It’s a been fairly a life-changing few years for Morfydd Clark. After breaking out as a troubled and God-fearing palliative care nurse in A24’s splendidly unsettling and critically lauded psychological horror Saint Maud, which was lastly launched in 2021 after a number of pandemic delays, the fast-rising Welsh actress headed straight to Center-earth, fronting The Rings of Energy’s ensemble forged because the younger and fearless Galadriel.
The second season of Amazon’s megabudget Tolkien prequel wrapped earlier this 12 months, however earlier than donning Galadriel’s battle armor for one more orc battle, Clark discovered the time to enterprise again into creepy style territories with Starve Acre, getting its world premiere on the BFI London Movie Pageant on Thursday, Oct. 12.
From Brit director Daniel Kokotajlo — whose massively well-received 2017 debut Apostasy earned a BAFTA nomination — and primarily based on the e book by Andrew Michael Hurly, the gothic horror sees Clarke star alongside Matt Smith as a pair residing in rural England within the Nineteen Seventies. However what seems to be an idyllic household life is turned the other way up when their younger son begins appearing out of character, resulting in a rising obsession over folkloric myths in regards to the land round their distant farm home and darkish, sinister forces being unwittingly allowed inside.
For Clark, coming from such a significant manufacturing to a small indie undertaking — one the place the “complete crew can slot in one room” — was a particular expertise. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter forward of the premiere, the actress discusses her rising horror library and why she’s fascinated with that cinematic world.
Congratulations on Starve Acre. It’s a splendidly creepy movie. I feel it truly creeped me out greater than Saint Maud. How do you rank the 2?
That is what I all the time simply love about horror normally, as a result of all people has their very own specific factor that makes them be like, “Oh.” I like that about Black Mirror as nicely. I really like asking folks what their most horrific Black Mirror is as a result of it’s fairly revealing. I feel horror is de facto attention-grabbing like that. However I discover them each fairly horrifying. I discovered the connection with Juliet and her sister very horrifying, as a result of I’ve a sister so the thought of households being torn aside by a malevolent presence or previous trauma very disturbing.
Within the house of some years, you’ve made a unbelievable psychological horror and now a extra folksy gothic horror. Are you extra attracted to those kinds of movies?
I feel I’m drawn to how fragile we’re. And I feel that’s one thing that’s explored rather a lot in horror. But additionally I feel that the not-listened-to a part of any group, which type of typically in horror it’s the girl, one thing unhealthy occurs to them. And I discover that fairly fascinating. I’m excited by why Millennials and Gen Xers are obsessive about horror as nicely, and I feel it’s as a result of we’ve spent our lives being like “I really feel there’s a monster,” be it local weather change or something occurring politically. So I discover that horror and the supernatural and horror stuff can faucet into actual life in a very attention-grabbing approach. And there’s additionally one thing cathartic about it, about going to the depths of darkness after which turning off.
And have they began to come back to you? Saint Maud was clearly massively nicely obtained. Did Daniel method you after seeing that?
Yeah, I used to be actually fortunate that I used to be approached by Daniel, which I nonetheless can’t consider that occurred. I used to be aware of him from Apostasy, so was very excited, however was additionally tremendous excited as a result of this couldn’t be extra completely different from that. I had a number of chats with him concerning the character within the story. He’s a really light, empathetic, type individual in addition to being actually inventive, and I really feel that you simply want that gentleness if you’re exploring terrible issues. So I learn the script, however then after talking to him I used to be like, yeah, it is a man that I’d like to do that stuff with. Since you positively want your setting to really feel secure if you’re doing these things. However it’s good to be seen as spooky and freaky. It’s positively attention-grabbing to discover.
There’s one thing so extremely creepy concerning the setting of Starve Acre — the farm itself and the time interval actually add to the chilliness issue. Do you are feeling that in any respect if you’re making the movie or does the very fact you’re in the midst of a manufacturing with folks round you plus lights and cameras nullify it?
Yeah, I feel you positively do get creeped out. And that home we had been in, it’s within the valley so that you couldn’t see something however the fields round you. There nearly wasn’t a horizon regardless of being in the midst of nowhere, which was fairly eerie. You actually did really feel such as you had been trapped in openness. And people type of units are so such a bizarre combination of getting to be very critical at occasions, but in addition you’re doing ridiculous issues. Everybody exhausted however elated and hysteria is simply like a second away. And we additionally had loads of animals.
Talking of animals, with out wanting to provide an excessive amount of away, there’s a very terrifying hare that crops up later within the movie and your characters grows hooked up to. Was it an actual hare or animatronic?
It was a mix of many issues. There was an actual rabbit — a kind of Belgian rabbit which is very large. I’ve by no means held a rabbit like that. However the primary hare efficiency was a puppet with an animatronic face. There have been 5 puppeteers. It was actually wonderful. We wished it to appear as actual as doable however to the purpose that it was uncanny and creepy. It was fantastic to work with puppeteers as a result of it’s like such a specific self-discipline. And likewise you’re working with a gang, so it meant that at any time when the hare was there, the room was full. As a result of there’s me, Matt, Erin [Richards, who plays her sister], the canine, the animatronic hare after which 5 puppeteers in blue fits, so it was fairly a specific expertise.
I seen the hare didn’t blink in any respect. It actually freaked me out.
Apparently you may’t truly do it with a traditional actual hare as a result of apparently they die of nervousness. That’s how I really feel doing press!
So did you shoot this after the primary season of The Rings of Energy?
Sure. I’d simply come again after the primary season and this was my first job. And to be doing one thing the place the entire crew was in a single room was fortunate.
How did it really feel going from such a ridiculous enormous manufacturing to a small indie?
There’s one thing actually particular about indies, notably ones which can be filmed in a single location. Saint Maud was as nicely. As I stated, all of the crew and forged might match into one room and also you do turn out to be extremely shut and your’re in your personal type of cabin fever expertise. You’re working lengthy hours, you’re attempting to get this factor accomplished, and also you’re on this creepy home that they’ve picked for its creepiness. It has a specific bonding expertise. The weather had been additionally in opposition to us and it felt, in case you had been that approach in inclined, folksy and horror-y.
The Rings of Energy was such an enormous manufacturing, and Galadriel was one of many central characters, if not essentially the most central character. How did it really feel being entrance and centre of such a significant present?
I feel regardless of the measurement of one thing you simply are nonetheless a cog in all of it. And also you all the time really feel extra like that the larger the present, as a result of there’s so many people who find themselves making it. So I feel ultimately, you type of nonetheless really feel like a thread within the tapestry.
Have you ever discovered that extra and larger roles have come your approach since The Rings of Energy? Saint Maud is the movie that obtained lots of people speaking and is type of thought-about you “breakout,”however after going from that to such a significant manufacturing did you begin to discover extra affords come via?
Each occurred on the identical time. However I really feel very fortunate the place I’m proper now, as a result of I’ve accomplished issues which have expressed who I’m, so the individuals who wish to work with me I feel perceive me. So like Daniel reaching out to me — I feel he knew that I’d be a type of kindred artist with him. So it’s good to be at this level the place I’m recognized to a sure diploma. The factor I really like about this job is that you simply get to satisfy so many individuals and be deep inside every others minds. I’m actually blissful that I appear to have a pleasant second the place that’s persevering with.
You’ve obtained an Evelyn Glennie biopic and a brand new Hamlet arising. Every other creepy gothic horrors on the horizon?
I’m not being tremendous creepy in the intervening time. However meaning I’ll be totally charged when one thing comes alongside.