Rising star unleashes talent
Emily Perkins spent three months last year unleashing her animal nature.
The Vancouver actress is the star of Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed, the second chapter in Calgarian John Fawcett’s female werewolf trilogy.
“When I was growing up, I was a huge Star Trek fan and always wanted to be a Klingon. Getting to play the werewolf this time was, in a great part, the realization of that dream,” says Perkins.
For the scenes in which her character begins to morph into the beast, Perkins sat in the makeup trailer for seven-hour sessions.
“That was heaven compared to filming the scenes in the abandoned hospital. It was the middle of an Edmonton winter. It was unbelievably cold and that old building that stood in for the abandoned hospital felt like a freezer even after they’d tried to heat it for us.”
Perkins, 26, has been acting since she was 10.
“I begged my mom to let me be in plays, so she enrolled me in the Vancouver Youth Theatre. One of my teachers was also an agent and she asked to represent me.”
In just a few months Perkins was cast in several commercials.
Her big break came the following year when she was cast in an episode of the Canadian TV series Danger Bay.
“I played a little girl on a camping trip whose father has a heart attack. Donnelly Rhodes (who played Doc Roberts) had to rescue us,” she recalls, quickly pointing out a pleasant irony.
“Now I’m starring with Donnelly on Da Vinci’s Inquest.”
Rhodes plays a veteran homicide detective and Perkins plays Sue, a street woman who is a police informant.
“It was supposed to be a one-shot deal, but Sue has been spun-off into a recurring character.”
Perkins filmed the original Ginger Snaps in Toronto in 1999 with fellow Vancouver actress Katharine Isabelle.
Isabelle played the older sister, Ginger, who was bitten by a werewolf and chose death rather than becoming a creature herself.
Perkins’ character, Brigitte, infected herself in order to try to understand Ginger’s dilemma and now must fight her own transformation.
The original low-budget horror film, written and directed by Fawcett, was a modest hit in Canada, but did much bigger box-office in Asia, Europe and Australia, and has become a cult hit on DVD.
“I didn’t get recognized that much as a result of Ginger Snaps because I don’t really look all that much like Brigitte,” says Perkins.
“I never look as tired and sullen as she does and I wore a wig, so I pretty well go unnoticed.”
Perkins feels Ginger Snaps appeals to teenage girls because “the sisters are outcasts and that’s what many teenage girls feel like. That’s why the film resonates with them.”
By Louis B. Hobson