Mena Suvanri sat down with Hollywood Hotline to discuss this fascinating, albeit macabre, project.
Q: To play Brandi, do you have to sympathize or justify what she does?:
A: In real life the womanís name was Chante Mallard, and I believe that Chante and Brandi are inherently good people. Iíve always been really interested in psychology and criminal psychology in particular and what makes people do the things that they do.
I feel like, number one, Brandi and Chante, they werenít in the right mind set when this happened. I donít feel that they set out to be put in this situation. Brandi doesnít aim for the man that she hits. I think if she were given the choice she wouldnít have wanted to go through any of it or be put in that situation.
What was so interesting to me was dissecting what makes somebody snap and really go to that extreme. I feel that Brandi is somewhat ignorant about the system and sheís afraid. I think she is afraid to lose everything that she has worked so hard for which isnít much, but she has her small little world and she has this job that sheís not so crazy about but I think there are a lot of people in a situation like that where sheís faced with possibly losing her own life.
And what is that? Thatís survival of the fittest. You know, primal instinct. Do we all have that within us that if weíre really put into that situation, what will we do to save ourselves. So that was really what was so interesting and fascinating to me.
She ultimately snaps and just starts reacting. I think she loses all ability to have any consciousness of the situation and she has to justify it for herself. I actually watched Misery several times because that was my inspiration for this film Ė Kathy Bates in that movie really just kind of going to that extreme.
Q: How much did you do in terms of studying this character? Did you go back to the locales and the places where this happened?
A: No, I wasnít able to. It took place in Ft. Worth, Texas in 2001 and we shot in New Brunswick which is pretty far away from there. I basically educated myself about her and the story and the incident as much as I could. I didnít get the opportunity to meet her. Sheís serving 50 years to life.
Q: How was it working with Stephen Rea again?:
A: Oh wonderful. We worked together on The Musketeer in 2001 so it was great to be able to work with him again. I was so excited that he wanted to be a part of it. Thatís fun for me. Itís comforting when you work with the same people again, whether itís behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Itís just kind of like a family.
Q: How challenging was it to play opposite him in some of those scenes in the garage where heís stuck in the carís windshield?
A: It was very intense. I got really frustrated because it was a particular kind of film making. You didnít really have time. [We would do] one or two takes and I said I canít go from 0 to 90 in one second. But I was trying to use that. I was just trying to use the intensity and whatís available to me to draw from because itís very, very intense. Itís the emotional experience. It was like losing my mind. I hadnít really gone to that before and I just had to go for it.