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Erica Durance Talks about House of the Dead

By Jeff Bond and Patrick Sauriol
July 19, 2004
Source

This temptress is really just too darned nice to be killed by zombies. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Erica Parker recently played Lance Henriksen’s daughter in the supernatural tale The Untold, but in House of the Dead she’s zombie bait: one of the very first victims of the undead creatures of Isla del Morte.

“I play Joanna, a friend of one of the main characters,” Parker explains. “And I end up going to this island where a big rave is going on. I’m having fun with my boyfriend and we go out on the beach to fool around and then I go skinnydipping, but he’s too much of a wimp to join me. In the water, I feel some stuff on my legs and you think it’s going to be just like the opening scene in Jaws – when the swimmer gets eaten. But instead, it’s the guy on the beach who vanishes. I go looking for him and that’s when I find the house – and inside I find him being killed by the zombies.”

Parker says her fellow performer had all the fun of having disgusting prosthetic appliances applied to his bare skin. “They showed this hand coming through his stomach and all these guts coming out – very, very gruesome. I kind of wanted to do some of that stuff but that’s the way it goes.”

Unfortunately, Parker had the opposite reaction to baring more skin than she may have wanted to during the frigid Vancouver shoot: “It was so cold that every time I came out of the water, I’d run for the hot tub they’d set up just for me.”

Parker admits that playing House of the Dead’s sacrificial lamb didn’t involve a lot of in-depth research into her character’s past, but she did try to give Joanna a little depth: “I always do a bit of background work. I had the idea that I should keep this simple, that she was talking about her friends who would be the girls who show up later in the film, and that was my connection to everything. Most of the personality in this was just me, even though I’m not someone who actually goes to raves, so I had to kind of imagine that part of it. I think she’s a little bit lighter than I am; I don’t think she’s dumb. But like in any horror movie, the audience will say, ‘There’s no way I’d go in there and there’s no way I’d go after the guy who dies.’ You’re not going to go prancing around in the forest and then walk into a big, scary house.”

The actress says the act of baring herself for the camera was actually less taxing emotionally than some of her other acting assignments. “It was difficult because it’s something I haven’t done before,” Parker admits, “but I’ve found that getting to other places emotionally in other projects has been harder. I was working on a show once where I had to play a character who was needy and whimsical, which was very different from my personality. That was more embarrassing because you really have to be vulnerable with your inner thoughts, whereas nudity is just about your body. It’s easier to shut yourself off outside than to really reveal your inner thoughts. Everyone has their own way of working, but I act more logically and figure out my motivations and objectives, all those kinds of things – once that’s set for me I can drop into it. Other people can work from the outside in using physicality rather than from the inside out.”

Parker found playing her House of The Dead love scenes equally awkward: “I think it’s a little strange, especially if you haven’t really met the other actor before and you just go to work immediately and hope your breath doesn’t stink. It was a very clinical thing for me, and it was for my costar as well. I’ve never done a really in-depth love scene.”

While she’s dabbled in modeling, Parker is looking to keep her acting career moving forward and is training to make herself the best performer possible. “I’m learning, but I’m not where I want to be yet; you really have to learn to let yourself go,” she says. “In classes, you have a chance to explore those emotions, because in everyday life you can’t expose all that and do what you want to do, so in acting you have to learn to show all that and be vulnerable. My process is just to be truthful and just go for it, because you have to learn to explore those things. Once you start putting parameters around whether you’re making the right decision, then you close yourself off and you can’t work.”

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One Response

  1. I would love to start off my acting career on one of my favorite shows

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