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Interview: Brittany Allen

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At the age of 25, Canadian actress Brittany Young stepped on stage and accepted the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Young Actress in a Drama for her work as Marissa Chandler on the long running soap opera All My Children. Her work on All My Children helped establish her as a versatile and courageous actor who could stand toe to toe with anyone in a scene.

Brittany soon landed recurring roles on series such as Bomb Girls and Defiance. She made appearances on popular shows like Warehouse 13, Saving Hope and Lost Girl and in the films The Rocker and Dead Before Dawn 3D.

Currently, she is starring in the Vicious Brothers alien shocker Extraterrestrial which is currently available via VOD and will be in theaters on November 21st. She sat down to talk with us about the film, the most challenging part of the shoot and if she believes in extraterrestrials.

Pop Culture Principle – What was it about the script for Extraterrestrial that made you want to be part of the project?

Brittany Allen – There were so many things. I loved the character April and instantly related to her, who she was, what she stood for and what she’s dealing with at that point in her life. I really connected with all of her feelings on love and her jaded sense of love. I also was really excited to read a film within this genre that I felt challenged the drama. You read a lot of horror and science fiction scripts where the characters can sometimes be generic, especially the female characters that aren’t really fully fleshed out human beings. So, I was really excited to read a script that had a very strong, independent and opinionated woman as the central character who didn’t have to take her clothes off to be a hero.

Also, I just found it to be so much fun. At every point you think the film is going one way and then it would go in another direction. I finished the script and called my representation at the time and told them I wanted to be part of this project. It’s exciting when you read something that has its own voice. Plus, with Colin and Stew, the passion from them was almost leaping off the page and to have that be a reality once we got on set was really exciting.

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Pop Culture Principle – This is definitely a physically demanding role. Did you enjoy that aspect of the role?

Brittany Allen – I loved it! I actually worked with a trainer for about a month leading up to it because I wanted to feel stronger and wanted to be able to handle any physically demanding scenes. That was huge for me and it helped me find my own strength. It came at a time in my life where that was exactly what I needed and what I was looking for; it was so empowering. I feel that films are taking female characters in a different direction recently and it’s really exciting to see that happening. Young girls will have role models who are strong, have a voice and aren’t bound to stereotypically feminine roles. It is very exciting.

Pop Culture Principle – The film has all sorts of elements to it, action, drama, suspense and a love story. Would you agree with that?

Brittany Allen – Yes, absolutely. I think it gives the audience so many things to play with. Prior to working on this film, I had kind of steered clear of horror films. I had become a bit more known in the science fiction genre because I had worked on Defiance. Horror was something that had scared me so much and I hadn’t seen one in a long time. When I first got the script, what little I knew about horror is that it kind of follows a very strict formula. Although this film does give you all the things you would hope for in a horror and science fiction film, it also gives you so many other things. It just turns you on your head when you least expect it and I think that is a really good quality about the film.

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Pop Culture Principle – You also have some tough emotional scenes in the film. Where do you go to draw inspiration for scenes like that?

Brittany Allen – It depends. You ultimately try and put yourself in that situation and then just go for what you want in that moment. I’ve trained in a lot of different methods and sometimes there was substitution where you are imagining someone else or you draw from something in your own life to get your emotions stirred up. I have a lot of different tools that I pull from, but ultimately it’s just connecting with the journey of the character and giving yourself over to that. It’s one of the things I love about what I do. It can be daunting and intimidating when you know you have a scene like that to shoot, but if you are willing to go there, I find it to be very cathartic.

Pop Culture Principle – The film has veteran actor Michael Ironside involved. What was it like working with him?

Brittany Allen – It was incredible. He is just a very special man and I am just so grateful to have worked with him and to now know him. Just sitting opposite him in a scene where he did most of the talking was an acting class for me. Just to be listening in as honest a way as he was speaking, he just challenged me to be better. He came on set with so many ideas and such passion for his character. He was also such a gentlemen and friendly with all the crew, as I think everyone should be. It was so great to see someone who has been doing it for so many years and that’s why he’s been doing it for so many years because he takes such great care with everything he does. He has such a great respect for what he does and for what everyone else is doing on set. I am really grateful for having worked with him and I hope it’s not that last time.

Pop Culture Principle – The film uses a lot of CGI for the amazing effects. As an actor, how was it working with CGI?

Brittany Allen – It definitely wasn’t easy and was a learning curve for me. The very first day off shooting, the latter half of that day was in the house at night and we had just seen the spaceship. We are trying to figure out a plan, the power goes out and it’s clear that things are going bad. I remember it was new terrain for me and how do I put myself in this heightened state of fear and how do I believe that this is actually happening. Once again, it’s trial and error. You just try and see what works and what gets you to that state. Everyone had a different process on set. Some people were laughing and joking and once they heard action, they were right in it. For me, I have trouble doing that, so I take the time and try to imagine that I am fearful for my life.

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Pop Culture Principle – What would you say was the most challenging part of filming Extraterrestrial?

Brittany Allen – The most challenging day of shooting for me was the day I had some really emotional scenes and I was covered in goo. That was the most challenging day for sure.

Pop Culture Principle – Science fiction also has some of the most loyal fans. Why do you think that is?

Brittany Allen – We just went to Comic Con in New York and I had never been before and it was really special for me. It’s such a community and it’s a community where people feel safe. It’s this idea where all these fantastic and magical things are possible. Maybe it taps into something we felt as kids and imagined as well. When you get older you are encourage not to believe in those things for better or worse. The science fiction genre allows you to think what if that could happen and it broadens your mind. It creates a real community where things are possible and that’s exciting to be a part of.

Pop Culture Principle – The obvious question would be do you believe in extraterrestrials?

Brittany Allen – Definitely. How could there not be is my thought. I think it may be a bit of arrogance as well as fear to think there isn’t life somewhere else.

Pop Culture Principle – What can people expect and look forward to when they see Extraterrestrial?

Brittany Allen – I hope the people give themselves over to the fun of it and just allow themselves to be taken along for the ride and know that it will be a ride!

Pop Culture Principle would like to thank Brittany for taking the time out of her schedule to talk with us. Again, Extraterrestrial is available now through VOD and will be released in theaters on November 21st! If you would like to keep up with Brittany and all her latest news and projects, you can follow her on Twitter @britt_a_allen.

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