As the date draws near, iHorror had the opportunity to sit down with stars Anna Friel and Rafi Gavron to talk about their experiences digging into Barker’s terrifying world, and their hopes for the audience experience.
Both stars admitted that while they were familiar with Clive Barker, neither had read The Books of Blood before filming began. They were fresh to the project without preconceived notions for what the story should be beyond writer/director Brannon Braga’s script. It’s an interesting turn of events considering they star in the only segment of the film previously published in the original collections.
Friel takes on the role of skeptic psychologist, Mary, who has her own heart-breaking reasons for studying the paranormal and people who claim to experience it regularly while Gavron plays Simon, a possibly fraudulent psychic medium who unknowingly opens up a terrifying world and pays a horrific price.
It’s the story that opens Barker’s six-volume set and one that embeds itself in the reader’s imagination as they turn every page after it.
“The relationship between these two and the fact that it’s real,” Gavron said. “The fact that there’s a believer involved and a skeptic involved and there’s a manipulator involved. I was really drawn to this story and I do think that one thing I really hope is that this is seen as a story and a drama as well as a horror film because I think that makes everything better. I think if it’s good and it’s believable and hopefully well-acted then we’re looking at a very different sort of movie.”
The film took both actors to some uncomfortable places which began early on in the process of filming, and I always wonder what it is like for actors to dig so deep into those dark interiors.
“I’d ask, what’s it like not to do that,” Friel explained with a laugh. “I need to ask my agents where are the funny scripts? Have you not seen anything with nice and happy fluffy things? If there’s ever a character that’s dark and has to be traumatized the name Anna Friel goes next to it. I’m kind of used to that.”
“For me, I had a fair amount of prep with the makeup because we had to do it initially to do the test and that was mind-blowing and uncomfortable and problematic but we got it right,” Gavron said. “And then, you know, luckily I was able to sit down with Anna, even though it was very brief, but we got on very quickly and that was just great because I had to be naked and I wasn’t comfortable with that. She was so cool with me and just made me feel like I was in a position where I was safe and comfortable and that was everything.”
The pair further lucked out in the filming Books of Blood in that their hotel rooms were next door to each other giving them time to squeeze in bits of rehearsal during shooting.
Sadly, neither actor was able to chat with Barker before or during filming, but they said Braga was an excellent substitute who “channeled” the author’s spirit for them.
With filming finished and the release date looming, the actors say they’ve both had a chance to watch the film and they’re excited for others to see it though they regret it won’t have a release in theaters.
“I like the experience of going to the cinema and everyone gasping and jumping together,” Friel said. “Going back to Jaws and you hear the music coming and it’s this experience that draws us together. I think this type of genre offers that type of opportunity for an audience to connect. It’s a shame because we were meant to have a cinema opening for this but we couldn’t do it because of the pandemic brought all that to a halt. So hopefully everyone can get together online and Twitter and sort of share their experiences that way. Without you guys our jobs don’t exist. Goodness in these times we need entertainment.”
Books of Blood is set to release tomorrow, October 7, 2020, on Hulu. Check out the trailer below and let us know if you’ll be watching!