1. What were your first impressions when you read the script for The Advent Calendar? What made you decide to do the film?
You have to realise that in France, we are not really used to this kind of film. So when I first read the storyline, I felt quite thrilled and excited. But of course, I decided to do the film for the part of Eva.
It was a challenge to play a woman who’s paraplegic and each day she’s faced with challenges that might be more or even less terrifying than the day before. I was moved by her – she’s outrageous and a fighter. But I wanted to defend her. It was a real test and very demanding. Her strength and determination inspired me and I wanted to embody her.
She’s a lonely soul, alone and isolated. She doesn’t have much faith in herself. She’s broken.
2. Were you a fan of the horror genre before working on the film? If so, what are some of your favourite horror films?
I wasn’t really a big fan of horror movies but nevertherless I’ve been moved by:
– Suspiria (Dario Argento)
– Morse / Let the Right One In (Thomas Alfredson)
– Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)
– Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg)
– The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)
3. What challenges did using a wheelchair for most of the film pose for you as an actress?
Firstly, it is really a physical challenge but I constantly had to think about not using different parts of my body – my legs of course but also my abdominal muscles (and we need those for everything). So, I was always trying to make the right moves. The difficulty starts as soon as you get in the wheelchair because you are not at the same height as other people.
4. Did you have to learn how to use the wheelchair as you prepared for the role? For part of your research for the role, did you speak to people who are wheelchair users?
I had some physical training and I was coached by a young woman, Lara who has been paraplegic for 10 years. She taught me the movements and how to get around in a wheelchair. She also spoke a lot to me about her disability and it was a real gift to be taught by her. It actually made me want to do it properly and truthfully for her.
5. We see in the movie that a number of people are cruel to Eva because she uses a wheelchair and some even try to take advantage of her because of it. Is that something that you are now more aware of in society?
Yes, that’s true. I always felt that our society suffers from a great lack of humanity regarding people with disabilities. There is still a lot of progress to make in providing the facilities or transport that’s needed to help disabled people have an easier Life. It is really important that they feel part of our society and not isolated.
6. What was it like working with Patrick Ridremont as a director?
He is a grown child! He knew exactly what he wanted and he is very precise and very thoughtful. It was very pleasant to work with all the crew. There was a very good mood on the set at all times during the shoot.
7. You have some quite difficult and confrontational scenes in the film. How do you prepare for those kinds of scenes and how do you wind down and relax afterwards?
Yes, that’s true. Thankfully, I had a stuntman with me – Nick – who taught me how to control my breath when I was filming all through the night in a lake that was 13 degrees celsius.
And we carefully rehearsed the assault scene to ensure that nobody was hurt.
8. What was the most difficult scene for you as an actress?
I don’t remember as I was excited by all the scenes. All of them were very intense and I can’t remember one scene being more difficult than any other.
9. Would you return as Eva if there was a sequel to The Advent Calendar?
Of course, I’m Eva 😉
10. What are the best and worst Christmas presents you have ever received?
Once my uncle bought me a huge white and gold dress, with a big train…. I felt like a princess. In fact, as far as I can remember, whenever I received presents, I was always pleased.
The Advent Calendar is now screening on Shudder.