Q&A: Actors Ronen Rubinstein and Sierra McCormick Feel “SOME KIND OF HATE”Fearful Features,Home,Movies/TV,News Michael Gingold
SOME KIND OF HATE cuts deeper than your typical teen horror film, and its two lead characters had more layers for their performers to dig into. Fango spoke to stars Ronen Rubinstein and Sierra McCormick following the movie’s Canadian premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia festival this summer.
Opening in theaters and available on VOD and iTunes tomorrow, SOME KIND OF HATE (reviewed here), directed and co-written by Adam Egypt Mortimer, stars Rubinstein as Lincoln, a bullied high-school outcast who violently turns on one of his tormentors and is sent to a rehabilitation camp for troubled youths. There, he is subjected to more harassment, and his growing rage conjures up the spirit of Moira (McCormick), a teenage girl driven to suicide by bullying, and now back to wreak revenge in a very specific, bloody manner. It’s quite a change of pace for McCormick, who has won legions of tween fans for her starring role on Disney’s popular A.N.T. FARM series.
FANGORIA: Could you each talk about how you came to SOME KIND OF HATE, and what it was about the project that appealed to you?
RONEN RUBINSTEIN: I was shooting a film in New York called CONDEMNED [see story here], produced by the same team as SOME KIND OF HATE, and they approached me about this role. The big subject of the film is bullying, and I have a close relationship with that topic. There was a girl I knew in high school from freshman to sophomore year who was a victim of bullying, and she ended up committing suicide because of it. So I needed to be part of this film, for many more reasons than for myself: for her, for her family, for victims all over the world, because it happens every day. People don’t know, because it’s a very sensitive subject, and people are afraid to come out about it. And then, it was a character I could fully immerse myself in, someone I don’t think I would have seen myself playing in a hundred years. I like dramas and I like slashers, and this was a combo of both, which was something I’d never personally seen or heard of, and it was very special to be a part of it.
SIERRA McCORMICK: What I found interesting about the script was that slasher characters are normally these clichés who don’t have any emotional depth or nuances, and what I enjoyed about Moira was that she is a slasher, but she has an incredible amount of feelings and a backstory, and deeply rooted justifications and reasons why she’s doing what she’s doing, not just because she’s the villain. That goes back to that fact that everyone who assembled this wanted it to be an emotionally driven horror film, which is very cool. I’ve been a horror fan since I was a little kid, so the kid in me was like, “I get to play the scary thing!” but the older me was thinking, “This is a great project, because the feelings and relationships between the characters are just as big a part of the film as the splatter is.”
FANG: Were you thinking that this was about as great a step away from your usual roles as it was possible to get?
McCORMICK: Yeah, part of me was thinking about that. I wasn’t quite sure how to sort of…not release myself from that [Disney] image, but let people know I could do other stuff. I felt this was perfect, because it wasn’t some thankless part in a scary movie; it was a very difficult role to play, and would be demanding of me emotionally and mentally. It was a great way to step away from comedy for a little while and try drama again; I had mostly done dramas when I was younger, so I was excited to get back into that, and into horror.
FANG: You did have a bit of horror experience, from SUPERNATURAL.
McCORMICK: Yeah, I did two episodes, and I was also the scary thing in that; I played a little girl possessed by a demon, which was really fun! I did that when I was around 9 or 10, and being the scary character at that age is kind of different, because there’s that whole creepy-child thing that’s like, “Mommy…” and then [demon voice] “I’m going to kill you!” I had such a good time on that; in fact, up until now, that was my favorite job. So I thought it was cool to play the scary one again, but a different type this time. Moira has a deeply rooted, emotional past and a very tragic backstory, and who she was when she was alive is crucial to who she is as this sort of entity, when she’s resurrected, in a way.
FANG: The two of you develop a very intense, emotional relationship over the course of SOME KIND OF HATE. How did you work on that together to bring it to life?
McCORMICK: We rehearsed our scenes extensively beforehand, and I always say Ronen is the best scene partner. In that blood-rain scene we have, we went outside while they were setting up the rig and rehearsed it for hours. I really appreciated the fact that he would do that with me, because I’ve worked with other actors who don’t like to over-rehearse. That’s great for them, but I feel like I’m always best on the last take—the more I do something, until I’m absolutely falling over, the better it’s going to be.
RUBINSTEIN: What I loved about working with Sierra was that on set, we really fueled each other. We meshed so well, and we kept bouncing creatively off one another, which is what you dream of with a scene partner. It’s one of the biggest things they talk about in theater, and in film you sometimes don’t get that, because there are a lot of cuts and stoppages. But with her, we kept going at it…
McCORMICK: It was like sparring!
RUBINSTEIN: Yeah, like, “I gave you a left, now give me a right. Let’s see what we can pull out of this.”
FANG: How many takes did you have to do of the blood-rain scene, getting drenched?
McCORMICK: Oh boy… [Laughs] There was the technical part and the performance part, and I kept slipping in the blood, and it wasn’t working; it was just trickling, they didn’t get the rain…
RUBINSTEIN: The technical part involved a bit of a delay in getting it to work how they wanted, and then there was the performance part. Sierra and I would be like, “Adam, give us one more.” Toward the last few takes, our voices were about to give out. We were emotionally and physically drained, and I think those were the takes they used, if I’m not mistaken.
McCORMICK: That was one of my favorite scenes to shoot, because after that, I was really satisfied, like, “That was exhausting, but I’m sure it looks killer.”
FANG: And Ronen, you had just come off CONDEMNED, where you had already spent a few weeks getting drenched in blood.
RUBINSTEIN: Yeah, CONDEMNED was way more blood, for me personally.
McCORMICK: Way more blood? More blood than this?
McCORMICK: [Laughs] Maybe for you, but I had a lot of blood to deal with!
FANG: Your role in CONDEMNED is very different from this one; was it difficult to jump from one type of character in an extreme situation to another?
RUBINSTEIN: I had three days in between the wrap of CONDEMNED and getting on a plane to LA for SOME KIND OF HATE. So a lot of brainstorming and creating the character took place during those three days, then on the plane, and then the next few days in wardrobe and stuff. I had to cram everything into probably a week. But luckily, Adam and I Skyped before I went to LA, and tossed around a few ideas of what we wanted with Lincoln, so that when I got there, we could immerse immediately into it. The day I landed in LA, I dyed my hair black.
McCORMICK: Which was very becoming!
RUBINSTEIN: I told Adam I would start smoking cigarettes and wouldn’t get any sun, because I didn’t think Lincoln would be a tanned kid; he’s probably inside a lot, writing, drawing, listening to music. It gave me a drive to give it all very quickly. There was no time to be lazy, which I really enjoyed.
FANG: Was it difficult to decompress from this intense experience once production of SOME KIND OF HATE was done? [Both laugh]
RUBINSTEIN: A little bit, I’m not gonna lie to you. Coming home was kind of weird, because I tried to isolate myself a lot during the shoot; even during lunch, I would just eat and then bounce and go be on my own. When I got home, I have a large group of friends and a big, loving family, so coming back to that was a little weird at first. But that’s how I knew I gave it my all, and after a little while, I started getting back to normal.
McCORMICK: When we wrapped, I was actually finishing my junior year of high school. I would have an AP test in the middle of a shooting day, so between takes, I’d be sitting in my chair highlighting stuff in my AP book, so there was blood all over my psychology text! After the shoot, I had to run around and take finals and finish up junior year, and I was very stressed out. Then over that summer, I took more time to decompress and relax.
While we were filming, I would try not to dwell too much; I tried to walk around and be sociable, and give myself a little break from the emotional intensity of what I was doing. Because once I’m in a scene, I’m in the scene, and I’ll completely throw myself into it. So for example, when they were setting up a practical effect, which happened all the time, I would talk to everyone and remember that I was me and not Moira. It was very emotionally demanding; Moira has a very depressing story, when she was alive and when she’s brought back, so I would try to chill out as much as I could when I wasn’t throwing myself into it.