This April, writer-director Corinna Faith‘s (The Innocents) The Power will premiere exclusively on Shudder. Ahead of its release, we sat down with the oh-so-talented lead actress Rose Williams to discuss the film (which we gave a glowing review), its making, and its important messages.
Rose, who has also starred in films such as Curfew, A Quiet Passion, Misfits, and the Netflix original series “Medici,” absolutely nailed her role in The Power, delivering a powerful and emotional performance that left me impressed. So of course, I had to talk to her.
In the film, as Britain prepares for electrical blackouts to sweep across the country, trainee nurse Val (Rose Williams) arrives for her first day at the crumbling East London Royal Infirmary. With most of the patients and staff evacuated to another hospital, Val is forced to work the night shift, finding herself in a dark, near-empty building. Within these walls lies a deadly secret, forcing Val to face both her own traumatic past and deepest fears in order to confront the malevolent force that’s intent on destroying everything around her.
HorrorFuel: “The movie is fantastic. I found it heartbreaking but also scary. It makes for a great watch.”
Rose Williams: “Aw, that’s great to hear. Thank you so much.”
Horror Fuel: “When preparing for this role, what did you do?”
Rose Williams: “There was a lot of time between auditioning and filming. Corinna and I had a lot of conversations about the part between casting and filming. It was about a year. At that time we had a lot of back and forth about the story. She kept me up to date with who she was bringing on the crew. She had a movie list of references. We developed quite a shorthand about the character and how the movie was going to play out. It was a really enjoyable experience having that level of collaboration. Yeah, just a lot of talking about the film.”
HorrorFuel: “That’s great that you had that level of communication. What were some of the movies she had you watch?”
Rose Williams: “As for the tone, there were a few main films. There was Tale of Two Sisters, Three Women, Dark Water, The Innocents, those were the main ones. The Possession I watched on my own, I’ve always really liked that film.”
HorrorFuel: “Those are some great films. Tell me, how do you see your character, Val? What type of woman is she?”
Rose Williams: “I think what’s interesting about Val is that she, to me, represents a version of the personality of someone silent and abused. She has this willingness to free herself and to give back but she had this traumatic childhood and has poured all of that pain into the will to help children and to try and stop trauma that is happening to children. Her big passion is working with kids and she wants to fix her own pain by trying to help other people and yeah, that’s how I’d describe her. She’s filled with willpower, but she’s damaged and not in touch with her inner strength yet.”
HorrorFuel: “That’s a good description. I can definitely see that. My heart breaks for her during most of the movie. She reminds me of an injured bird that hasn’t realized it can fly again. She’s very sympathetic which is important for a character in a horror movie.”
Rose Williams: “Exactly. She hasn’t found that fire yet. In the hospital, she gets to tap into that rage. That’s what resonated in the script for me, tapping into that female rage. The character in the story and the conversations I had with Corinna, has this autonomy that grew with thinking about the story, and what it means to be a woman in the world. It was really cathartic. She is, like you said, a wounded bird, and wanting to please and having that hope. As Corinna has said before, the call for women to watch will give them a sense of cathartisism in the release of all that rage.”
HorrorFuel: “I hope it does. I love the way that Val evolves.”
Rose Williams: “Thanks, I think that’s important.”
HorrorFuel: “There’s one scene – and I don’t want to spoil it – but you do this crazy thing with your body. I’m sure you know the scene I’m talking about. How was that done? Did you do it yourself or was there a double involved?”
Rose Williams: “That was all me. I’m quite flexible and I really wanted to push myself. I made a few calls to some dancer friends and I worked with Corinna and a coach and put it together like a dance. I hope it comes across in the way we wanted it to. It was really enjoyable to do. I’ve always wanted to do something crazy like that with my body in that way, so it was a great opportunity. I really hope it comes across okay.”
HorrorFuel: “It’s freaky as hell. It’s quite disturbing. I’d say you accomplished your mission.
Rose Williams: “Oh, that’s good to hear!”
HorrorFuel: “I love the way the movie was lit during the night scenes, by just lamps, which was a brilliant idea. What was it like to film in all of that darkness?
Rose Williams: “Yeah, it is atmospheric. It wasn’t pitch black but it was just dark enough, especially in the corridors. It was intimidating. We were filming in an abandoned psychiatric hospital and the space definitely played into how I felt. It influenced my performance, the rest of the cast too. You felt a certain way in that space. It was uncomfortable. It definitely helped with getting into character for sure.”
HorrorFuel: “An abandoned Psych hospital? I imagine it was super creepy and would give off an unpleasant vibe. There are a lot of movies that do scenes in the dark, but they are too dark. You can’t really see what’s happening, but The Power isn’t one of them. It has that perfect balance.
Were there any times while you were filming in the hospital that you actually got spooked or experienced anything strange?”
Rose Williams: “Definitely, yeah. We were filming this one scene and everyone got spooked. The temperature dropped and I definitely felt like there was something there. It got creepy, especially when we were filming late. I was genuinely terrified. It felt off. In the film when the generator broke down, in real life, while we were filming on a certain side of the hospital, one of the generators broke, and then the backup generator broke. When the electrical company came they tried to set up a third but couldn’t. They said they had never seen anything like that before and that it didn’t make sense that all three generators weren’t working. So, [laughter] that definitely spooked us.”
HorrorFuel: “Wow. That is crazy. I would be freaked out too.
If I may ask, what do you hope viewers take away from The Power? What I took away was a message about women sticking together and that we need to expose the truth even when going up against powerful people.”
Rose Williams: “That’s so lovely to hear. Thank you, that’s it. Corinna wanted to reach young women and give them a sense of catharsis and a message that they can speak up. Exactly what you said they can do. I’m getting older and when I meet young women, teenagers, women of all ages, I feel such a sense of protection. I want to hear what they have to say. I feel concerned for their safety and I want to feel that connectivity between women. I want them to question traditional power.”
HorrorFuel: “I feel the same way. I wonder if you had to pick, say four words to describe The Power, what would they be?”
Rose Williams: “Oh, that’s really tricky because it’s such an unusual film isn’t it? I’d say disconcerting, tense, time – because it’s set during such a specific time and place in London, and female.”
HorrorFuel: “I think those are good choices. What would you say to young women coming up now, if you had the chance?”
Rose Williams: “Know your power. Use your voice. I learn from young women, with them comes a new level of awareness and boldness and a broader sense of thinking. I learn so much from young women. I would just say, use your voice, be proud, be bold, and keep pushing.”
HorrorFuel: “With each generation of women comes new strength and boldness. That makes me very happy. We’ve got to stick together. I think your message and the film’s message are fantastic. I can’t wait for our readers, and all genre fans, to see it so it can be discussed. Thank you and thank Corinna for making this movie.”
Rose Williams was an absolute pleasure to talk with, which makes me respect her even more as the talented actress she is. To stay up to date on all of Rose’s projects follow her on Instagram. You have to see her in action in The Power premiering on April 8, 2021, on Shudder!