Hey there, fellow horror geeks, and monsterphiles! Prometheus here, and recently, I got to chat with LIZZIE ZEREBKO, star of upcoming horror-thriller FOX HUNT DRIVE for WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH! Lizzie was awesome and you can check out our conversation, plus the trailer for the film below!
LIZZIE ZEREBKO: LZ
JOSHUA SCAFIDI: JS
JS: How are you, Lizzie?
LZ: I’m good, how are you doing?
JS: I’m good, thanks for the phone call!
LZ: Of course!
JS: It’s Women in Horror Month! I understand you have a horror-thriller making its premiere at Silicon Valley’s Cinequest, FOX HUNT DRIVE.
LZ: Yes! It’s coming up, we’re going to be leaving next week.
JS: And that starts, what? March 3rd?
LZ: Yeah, March 3rd!
JS: You must be excited.
LZ: I’m really excited! It’s actually the first big film festival that I’ve ever been to so, it’s been a goal of mine to have a reason to go to a big film festival for several years. So, I’m really happy to be able to check it off my list. I’m looking forward to talking to everybody that we come across and making relationships and enjoying each other’s work, really.
JS: Now, you play Allison Myers in the film, and she runs into a certain stranger and a little bit of trouble after her shift. What can you tell us, without spoiling too much, of course.
LZ: It’s a bit of a tough thing because I can’t tell you too much. What I can say is the reason that I decided to do the film is that there’s much more to the story, and to Allison, than meets the eye at first glance, or at first read. I just absolutely love complicated characters. People who aren’t just all nice, there’s more to it, there’s more to them going on behind what you see. I read the script and I was thinking about the role of Allison and I knew there were parts of me, as a person, that I could use and access to play her and those were parts of me that don’t necessarily get called upon all the time.
LZ: She’s in a hard spot when the film opens because she’s done everything that she was supposed to do in life. She was a top student, she had perfect grades, she got her high-level job as an architect. Now, she’s lost her job and she can’t seem to get another one, so, she’s completely stuck and that’s how she ends up driving for Back Seat. That’s the name of the company that we came up with for the film; it’s a ride-share app, similar to Uber.
So, that mindset; of her frustration, is where the film opens. You get to know much more about her as the film goes on and get to see how she handles the situation that she comes across. She picks up a very threatening guy and he’s a different guy than the actual user of the app who ordered the ride. I think that’s a very fascinating situation, too. Because, if you were in the position - what if?
JS: Like what you do, right?
LZ: Right! I got into an Uber once, and the picture of the driver was a young, probably twenty-five-year-old girl, and when I got into the car, it was a much older gentleman who was driving.
JS: Oh, man.
LZ: It looked like it could be her dad, so, I made the decision in that moment to go with it and trust it, and I was close to home, so I wasn’t too scared. But it makes you think; what if something did go horribly wrong in those situations.
JS: Right, because that’s real life. It could happen, and you never think it’s going to.
LZ: If you think about it the entire ride-share industry is really fascinating because we’re all deciding to trust other people, in a way.
JS: With our lives, too.
LZ: Exactly! We’re allowing them to influence our entire life, whether you’re a driver and you let people get into your personal car, or if you’re a passenger and you’re allowing somebody else to drive you. You’re basically giving them most of the control over what’s happening to you. It’s a huge amount of trust, so I feel like this movie is a very modern movie in that it examines what happens when that trust is broken, or what could happen.
JS: And that is a lot of trust that you give away without even considering it.
LZ: Right, because we’re all so used to doing that now.
JS: Now, I wanted to go back to another thing that you touched upon, that stood out to me. You mentioned that Allison has layers, she’s a little more than she appears. That’s real-life too, right? Because nobody is all nice, all of the time, right? We all have secrets, we have a past, we all have things we’re dealing with on a day to day basis, so I liked that. I liked that she wasn;t a one dimensional “nice” person. It wasn’t typical. I liked that.
LZ: It was very fun to play with that because every time that we started filming a new scene, I would have a conversation with Drew Walkup, our director, and we would have to break down what is Allison trying to come off as, and how does Allison actually feel.
LZ: Is she showing to the other people in the scene, or what she’s allowing to come through, versus what she’s really thinking. That distinction was really helpful during the filming the process and I think that was probably one of the most fun parts about trying to dissect her and dissect the script.
JS: So, you actually approached it that way, in the first place… That’s interesting as a viewer (to hear) because it came off that way, well done.
LZ: It’s something where you don’t fully understand the layers until you hear the full story, but that’s something that I definitely wanted to be present from the beginning. So, if you go back and re-watch it, you can go; oh, I understand what was dong there, or I understand what she was feeling there.
JS: Right. Once you have the knowledge that you have at the end of the film; watching it again is almost a different experience. I don’t want to say foreshadowing, but there were hints.
LZ: There were hints, yeah!
JS: You mentioned Drew Walkup, the director. What was it like working with him?
LZ: Oh, it was fabulous. We actually both went to USC, and we didn’t know each other when we were there, so we had been connected by a friend. We joked that I trusted him to go fly across the country to Orlando, for a month, and he ended up being just absolutely wonderful. I’m so thankful for both him and my co-star Michael Olavson. We had a wonderful time. The three of us were very connected and got together very well and had a wonderful working relationship the whole time. It was tough because we did almost entirely night shoots for an entire month. So, we were basically living the vampire life (laughing.) Going to bed at six or seven in the morning, and then waking up at three PM, getting some sort of food, maybe working out at the gym and then, memorizing lines and we were back to set for the whole night.
JS: So, you were basically on the graveyard-shift.
LZ: Absolutely, on the graveyard-shift and I’ve never done that before in my life, but it was surprisingly easy for me to transfer over to that, once we did. The key to it was to keep the schedule even on our days off. So, on our days off I was still staying up until six in the morning. Sometimes we would get together so that we could keep each other up.
JS: So, all three of you were pretty close?
LZ: Yeah, we had a great time. I haven’t seen Drew in two years, so we’re all excited to reconnect and be able to enjoy the whole film festival together again.
JS: That always makes it a bit easier, right? When you have that cohesiveness with your co-star and director?
LZ: Absolutely, and you know it’s a movie about a ride-share driver, so there is a good portion of the movie that happens… in the car. It’s hard for me to imagine shooting in the car for as many hours as we did, being stuck in the car with Michael, if we hadn’t gotten along as well as we did.
JS: Michael plays the stranger.
LZ: Exactly, he plays the passenger that I pick up, and it’s very close quarters and it would have been an interesting situation if I didn’t like him very much.
JS: Might have been a little awkward, right?
LZ +JS: (Laughing)
JS: So, is Michael anything like his character? How different is he in real life?
LZ: Oh, my gosh; he’s so different! That’s the best part about him. He’s such a goofball. He’s so kind, very liked, and passionate. That’s the exact opposite of how you meet his character. His character has this very scary haircut. They call it a “High and Tight,” and he’s wearing these patent leather shoes, and he knocks on my window with this nasty ring on his finger. He’s completely intimidating, and you can’t read him at all. I just love how that’s so opposite of who he actually is.
JS: Was there anything specific you did to prepare for the role, Lizzie?
LZ: I actually created a playlist; as simple as that is, I really loved listening to the same playlist every day as I was getting ready or going to the gym. There were a lot of angry songs on it. I had a lot of Eminem on my playlist. That was one of my fun creative things that I got to just before I left for Florida for shooting, was putting together that list. I still have it, and I still listen to it sometimes.
Other than that, before I auditioned for Drew, and had a conversation with Drew; I wrote out journal upon journal, basically form Allison’s point of view in character from different points in her life, about different things that she had been through growing up. I also jotted down notes about how I connected to the character. What parts of me seemed to be similar. So, I basically had a full notebook before I had a whole conversation with Drew.
JS: That’s really interesting. Now, are you a fan of the horror genre?
LZ: I have to be perfectly honest with you. I have a really hard time watching horror films. I think it’s just my big imagination. I carry horror films with me, in my mind, after I watch them - for days or weeks. The next day I’m in the bathroom getting ready, and I close the mirror and I’m absolutely ready to see somebody standing behind me or I have to check behind the shower curtains. I can’t let my feet touch the side of the bed for too long. It really affects me. Especially the suspense of horror movies. The threat of the unknown, and what’s to come. Even if you’re not seeing something scary, that unknown threat is even more powerful.
The funny thing about me; is that I’m really curious about scary things, even though I have a hard time handling them. As a kid, I couldn’t go through any haunted houses, but I would make my parents go through the haunted house without me, and then they would have to come out and describe every detail of every room to me because I wanted to know it all. I just didn’t feel like I could experience it.
JS: (Laughing.) That’s funny.
LZ: Yeah. I didn’t even open my eyes on the haunted mansion ride at Disney Land until, I think, I was seventeen. I will say that working on the production side of horror, feels much more approachable because you’re more in control of the situation. A very secret dream of mine is to play a zombie or creature. I love the make-up, and the blood, and the practical effects. I want the contacts and the prosthetics; I just think it’s so cool. That’s one of my secrets that I’ve always had. I also always wanted to… die on camera. Is that weird?
JS: To dive, or to die? D.I.E.?
LZ: Die, yeah.
LZ + JS: (Laughing)
LZ: My mom would absolutely hate it, but I think it would be so fun. Something bloody, something dramatic.
JS: Like a badass, soldier’s death…
LZ: Yeah! Or, a really good zombie impaling, or something like that. I did get to do almost all of my own stunts for Fox Hunt Drive, which was just an absolute dream. There was one thing that I wasn’t able to do. I won’t tell you what it is, but… We spent two nights shooting all of the action sequences, and I was so pumped form the adrenaline and the energy. I kept telling Drew; My wedding night was the best night of my life, but tonight is the second best! I think that still holds true.
JS: If you could play any monster, what would it be? You can pick anyone…
LZ: That’s a good question. I do love zombies, and the prospect of embodying the physicality of a zombie, but when you asked that question, I got this image in my head of the really dark, kind of evil mermaids they have on some projects. That just popped into my head when you asked that question, and I think that would be really because then you get a tail and everything.
JS: I think we could use a killer mermaid movie; I’d be down with that.
LZ: Right? (Laughing.)
JS: There’s not enough of those… (Laughing.)
LZ: (Laughing) Yeah.
JS: Realistically though, would ever want to play a recurring character; like a Freddy Krueger where you had to do make-up every time, for hours?
LZ: I think about that and I think about other actors doing that and it’s incredible how many hours they spend together in the make-up chair. I’m very good at sitting in the make-up chair, but I’ve never done it for hours before, every single day. You have to imagine you just become best buddies with the make-up artist.
JS: You better hope so…
LZ: You better be good friends or else, it’s not gonna be that fun. But I’m sure that have lots of fun in the trailer. Yeah, that would be difficult.
JS: I don’t want to keep you too long, but what’s next for you, Lizzie?
LZ: Honestly? This film festival is exactly what I’m focused on right now. I was able to do a lot of traveling this last year. I spent some time in New York, and I spent some time in Texas with family so, I actually just got in L.A. after several months of traveling. I got settled back in January. I’ve been focusing on primarily TV auditions.
JS: Well I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how the film does at the festival. I wish you guys the best of luck.
LZ: Thank you! Lovely talking to you.
JS: It was a pleasure, Lizzie! Thank you so much!
Be sure to keep an eye out for Lizzie in FOX HUNT DRIVE, also starring Michael Olavson, and directed by Drew Walkup. See the full cast and crew here! That’s it for now folks. Until next time, keep on geekin’ on, my friends!
Joshua “Prometheus” Scafidi