Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman Are No Longer Strangers
by Brad Balfour
Originally posted May 30, 2008.
Sometimes there are interview opportunities and then there are interview opportunities. Consider the circumstances that came up with covering this sort-of horror/suspense film, The Strangers. A great trailer suggests a film that ratchets up the personal anxiety through the assault of three strangers who threaten and eventually attack a couple – in this case played Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman – late at night in an isolated suburban home. Supposedly “Inspired by A True Story” (so the film is tagged), it stimulates another round of fear for unknown vacation towns that was stirred by Funny Games. Great fare to start off the summer season.
After being a crucial member of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the star-girlfriend in Armageddon, Tyler established her presence among the genre-geeks. But marriage, child-bearing and a pending divorce took her out of the spotlight until the release of this film and the upcoming The Incredible Hulk. Speedman had garnered fan creds as the werewolf/vampire hybrid in the Underworld series as well as parts in various genre flicks as Anamorph, Weirdsville and wacky sequel to xXx.
So when a film like this is made by an unknown, first-time director [Bryan Bertino] with two actors who – for very different reasons – haven’t been out of the spotlight for awhile, interviewing the stars together is usually a pain. It can dilute the dialogue and allows the two actors to mess around rather than offer some insight that we, as interviewers, are supposed to look for asking the questions. Well, we got a bit of both, a little fooling around and some insightful comments.
Liv Tyler: Oh my God, talk about fears! [Doing this] is more terrifying than this movie was.
Did you sit down and watch a bunch of horror flicks to prepare for this film?
Scott Speedman: Bryan got us to watch a bunch of stuff, right? What did he want us to watch?
Liv Tyler: The things that I watched… Rosemary’s Baby, and we both watched Halloween.
Scott Speedman: Yeah Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween was a good one to watch.
Liv Tyler: What was that weird one? There’s the three… It was a really dodgy movie… Two girls get kidnapped?
Scott Speedman: What is that one?
Liv Tyler: Yeah, they’re in the city and they get taken to the country and it’s really disturbing, and they’re like naked…
Scott Speedman: Oh yeah? That sounds really cool!
Liv Tyler: Never mind! We did watch other movies…
Scott Speedman: Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Liv Tyler: Didn’t we watch A Woman Under the Influence?
Scott Speedman: We were supposed to… [laughs]
Liv Tyler: When I was a kid I was pretty obsessed with horror movies. It was my favorite thing to watch. I remember seeing that for the first time and being like, “Okay! I’m done with the horror movie genre!” It really scared me so much.
Scott Speedman: They’re fun movies… I don’t know…
So you have no problem having a horror film on your resume?
Liv Tyler: We both read the script [of this film] and fell in love with it – it’s really a drama – and it’s a story about a couple going through a not-so-perfect situation, and they just so happened to be happened upon by these three people.
Scott Speedman: Bad people.
Liv Tyler: Very, very bad people.
Did you read stories in the paper similar to this one?
Liv Tyler: Well there was a story a year ago, but the movie was possibly going to come out a year ago, and I remember a story in the paper right at that time that was quite similar.
Scott Speedman: Really, what do you remember; where was it?
Liv Tyler: I don’t remember. I have two stories but one is too personal to talk about because it is terribly sad – but it’s not about me. The other one is about my stepfather Todd Rundgren [the New York Dolls producer and legendary musician] who used to live in Woodstock and two people broke into his house in the ’70s. They tied him and his girlfriend Bean, who was pregnant with my brother Rex at the time, to a chair and held them at gunpoint. I think one of them pistol whipped Todd which is horrible. There was nothing stolen. There was really no reason. It wasn’t a crime of passion. But things like this happen a lot and often they’re really random.