When actress Chloe Rose stepped onto the set of her first horror film, Hellions, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and hits theatres and iTunes on Sept. 25, she was comforted to be among familiar faces – namely, Canadian maverick Bruce McDonald (Pontypool, The Tracey Fragments) and her former Degrassi: The Next Generation co-star, Luke Bilyk.
“I used to babysit for Bruce,” she explained. “He knew me when I was seven! I grew up in the same neighbourhood where he lives with his family.” The Canadian filmmaker also happens to have directed Chloe’s very first Degrassi episode. So when taking on the role of pregnant teen Dora, who faces a group of terrorizing hellions under the crimson glow of a blood moon on Halloween night, there was a level of trust and reassurance underlying the experience.
We caught up with the Toronto native at the InterContinental hotel during TIFF, where the blond beauty munched on a Maman cookie and chatted with Hello! about auditioning with Luke, surprises on set, her dream collaborators and whether honey-drizzled pickles really are a tasty snack!
This is a very interesting film and your first segue into the horror genre. What attracted you to this particular role?
Bruce [McDonald] was a huge selling point for me. I knew him from a very young age, before I was an actor, and I didn’t really understand his fame at the time. Then, much later on when I auditioned for him, it was really nerve-wracking for me. Once the decision had been made to cast me, there was this trust between Bruce and I that created a space to explore, so it wasn’t scary to jump into this genre on my own, it wasn’t as terrifying as it might have been without him.
How did you get into character? Dora is around your age and teetering the line between childhood and adulthood.
We’re so similar in age and I felt very close to Dora. [I imagined] being at home and being attacked, what that would be like and then these underlying layers – the fear of growing up. And Bruce said ultimately this is about a young girl being catapulted into adulthood through this news [of being pregnant]. I also found the cold helpful to be scared, because it was so freezing, and watery eyes for some reason really helped me get into this particular character.
What was your reunion like with Luke?
He’s such a lovely human being. We read lines together [for the Hellions audition] and went to the audition together. After I got the part, he called me two days later and said, ‘Guess what? I’m your new boyfriend [in the film]!’ We started off just us – all the scenes between the two of us were the first couple of days, which was really nice.
Did anything surprise you working on the set of your first horror film?
The scene where Dora is in the outhouse and blood [fills the space] - that’s something I’ve never done, bathe in blood. It was actually chocolate and water! At first I was like, ‘this is amazing, I’m having a chocolate bath!’ And then after five hours in there … the chocolate was in the little lines in my hands for a week, I could not scrub it, and also the studio didn’t have any hot water so I had to take a freezing cold shower to rinse it off. It was cool but also really strange and sticky.
Dora snacks on pickles drizzled with honey! Were they actually tasty?
Bruce thought of that. I think [it was about] pregnant cravings, weird pairings. The pickle and honey is an interesting pairing, it kind of works. And I actually had it one time [on my own], I just craved it one day!
Who are some of the people you’d love to work with in the future?
I’m really super interested in Patricia Rozema right now. I’m really excited about her new movie [ Into The Forest]. Also, I love Vera Fermiga in [Bates Motel]. She gives a real, super-genuine, authentic performance in everything. And I just saw a chat with Natalie Portman at the [TIFF] Soiree and she’s another one that I’ve always looked up to. She has a sweetness about her that I think makes her characters so layered and interesting, especially when she plays darker roles. I would also love to do an Atom Egoyan film.
Did your family come to set?
My whole family came. They were super stoked. On set it’s not as scary because there’s no music, so they just like the whole production. My grandfather always wanted to be an actor, so it was a cool thing for him to watch.