Although it's only a couple of years since I first interviewed Sarah Butler (on the red carpet of I Spit on Your Grave ), it seems she's gone far, fast. From the ashes of that very gritty, gruesome and harrowing horror-revenge film, the star has risen above what could easily have been a trap.
"I get sent a lot of scripts, still to this day, that remind me of I Spit," she says, "But I don't want to be known as 'rape-girl' — I want to do all kinds of roles." She's done an action film (The Philly Kid), a psychological thriller (Treachery), and is currently in New Orleans filming The Demented, an ensemble zombie apocalypse chiller.
I caught up with the lovely young actor on the set of Treachery, between her wrap scene and an impending flight to The Big Easy.
In Treachery, she plays Cecilia, the duplicitous seductress who's making fools of two men — father and son, played respectively by Michael Biehn and Matthew Ziff. Along for the ride are Becki (Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, who also produced the film), and Robert (Richard Gunn, who acted previously with JBB in Dark Angel). While no one wanted to spoil the twisty-turny thriller, I will be bringing you interviews with the rest of the cast later on.
But first up is Sarah Butler, who not only talked about Treachery, but gave us a scoop on The Demented.
Staci Layne Wilson: How would you describe Treachery?
Sarah Butler: It's kind of a ticking bomb thing, because there's a secret that the audience knows early on, and a couple of the characters know, but most of them don't. So there's a lot of little hidden things, clues, along the way. When you're like, "I wonder if they're going to find out…" So it is suspenseful in that way. So that's kind of why 'psychological thriller' would be used to describe it.
How did you connect with Jennifer and Michael?
Sarah Butler: I met with Jennifer little over a year ago on Nuclear Family. It's kind of a post-apocalyptic thing and actually Danielle Harris was one of the lead roles in it and her and Jennifer are best friends. And then ironically, coincidentally, one of the producers is a friend of mine for years and he was like, 'We have this great cameo in this movie and we'd love for you to come in.' It was this woman who was actually driven mad by the fact that she had been put in charge of a little child and then had lost the child and then the mother came looking for the child. And so my cameo… first thing that happens when I show up is like I am just breaking down and just crazy.
I know you need to go soon, but can you tell me just a little about your next project?
Sarah: I have to go to Baton Rouge where I'm doing a new movie for Anchor Bay. I'm shooting a zombie movie called The Demented.
The Demented… That's an atmospheric title. There're so many zombie movies now, what sets this one apart?
Sarah Butler: As someone who has not seen many zombie movies it's hard for me to say, but to me, it kind of seems like it reminded me of the movie Scream. Because it seems like a bunch of cute college age kids that have this good rapport and they cracked jokes with each other. And it's funny, and there's some good… Well… Not so much stereotypical characters, but characters like you've seen before. We've got the womanizer ass hole, you've got the cute curvy girl that takes all the guys attention and all the other girls get jealous, you've got the mother figure. And I'm actually playing the mother figure character, because they thought I was too old to play and of the other ones even though I'm only supposed to be a year older. So, I'm like the mother hen in the sorority.
Is it like an apocalypse thing, or is it like the friends are classic flesh eating zombies?
Sarah Butler: It is kind of a zombie apocalypse. Here's what happens. There's some kind of biochemical thing that is released and it affects everyone and it turns them to basically zombies. I'm thinking they can move faster than your typical zombie. I don't know if the filmmaker would classify this as a zombie movie, but to me it's a zombie movie. That's how they'll be marketing for sure.
Anyone interesting in it with you?
Sarah Butler: I don't even know! I have to go over the names, actually. They started shooting today in Baton Rouge. And we [she and her manager] thought we had the days worked out, but there was a miscommunication somewhere, and it turned into this big thing. I had to miss all the pre-production because I was still on Trechery. And oh my God, it's awful [that] I'm going to just show up to the set and say, "I'm sorry I wasn't here, don't hate me." It's not a bad problem to have, "Oh no, I have to go from one production to the other," but you know what I mean.
And you get to go to Louisiana, how rare in the film business right now. [laughter]
Sarah Butler: I know I'm excited about that, but I've actually made so many friends down there from all the times that I've been down there so I'm excited I get to see them. Danielle [Harris] is on Hatchet 3.
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Stay tuned for more from Treachery, coming soon!