Based on experiments of the 1970s, there was a theory that ghosts and spirits could be summoned with dark energy from a human being.
“The Quiet Ones” is a fictional story based on those experiments in which a college professor conducts it on a young woman.
The film stars Jared Harris, Sam Claflin and Olivia Cooke.
Latino-Review had an exclusive telephone interview with Cooke on her experiences on playing a very complex and crazy young woman in that experiment. We also discussed the difficult scenes and working with the veteran thespian Jared Harris.
“The Quiet Ones” will be in theaters tomorrow everywhere.
Read the full interview transcript below:
Latino-Review: What attracted you to this project?
Olivia Cooke: Not only the script, but the character is a feast for an actress to have. She’s a billion characters in one. She’s a schizophrenic times one hundred. She has all these qualities there that made her so fun to play. It was the best drama school to push that learning curve that I could’ve ever had. And I was being paid for it.
Latino-Review: Oh, really. It was such a complex character. How did you mentally prepare yourself to play this type of character?
Olivia Cooke: I didn’t. [Laughter] I didn’t. I was eighteen for my first film. I just did it. It was quite disturbing for me to be in that character.
Latino-Review: Not only that, there were a lot of torture scenes in this film. Did you have to mentally prepare for that or did you just winged it?
Olivia Cooke: No, we had weeks of rehearsals prior to that. The scenes were done on the hand held cameras as well. These scenes would be like six or seven minutes long so it was almost like doing a play. So we didn’t winged it and it took a lot of concentration. There was a lot of hard work and dedication. We all kind of chipped in and helped each other out. And hopefully, it worked.
Latino-Review: So did you do any special preparations for the movie like you did any research on these true stories?
Olivia Cooke: I did a little bit of research into the actual true stories. My character in the script was so different to what actually the real persons from those experiments. There was always a girl in the movies with a white girl with a dark mark—so I wanted her to be as original as she could be. For me, I didn’t want to have so much distraction from outside sources for the films and other characters in movies. I just wanted this to really come from me.
Latino-Review: Did you try to add different elements to the character to the screen that was different from the script?
Olivia Cooke: You always find out about your character when you read it out loud for the first time. It always translates differently in person than on script. There are some qualities that you didn’t realize and the different layers that you couldn’t possibly put on paper. So it’s really exciting to build that with the director. There’s a trust in me to let me do my thing. It was great.
Latino-Review: What was the weirdest or most difficult scene you had to perform?
Olivia Cooke: The most difficult scene on a personal level was the bath scene. [Laughter] It was really embarrassing. Apart from that, I loved doing every scene since it was so much fun. I could go crazy and the fight scenes were fun because I’ve never done anything like that before. The scenes when we were there all together as a group were the best because we could bounce off of each other so much.
Latino-Review: If you were referring to the bath scene—it was difficult because it was a nude scene and possibly your first experience on this?
Olivia Cooke: Yeah, it was very embarrassing. It was a closed set. Everyone was more nervous and you were the one doing it. You tried to make jokes to lighten up the mood. [Laughter]
Latino-Review: I understand this is your first feature film that was done quite some time ago. Was this more difficult for you than doing television work? Would you like to do more film acting?
Olivia Cooke: I think I’m definitely moving away from horror now since I’ve done so much. We shot [this movie] very quickly in six weeks. It wasn’t really different from doing television in a sense that we get there on the day and change scenes completely around. In television, there’s not that much leeway and pretty much stick to the script. So it seems like we had a lot more control in what we’re doing. If we didn’t like it or wanted to change something—we could definitely propose it and use [Director] John Pogue is usually on board with a lot of suggestions.
Latino-Review: Now you just mentioned that you didn’t want to do anymore more horror. Why is that?
Olivia Cooke: I just want to explore other genres. You can only do so much horror before you are branded as a horror scream queen.
Latino-Review: Oh, you don’t want to be Hammer Film’s horror queen?
Olivia Cooke: I don’t think I could top the character of Jane Harper anyways. So I want to explore different things.
Latino-Review: Excellent. You acted with several different actors, particularly with Jared Harris in the film. Did they give you good advice and help you along through your first film?
Olivia Cooke: Oh, yeah. It was just the five of us all the time. We just really helped each other out. Ultimately, they just let me do what I do and not judge me. Sometimes it looked like we’re doing all these ridiculous stuff without all the music and the edits. Jared said to me, “Don’t let them take advantage of you.” It means that don’t like anyone patronize me. And do things I don’t want to do. Or maybe acts that my opinion is not valid.
It was great in that sense. It was a real life lesson. And watching him was a life lesson itself.
Latino-Review: This movie is such a dark and serious film. Did you even have a chance to have fun on the set?
Olivia Cooke: Oh, yeah. We had fun all the time. We’ve taken it to extremes where we thought we’re doing a ten out of ten, but the director tells us we only got five out of ten. So we were on the cusp of ridiculous sometimes. Sometimes we would just fall into laughing. I was crying a lot in scenes, so if you stay in that mode—it just becomes emotionally and physically exhausting.
We would break into a musical every time the director yells cut. We would belt out songs from Moulin Rouge and West Side Story. [Laughter]
Latino-Review: Oh, really. I bet you’re a great singer yourself then?
Olivia Cooke: Yeah? Oh, no. No, nope. [Laughter]
Latino-Review: This movie is a period piece. So did you enjoy the 1970s costumes and what’s up with that hair?
Olivia Cooke: I look at things every day when I come out of wardrobe. I love these beautiful authentic 1970s that I wore for the six weeks. The hair, I mean, they didn’t let you wash. They let me washed it once for a treat. She was in horrible confinement and the dirt just got to her.
Latino-Review: Let me go ahead and wrap this up with you. Can you discuss some of your future projects? I believe you’re on the show “Bates Motel” and another movie coming out called “Ouija.” “Ouija” is not a horror movie, right?
Olivia Cooke: Yeah, that is a horror movie. I am doing a comedy in June called, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” We go back to “Bates Motel” in October and “Ouija” comes out in October as well.
Latino-Review: Terrific. Just out of curiosity, do you believe in paranormal activity yourself?
Olivia Cooke: I’m opened to it, but nothing ever happens to me. Until it happens—I have to see it to believe it.
Latino-Review: Awesome. Congratulations on your movie. We’re all looking forward to it.
Olivia Cooke: Thank you so much and nice talking to you.
“The Quiet Ones” will be in theaters tomorrow, April 25.