Saturday night horror returns to Syfy with “Red: Werewolf Hunter” starring Felicia Day. “Red” airs on Syfy Saturday, October 30, at 9:00 p.m.
Take one comely heiress privvy to a family secret, engaged to a man who is on the outside of the information loop, while a full moon, a large looming estate, creepy local grounds and a host of werewolves gather, and you have yourself a merry little Saturday night popcorn film that shows off the charms of Felicia Day.
In the SyFy original movie “Red: Werewolf Hunter,” Day stars as Red, a descent of Little Red Riding Hood.
Taking her fiancé home to meet the cryptic tight-lipped family, he finds out the hard way that the family “business’ is werewolf hunting.
Day took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Monsters and Critics and other online reporters about this film:
On what drew her to the part:
Felicia Day: So I got the script in around February or March of this year and I was in the middle of writing Guild Season 4 so I actually wasn’t even taking auditions at that time because I was so busy. But they sent it over and I read it and I really felt like it was such a different role for me that I never played before and I really felt attracted to that as well as I’m a huge fairytale fan.
I actually took several folklore classes in college and I tried to minor in it but my dad said that was ridiculous and he stopped that. But I always actually had the idea myself that it would be fun to update some fairytales and so it was kind of like one of those projects that I thought was kind of tailored to what I was looking for at the time.
It’s much more dramatic than the things that I usually do and it’s slightly – it has a lot of horror overtones as well. So I thought it could be a really fun challenge and it was just such a privilege to be considered for a lead in one of the Syfy movies. I just thought that was really flattering so I carved out my schedule and it was just a really – I had such a good time making it.
On the origins of Red and the “family business”:
Felicia Day: I’ve left my family to sort of find myself outside of the obligation of werewolf hunting. And I’m bringing my fiancé back to introduce to my family hoping that I will be able to get permission to tell him this secret part of my life which is something that I inherited in a sense.
So really it’s kind of a struggle between family and my obligation that is – that was handed to me versus chosen and the idea that I could have a happy life outside of that with my fiancé. And, he gets bitten and it’s sort of a struggle to try to save everything I want would love in the movie. So, it’s a lot of drama and a lot of blood which is fun too.
On the biggest challenge:
Felicia Day: I guess the biggest challenge for me was, I mean, there were a lot of physical challenges on this. I did definitely work out and like train a lot for this role just because it required a little more toughness and more grounded attitude. I guess the role that is most close to what I’ve done in the past is the role that I did on Dollhouse in Epitaph 1 and Epitaph 2 when I played Mag.
She was definitely the most similar to this character in that there is not as much humor and it’s certainly a person who’s living in high state as well as using a gun properly.
I actually had my dad take me to the shooting range for the first time. He’s been bugging me like a decade to go shooting with him because we’re from Texas. And when I called him up he was like oh this is the best father-daughter moment I could ask for.
On the tone of “Red”:
Felicia Day: I think it’s a bit of big resurgence in paranormal fiction and entertainment. And it hasn’t, other than Twilight, hasn’t crept over into a movie like this before which I think is another reason why I wanted to do it because I’m a huge fan of paranormal fiction and romance, paranormal romance and all that stuff. So that was really attractive to me.
This setting is definitely set in modern times like the real world, the everyday world and the werewolves are actually something that our family is tasked keeping from the real world.
So that’s a big pivot – a big thing the movie rides on is having the conflict between revealing that they’re actually werewolves to my fiancé is a big deal with my family and it sort of snowballs from there. So yeah, we’re not in a fantastical world necessarily although there’s fantastical creatures in the real world.
The movie is very dramatic in tone and definitely like I said has a lot of horror elements to it.
But, if you see in the trailer I’m shooting a harpoon at werewolves. So there is some fun to be had in that sort of aspect of the movie that, there is – it is a little – there are certain things that are over the top in a really fun way. So definitely it’s not the same tone as all the recent Syfy movies but I think it definitely balances all those things perfectly. And to air right before Halloween is kind of the perfect place to watch it.
On playing a “bad” girl:
Felicia Day: Actually I have been thinking, as a person am very good hearted and I feel like that’s kind of an aspect that sort of shines through when I act. And I bring that with me because kindness, it’s funny that the Internet is my place and I hope to spread kindness there because sometimes it’s lacking. But it also has a lot of the fandom and things are the other side of that coin.
To be honest with you, it would be really fun to play a villain. I would love to play an evil villain even if it’s a comedy, a comedy villain, that would be really fun. And that’s actually one of the things that I put on my list like dream roles.
And if I don’t get to them, if somebody doesn’t like the part for me or offer it or I get to audition for it, it’s on my list to write for myself in the future. Because, being empowered and being able to make opportunities for me, it’s like the thing that I’m most proud of in my career.
I cross fingers somebody else would think of me for a villain part but if they don’t I definitely down the road would love to just kind of sink my teeth into something a little more edgy and not so nice.
On where the film was shot?
Felicia Day: It was shot in Toronto in March so every scene of the film I’m wearing at least four pairs of tights underneath my jeans because I was so cold.
On if she had worked with any of the actors before on “Red”:
Felicia Day: No I hadn’t. I believe all the other actors were Canadian. But the funny thing is that I’m working with Kavan Smith on Eureka so we’re on the same set because he plays the robot, the Android. So that’s – it was really funny to walk on the set and see him there. It’s the other side of Canada and I was like whoa, we’re working together again.
But it was really fun because we definitely, you know, it was a very small cast so we worked together and we were kind of on location an hour away from town every day so we really did work well together. And it’s always – it always means a lot to create a little family when you shoot something. So the little Red family was definitely a very supportive, fun group to play with.
On the house where they shot the interiors and if she knew anything about the house:
Felicia Day: Yeah it was a very old house that had been recently renovated and in fact half the house had not been renovated so most of the rooms were not – were in the process of being renovated. So the kitchen was done, the dining room was done, the living room was done but other rooms were just gutted.
And it went on forever. A couple of scenes that take place on the roof which is like above the third floor and then as far as the last, some of the fight scenes completely utilized all the architecture inside that house.
On her voiceover career for games and if she is a gamer:
Felicia Day: Yes I’m definitely a gamer. I would define myself solely as a gamer if you had to tell me I had to pick an adjective. Yeah, I actually – that’s my first love.
The Guild, my Web show is about gamers and online gamers and I wrote it because of my past has always been online gaming and interacting with people online even when it was – before the Internet was the Internet really like on Prodigy and Compuserve.
I would dial up when I was six years old to get Kings Quest tips and things like that. So I feel like I was definitely weaned on the Internet and gaming is the thing that I do in my past time.
It’s been a huge privilege to be a part of some of these games that I’ve done the voices with. I did Rock of the Dead with Neil Patrick Harris and Fallout which I played for eight hours yesterday and finally recruited myself which is a really – that was very odd to recruit myself and have myself talk to myself to me who is a player but play with my character. But my character is so good in that game I have a pneumatic gauntlet …she’s completely overpowered in a wonderful way and she has great one-liners. The writers told me that they definitely were inspired by Joss Whedon when they wrote the character so I have the best clips in the game, I have to say not modestly.
On the main differences between Toronto and Vancouver:
Felicia Day: That’s interesting. Well first of all I shot in Toronto in the winter so it was extremely cold. And from what I understand Vancouver doesn’t actually get that cold so that was – it was kind of an interesting contrast. I had never been to Canada before I went to Toronto so it was definitely an eye opening experience.
I felt like the crews in both places are very friendly and supportive and I like the idea that the actors kind of interact with the crew on a more work level basis. Everybody is just there to do their work. I felt like that was kind of a commonality between working in Vancouver and working in Toronto. There’s less separation between the actors and the crew which I kind of thought was really nice.
The Red crew was much smaller because even though there was lots of actions and stunts it was just I guess a lower budget and a smaller production. So we were moving as fast on Red as we were ever on The Guild really. It was a whirlwind. And being able to do the stunts, you get one take and we’d move on. And at the end of the day we’d just be always – it’s always the film making mantra is you never have enough time to do what you want.
But, there were some really cool locations we shot on versus in Vancouver we’re shooting mostly on the stages. That – if you see some of the stills there is like an old shanty town that where we walk through and that town actually just exists. It’s an old set that just kind of deteriorated which really provided awesome production value to I think what – to Red.
On if she would be up for another Syfy movie down the road:
Felicia Day: Yeah absolutely. I just – it would just depend on the role and the timing but I – obviously Syfy likes what I do which I feel is very flattering and we’re in the same worlds in a sense. And it feels good to know that this is all kind of the result of all the hard work that I do on my Web show every day. It definitely is one of those true Hollywood stories in that hard work does get – beget work. So I really love that.
On her upcoming role on Eureka:
Felicia Day: I play a scientist that has come to Eureka to work on a secret project. Her name is Dr. Holly Martin and I have a very antagonistic relationship with Fargo, Douglas Fargo played by Neil Grayston and Dr. Isaac Parrish who is played by Wil Wheaton is a factor in that. My attraction to him creates a lot of conflict.
And I guess I’m in eight episodes. I have to go back up and finish the finale this week. And I’ve got to tell you that not only are the scripts fantastic but just working on the set is just an amazing opportunity. I feel like that show is really run by geeks in a sense so they know their science and they really – you could see the passion in the scripts and they’re just so funny.
I’ve been a fan of the show in years past so when they called me to be on it I was just ecstatic. And I have to say that this season has definitely raised the bar over all the other seasons. They’re really innovating and doing some just really fun things with the characters and with the dialog and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.
On a curious tweet from Colin Ferguson about him saying something about him standing in front of Felica and Wil Wheaton naked for two hours, and a love triangle between her character, Wil Wheaton’s character, and Colin Ferguson’s character:
Felicia Day: No – my primary storyline is between Fargo and Wil Wheaton although I do have the privilege of working with the other actors in many, many different scenes throughout the season.
Yeah that was just a coincidental situation where somebody was unclothed in a scene that I was in and brandishing his bicep weapons at me. And I couldn’t stop giggling even if we were rolling so that was – he was just harassing me.
On Fargo as the third leg of that triangle?
Felicia Day: Yes he is… it’s very funny. It’s a tumultuous situation. It’s definitely a lot of tension between the three that I can’t tell you where it culminates.
I was acting in the episode that Stan Lee was in…
So that was exciting because I know him from the conventions, just meeting him there. So I had actually seen him the weekend before at a convention and it was like a reunion with him. He is one of the most charming, nice people I have ever met and just a sweetheart.
I’ve never seen actually anybody on a set more – people – the crew who are just usually kind of not really excited about actors because that’s the job. They were fan girling and fan boying out over him getting pictures with him. And he was so gracious, he posed for probably like 60 photos just for the crew. I mean, just a class act.
On encouraging kids to not fear math and not to be afraid to be intelligent:
Felicia Day: I think it’s very complicated and nothing that – I don’t think there’s one thing that could change all children to love math and science.
But I do feel like the thing that made me as a child want to be good at math and want to know science and math was that my parents were both scientists. My dad was a doctor, my mom was a microbiologist, my grandfather is a nuclear physicist. So in our family there was no question whether you would be educated in that area, it would just be which topic and how good are you.
So there was a big motivation and I think it all comes down to mentors. And, those are things that we in the public eye, I think that it’s interesting. Geeks are a little bit chic but it’s more underground.
Like if you think of just the typical woman that a 12 year old girl would emulate and admire right now, I don’t know that it’s going to be a woman who’s necessarily known for her brains or for her scientific acumen or any of that. Not to insult anybody but I’m just – it’s more about looks and about what purse you have and more reality TV based. And I feel like the thing that you can do as a creator is to create roles that are not stereotypical like that, that just don’t base on looks.
And, one of the things that’s a byproduct of what I do on the Internet that’s the thing that I’m most proud of is that girls are much more proud of saying that they’re gamers or sort of coming out of the closet as gamers. Because they were there the whole time but it was just considered weird or unless you look like some kind of really, really hot over the top stereotypical “gamer girl” that you shouldn’t say that you’re a gamer.
So to me it’s all about mentors and making it acceptable and having people that you want to emulate and admire who are interested in those things. So, I mean, I don’t know what the quick solution is but it’s just encouraging mentors in a sense will make people, that’s really what people and kids want to drive themselves toward achieving in.
On working on Whedon’s Dr. Horrible:
Felicia Day: It was an amazing experience. I don’t think that I’ll ever have a job to top my experience on that set. Really, it was about working with fantastic people but every single person was really there for the love of the project.
It wasn’t really a job because clearly it was done on such a low budget and nobody was really getting paid an advance for it like a normal TV show or movie. But everybody knew that – there was like a crackling creativity on set that everybody knew that they were making the best thing they possibly could with no interference and their vision was going directly to the screen without having the typical steps that you do when you develop something.
So, it definitely was just an amazing experience and clearly lives on. I hope that in the future they re-explore the universe of it whether, you know, I don’t know if I would be involved or not but I could only hope.
On perhaps directing herself:
Felicia Day: I’ve never directed anything and I think that my experience writing comic books made me appreciate it on a different level. I agreed to do the comics with Dark Horse for The Guild without really thinking through what a comic book writer really, I mean, I appreciated it but unless you do it you don’t appreciate what a comic book writer really does.
And a comic book writer is the function of what is on screen that a director would do, a DP would do, a writer, and production designer really. I mean, you really do – are the master of that domain in a world – in a way that I didn’t really appreciate before I started.
So training myself to think visually in order to write the comics was definitely a training wheels experience. But I feel like that is definitely something that would contribute to my interest to direct in the future. Right now I’m really concentrating on developing the ideas that I want. I’m working on a couple other Web series right now to do between Guild seasons and as a creator I’m really driven to get the stories I want to out there.
But I definitely won’t rule out the idea of trying to direct in the future. Everything I have always tried to do it just raises my appreciation for what those people – the experts in that field do.
On how she approached the role:
Felicia Day: Yeah, it was definitely something that I worked on a lot to be able to ground her. And, it’s hard – you can see somebody sometimes acting tough and I wanted to make sure that it was something organic.
I have a perception of myself as being tougher in my head than I know that I look so that was definitely something that I had to work on. And, as an actor I just worked to ground her and try to find some traits that we had in common.
She’s a character that really cares deeply about everybody and is torn and really wants to make everything work. And I definitely feel that in myself that not only do I get together, but people to put together a Web show and almost no money.
So I feel like there is a commonality in that, and I always love bringing out the best in people. That’s something that really I realize makes me happy in life and I feel like that’s sort of a commonality in this character. She’s definitely thinking of other people before herself in a sense.
On her plans to watch the film on Syfy:
Felicia Day: Yeah absolutely. I think the producer has a screening planned for Saturday and I think I’m getting back into town from Eureka just on Saturday morning. So I’ll be tired but I definitely will be watching. I think it’s just so cool. I didn’t know that it was supposed to air so on this date and when I heard it I just thought, it’s a perfect time to air it because who doesn’t want to kill werewolves on a Halloween weekend?
On comparing her role in Buffy to Red:
Felicia Day: I think it’s interesting because in Buffy, Vi was chosen to be a slayer and kind of found herself in being chosen and I think it’s actually almost the opposite. It’s taking that idea of being chosen and showing the dark side of it really in this movie because my character Red does not feel settled with the idea of being trapped by destiny in a sense.
She was chosen before birth because the family is obligated to fight werewolves but it’s not something that she definitely – she wanted for herself. She didn’t want that to be her only aspect or to trap her into not living her life fully. And really that’s the core of the conflict, trying to fight fate in a sense.
So yeah, I feel like it’s almost the opposite of Vi. I mean, like I said, I think that the role that most closely, you know, performance wise and just personality wise that I have played before, the most similar would be my role in Dollhouse when I played Mag because she was sort of out of her element in a sense and fighting, tired of the world breaking down in a sense and feeling helpless and just trying to get day to day.
On advice would you give to people out there that are planning to do their own Web series:
Felicia Day: I would just say that, shooting it, it’s like every film, really shooting it and getting it made is only like 20% of the work. The work with the Web series is being smart about how you find your audience, about how you interact with your audience, and how you retain your audience.
We are very privileged to have very loyal fans that carry us through with no advertising whatsoever. Microsoft puts us on their portals but we don’t have billboards, we don’t have ads, we don’t have anything really to publicize this and yet we still have millions and millions of views, we sell a DVD in stores, we have – so it’s completely word of mouth.
And I think that you always have to operate – at the end of the day you always have to do the work yourself so any extra help you get from your distributor or the places you upload, it’s only going to – you always have to rely only on yourself and everything else is kind of bonus.
I guess also I would say please make sure that you take time with the script. I know a lot of people who have written a first draft of a script and they think that’s writing but really I discovered that the first draft is merely a roadmap and you have to really, really work so hard in order to make the script go.
Because if you have a great script it doesn’t matter how much you pay your actors or how nice a camera you have or if you have money to do special effects. Like if you have a good story it will definitely shine through and the problem is that some people are a little hasty and think that just having a script equals let’s just go shoot it.
I think being careful about what you present is the most important thing because the Web, you know, you can find an audience for anything. So if you make sure your story is something that just a small segment of the population will like you’ll find an audience and that’s the beautiful thing about the Web.
On her receptiveness to a role on Dr. Who:
Felicia Day: Oh wow. I could definitely see myself doing that. I mean, like I said earlier, like it would be fantastic to play somebody evil to be honest with you. That would be kind of a treat for me. But, there are certain iconic franchises like Dr. Who that, I mean, honestly just a walk-on part would just thrill me to the bone.