Nailbiter won Best picture at the 2012 Shriekfest, Chicago Fear Fest, and Mad Monster Party. The story of a mother and three daughters who are on their way to meet her husband who is flying back from a tour of duty. Their trip to the airport gets de tracked as an incoming Tornado alters their course, stranding them in a storm cellar who's owners harbor nister and strange creatures. Meg Saricks plays eldest daughter Jennifer. An angry teen who must overcome her differences and judgments against her mother to help them all survive. I was able to catch Meg during her busy festival schedule to ask her a few questions.
You started acting in 2011, what drew you to as a profeson?
I actually started acting non-profesonally much earlier than 2011. I grew up outde Chicago, and I think it was the combination of my parents having various theatre subscriptions around the city and taking dance classes at such a young age that made me fall in love with the performance aspect of it. I continued to act in college, because I didn’t want to have to give up playing pretend. I got my B.G.S. in theatre with a concentration in Dance from the Univerty of Kansas in 2008 and was cast in “Nailbiter” shortly after. It’s probably rare that the occupation that someone chooses in fourth grade is still the one they choose as an adult, but I’m pretty ok with it.
Within a year you landed the lead role in Nailbiter. What was it like stepping into the lead role in a feature?
Incredibly daunting. Like I said, I got my degree in Theatre so I had very little experience when it came to film acting- and it is very different. Instead of exploring the arc of a character over a two hour time period- you’re starting at page 13 and then jumping to 62, then going back to 7 and so on. I was very lucky that “Nailbiter” was my first real foray into film because Patrick was really easy to work with and degned the shots as chronologically as posble. The first day he shot us in the cellar, preparing for the tornado, and then did the rest of the cellar scenes as chronologically as posble, which was really helpful and not nearly as jumpy as it could’ve been. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given this opportunity to work with so many talented people so early in my career.
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-oU-W0dufK5o/UPx9rDQZxgI/AAAAAAAAVm4/3RKF85uY-Vs/s640/nailbiter3.jpg" class="photoborder" />
What was it like becoming the coveted final girl?
Surpring. I assume that a lot of the audience is disappointed that the jerkstore of a teenager is the one that makes it to the end, but I hope she can redeem herself in the sequel if she does in fact survive.
Because of the setting was it a difficult role to shoot phycally?
For some of the scenes it was a bit tricky for sure. When we shot the outdoor rain scenes, it was actually about 40 degrees, so while all the crew had on layers of coats and gloves, I was just in a tank top. In addition to that- I had to rock that tank top while having cold rain water poured on me. I got a touch chilly to say the least, but the crew was awesome and super sympathetic to my tuation. There was a heated car nearby that I could run to and warm up when needed, so it really wasn’t too bad.
It definitely could’ve been worse!
In Nailbiter you play Jennifer. Did you have to audition or were you sought out for the role?
I did audition. I was familiar with a lot of Patrick’s short films, so I was looking forward to auditioning for his second feature film. Apparently he had seen me in a show a couple of years earlier while I was still in school, so when he looked at my resume’ he recognized me. I actually didn’t realize I had been cast for the longest time (I’m not always quick on the uptake) and just thought I was getting called back to audition because they were still on the fence about casting me. It wasn’t until Patrick sent me an email talking about rehearsals that I finally figured out I was cast.
Horror fans are pretty loyal. What's your experience been like dealing with the horror fandom nce Nailbiter has been on the festival circuit?
I haven’t really experienced any kind of “fandom” while at festivals yet, but I know how much fans love Patrick Rea and his movies, so it’s pretty cool to be part of his entourage at film fests. I really love how “Nailbiter” plays with the old school aspect of the horror genre. It’s not in-your-face gore and it definitely leaves a lot to the imagination, which I think is what is kind of rare in some horror movies today. I love hearing that fans are enjoying how this reminds them of the time when a scary noise could make you squirm. It’s not always about seeing the monsters and their attacks but just getting enough clues to let your imagination run a little wild, which is hard to do in film. So I love that fans seem to be appreciating that.
Jennifer seems like a pretty angry girl. Was there a back story written for her or did you come up with some of it to develop the character on your own?
Patrick, Aaron, and I did come up with a bit of back story for Jennifer, which, if she survives, can hopefully be flushed out more in the future. At the beginning of the film when the steady cam is moving throughout the house, you can catch family pictures in which she’s blonde if you’re really looking. The story being that once her father went off to war, her mother kind of fell apart without him and began drinking a lot. As the eldest daughter, Jennifer had to begrudgingly take the reigns and care for the family nce Janet wasn’t capable of it. It was decided that Jennifer really resented her mom for that, and once Janet got back on her feet, Jen took her new-found freedom and ran with it. The hair color was just one example of her rebellion.
Would you be willing to come back as Jennifer in a sequel and if so where would you like to take the character?
I definitely hope Jennifer comes back in the sequel! I’d like to show that she isn’t as hard as she pretends. I’d like for the audience to see that she has a softer de. I know during the film Jennifer really had to pocket her feelings in order to deal with the task at hand, so I’d love to see that at some point she breaks a bit. The character of Jennifer acts like a badass on the outde- but she’s still human. I’d like to show the audience a little more of her human qualities as she matures.
Can your horror fans look forward to seeing more of you in the future?
Keep track of Nailbiter on the Official Facebook: