Howdy, y'all! McEric here with a fun new interview from one of my favorite actresses.
Natasha Henstridge exploded onto the scene in 1995 with the science-fiction thriller SPECIES, a phenomenon that spawned two sequels... and a fourth film that somehow fits. Over the years she’s worked with flavors-of-the-week like Jean-Claude Van Damme (no disrespect; I am a fan) and legends like Jonathan Lynn and John Carpenter, consistently turning in quality work. Her newest film, available now on Streaming and On-Demand, shows a more maternal side of the actress as she fights to protect a young girl caught in the crosshairs of the drug trade mafia. Check out the trailer:
Natasha Henstridge and Costas Mandylor star in the new thriller from director Joth Riggs, NIGHT OF THE SICARIO, a claustrophobic dark night of suspense in the most unlikely of places: an old folks’ home. Henstridge plays Taylor Ward, the supervisor and head nurse of the home. (Yes, “Ward” as in “protector.”) When Mandylor’s DEA agent Bennett’s convoy is attacked by Sicarios gunning for the witness he’s “protecting,” he seeks to shelter the witness in Taylor’s facility while he runs off to “get help.” What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse as Taylor must find the courage to defend her charges, both old and young, against nefarious cartel enforcers.
I had the chance to talk to Natasha about the new film, as well as pick her brain about some of my old favorites.
Natasha Henstridge: Hello!
Eric McClanahan: Good morning! How are you?
NH: I’m good. How are you?
EM: I’m well. Thank you! So, we’re talking about your new film NIGHT OF THE SICARIO which I just finished watching not too long ago and did a little bit of research and I guess the first thing I wanted to know is when was this picture filmed? Is this pre- or post-pandemic?
NH: It looks like a film that could’ve been made during the pandemic, right, because of the location? But we actually did make it pre-pandemic.
NH: It would’ve been the perfect film to make during the pandemic, though. You’re right.
EM: I was curious. I was watching it thinking “I can’t tell when they’re making this.”
NH: Like that movie LOCKED DOWN, have you seen that yet? With Anne Hathaway and… oh I forget who the other actor was. [It was Chiwtel Ejiofor.] But they made the whole film in one house during the pandemic. It’s kind of like that.
EM: I haven’t seen that one yet.
NH: It was really good!
EM: Yeah, very creative!
NH: Definitely check that out.
EM: Now what attracted you to this project? How did you get on board this film?
NH: I love those questions but I never quite know. Joth Riggs, the director of the film, and I met up and he talked about his ideas for the film and did some tweaking of the script and everything. I don’t recall exactly how it came about but I know I met with Joth before deciding to do it. About the script, I remember being “Oh, I think the script needs some work” and they did the work and I said “Okay, cool! Let’s do it!” That’s about what I remember of that process.
EM: Well, it’s got some juicy themes that I could see an actress wanting to sink her teeth into: it begins with the DEA agents in that kind of seedy protector role but then pivots quickly into more of an unsung hero: the caregiver, Taylor. So there’s a great maternal instinct there, frequent messages of faith. There’s a lot going on in the film that I could see someone being like “That’s the story I want to tell.”
NH: Yeah, the character had an arc and great characters in the elderly that she was taking care of in the home. So I felt like there was a little bit of humor so there was a levity throughout the film at times as well, which is always good for those films that are kind of cat-and-mousey; that kind of vibe. That trying to survive, no matter what the circumstances are; in this case, well… you saw the film. So, yeah, I liked the levity, the little bit of humor, that kind of stuff. And then the circumstances, as an actress, when the stakes are really high, it gives you something to work with.
EM: Did you feel a maternal connection with your young co-star, Addison Kendall, throughout the film? I saw some really great chemistry between the two of you.
NH: Very much. I loved her! Such a sweet girl. We really got along and she did kind of look up to me. She wanted to be around me all the time which was very cute. She’s acted a little bit but she’s still quite new to it, obviously because she’s very young. But we spent a lot of time together. I loved her family and we really got a long. She’s a darling and so cute. I did feel very close to her. We laughed a lot and I also had a maternal thing where sometimes I’d have to get her to focus. She’s a sweet kid but sometimes I’d have to get her to focus like “Come on! We’re filming now so let’s get this-” [laughing] I was like a disciplinarian mom at times, too. So yeah!
EM: It’s all play! It’s hard sometimes to focus; you’re like “This is so much fun! We’re making a movie!
NH: I know! And when you’re a young girl, of course! I’ve worked with quite a few kids and it’s hard when you’re that age to keep a certain kind of attention; it’s hard for me at my age to keep that kind of attention and intensity for a long period of time. But she was fantastic. She did a great job!
EM: So you’ve been working actively in film for twenty-five years now, you have a very impressive resume. Since I’ve got you on the phone I have to talk about some of my favorites and pick your brain a little bit. Is that okay?
NH: Of course! I’d love that.
EM: Okay! Hands down, one of my favorite films of all time, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.
NH: Awwww, I love that movie, too! Thank you! I have to say, I went into the theater when I saw that movie the first time for the screening or the premiere or whatever it was that I saw it for the first time and I was like “Oh man! This is good! This is fun!” I mean, I never like anything that I’m in and I really don’t like to see myself on film. I don’t watch a ton of stuff that I’m in; I know you hear that with actors all the time. On occasion I do, but I really don’t like to see myself on film, particularly in the movie we’re talking about right now but that’s a different story. [laughs] But I remember watching THE WHOLE NINE YARDS and chuckling my way through and even losing sight of the fact that I was in the movie because I was so enjoying the film, so yeah, that was a good one.
EM: It was another film that cleverly balanced tone and I just want to know if you have any great moments that you shared with director Jonathan Lynn? Any direction that he gave that stuck with you?
NH: I absolutely adored him and his wife and they were wonderful to work with. He’s great with comedy, great with timing, and he loves to rehearse so it was really the best of all worlds. And he doesn’t take shit from movie stars so it was just perfect. He was great, he and Bruce got along great so it was a great experience all around.
EM: I also wanted to ask about working with John Carpenter on GHOSTS OF MARS. (Which I recently made an allusion to in my WRONG TURN reboot review.) I feel like he made a grindhouse feature throwback before it came into vogue, you know? How did you feel about that whole experience?
NH: Well, I loved the experience of making the film. It was just brilliant.I had a young child and the father of the child was also on the film; he got me the job, actually. We were out in the desert and we were all together and it was a community feeling. And I loved John! John’s a hoot and I just love him; a great sense of humor, a great guy. Really loved working with him. It’s not my genre, though. It’s not my jam, if I’m being totally honest, but I was happy to get to work with a legend like John Carpenter. If I’m going to do something in that genre of filmmaking, I’m going to do it with John Carpenter. Amazing! So cool! But if I’m being totally honest, from the time I read the script to the time I did the thing… people ask me all the time “Why did you do this? What drew you to this?” And sometimes you do [the picture] because you need to work, and [laughs] reading the script, it’s not my kind of thing, but I really loved making the film because I’d just had a young kid and now I get to train all the time and do all this kickboxing and martial arts and all of that, and being a chick action star is pretty cool; it’s pretty kick-ass. That part of it, I loved it! That part was pretty awesome.
EM: Hell yeah, it was! So, what are you working on next? What else can we look for from you coming out soon?
NH: This really cool film coming out called THIS GAME’S CALLED MURDER and it’s going to be a visual acid trip to watch. It’s just going to be really cool. The director Adam Sherman did it and I think they’re very close to releasing that soon; I just saw some news on it today. I’m doing a TV show here in Canada that’s going to be streaming on FOX called “Diggstown” that we’ll be starting shooting the third season in a week. I have just written my own Christmas movie that’s a bit grittier than the traditional glossy Christmas movie called ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS which sounds perfectly innocent and sweet but it’s got a little more grit to it than that and it’s based on a lot of characters that are in my life and it’s got a lot of my own story in it so I’m looking forward to that. I’m polishing that up and hope to be filming that by this winter, so fingers’ crossed.
EM: Well, that’s a lot to look forward to. Thank you so much!
NH: Thank you! I enjoyed chatting with you.
EM: Well thank you! I wish you the best of luck with this film and I hope to talk to you on your next project.
NH: Thank you so much! Bye.
NIGHT OF THE SICARIO is available now for Streaming and On-Demand.
Until next time, stay safe and stay sane!
-McEric, aka Eric McClanahan