Director Dennis Iliadis (The Last House On The Left) made a hugely risky (and rewarding) left turn with + 1 (Plus One), which opens in theaters and hits VOD tomorrow, September 20. The effect of the film is hard to describe, but I give it shot in my review out of SXSW. I urge you to check it out, pay attention and stick with it.
I recently hopped on the phone with Ashley Hinshaw (pictured above; Chronicle), one of the film’s stars, to talk about the the challenges of getting such an ambitious piece of work on the screen.
The film also stars Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), Logan Miller (I’m In The Band) and Natalie Hall (Pretty Little Liars). “Three college friends go to the biggest party of the year, each looking for something different: love, sex and a simple human connection. When a supernatural phenomenon disrupts the party, it lights a fuse on what will become the strangest night anyone has ever seen. As the three friends struggle to find what they’re looking for, the party quickly descends into a chaos that challenges if they can stay friends or if they can even stay alive.“
I really enjoy the film but it’s very ambitious. When you get a script like this, were you able to really absorb it right away?
I was a bit intimidated by the script as a whole. There’s so much going on at all times, both intellectually and in terms of the plot. It took about an hour of Dennis sitting down with me and explaining his vision for the film until I truly felt like I could offer something. And then I was super excited. Dennis has such a strong vision for things. There’s so much going on when you read it on paper it’s overwhelming.
You have to play a lot of the scenes twice from different perspectives. How’s that for you as a performer?
That was one of the things I was most excited about. That scene where Rhys and I have that heated discussion at the party, it was really exciting for me as an actor to approach one scene in two completely different ways. The first time you see it I’m not receptive to anything he’s saying, and then the second time my reaction is completely different. That was exciting. It’s definitely difficult, a lot to take on. But the scenes I got to play twice were some of the most exciting challenges.
It must have been difficult to maintain the energy of the night unfolding as depicted, did you guys shoot in sequence?
We tried to shoot as much as possible in sequence for each version of each character, but everyone’s story lines are jumbled up. I had hoped we were going to shoot both versions of each scene in the same night, but Dennis was opposed to that from the beginning. Initially I was concerned about that, but he really wanted us to get away from whatever we did and come back with a new perspective on it. Which in the end was a great decision.
To me it seems like the film has something very clear to say about how people respond to the fear of the unknown.
When Dennis was telling me about the project, his question was “what would you do if you had a second chance at something? How would you change things?” It’s a really interesting concept. What would you do if you met yourself? There are so many characters in the film that everyone is on a different journey.
I see you just wrapped up on Site 146, can you tell us a little bit about that?
It’s going to be a scary one. We shot the movie in Morocco, it’s set in Egypt. Alexandre Aja produced it and I just got an update from them and I think it’s going to be awesome. It’s so different from anything I’ve done and it’s really exciting.