On the red carpet for the Saturn Awards last night I ran into actor Michael Biehn (there to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award), who rose to fame in the 1980s after starring in James Cameron films The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss.
Biehn – who was attending with his wife, actress Jennifer Blanc – has recently been screening his directorial debut The Victim for test audiences in select cities (the film will also be shown on Saturday, August 6th @ 7:30pm at the Laemmle Sunset 5 for anyone in the Los Angeles area interested in checking it out), and in addition recently starred in Frontier(s) director Xavier Gens’ postapocalyptic horror film The Divide, which was picked up by Anchor Bay at SXSW in a low-seven figure deal earlier this year. I asked him about the project, for which no release date has yet been set, which has been noted by reviewers for its utterly bleak look at human nature.
Of course, given the intense subject matter and contained location (the film is about a small group of individuals who have survived a nuclear explosion in New York City by shutting themselves in a basement), he also admitted that shooting the film was no cake-walk: “It was tough. There was a lot of tension on that set.”
Also on the red carpet last night was Biehn’s Divide co-star Rosanna Arquette, there to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to the actor for his body of work, who also spoke to the intensity of the production process on the film.
“We had this incredible production designer, Tony [Noble], and he really [did a great job]…to the point where on the set, I got incredible bronchitis,” she noted. “It was so dusty, and it was really, it was so real that there was no way not to react to how real it was…It was quite a challenge, but it was great. The director, Xavier Gens…it was one of the most creative, freeing experiences I’ve had in a long time…It’s very dark.”
And as if the nearly two-hour running time weren’t already enough misery for one sitting, Arquette also indicated the the film may even be longer by the time it’s released to the general public: “Apparently they’re cutting a longer version now…uh oh,” she joked. “It’s pretty wild.”