Horror movie updates are nothing new in Hollywood, and typically offer nothing new either aside from a carbon copy cinematic experience. And while Maniac, a remake of the 1980 cut classic, still tells the story of a sociopathic mannequin shop owner and his penchant for scalping beautiful women, the approach is so entirely unique, it's as if you’re seeing a wholly new film.
Shot entirely from the perspective of our killer, 2013's Maniac puts you, quite literally, in the killer's shoes, making some of the more malevolent scenes hard to watch for entirely new reasons. The experience is not only exciting for fans, but also for the actors themselves as co=star Megan Duffy recounted to ETonline.
ETonline: What attracted you to Maniac?
Megan Duffy: I normally stay away from horror films, I tend to do light and happy roles. But this happened to come to me on a bad day, after my 14th audition in a row. I was also such a huge fan of Alexandre Aja's [screenwriter/producer], I loved what he did with Piranha, so I read the script, said what the hell, and we all know what happened.
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ETonline: How difficult was making Maniac given the dark subject material and the unique shooting style?
Duffy: It was very difficult. I was in kind of a dark place the day we shot her apartment scene, luckily for me we did that on my third day of working. One of the other girls filmed her death scenes on day one. The difficult part was to stay in character and experience what Lucie is experiencing. But also, it's so technically difficult, so there's an awareness of the camera an actor wouldn't normally have. Sometimes I would deliver my lines to camera, other times I'm talking to Elijah but always aware of when the camera is panning because I have to change my focus. It was pretty difficult to try and stay in the right headspace with the awareness of the camera.
ETonline: Elijah told me that, originally, it wasn’t planned for him to actually be on set every day. How much did having him there, off-camera, help you?
Duffy: Having Elijah there was so helpful for all of us actors. It really made the film. We all felt so much more comfortable in our performances too, because if you just have a script reader giving you static lines, it could be a mess. Elijah, who isn't even talking that much in the movie, was really so generous with everything he did.
ETonline: Your character is covered in tattoos, but you aren't. Did that help form your opinion of Lucie?
Duffy: Oh yes. It was 3 hours in the makeup chair very day, so it gave me the chance to really connect with her. I don't have any body art myself; I could never commit to a design like that on my body, so part of my research was in talking to women with a lot of body art to find out why they chose what they did and what each piece means to them. I am planning to get one -- I grew up as a dancer, so I want to get the perfect tiny dancer somewhere on my ribcage -- but I still haven't committed.
ETonline: What do you think of the finished film?
Duffy: I was so excited to see it; originally I’d only seen my parts in ADR. Most of us saw the finished film for the first time in Cannes. To hear the audience discover the film as we were was an amazing experience.
Maniac is now playing.