Actress Eva Allan’s character in the movie Beyond the Black Rainbow is one based on drug induced misery and terror ridden isolation. In the film, she plays a nearly mute girl held captive by a psychotic psychologist bent on imprisoning her in a state of constant sedation, forcing her into a never-ending, nightmarish hell. Milk Made’s Kalvin Lazarte and Mike Abu called the actress up in an effort to find out what kind of a person was capable of playing such a tormented figure so convincingly.
Milk Made: Hi.
Eva Allan: Hi, how are you?
MM: Good, how are you?
EA: I’m good, thanks.
MM: Good. How’s you’re day going?
EA: It’s good. I just got home from work so I’m just getting ready to relax in the sunshine. How’s the weather in New York?
MM: Terrible. It’s raining. We were just looking out the window at a wedding photo shoot getting ruined by the downpour. It was pretty hilarious.
MM: Are you from Vancouver originally?
EA: No I’m from a really small town called Creston, British Columbia. The only thing they’re really known for is Kokanee beer.
MM: Oh, we know Kokanee. They make it out of glacier water or something, right?
MM: What was it like growing up there?
EA: It was really humbling to grow up in a small town. But I definitely knew that as soon as I turned 18 I had to get out of there. The people are a little bit too closed-minded. Most of the people I graduated with are pregnant or have three kids by now, married with a big house. It definitely wasn’t really my vibe. But it was good actually, I’m glad I got the chance to be there.
MM: We’re from a little town in Utah, so we totally understand. We were looking at each other as you were saying that, going like, “Yeah, we know… we know.”
EA: It’s hard for artistic people to grow up in such small religious communities. Sometimes you just want to run away so badly, but you can’t. I definitely know how you must have felt.
MM: Do you have any hobbies?
EA: I’m pretty focused on acting right now but I do paint a lot. Once I find something I really enjoy, I kind of just dive in 120%. I also write a lot.
MM: What are your paintings like?
EA: Mostly abstract landscapes. I tend to use acrylics but I’m starting to get into watercolors. It’s pretty difficult and a completely different change, but I’m always up for a challenge. Do you paint?
MM: I draw monsters. I’m actually drawing one as we’re talking. What are you doing right now?
EA: I’m sitting on my back patio, looking at a garden that desperately needs watering. I’ll do that in a moment.
MM: What’s home like?
EA: Home is interesting. My life is kind of like a sitcom. I’m living in the garden suite of my boyfriend’s parent’s place but we don’t live together, so it’s strange circumstances; But it’s great, I love it! I have my own patio and only pay $500 dollars a month for a two bedroom.
MM: Whoa, that’s wicked.
EA: It’s amazing. I’m not trying to move anytime soon, so I told my boyfriend, “We’re sticking this out cause I’m staying here!” I just moved in a little while ago so I kind of still have to get my rooms together. It’s a slow process but I’ll get it by the end of the summer, when it’s time to have a barbecue. Hopefully I’ll be doing steak or some big bird…
MM: Let us know, we’ll be there.
This wasn’t what we were expecting. She didn’t sound crazy or distressed. Like a tortured artist—she sounded like an easygoing person, someone we would want to be friends with. Surely there must be a thick layer of darkness right beneath the surface. We knew it could only be a matter of time before the suffering would spill out. Perhaps it would be triggered by questions about the role she played in her new movie.
MM: So we watched Beyond the Black Rainbow last night…
MM: It was awesome, a really beautiful movie.
EA: It’s quite the… uhh… I don’t know. I think of it as a poetic, twisted love story, I don’t know how to explain it. I was so emotionally gripped by the script—I just knew I couldn’t let it go. I was like, “I have to book this.” I’m so glad I got the experience! It’s so rare to find a script that makes you feel something - where emotions really come up, so it was pretty amazing to read something that I really connected with.
MM: You seem like a pretty normal girl, how did playing a character like Elena affect you psychologically? Did you notice anything?
EA: I really had to isolate myself. Before I would go on set, I would always put myself in a room and just try to get to where I knew where Elena was. It was hard work for sure. At the end of the day, I was always exhausted, but it paid off. It really felt therapeutic, like a relief to be able to emote all the things I knew she was feeling. It was quite an exhausting experience. But working with Michael Rogers was amazing. He made it much easier for me.
MM: You described the relationship between your character and Michael’s character as somewhat of a tragic love story. Is there anything behind the backdrop that made you want to explore the part?
EA: I’m not gonna say it’s necessarily something in my life, but when I was reading the script I understood the compassionate side of Michael’s character. I know that sounds kind of awful because he was so evil, but there was so much more in his character. I guess I just try and see the best possible scenario in every character. It helps me understand my own character better as well I guess.
MM: What do your friends think of your character? Have your friends seen the film?
EA: Hahahhaha, it’s funny you should ask! It hasn’t really hit Canada quite yet, so my friends have only seen the trailer, not the entire film. They think it’s great that I’m doing well but I haven’t really shown my friends yet. My sister saw it though. She was kind of scared a little bit worried. She felt that I did a great job but definitely felt a little bit strange about it. I’m kind of nervous about my friends watching it. I get a little bit nervous watching myself to begin with, so I get even more nervous when someone else is watching my work.
MM: What did you think the first time you saw the film as a whole?
EA: I was completely sunken into my seat by the end of the film. I was just like, “Oh my god.” I just have such a critical eye when I’m watching my work. I’m my own worst critic, obviously—I think everyone is. But yeah, I can’t enjoy it the same way everyone else can because I’m constantly seeing things I can work on or develop. It’s a different experience for me. I remember specific days and events that happened or what Panos [Cosmatos] was telling me right before we shot that scene. But I’m sure that’s the way most actors are.
MM: What was it like working with Panos?
EA: It was interesting. He’s so creative and talented! He’s a little bit into his own world most of the time- the world he’s created, but that’s why it made it so easy for me to just like jump into the water and really swim. It just flowed so easily for me to just step into Elena. I think he is such a great director. He really allows you to figure things out a lot of things by yourself and he’s constantly giving you recognition, allowing you to have the confidence that you need, so he was great to work with. I haven’t worked with a director anything like Panos, and I would love to work with him again. I keep in contact with him regularly, so we’ll see what happens, but I really admire him. There are very few people who can actually come up with an entire world, put it into film and be so specific about all of it. I’m so grateful to have worked with him. It was an amazing experience.
MM: So with wanting to work with Panos again and that aesthetic, is that the kind of character realm you want to stick with or is there a different aesthetic you’re drawn to?
EA: I love to do independent films. I just love the characters and it’s easier for me to adapt to something that’s more real life rather than something overly glamorous and Hollywood. Honestly, it’s not until I sit down and read the script that I really know if I’m going to connect to it or not. The aesthetic I would most like to work with is something that’s fresh and new. I just find now a days everything seems to be based upon a book, or a movie taken from Sweden that’s already been done, or a trilogy or something. It’s rare to find something that’s unique or created out of a completely different thought
She sounded happy, almost bubbly, and excited to discuss her acting career and personal take on the film industry. This was not the girl we were expecting to talk to after watching the movie. That girl appeared as if she’d never had cause to smile once in her life, but this girl talked as if she was planning on running through a field of flowers as soon as she got off the phone. Maybe the anguish existed outside of her career, possibly somewhere hidden in her day-to-day existence.
It’s always interesting to find out how similar actors and actresses are to the roles they play on the screen. Sometimes, like with Bill Murray, they’re exactly what you expect. Other times, it’s hard to believe that the person you’re talking to was able to play a completely different character so convincingly. After talking to Eva, one thing was clear—she was an actress with immense talent, and we had no doubt that we’d seeing more of her in the future.
MM: There’s obviously some of the reviews likened it under Clockwork Orange and 2001: Space Odyssey. What is it like thinking you might be part of a cult classic?
EA: It’s awesome! I never would have thought, you know, after moving to Vancouver to become an actress, that I would be involved in something so cool. I feel like the film is something that people either are going to love or hate—hopefully there are more people that love it, but yeah, it’s pretty cool. We’ll see where it goes. To be involved in something like this film is such a trip. It’s so cool to watch it and know that I’m involved in something that’s completely unique, a different thought and a different world made up by one person. I’d have to thank Panos I guess, it’s all from his head, but it’s a great feeling. It’s been an enjoyable ride.
Photos By: Jenna and Tristan Shouldice
Hair: Elena Roberts
Make Up: Mel Baird
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