Six ghost hunters are given the rare opportunity to carry out paranormal investigations at King’s Ransom Winery, one of the most haunted places in America. Its history is tainted by a long history of bizarre suicides. Kristina Anapau plays ghosthunter Theresa. As this multi-talented actress prepared to return to LA from Switzerland, where she was busy with promotion for her latest endeavor, she took time from across the Atlantic Ocean to chat with Eclipse Magazine about the spine-chilling horror film ALTERGEIST!
Kristina Anapau started her early career on stage as a classically trained ballerina. During the filming of the film Escape from Atlantis, she was cast in the lead role and since then, her acting career has soared. Best known as the fairy Maurella on HBO’s True Blood, she has been in numerous other tv shows such as Grimm, Anger Management, House MD, Without A Trace, to name a few as well as film, which includes the Oscar nominated Black Swan. When she is not acting, she is an entrepreneur for a new Fashion product Color It New.
What drew you to your role in Altergeist, which is a lot darker than the roles you’ve done in the past?
Yes, it is pretty dark. My lawyer sent me the script and asked if I wanted to read for the producers for a different role. I read the script and I loved it, but was more drawn to the lead role which had already been offered to another actress. She was signed and set to do it, but I figured I should go in anyway, audition for this role, and that maybe I could make them want me for the lead. A few days later, I had flown to New York for another job and got the call– they said, “Would you be interested in the lead role instead of the one you auditioned for?” Whatever I did worked!
Is this based on actual true stories out in California?
Yes, it’s based on Korbel Winery in Sonoma. One of the producers grew up on the property. He got together with the writer/director Tedi Sarafian and they talked about all the true events that had happened there. The filmmakers were amazing. Tedi wrote Terminator 3 and Tank Girl. Really creepy, scary things have happened there, which meant we were actually shooting on location in a real, haunted winery.
Did you actually see any paranormal phenomenon while you were there?
It felt strange sometimes. We filmed at night so it did tend to get creepy. Sometimes it was hard to tell if you were feeling that way was because of the scenes in the movie, or if there was actually something paranormal going on. I was so busy filming I didn’t really seek it out. I’m sure I could have had some sort of experience if I had wandered off or gone into the attic alone at night. I heard a lot of incredible stories from the security guards who are there alone every night.
I did have a floating feeling at one point while in one of the houses we were shooting in on the property. I couldn’t really say what was going on. I could have just been really tired because we were shooting all night, but I did feel like I saw a silhouette of light in the corner. Maybe whatever was thought to be haunting that house was in there with me, who knows? It was a very calming feeling, though, whatever it was.
Were there any challenges in preparing for it?
I only had three days to prepare after finding out I had the role, but Tedi the director was great. He sat with all the actors and went over the script in detail. We created back-story for all the characters. That process helped a lot. After the first week, Theresa had become so much a part of me, that it was easy. As actors, we were given plenty of time on set to do a scene as many times as we needed until it felt right. That is always such a pleasure.
Do you have any favorite experiences while working with the cast and crew?
I love night shoots because you are in a bubble of sorts– creating art while everyone else is asleep. There is something really fun and exciting about that. I drove to work during sunset and back to the hotel during sunrise, which was really beautiful and a bit magical up in wine country. There was also a very familial atmosphere on set, which always makes for an enjoyable work environment. Working with David Weidoff (who lays Ashen Till in the film) was phenomenal—he is such a talented actor. So a month of night shoots with really wonderful people– those were a couple of my favorite things about filming Altergeist.
Do you keep in touch with the other cast even after the film wrapped?
What was the best part of playing that role?
I was drawn to her strength and intuition. Strong female characters that still have a vulnerability about them are so hard to find. I also like the fact I am 4 months pregnant in the film. I’m always pregnant on screen it seems—On True Blood I was 8 months pregnant. I love having a fake belly. You can eat all you want at lunch!
You originally majored in art history. What made you go into acting?
I graduated high school at 15 and went to University of Hawaii the same year. I wasn’t planning on being an actor and I was very serious about classical ballet. I was very serious about my studies as well and I was planning to have my PhD completed by age 21. I had a modeling agent when I was younger, who I hadn’t spoken to in years, who called to ask if I would like to fly over to be an extra in the film. I thought it might be fun, so I flew over, and I ended up getting one of the lead roles in the movie. That was the film that started it all. It was called Escape From Atlantis and I played the princess of Atlantis. The director and his wife encouraged me to come out to LA after we wrapped and the rest is history.
You’re a jack of all trades. Do you also write for such journals as the Hollywood Film Journal?
Yes. I haven’t done much writing this past year because of my schedule, but I’m starting up again. I do enjoy writing editorial pieces— choosing a concept, molding it, creating the images if possible—and all within a relatively short period of time. I’m not sure I have the time or patience for a novel just yet.
And another artistic endeavor you have is designing a new fashion product Color It New.
Yes, it is a fashion product I am releasing in September. We won’t be going public with it for another few weeks, so I can’t get into specifics, but it is definitely a product that will change people’s closets forever. I’m really excited to share this with the world. It has been four years in development– a long process, but really exciting. People can go to www.coloritnew.com . You can sign up and be notified once it launches.
Is it going to be in stores or online?
In the beginning it’s going to be exclusively online. We will be expanding pretty rapidly to retail stores after that. Check us out on facebook, twitter, and instagram to learn more.
Did you do a lot of charity work?
There are a couple charities that mean a lot to me. One is Beyond Shelter. They help rehabilitate homeless people in the LA area. There are 17,000 families on the street every night just in LA alone. What really makes Beyond Shelter different is that they don’t just give the homeless families a place to stay, they counsel them, help them get back into the job force. They do what it takes to prevent these people from ending up back on the street. During the holidays, you can sponsor a family who has just gotten back on their feet, which is always really wonderful and rewarding.
The other organization is Build Rehabilitation in LA. They train and employ disabled Americans – Down Syndrome, schizophrenia, etc. They are part of the Color It New team. Such a great organization and it’s a pleasure to be working with them.
Do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to?
I have a few films. There is one called Miss Indian America, that is going to be quite good. It’s the directorial debut from director Ravi Kapoor. Ravi is a very talented actor and amazing director. There is another movie Near Myth, the Oskar Knight Story, which is coming out the beginning of next year. That was written and directed by Scott Fivelson from Chicago. He comes from a theatre world and is a very clever writer.
I don’t usually do short films, I couldn’t say no to a film Ashley Avis was directing—she is such a talent, definitely a writer/director to watch—and the story was beautiful. It is set in Paris in the 1920’s. They have the Budapest Symphonic Orchestra recording the score– it’s going to be absolutely stunning.
If there was one philosophy you could live by as you pursue your many interests in your life, what would that be?
There is always better.
I love that philosophy! For people who are going to watch the film Altergeist, what is the thing that stands out about this film compared to other movies about ghosts and the spiritual world?
Well a lot of genre films are scary and entertaining, but what sets this one apart is that it is not only hugely scary and entertaining, but the characters are really well developed and the cinematography is gorgeous. Aaron Heck, our cinematographer, did such a beautiful job. Character development and beautiful cinematography are usually not as important to genre filmmakers—maybe because they feel it doesn’t affect their success at the box office. Those elements were very important to the filmmakers of Altergeist, and as a result they created a film that is multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. People who love the horror films will love it, people who love character- driven pieces will love it. I’m really excited for its release.
Altergeist premieres October 9th, 2014.
Official web site: http://altergeistmovie.com/
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Check out Kristina’s new fashion product!
Official web site: www.coloritnew.com