Lydia Hearst’s done time on catwalks around the world and has lent her name to any number of worthwhile philanthropic causes, but what truly excites the 31-year-old actress is blood. Well, fake blood at least. Hearst, who was recently honored as a Rising Star by the Napa Valley Film Festival, has a full plate of new releases this winter, and somewhat surprisingly a number of them are really rather terrifying. But to hear Hearst tell it, that’s just the way she likes it.
Here, the star of films including Condemned and #Horror, and the new television series South of Hell, explains why she can’t get enough of the gory genre.
What’s with all the frightening stuff?
I’m obsessed with horror movies; I absolutely love them. Although not everything I do is horror—I have a romantic comedy coming out and I’m actually gearing up to start filming another one in December—but I do love making scary movies; horror is my favorite genre.
Does seeing how the horror-movie is made ruin any of the fun of watching something scary?
It definitely doesn’t ruin the magic. Since I love horror so much, I get excited to really dive into the character, put on all the prosthetics, change my physical appearance and get into the role. It’s always a lot of fun.
South of Hell follows a modern-day exorcist who’s not quite what she appears to be. How did you land the role?
Well, like with anything else I went out there and auditioned for it. And thankfully they saw something they liked. When they were originally casting, I wasn’t able to get in and do the audition, but I was fortunate enough to have booked a film that was taking place here in Manhattan. So there was one day that I had the morning free, and I managed to get in and read, and a few weeks later I got a phone call from Eli Roth and he told me I booked the part.
Your character, Charlotte, gets tangled up with a demon hunter and her troubled brother. What more can happen to her over the course of the first season?
Charlotte is a bit of a loose cannon, so you never really know what to expect from her. She’s also kind of a bitch, which is fun because it’s very different from who I am as an individual—it was fun to tap into that. She’s playful, she’s fun, she’s vulnerable just like anybody else, and she makes a lot of bad choices. I’m really hoping for a season two, I’m not ready to say goodbye to Charlotte yet.
Did you get to work with any on-screen demons?
Everybody does tangle with some demons, though I’m not sure what I’m allowed to give away about the characters. I live, I can say that for sure…I don’t die, which is very exciting! It’s all the more reason I’m hoping for a season two.
Since you’re such a horror fan, what are your favorites?
All of it! I’m watching horror constantly, everything from the Bates Motel to The Walking Dead. I grew up being obsessed with Army of Darkness and now I can’t get enough of Ash vs. Evil Dead, which is just amazing.
Your movie #Horror deals with a more psychological kind of terror than the other, more traditional projects. Is one more difficult to film than the other?
When you’re in the moment and the cameras are rolling, everything feels very real. So maybe it takes a moment after you finish a scene to take a breath, release that energy for a second and laugh it off. But when you’re filming it’s surprising how real everything seems in that moment, and how terrifying it actually is.
What are you scared of in real life?
Spiders. I hate them so much.
If you could remake a classic horror movie….
If there was a Frankenstein for women, I would want to be the monster. That’d be great.