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KaDee Strickland's Keeping Busy with Large Snakes and a Scary Remake

On "The Grudge" and "Anacondas"

By

KaDee Strickland

KaDee Strickland

In Sony Pictures' "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid," a group of scientists (played by KaDee Strickland, Johnny Messner, Matthew Marsden, Eugene Byrd, Karl Yune, and Morris Chestnut) explore the jungles of Borneo in search of a special orchid said to be the key to a youth-preserving serum. But while they're searching for the rare orchid, they're being hunted down by killer anacondas.

Beautiful, talkative, and personable, KaDee Strickland comes across as a level-headed actress, which is refreshing in the weird land of Hollywood. With two big studio films just finished - "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" and "The Grudge" - Strickland's looking forward to a busy final half of 2004.

INTERVIEW WITH KADEE STRICKLAND:

Who do you play and what happens to your character in "Anacondas?"
All kinds of stuff. I run and scream and cry a lot. It’s fantastic. I’m Sam Rogers in the film, a top-notch research scientist, and we’re trying to get this antidote. As a result of that - it’s this derivative from a flower that’s sort of the fountain of youth - we get stuck in the jungle and we find these snakes that have gotten a hold of it so they’re enormous because they’ve lived longer. And then we’re basically running scared.

Do you have to do battle with any of the snakes?
Oh yeah.

What was used in place of the giant snakes? Were there mechanical snakes or did you use a blue screen?
Some of it was animatronics, some was CGI, so we did a little bit of it all. Nothing was real, obviously, although there is one shot in the film that is quite stunning. It was taken from a photograph that was in National Geographic of a guy in the belly of the snake. It was extraordinary to see it and to know that that does exist. I’ve seen it!

Were you scared of snakes before making the movie?
I hated them.

Would you say a fear of snakes is one of your biggest fears?
Actually, heights was more a fear of mine and I got dropped at like 4 in the morning for a few weeks in a harness upside down. You let go of your fear quickly as you’re dropped. You have to.

What type of training did they put you through?
I had a stunt double who was quite extraordinary and I didn’t get to do as much of it as I would have maybe liked to, but basically they talk you through it. You have a lot of people around, you know you are in safe hands. (Laughing) And then you have to be just a little bit crazy and want to do it yourself. I think that’s the best training – just go for it.

And you’re also in “The Grudge?”
Yes!

Did you see the original Japanese version prior to filming?
Oh yeah. I loved it.

How close is this version to that one?
It’s quite similar but there’s the different component because we’re American, so they have to build that into the story. But my character was in the original and Sarah [Michelle Gellar’s] character was in the original. A number of characters have been altered a little bit, but not much. It’s pretty true to form just with this added component of us being foreigners in this strange land.

And it’s got the same director, Takashi Shimizu, as the Japanese version.
Yes.

What was it like to work with Shimizu?
Well, working with a crew and a director that doesn’t speak English was quite fascinating. It was one of the reasons I was so drawn to it. And then he happens to be an incredible director on top of just the coolness factor of getting to say, “I worked with someone who couldn’t speak the language.” Beyond that, there are a lot of challenges but you can’t go outside – well you can, if you screw it up – the boundaries of truth when you are having someone watch you and judge you based on just what your performance is, not being able to understand what you are saying. So his BS meter was pretty great and his specificity was pretty great. You had to be on point.

The Japanese version is just being released here in America in some cities, and the American version is set to be released soon. Will moviegoers watch both versions?
I hope with the right promotion that that’s a possibility, but you only benefit, I think, from seeing both of them if you like filmmaking. I think people who like filmmaking and that genre of film would really enjoy seeing both because there’s a lot that’s a little more surprising in this, dare I say.

The effects will be much better in this one than the Japanese version?
Well, yes. (Laughing) It’s Sony Pictures.

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