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There’s a scene in Deadfall, a dark and twisted thriller from director Stefan Ruzowitzky, in which Olivia Wilde‘s character nearly freezes to death while stranded in a blizzard off a desolate highway.
The chilling effect, Wilde says, helped her live the part.
“It was freezing. But we were supposed to be cold in the movie. So the optimistic way to look at it was, ‘Hey! This will help us act.’ I’m not acting. I’m just, like, dying of hypothermia,” the actress told THR at Sunday night’s Deadfall premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
But filming in the wilderness outside Montreal, a location stand-in for the movie’s fictional setting of Michigan, at times took its toll on Wilde, said Ruzowitzky. (In one scene, she strips down to her skivvies, in sub-zero temperatures.)
“The cold for the director is not such an issue because you can wear whatever,” he observed. “I think it was really tough for Olivia, who had the sequined miniskirt and nothing else and sort of a fur scarf. She said she’s never been freezing that much in her whole entire life.”
The sacrifice pays off for Wilde, however, who exudes magnetic intensity and pathos as Liza, the abused sister of Bana’s character, Addison, a menacing and manipulative killer on the lam after robbing a casino (and murdering practically everyone who gets in his path).
“I think they are very intense,” Ruzowitzky said of Bana and Wilde. “Very charismatic, both of them, and I think both the parts in the script are very interesting and complex. They really sort of made use of that, in a perfect way, to bring across all this complexity.”
The violence is fast, furious and unexpected, with flying severed fingers, impaled body parts and other gruesome scenes not for the faint of heart. It is also very, very funny, with a refreshing dose of dark humor punctuating the more horrific moments.
“It’s sort of the kind of movie that I like to see, which is a thriller, it’s fast-paced, there’s an interesting plot, intriguing characters,” said Ruzowitzky, who lives in Vienna and whose film, The Counterfeiters, won an Oscar for best foreign film in 2008.
“The working title was Kin, and it’s all about family, the value of family, the curse a family can be,” he explained.
Wilde and Bana co-star alongside Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek, Kate Mara and newcomer Charlie Hunnam, each of whom become caught up in Addison’s murderous rampage in their snowy small town.
Ruzowitzky “treated us all differently,” said Bana. “He’s just one of those directors who knows how to work with different actors and I think we all had a lot of faith in him, and we assembled a great crew, we had a good amount of rehearsal time. And (screenwriter) Zach Dean wrote a fantastic script.”
As for working with the multi-tasking Wilde, whose film slate is perpetually full, Bana gushed: “She’s very funny, and I love working with people who’ve got a good sense of humor. … She’s got a very good sense of ‘very serious’ when she knows to, but she is crack-up.”
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