The last of my interviews with the cast and crew of Bloodthirsty was with stars Lauren Beatty and Greg Bryk. To say I had a good time during this exchange would be an understatement. These two were full of insight on their filmmaking experience and there was no shortage of laughter during our conversation. Read on for the full chat.
WICKED HORROR: It’s great to meet both of you. First of all, congratulations on the upcoming release of Bloodthirsty. I watched and enjoyed it recently, and I’m looking sharing my review along with this interview.
Looking at both of your filmographies, I see that you’ve worked in horror in the past, too. So I’m assuming maybe that was part of the draw for this project. But I was wondering, for both of you, what else drew you to working on this project?
LAUREN BEATTY: For me, Amelia Moses had directed Bleed with Me, which I did exactly, I think, one year prior to Bloodthirsty. So that was the first project that we worked on together, and I had such an amazing time working with Amelia. So when she got brought on to direct this, and reached out to me about the role of Grey, it was kind of a no-brainer. She could have approached me with anything, and I would have said yes, but just the fact that this movie has so much going on, and so many themes that are prevalent in my life, minus the werewolf.
But it was the appeal of the main character. She is queer, I’m queer, she’s a musician and songwriter, and I’m a musician and songwriter. So I was just like, this is my dream role. This checks all the boxes, I like, this is amazing. Just that commentary about the struggles as an artist— to find your voice and to let go of all of the bullshit and kind of become the best version of yourself as an artist, the truest version of yourself, and to just accept that. So much going on that I was drawn to, so I’m very blessed to have been a part of this.
GREG BRYK: When I was first given the script, I was shooting a movie with Wendy and Mike, before this, and they gave it to me.The thing that jumped out at me was just the idea of the sacrifices you have to make, to be great, artistically to pursue the path that’s inherently a lonely path, and a selfish path in ways. There’s a part of me that’s like the super nicest guy, and I hate that part of myself often, when it gets in the way. It’s nice to be a good person to people, and I like to have fun, and have people enjoy my company. But sometimes, particularly when I was younger, it would just get in the way of doing what needed to be done to make the work exceptional. You know, you get so caught up in pleasing other people— needing their approval, or whatever, and you don’t have the confidence to just own the space and own who you are. And to not protect yourself— to just allow yourself to be a bit of a prick, on camera, that is, and to take the space to find that and not be so precious, to not care so much, and to be willing to give things up. Because there’s nothing in life that doesn’t come with a trade-off.
If you really want to create something exceptional, you have to climb that mountain, and oftentimes you have to climb that mountain alone. It might hurt people’s feelings, that you’re not giving them the attention they need in the moment. But you know, it’s worth it. In the end, if you can create something that’s lasting and something that resonates and if you reveal the truth of yourself, then people will see the truth in themselves as well. So I think that idea was really appealing to me. And then meeting these kids right here, Lauren and Katherine, they were they were so dynamite. They’re such wonderful people and artists that as someone who’s done a lot of stuff, it’s these grace notes as you get into the later chapters of your life. It’s exciting to meet new artists and to be exposed to new voices, perspectives, and ways of working. It shakes you out of the comfort of your habits when you get to meet new people.
WICKED HORROR: Were there any specific challenges that came about for you both as actors on the project? Anything unique that you felt was a challenge for you?
LAUREN BEATTY: There was a lot of uniqueness about it. I mean, I’m thinking mainly of the house that we were filming in. Me and Greg talked about it a lot today because it’s clearly affected both of us, but it was this very eclectic, gaudy, bizarre mansion that we were shooting in. It belongs to this man, and we were doing all of our hair, makeup, and wardrobe in his room, which was essentially this kind of…how did you describe it, Greg?
GREG BRYK: It was like Eyes Wide Shut as a soft-core porn [laughter].
LAUREN BEATTY: Yeah, but this guy was also a collector of like, antiques. So there were all these things in the house that were just so amazing. He basically kind of had a basement antique shop with all the stuff that was down there. He had bikes that were like from the first kind of bike ever invented to like a motorcycle. It was nuts, the stuff that this guy had, but it really kind of set the tone for the movie. It’s kind of this weird, bizarre reality that these people are living in.
As for challenges, honestly, the most challenging part for me was getting my wolf contacts in my eyes. I mean, that was interesting, and the makeup artist wasn’t allowed to do it. Because, you know, union stuff— they’re not allowed to be touching your eyes. So the producers actually had to do it, and they don’t have much experience with this kind of stuff. So it would be so funny in my trailer, like before, seeing them trying to get the contacts in and they just kept falling out. I’m sure Greg had that experience too.
Not to give any spoilers, but there’s one scene where there’s a lot of blood flying at my face, and I’m in full werewolf costume and some of the time I didn’t have my eyes closed. So some of the blood went into my eyes, and then it got under my werewolf contacts. Then we realized when I was trying to get out of costume that day, that my nails were super glued on. It wasn’t the temporary glue. So that was probably the most challenging day for me. But, I mean, even still, it was a goddamn blast.
GREG BRYK: For me, it was doing a movie and they bring wild animals on set. They’re, you know, domesticated to a degree. For me, they brought what had to be the most ferocious mouse/ King of the Rat Kingdom as well. We had a scene with the mouse, it wasn’t cute at all— a filthy, plague-ridden rodent, and I had to pick it up. Look, I can be pretty heroic in life. But this was not my finest moment of bravery, and Lauren filmed it. So not only was it traumatizing on the day, but I have to relive it every once in a while when she doesn’t have cute, new things to post and she posts the mouse shame again. On so many levels, I’m glad that we were in a lockdown for this long, because I’m not ready to face the world again, after the shame of that mouse.
LAUREN BEATTY: But Greg, that’s part of your truth. And the entire movie is about finding your truth. So that’s part of your truth. So you should just accept it.
GREG BRYK: That I don’t like mice? Yeah. Sorry, mice lovers. They’re disgusting. Except for Mickey Mouse. I like Mickey Mouse.
[All recovering from laughter after that last bit]
WICKED HORROR: I know you’ve both worked in horror before. Are you big fans of the genre yourself? What are your some of your favorite horror films or series? Any that have inspired you?
LAUREN BEATTY: Yeah, I am a huge fan of suspenseful, psychological thriller type of horrors. That’s why I was really drawn to Bleed with Me— the other movie I did with Amelia. I very much like The Invitation. I just saw one recently that blew my mind. It’s on Netflix.It’s about two couples that rent an Airbnb, you might know what I’m talking about. They go there and shit gets crazy. I really love psychological thrillers where it’s very much more based in like the psyche of the person, or the people involved.
I think that Bloodthirsty definitely, even though it has practical horror stuff as well, it also has, you know, a lot of the mental stuff that’s going on for Grey— questioning and all that. I also just started watching Search Party. I don’t know if you’ve seen that, but it’s amazing. They have a really amazing way of combining thriller, and horror elements with comedy. So yeah, I’m all for the progression of the horror genre and seeing how far we can push the boundaries. That’s what’s really interesting to me.
GREG BRYK: And I prefer being the scarer. Obviously, my mouse story probably gave that away. [All laughing]. I saw some horror films when I was a little kid. Some foolish parents— they showed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at a grade six birthday party. The original one. Forget it! And there was also something called The Watcher in the Woods, where the old lady’s pushing the little girl with the stick, and she’s trapped under the water? I couldn’t deal with that. So I avoided horror films for a long time. And then I started making them. And then as my kids were growing up— my daughter likes scary movies, so I’ll watch with her. Like, obviously, I can’t whimper. You need to feel secure. I think it’s a very interesting genre, because it gets at something primal. We love being afraid. I think there’s something necessary in that, and then also confronting that fear is, I think, a huge evolutionary necessity. We need to be afraid, but then we need to have the courage to confront that fear. And I think that that’s a lesson that sort of plays itself out time and time again, throughout history.