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Lily Sullivan | MONOLITH

Written By:

John Townsend
Lily Sullivan

Lily Sullivan is an Australian actor best known for her role in Evil Dead Rise. And now she stars in Monolith, a brooding, intense mystery about one woman’s search for the truth. Before its release, Lily sat down with us for a chat.

STARBURST: One of the main themes in Monolith is isolation, and it looks like it was an intense filming experience as you’re pretty much on your own. How was the process for you?

Lily Sullivan: From an intensity point of view, carrying the film somewhat, it was definitely a big fear. Once you get into that level of immersion, once they call rolling, not having a partner is actually one of the most psychedelic experiences, where you just strip out the body language of another person. So when it comes to carbonating the energy of a film, it was so internal and heavy. The director Matt Vesely, because we’re in this giant house, would ask all the crew to step out so whoever didn’t need to be in the room wasn’t, and then we waited a large chunk of time, sitting in silence before going into the scene. It was really quite bizarre. It was amazing how much the intensity of the imagery is in your mind, which just takes over. Once you strip out a person in front of you, it’s up to you and your thoughts and the vivid imagination that we all have. But yeah, it was the most intense form of immersion I’ve felt as an actor. I was descending into this weird manic madness, and as we shot 12 hours a day, not turning around and there being another actor, yeah, it was quite psychedelic.

You mentioned the house there, and it does feel like it bleeds into your performance.

Yeah, finding the house was a key element to it. It was a lot of open spaces, and there were a lot of windows and things, so it did affect things. There was a coldness to the location, as it’s all made of concrete. There were reflections and moving walls, and everything was automatic. You could absolutely get lost in it. There was a whole underground as well that we didn’t shoot, with a theatre room and a wine cellar. It was quite bizarre as you could disappear at the other end of the house and sit in silence. It did feel like another character. And when we were in the house, shooting on such a tight schedule and budget, it elevated everyone’s performance. It was such a fun element to play with, and it lent itself to the spookiness and the eeriness of the world that we were creating. It was great, but when I was offered the chance to stay there, I couldn’t do it. I wanted to leave and go back to my cute little country cottage! It was 15 days of just absolute adrenaline-fuelled shooting. I had to hit a rhythm as soon as we hit the ground. We shot mostly in chronological order, and it just evolved and became this race to the finish line.

That’s interesting, as there’s no brevity in the film at all, so getting out to decompress must have been important.

Yeah, playing someone with this vision of their life, wanting to seek something that would validate them, like just having this real kind of ugliness. It was always nice to block it out. You need to refresh, and I think for any actor staying where you’re shooting, it’s quite a lot.

It’s interesting to film in chronological order, as the character is quite flawed, and more is revealed as time progresses. Did you draw on any particular influences for the role?

There’s a nauseating energy and desire to exist with an online presence, to have this public persona, to be doing something you see as important, to put your opinion out there. So, I was like pulling on that, trying to feel like you just have this idea of self-worth relating to public image, and trying to do something that’s noteworthy. That kind of clickbait podcast culture and the idea of misinformation. She’s a woman of immense privilege, claiming to seek the truth. It’s interesting.

 

MONOLITH will be on digital platforms from February 26th.

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