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Exclusive Interview : Sarah Roemer

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The star of “Disturbia”


Sarah Roemer isn’t just hotter than an oven mid-roasting pork, she’s damn talented to boot. Though her showreel is still reasonably short – she’s only appeared in a few films, including last year’s “The Grudge 2” – her brief turns have been so impressive that it’s already got Hollywood lunching with her agent on a daily basis. The model cum actress currently appears in “Disturbia”, a “Rear Window”-esque teen thriller co-starring rising young actor Shia LaBeouf. CLINT MORRIS caught up with Roemer, on the phone from L.A.

Good work in the movie. I think “Disturbia” is one of the better teenage thrillers I’ve seen of late.
Thanks very much. I agree… I think it’s a very intense movie.

It’s a clever movie. Have you seen “Rear Window”?
I’ve seen it yeah, and I think it’s got a similar premise – in that the main characters are confined to their homes, and they’re spying on the neighbours – but I believe this is a very different movie. It’s a very different experience. Rear Window is an incredible movie… but I wouldn’t compare it to this so much. [Disturbia] is also a very fun and adventurous movie, and now after seeing the movie, I think they’re both different experiences.

I’d say it’s 20 mins of “Rear Window”, another 20 mins of “Home Alone”, and the rest – sans the original bits – a little bit “Head over Heels”. That sounds wrong, but it’s exactly what the audience wants. It’s a little bit of everything. I think it works for it.
Yeah! It really jumps around a lot – and that’s why it was so much fun to work on. I got to do the comedic scenes, the romance scenes and then, of course, the thrilling slasher part – which is always fun!

Speaking of, Sarah you’re becoming a bit of a Scream Queen. What’s with all these scary films?
Yes [Laughs]. True. I’m hoping my next movie will be a comedy.

You just worked with David Ellis on “Asylum” didn’t you?
I did, I did! That was a blast! We had so much fun making that movie – it was out of control. It’s not right to call that work! [Laughs]

David’s a great guy, and I’ve heard a bit about the movie, but which character are you playing?
Yeah, I’m the main character – the movie follows me to this school, where she meets these five characters, all staying in these new dorms. There’s a catwalk behind the new dorms and another building – which is an old abandoned asylum. They have all been told that [the school] is going to renovate the asylum the following year, so have been asked not to break into the building… which of course we do! We end up waking the spirit of this doctor… Doctor Burke. He is actually based on a real Doctor, Magnus Burkehart – who did lobotomies with ice picks through the corner of the eye – and basically tried to cure people with torture.

Ouch!
That’s kinda what the doctor [in our movie] does. What’s cool about the movie is that its funny, absolutely terrifying and it’s extremely gory – so those horror movie fans should eat it up. What’s cool about this doctor is that when you come into contact with him, he becomes the doctor – literally – you were afraid of us a child and hurt you the most in your life, when you were younger.

So have you chased these kinds of movies, scary ones, or is it just the way it’s worked out?
I love making them, but it’s really hard for me to watch them. Even this movie, “Disturbia”, I was jumping out of my seat!

So how did you get the “Disturbia” gig? Just an audition?
Yeah, I went through the audition process.

Why do you think the producers chose you for the role?
The director, D.J [Caruso], said that before I started my audition, as I walked in the door, I gave him a look – a very mischievous look. I dunno. I guess he could tell from the look on my face how much I really wanted it. I was ready to go… I loved his work… I’d fallen in love with the script… I really wanted this job… and I couldn’t have been more excited about getting it.

Tell me about working with Shia [LeBeouf]?
I wanted to work with Shia from the moment I met him. I was so impressed. I had auditioned with him before I went to Japan for “The Grudge 2”, but I didn’t know I’d gotten the movie … the contract wasn’t signed until I stepped back onto U.S soil. They had already started shooting two days. I went straight to table read – I cold read the script for the first time. It was really crazy at first. I was playing a catch-up game in the beginning.

Did you challenge Shia to X-Box?
No [Laughs]! He and Aaron [Yoo, who plays Ronnie] were playing video games quite a bit. I remember he was playing some golf game all the time.

The movie was filmed in L.A, right?
Yep.

Ok, the main house – what do I know it from? It looks so familiar!
It looked familiar to me too, but I think it’s just one of those houses. I don’t think it’s from anything particular. We changed it a lot. Originally, that house [which was Shia’s house in the movie] had a pool, so we had to cover that up. Funnily enough, my house in the movie didn’t have a pool… so we had to build one.

Speaking of the pool, how nervous were you doing the bikini scenes?
What’s funny about that is that they used so much more of it than I thought they would. I modelled for six years, so I’m comfortable enough in my own skin, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t worrying about my top staying up… and those kind of things. I knew that the boys [in the movie] were going to be watching [my character] Ashley in the bikini, but it wasn’t until the movie that I got to hear what they were actually talking about – the details of it – as they watched me. I was completely shocked! I couldn’t believe they were talking about me! [Laughs]

When you’re doing your scene outside, and Shia’s supposedly looking out, is he actually there? Or do they just blend the two scenes in later?
No, he’s not there – though I did find out later that the boys actually requested to be in the house while I did my bikini scenes. They told the director “it’s a method thing… we should probably watch her dive into the pool”.

Have you done the commentary track for the “Disturbia” DVD yet?
Yeah. There’s a new thing that they’re starting to do where you can actually watch us – Shia, D.J Caruso and myself – on screen talking about the movie, as we watch it.

Are you a fan of DVDs yourself? Do you like extras?
Nah, I don’t usually watch the extra stuff. I watch a lot of DVDs, but I don’t usually go for the behind-the-scenes extras.

You’ll have to watch the extras on your own though
[Laughs] Yes, I’m very excited about watching my own.

Anything lined up next?
I’m taking some time off, because I’ve done three movies back-to-back, and then I’ll start reading scripts again.

What would you like to do next?
I was thinking maybe a romantic comedy… or something. Or maybe even a dark comedy?

DISTURBIA commences Thursday across Australia

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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