This Friday sees the release of Color Out of Space, the film that sees the long-awaited return of director Richard Stanley, who hasn’t been behind the camera of a non-documentary film in nearly thirty years. Luckily for genre fans, with his adaptation of this H.P. Lovecraft tale, Stanley makes it clear he hasn’t missed a step.
Color Out Of Space is described as such:
After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism as it infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolour nightmare.
Technicolor nightmare is the perfect description for Color Out Of Space, an absolute psychedelic trip of a film from the same folks who gave us the groundbreaking Mandy. Color Out of Space is visually stunning and graced with strong performances from not just Cage (who delivers a classic Cage character), but from co-stars Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Brendan Myer, Elliot Knight, and Julian Hilliard as well. Of special note is Canadian Madeleine Arthur, who is a standout as Lavinia Gardner, Nathan’s daughter.
We had to chance to talk to Madeleine over email about Color Out of Space, the character of Lavinia, and working with legends Cage and Stanley.
Andy Burns: Congratulations on a really great performance in an excellent film, Madeleine. I loved Color Out of Space. First off, what about the character of Lavinia appealed to you as an actor?
Madeleine Arthur: So happy you enjoyed it! Lavinia is very different from any character I’ve ever played, so like with anything it’s always exciting to try something new! When I first read the script I knew it would be a wild character arc and relished tracking her journey from an isolated and misunderstood teen to conduit of the ‘color’. I also revelled in the opportunity to work with Joely, Nic, Richard and the rest of the cast. And to learn about witchcraft and go horseback riding in Portugal to boot!”
Andy Burns: How familiar were you with the writing of H.P. Lovecraft before reading the script?
Madeleine Arthur: Before reading the script I was aware of Lovecraft, but I had yet to read any of his work. I’ve since become a fan and have just recently acquired a collection of his works, which I look forward to reading!
Andy Burns: One aspect of the film that’s so great is that there’s a real family dynamic on the screen – tell me how it was working with your fellow actors.
Madeleine Arthur: By virtue of working in a small town and sharing a lot of meals together we got to know each other fairly quickly. I believe this enhanced our family dynamic on set. Brendan and I have actually been friends for years so playing brother and sister came easily, and Julian was a delight to work with. He became a surrogate little brother immediately. We filmed the dinner scene one of the first days on set, which allowed us to find our footing as a family before jumping into the more emotionally disturbing scenes. I feel like us more novice actors could really look up to Nic and Joely and take in the energy they brought to the characters.
Andy Burns: Color Out of Space is such a visually stunning, trippy film – what was the vibe like working on the set?
Madeleine Arthur: I would say mystical. The location and the house itself were hauntingly beautiful. Sintra, the town in Portugal where we filmed, is actually heralded as the “Mountain of the Moon”, so the setting felt magical even before set design created the Gardner world. There were times, especially during the late-night shoots when the color actually felt imminent.
Andy Burns: On Color Out of Space you got to work with two iconic creators in Nicolas Cage and Richard Stanley – can you tell me what you took away from them that might inspire your own acting?
Madeleine Arthur: They are both inspiring in so many ways! When we filmed one of the scenes where I’m on the horse, I second-guessed one of my choices in the scene and Nic went “Ahh, the art of the second guess”. I feel this is some of the best, simple advice. Be free and live in the moment and don’t reflect upon a scene, just let it go and let it be. I feel like that advice not only applies to acting but to life in general! Richard is a natural-born storyteller and is a wealth of information regarding the horror genre. He broadened my horizons and outlook on the world, I learned a lot about witchcraft and Montségur from him.
Andy Burns: Where can audiences see you next?
Madeleine Arthur: On February 12th in To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You on Netflix and there will be a third movie To All The Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean! Other things coming up include Snowpiercer and Chad and a film art installation at the Park Avenue Armory called, “Enclosure” at the end of the year.
Thanks to Madeleine Arthur for talking to Biff Bam Pop! Color Out Of Shape hits theatres this Friday, January 24th.