PRESS | BELOW HER MOUTH – The Kit (October 16, 2015)
Girl Hang: On the set of Below Her Mouth
We visit the all-female production of Below Her Mouth and talk to the two stars about life on set, their personal style and more.
by Michelle Bilodeau, The Kit, 10/16/2015
On a sunny fall day, in the east end of Toronto, a large group of women are gathered at a three-storey house, filming an outdoor scene for the Canadian production Below Her Mouth (Serendipity Point Films). Lead by writer Stephanie Fabrizi, producer Melissa Coghlan and director April Mullen (88 and Dead Before Dawn), the modern day love story also has the badge of honour of being the first film to be created solely by women. There are about 50 cast and crew in total, and all of them are female.
And at the center are the two stars: Natalie Krill, a former dancer, who has had roles in a couple Atom Egoyan films, as well as guest spots on Orphan Black and Rookie Blue, and Erika Linder, a model known for her androgynous look, who has modeled for Tom Ford, appeared in the pages of i-D and Vogue Italia and was dressed by Nicolas Ghesquiere for a group photo for BHM on the TIFF red carpet in September.
The flick is set to wrap filming this month, with an expected release date of early Summer 2016, so we hit the set and pressed record as the two stars talked about life on a female-only production, how they prepared for their roles and, of course, their personal style.
NATALIE KRILL: Erika, how did you prepare for this role?
ERIKA LINDER: I read the script probably 150 times and then I went back home to Sweden. I saw a lot of Dallas, from when I used to live in Sweden. So I [thought], I’m going to move back and I’m not going to talk to anyone and I’m not going to do modeling. [I want to] bring as much of my old life to the character.
NK: Cool. So, you isolated yourself?
EL: Yeah, I think you have to. Right?
NK: Yeah. I didn’t mean to isolate myself, but I was really distracted. I read the script a few times, but I lived in my imagination—a lot of visualizing. A lot of visualizing about her childhood and her life, how she grew up and what her parents were like… What she was repressing. What kind of dynamic that created in her.
THE KIT: Did you get that from Stephanie?
NK: It’s in the script. She doesn’t hit it over the head, but there are subtle hints throughout the script that stuff happened when she was a teenager that led her to make choices to hide that part of herself. So, lots of visualizing and I would do housework as Jasmine. Like folding laundry for me was really powerful and it sounds weird, but I don’t know…
EL: I guess I didn’t do my homework right then. I went back home to Sweden and had a vacation and didn’t talk to anyone.
NK: No, everyone’s different, there’s no right way. I just found that doing mundane activities helped me to, I don’t know…
EL: You felt closer? Or did you feel closer when you read the script? Like ‘Oh my God I can relate.’
NK: Yeah, because there was something right away that was pulling me towards it.
THE KIT: Why were you interested in this role?
EL: Well, this is my first film so for me, I don’t want to do anything just to do it. I just really connected to it.
NK: You pretty much are Dallas. Without any effort. [laughs] I was really drawn to it as well. I was really resistant because there’s a lot of challenging aspects to a film, but there was always something pushing me towards it. I wanted to do it because I want to take risks with my career and I’ve been trying to do that for a long time.
EL: And this is something different from what you’ve done before. You always wanted to do something that challenged you and when I read it I was like, ‘Oh my God this is so bold.’
NK: Yeah, it’s bold and it’s very real.
EL: I think people can relate to it. Regardless of whether you’re a woman or a man. Also, the fact that it’s an all-girl crew, I think it’s really cool.
NK: It’s huge. I think the idea or the theme throughout the film about living authentically is huge for men or women, and I’ve found that has been a big part of my journey as a person. Living for myself and making choices for myself, as opposed to what I think other people think I should do. It’s hard to do that. It’s challenging and risky, but really it’s the only way.
THE KIT: How did the all female cast and crew aspect play into you accepting this role?
NK: I think it was the key for me to really feeling whole-heartedly that I wanted to do it. It was really comforting to know that it would be with a woman and surrounded by women.
EL: I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I’m sure all the other jobs I’m going to do are gonna be a disappointment. I mean, I just want girls on set all the time. [laughs]
THE KIT: Well, you did say it’s a bold role for you …
EL: Well, also the extreme sex scenes. To have a women’s crew it’s kind of like, oh. It’s nerve-racking, but it’s on another level again.
THE KIT: It’s more comfortable?
EL: Yeah, I guess we can all relate to each other.
NK: It feels exciting too, to be a part of something that’s never really been done before. They’ve never done all female crews, especially, so that for me was exciting.
THE KIT: Erika, this is your first role, will you be watching yourself on screen?
EL: We’ve talked about it.
NK: Yeah, we’re both going to be out in the hallway.
EL: I’m going to watch it. I’m probably going to hide somewhere and see it a few months later. It’s kind of like hearing your own voice. ‘Do I sound like that?’
NK: ‘Oh, is that my sex face?’
EL: Yeah, you’re trying to do a good job and you’re trying to be sexy, but at the same time you have a camera in your face.
NK: I think I would want to see it privately before any public screening.
EL: We should watch it together. And cringe together.
NK: Yeah, we’ll hold each other’s hands.
EL: Is your family going to watch it?
NK: My mom would watch it. She’s Swedish so she’s open-minded. But my brothers and my step-dad and my dad would not be allowed to watch it. I don’t know, maybe they will. It’s hard to say at this point.
THE KIT: Do you think you’ll let your family watch it, Erika?
EL: No fucking way. There’s no way. My dad was like, ‘what’s the movie about, Erika?’ And I’m like ‘oh you know, it’s a love story.’ And he was like, ‘so what are you doing in it?’ I was like, ‘oh, I’m a roofer.’ And he was like ‘but, what are you actually doing in it?’ I was like, ‘uh … I don’t know.’
NK: My favourite way to describe it is, it’s very intimate.
EL: You would say that.
NK: I feel like that’s a good one.
“I think the idea throughout the film, about living authentically, is huge for men or women.” Natalie Krill
THE KIT: Natalie, I know you’ve been on a few TV shows, so how does the set in general feel different from what you’ve worked on before?
EL: Even I was going to ask you that.
NK: In a lot of ways it feels similar. It’s a film set. But I think it feels like a sisterhood. I don’t wanna say men aren’t loving, but it just feels a little bit more loving and compassionate. And I really don’t wanna put men down, but it feels like it has that warmth a little bit more. But still equally as on it. There’s still a job to be done.
THE KIT: And Erika, how is it being on a film set as opposed to being in a studio?
EL: It’s actually funny because usually I’m like, ‘it’s too early, I don’t want to do this today,’ when I’m on a photoshoot. But now I don’t care if I wake up at 5a.m., I’m ready to go. I work 12 hours and I’m excited about it. Everyone’s so nice and we’re all a big family and I love everyone.
THE KIT: Can you describe your characters personal style, as well as your own?
NK: My character is a fashion editor, so her style is amazing. It’s very sexy and chic and modern but fun. It’s very fashionable, which is not really my fashion sense. I’m from Saskatchewan.
EL: In real life, it’s like a ripped shirt.
NK: I know. I’m a little bit more low-key.
EL: We’re pretty similar. We like to throw in a little high fashion stuff, but we don’t really care about it. I think we act like we don’t care but really we care so much. Like this outfit right now [Linder was wearing a plaid shirt, black skinny jeans and eight-hole Dr. Martens], I planned for days.
Photography by Sophie Giraud