As this year’s meatiest post-apocalyptic cannibal horror romance TEAR ME APART gears up for its UK Theatrical Premiere and worldwide VOD release, the three young leads, Alfie Stewart, Jennie Eggleton and Frazer Alexander, discuss their roles.
Q: For all of you this is your first lead role in a feature film. Describe your feelings when you were told you’d won the role.
Alfie: I was quite surprised because my audition was one of those ones where you can’t really gauge how well you’ve done. I wasn’t expecting to get the part, which made it even sweeter! I was ecstatic when I got the news. I couldn’t wait to bring the story to life.
Jennie: Overwhelming joy and excitement – and shock! At the final recall everyone was so good that I was certain I hadn’t got the role so when I got the call from my agent I was speechless! As well as being my first lead it was also one of my first professional jobs so I was thrilled to be given the chance to be part of such an amazing project.
Frazer: This was not just my first lead role, it was my first professional audition, and saying I was surprised would be a complete understatement. Completely over the moon and mildly/embarrassingly emotional would probably be the best way to describe it.
Q: The film deals with some pretty (forgive the pun) ‘meaty’ issues. How did you process the challenges presented?
Alfie: With a vivid imagination. I really tried to immerse myself in the character and the world, exploring the depths of his psyche and his place within the story. I think that once I understood the character, the ‘meaty issues’ were processed easily because they are necessary to the story. I think challenges are fun – they keep you on your toes!
Jennie: Whilst the film deals with issues that I hope we will never have to deal with, at its core there are issues that are pretty universal and relevant to us now – love, sex, growing up, the need to survive. I found that there was a lot of myself in Molly so when dealing with the difficult issues there were already routes that I could use to approach the character and what she has to deal with. She can change between being innocent and manipulative very quickly, and will do almost anything to survive. I find that complexity in such a young character fascinating.
Frazer: I highly doubt that I will ever get to play a character I like everything about, but it’s important as an actor to never judge the character’s flaws and their behaviour, it is part of who they are and therefore part of me whilst I am in front of the camera. Dealing with the ‘meaty’ issue was really as simple as that, plus my character is not as open to the cannibalism side of things anyway so I’m sure this was probably slightly more of a challenge for Alfie than myself.
Q: The film really depends on the chemistry between the three of you, which is pretty electric. Tell us what it was like to work with each other.
Alife: I feel very lucky to have worked with such talented and easy-going co-stars. We had an amazing time, on and off set. There were points where it felt like Frazer was actually my brother, we bonded brilliantly. The crew were equally as amazing, and the experience of making this film was very special.
Jennie: Well, it is very rare that you are on set with the same people day in day out for a month, living together in tiny rooms, without getting on each other’s nerves, but the boys were so supportive, kind and funny that the whole process was a dream. They both have a wicked sense of humour so I never stopped laughing. I’m glad that a fraction of our relationship has been captured on screen and that we get to share it with audiences, as it’s pretty special.
Frazer: It was a complete dream. The chemistry was exactly the same off set as well. I learned a massive amount about the industry from Alfie, as he has worked on a vast array of projects. Jennie is elegant by nature and the most beautiful actress. She sees things others don’t and has a wonderful grasp of the language, two traits that I would happily have worn off on me.
Q: Alfie, your character, although only 16 years-old, carries a highly complex mix of instincts and emotions. How much of an acting challenge was this, particularly the cannibalism scenes?
Alfie: It was a challenge upon which I thrived. The character fascinates me, his animalistic and boyish nature allowed for a lot of freedom and expression. Delving into the complexity of his mind was intriguing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t actually like the meat they used in place of human flesh though. I remember spitting it out quite repulsed after each take. I think it was Parma ham from M&S. The art department were slightly annoyed that I didn’t like it because it was relatively expensive!
Q: Jennie, you play a young woman who could be the last female on the planet. Daunting or what? Did you bring any personal feelings about such an extreme situation to the role?
Jennie: HA – yeah, no pressure there! That was one of the themes that attracted me about the script early on. She is dealing with the weight of that, what she has seen done to other women in her past, how men treat her, and also how her sexuality can be powerful. It’s an incredibly complex situation to be in. I’m a feminist and I definitely brought my own feelings on equality and the treatment of women to Molly.
Frazer, as the older brother you carry the darkest, most violent threat in the film. Yet you are also perhaps the most vulnerable of the three. Was this a difficult balance to achieve?
Frazer: Yeah, it was difficult during the initial stages of the rehearsal process. It was important to remember that the character had not actually been brought up in a normal family, he survived solely on his own intuition and a naïve one at that. The character does have some awful flaws, but that being said, I hope the audience manage to relate to him and realise that he is not all bad. He does have his brother’s best interests at heart.
Q: What do you hope audiences will take from the film?
Alfie: First and foremost I hope that the audience is entertained. I also hope that the story captures their imaginations and makes them think about some of the themes. My character has been brought up in a world extremely different from the one we currently live in and has therefore grown into a more primitive, instinctive and animalistic being. Constantly inundated with comforts, we often forget that we are animals, we are PART OF nature and not separate from it. It is an interesting thing to ponder. I hope the film inspires creativity and impresses people.
Jennie: I hope as well as enjoying the amazing landscapes and Ern’s beautiful shots, they take away a story of three young people growing up. I think the undercurrent of this film is a touching coming-of-age story, exploring how they negotiate their way through growing up under pretty dire circumstances!
Frazer: I hope the audiences enjoy the film as much as we all enjoyed making it. I hope people argue over which characters they preferred and who was right and wrong in their actions, I really hope some of them side with the older brother as well!
Q: Although not strictly a horror film, genre fans will embrace its dark themes and execution. Are you horror film fans? Do you have a favourite horror film?
Alfie: I think that horror films can sometimes be overwrought with clichés, and quite predictable. However, when an original idea is executed well and the film isn’t tainted by cheese they can be thoroughly entertaining and unsettling. I appreciate the darkness. ‘The Babadook’ is an excellent horror film, definitely one of my favourites.
Jennie: I have to say I generally don’t watch many horror films. Whenever I do I end up lying in bed replaying the whole film in my head and imagining shadows are people! ‘The Shining’ is my sort of scary movie – the one that plays with your mind.
Frazer: I love ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, Anthony Hopkins’ performance is nothing short of impeccable and the relationship between Hannibal Lector and Clarice Stirling was encapsulating to watch.
Q: Finally, what are all you up to next?
Alfie: Playing my guitar religiously, waiting for the phone to ring. Aside from that I’ve filmed an episode of Channel 5’s ‘Suspects’, which will air later this year.
Jennie: I’m currently auditioning – so watch this space!
Frazer: I’ve recently signed with Cole Kitchenn and I’m excited about the future and what it holds in store.
TEAR ME APART is released online on June 17, 2016, following its UK theatrical premiere at The Genesis, Whitechapel, on June 16.