ve done?

A. I did a film called Wrong Turn 2…

Q. I was just on the set there

(Laughter)

A. I love Joe Lynch, he’s the kind of guy you just start laughing because he so funny.

Q. Do you have a worry that you might be pigeonholed for doing several horror films?

A. No because especially this film, it’s a horror film, but it’s different, it’s not like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Rene Zellweger and Matthew McConnaughey, it’s not like that…

(Laughter)

A. I mean, horror films are it right now, and that’s what people what to see because they’re entertaining, and it’s not just cheesy storylines, there is an actual theme and story that go with the film. I’m having a blast and that’s why I’m here so.

Q. Can you tell us about Martin?

A. He’s great, he ahs so much energy, so much positive infectious energy, and he’s amazing and I really have so much faith in him if we’re in a scene, and everything’s really fast, I just have faith that he knows exactly what he’s doing and the shots I’ve seen are just incredible. And, he’s open for anything, and for me, if I’m lost or confused he would only need to say a couple things and I’ll be right there.

Q. Did that surprise you at all?

A. With a German director? (Laughter) No, no…

Q. Did you build up camaraderie with the actors being here in Morocco?

A. We all have, at first it was probably because we were out here in the middle of nowhere, but we’ve stayed close throughout which has been great because everyone is really, really cool.

Q. Who are some of the actors you have studied?

A. Well obviously De Niro, Al Pacino in New York, they studied at Lee Strasburg, and Meryl Streep—all great actors, but I also like Ethan Hawke, he’s one of my favorites. I like actors who do things naturally, Jeffery Wright, this guy can do no wrong, and he’s one of those people who I would be petrified.

Q. What about some of your favorite people to work with?

A. It’s different when you work with people after looking at them as a kid in their movies, because now you respect them as an adult, but Moira Kelly, and I remember her from The Cutting Edge which was one of my favorite movies so when I met her I was just like “OH MY GOD!”

Q. Is there any director you would like to work with?

A. A dream director for me is Ridley Scott, I love him and everything he does, he’s incredible…maybe I should throw my photographs all over his next production, and Gladiator is one of my favorite films. And it’s funny because Joe Lynch, for the marine character, told me I should rent Alien, because there was a really tough, kick-ass girl in Aliens, so rented Alien and got to Vancouver and had the wrong one.

(Laughter)

Q. Which is your favorite mutant?

A. Special effects wise, because they’re all great guys, Chameleon. And when I read it I was just like how are they going to do this, is it going to be with computers or what, and when I saw it the first day I was shocked. And he’s great, and the makeup is incredible. We talk about UFC all the time off the set.

Thanks to Daniella for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure to check out the ton of clips on TerrorFeed, which includes video interviews with the cast and director Wes Craven.

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