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Physical Demands Of The Shoot
As called for in Bertino's story, the lead actors were put through the wringer far more than the trio of Strangers. "This role was emotionally, and especially physically, draining,” says Tyler, who was additionally stricken with tonsillitis during the shoot. "Usually, on a movie, there are a couple of scenes that you know will be tough to do, and you think, ‘I'll just have to get through that particular day.' This was two months of that. We worked long hours. It was by far the hardest film shoot I've ever been a part of.”

In addition to sustaining actual cuts, bruises and sores, in addition to the throat trouble, the actress was obliged to be made up with fake blood and have black paint brushed under her fingernails and over her hands. "In The Lord of the Rings, I only had to do one sequence on a horse,” Tyler says. "On this shoot, I would come in each morning, clean and showered, then get disgusting. It was an amazing challenge every day, and I didn't know I had it in me. But by the end of the shoot, my body was gone.”

To help realize Bertino's desired sustained pitch of heart-pounding, breathholding fear, both Tyler and Speedman often ran sprints on and around the set, returning to their marks just seconds before the writer/director called, "Action!” Tyler estimates, "I probably ran a mile a day. Scott and I would be all out of breath and sweaty.”

Bertino notes, "Liv definitely connected to what Kristen was going through. We talked a lot about the physical demands beforehand, and she worked incredibly hard. Also, she's barefoot for basically the entire movie. There were times during the shoot when I would look down at her bruised feet and feel horrible that I hadn't written, ‘Kristen is wearing tennis shoes.'”

Despite the actors' endless days of running, crawling and hiding, stunt coordinator CAL JOHNSON provides, "The Strangers isn't a stunt-heavy movie. But even with the little stuff, we still needed to take the time to figure it out and protect our actors and stunt people.” Johnson himself stepped in to double for an actor in one of the film's most shocking moments.

Given that The Strangers is her maiden effort in the genre, Tyler also developed a "screen scream.” The performer provides, "I was really worried at first, because I had no idea what it would sound or look like. All of a sudden, this huge scream came out; I think I terrified everybody.”

Bertino agrees: "Liv is an amazing screamer. She and I talked about not doing ‘practice screams,' because I wanted to capture the horror moments as they happen for Kristen. On the first take of the first time she had to scream, I had my fingers crossed, and she really let loose. It shook us up. Beyond that, there are violent scenes that get played out in this movie, and some of them were upsetting to people on set to watch. Everyone became attached to Kristen and James, and to Liv and Scott.”

Speedman adds, "For the heaviest emotional scenes Liv and I had to play, Bryan kept two cameras going so we wouldn't have to shoot all day. With those heightened moments between characters, you don't want to repeat things over and over. Bryan was also comfortable with our doing things that had not been in his script. He wasn't overprotective of it.”

Similarly, the actors playing The Strangers were free to explore their characters' shared dynamics, since, as Bertino says, "We give no outside information. Kristen and James don't have any, which is a perspective—or lack of it—that adds to the horror.”

Weeks says, "Being in a world where we are so desensitized by the Internet, TV, war, video games, YouTube, I felt we had lost what should be a basic human response to violence and, more specifically, to death itself. In some demented way, we were trying to reestablish those feelings of guilt and sorrow by experiencing the v


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