Earlier this week, I got a call from Elisha Cuthbert to discuss what has to be the most talked-about movie of the year so far, Captivity. If I actually tried to give you a rundown all the digital ink we've spilled on this little horror film since the beginning of 2007, I'd never get around to actually typing out this interview, so I'll just choose a few highlights, like the original outbreak of controversy over the film's graphic billboard advertising back in March, the harsh response by the MPAA, the arrival of the first trailer, the release-date musical chairs, and our exclusive interview with After Dark Films about the whole project and the fuss it had caused. As you can probably imagine, the first question I asked Elisha when I spoke with her was, inevitably, 'Do you get asked your opinion about Captivity every single day?'
Elisha is, of course, known for her starring roles in such films as The Girl Next Door, where she played a mercurial porn star called Danielle, House of Wax, the 2005 horror remake in which she starred alongside a pre-incarceration Paris Hilton and famously allowed the stunt people to glue her lips together for a crucial scene, and the Will Ferrell comedy Old School. She's also widely recognized for her work on the small screen, appearing for several seasons as Jack Bauer's daughter on the hit show 24. Those two worlds are expected to collide sometime in late 2008 or 2009 as a movie adaptation of 24 ramps up production, but until that happens, if it happens at all, Cuthbert has a number of projects on the runway to keep her busy. Here is the interview, and fair warning -- it does contain some spoilers about Captivity.
RS: What's it like being at the center of this film's controversy-fueled marketing campaign for the past few months? Do you get asked your opinion about Captivity every single day?
EC: Not every day, but I definitely get a lot of questions about it. To be perfectly honest with you, a lot of it baffles me, and a lot of it is intriguing at the same time, because I had no idea that, in the world of the Saws and the Hostels ... somehow our film has sort of stuck out. I'm grateful for that, but at the same time, I'm a little confused. I know that we had some controversy with the womens' groups, and I just feel like I wanted them to see the film before making any judgments on it. I set out to make a film about a woman who fights for her life and comes out in the end sort of strong and learns something from her experience. But 30 million people chatting about it online? I couldn't ask for anything more!
RS: Did you find the billboards personally offensive?
EC: I personally didn't, but then again that doesn't mean it's not going to affect someone in a negative way, and we're here to sort of appease the people who go see the films. The only thing I can say about it is that I thought that they were interesting enough to be up. I hope people see the film and give it a chance. We're not here to sort of ... this isn't a documentary about, you know, women getting kidnapped. This is a horror film.
RS: Where do you come down on the whole recent issue of R-rated horror films like Hostel II seeming to give ground to films like 1408, which are PG-13 and clearly less gruesome?
EC: I don't know, you know, it's hard to judge. I think that, back in the day, there used to be a lot of horror films that kind of had a checklist of what went into making the 'perfect horror film', and I think now people are raising the bar in the industry, as far as the types of horror films that are being made. There's a sort of psychological undertone to films. 1408 -- I think we're also in the same realm as that, just as the Hostels and the Saws, because there is that sort of psychological fear and we're basing something on reality. I don't know -- it's tough to say, I just think the industry in general and the genre in general has changed and modified -- people want to see more.