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For art’s sake

Scottish actress Karen Gillan talks about enacting a 13 page script in a single take for Oculus and about her forthcoming films

Mumbai | April 11, 2014 1:00:54 am
Karen Gillan Karen Gillan

How did you bag the role in Oculus?

My agent asked me to go through the script of Oculus. Later, as I was in Scotland, I spoke with the director, Mike Flanagan on Skype. He spoke to me about the original short film, and was impressed by it. I also made an audition tape with the help of my father.

Tell us something about the most talked about, ‘longest monologue’ in the movie.

It took me two months to learn it, and I still remember it. It was a single take scene and the script was 13 pages long. The scene was difficult to enact as there was no emotion involved—it was just stating facts which I had to say in a single shot. Post that, I couldn’t memorise any other line after this mammoth dialogue delivery.

What technique did you use to memorise the dialogue?

I memorised one page every day and kept repeating it over and over again, till I cpi;d memorise it.

There’s also this one sequence where you bite into a lightbulb, how did you manage to do that?

Mike is a very capable guy and shot the scene extremely well. There were a variety of shots we did for that scene, closeup, side, long shot, that were edited very well. Obviously it wasn’t real glass; we used a rubber material.

Do you relate with any aspect of your character that you play in Oculus?

My character, Kaylie is determined to find the cause of her mother’s death. I could relate with my character as like her, even I am a determined person and dedicated to my art.

Do you like to watch horror movies?

Oh, I love the whole genre. I have grown up seeing so many of them.
My most favourite are Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Death of a Cheerleader.

How was your experience working with Mike as a director?

It was fantastic. He is a tough task master and pushed the boundaries of what we could do as actors. I feel sometimes as an actor you can be reserved and underplay your role. But he asked us to go all the way up. He has utilised all the energies and done a fantastic job with the editing .

You will also be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, in which you play a completely different character.

I couldn’t believe when I saw my look in the film. The first time I saw myself,  I went, ‘Whoa’! It was a very scary experience. Marvel had done a lot of make-up tests with other artistes, but I hadn’t seen their pictures. I think the entire make-up etc, really helped me to get into the skin of my character. I shaved my head, had to work out and become a completely different person altogether.

Guardians… is a multi-starrer, so do you feel that your role will be lost amongst the fleet of stars?

I play an interesting character, that of a lead villain. My role has so many layers and so many relationships with the other characters. I particularly liked the relationship my character shares with Zoe Saldana’s character in the movie.

Marvel has a tendency to reshoot portions of their films once the first cut is ready. If additional shooting is required, would you once again shave your head?

(Laughs) Well, I would, if it’s absolutely necessary. But if it can be managed without me having to shave my head, I would really like that. At present, I am wearing short hair, so maybe I can get away without cutting my hair again.


Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay’s Chris Martin separate

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin, the lead singer of alt-rock band Coldplay, announced their separation after 10 years of marriage.
“It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate,” the couple said on Paltrow’s lifestyle website,, in a post titled Conscious Uncoupling.
“We have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been,” they added.
Paltrow, 41, who won a Best Actress Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love, and British singer Martin, 37, were married in December 2003, and have two children, Apple and Moses. The notoriously private couple, who avoid being photographed together in public, will, “consciously uncouple and co-parent” their children, the couple said.


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