Pollyanna McIntosh has performed in a wide variety of characters from stage to screen, ranging from the girl next door to a cannibalistic, cave-dwelling feral subhuman. A fascinating and charming woman to chat with, we discussed her work in The Woman, the black comedy about Scotland's infamous body snatchers Burke and Hare, and what the lovely Scots lass has coming up next.
Starburst: Thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Pollyanna McIntosh: My pleasure.
You were born in Edinburgh, but had a very cosmopolitan upbringing growing up in several different countries. Were there any major influences because of this that made you want to become an actress?
My mother is actually the catalyst to my career. When I was nine years old, I was a hyperactive child. She thought I could take all that excess energy and channel it into something constructive and she enrolled me into an acting class once a week. Living abroad also heightened my awareness to other people's cultures and customs. Psychologically, starting in a new place and a new environment can be challenging. Being the outsider, having to make new friends all over again, it’s very hard at that age, but I learned how to adapt through acting.
What attracted to you to the story of The Woman?
I had played the character in the previous film Offspring and was offered the role to keep with continuity in the stories. I read Jack Ketchum's book, who was also the screenwriter on the project with Lucky McKee directing and was fascinated by it.
I was happy so see that Lucky McKee finally got his big break with an indie production. Many studio pics take away your creative control, stifle creativity and you end up with a film that barely resembles what your original idea was.
I've heard that too. With an indie film, you have to think on your feet and be creative. Lucky McKee was great to work with on the set and very nice towards the actors and the crew.
The role of the Woman looked physically demanding. Did you do a lot of prep work for it?
Yes. I worked out a lot and played on the monkey bars at a local playground to get the animal motions down. Then I would take long walks in the woods to see what it was like to be alone. I would also rent a lot of wild animal and nature documentaries, along with studying the history of the mythology of the character.
Chris is extremely well portrayed by actor Sean Bridges. He has the characteristics of an alpha male sociopath and your character is a woman out of her element brought into a dysfunctional family environment creating a lot of conflict and drama. Did you and the cast do a lot of rehearsing together before filming?
No, we didn't. Jack Ketchum gave us a good insight to his characters through his book and script.
Burke and Hare. Here's a film that had all the markings of a successful movie with John Landis directing, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Tim Curry, yourself and yet, it only made $947 in the United States in the one theater that I was fortunate enough to see it in. What do you think happened?
It was number one at the box office in the UK for some time. Maybe it was lack of distribution or publicity. I don't know. It was a good film.
It's a very funny movie! So, what do you have coming up next?
I've got great projects coming up. Love Eternal with director Brenden Muldowney who adapted Loving the Dead from Japanese author Ken Oishi about a man who has been a shut in for ten years and comes out to face a world he no longer can relate to. There's also a comedy by Brian McGuire who wrote and is directing called Carlos Spills the Beans that has Harry Dean Stanton in it.
Harry Dean's great to work with! I worked with him on Escape From New York and that man is a class act. Talented musician too.
Can't wait to work with him!
'The Woman' is out now on DVD/Blu-ray. Read our review here.