Some people will do whatever it takes to avenge the wrongs that have been committed against their loved ones, even if it means putting their own life in danger. This is certainly the case with the main character, Jake, in the upcoming action romance thriller ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ which is scheduled to hit select theaters on Friday. While Jake’s determination to seek revenge for the death of his true love, he further enters an underground world of prostitution that threatens his own well-being.
‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ which was directed by David Ren, follows Jake (Jason Yee), an ex-gambler who is trying to pay off a debt by working as a driver for The Naked Eye. The private gentleman’s club fronts for a prostitution ring, and Jake is stuck in his existence there. However, his life changes when he meets Sandy (Samantha Streets), an innocent misguided runaway, and the two form an unlikely bond and give each other the will to strive for a better life.
However, when Sandy is murdered, Jake vows to stop at nothing to find her killer. He risks everything in order to uncover the truth. Jake must survive as he uncovers lies, clues and his own feelings about Sandy.
Actress Dominique Swain, who played Alissa in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ generously took the time to speak with us over the phone about the film. She discussed, among other things, what attracted her to the role, what kind of restrictions the limited budget had on filming and her working relationships with Yee and Ren.
ShockYa (SY): You play Alissa in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye.’ What was it about the character and the script that convinced you to take on the role?
Dominique Swain (DS): Well, I’m sort of a wholesome addition in a film that’s rated R for violence, nudity and language, and is very graphic (laughs). So I’m the little breath of fresh air, which is difficult when you’re playing a prostitute who’s falling on hard times. (laughs)
But script was actually very, very different than how the film turned out. Some of the story-lines didn’t really make it into the final edit.
SY: Were there any story-lines that didn’t make it that would have benefited the film, or do you feel the final cut portrayed the story accurately?
DS: I thought the final cut was very strong. I think they found out in editing what the film was really about. Ultimately, it’s a love story.
I was supposed to have a death scene in it, but I didn’t. (laughs) So that was kind of interesting. But mainly I play a girl who helps the main character, Jake, figure out the mystery with my basic knowledge of detective work.
SY: Like you said, the film is a romance story, but the movie also features several fight scenes and action. So do you feel that the movie balances the romance and the action together?
DS: I think it’s a perfect balance of romance and action. It’s a vigilante, revenge story. The character of Jake is an anti-hero who’s avenging the death of his true love.
It plays through the dark underworld, and the fight sequences are very impressive. They go on for a long time without any editing. For one of the scenes, and I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, the scene where he fights three cops in the hallway, it goes on for minutes. (laughs) They’re beating each other with night sticks. It’s like, I don’t want to fight that guy.
SY: The film had a limited budget of a little over $1 million. Did that place any kind of limitations on what you could shoot, particularly in the fight sequences?
DS: You know, it came out looking beautiful. I wasn’t involved in the action sequences, I only got to watch. But it seemed sometimes, there wasn’t enough time to turn the camera around, or to get some of the shots that they thought they needed.
But it played very stylistically, instead. But there was a lot of focus on the lead character, instead of who he was talking to. But I think, just upon watching the film, they did an excellent job. The look of the movie is very comic book and graphic novel, very surreal. It’s really fabulously done.
SY: Like you said, the film has a graphic novel feel, which has been popular in recent years. Why do you think people like that genre?
DS: I think people are drawn to adventuring in that world. When you go into this surreal filming style, and with the fighting, you’re asking people to enter that world. You’re demanding a very exciting ride, because graphic novels are graphic. (laughs)
There’s nudity and violence in a very elementary kind of storytelling. This is ultimately a love story, and it’s a very appealing world, where good and evil are obvious.
SY: Were there any films based on graphic novels or comics that you enjoyed that inspired you to take on the role in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye?’
DS: I thought that ‘Sin City’ was great. There’s a comic book that I’m actually looking at right now, it’s called ‘Unholy.’ I’m hoping that they make that into a film. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
SY: If they were to make a film based on ‘Unholy,’ would you be interested in appearing in it?
DS: I absolutely would.
SY: Jason Yee, who starred as Jake in ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye,’ co-wrote the film with director David Ren. What was your working relationship with the two of them like?
DS: They were great. They knew exactly what they needed, which for a film that does have a limited budget, is a God-send. A lot of films have to go back and do re-shoots later, because they don’t know what they need, and they don’t get what they need. They end up shooting a lot of things that don’t end up making it to the screen.
Especially for such a heavy action movie, you need to cover it very, very carefully. It’s a treat to work with people who know what they’re doing, and what they need.
SY: Since Jason and David co-wrote the script together, were they able to offer any insight on your character, if you had any questions?
DS: Well, I do a lot of development before I’m on set. So they kind of trusted me on that, and let me take the character in a way I thought was appropriate. But if I did have any questions, I would go to them and talk about it.
SY: What was your preparation period like before you began shooting?
DS: I read over everything that my character had to do, and how it fit in with the rest of the story that we were all trying to tell. Then I figured out what my character would have been doing for the time in between the scenes, so that she could come from a place that was based in reality.
SY: Besides films, you have also appeared on television, on such shows as ‘Ghost Whisperer’ and ‘JAG.’ Do you have a preference of one medium over the other, or do you just enjoy acting overall?
DS: I love acting. I think actors love to act, and when movies are released, it’s the icing on the cake. But basically it’s something that I did that I enjoyed. You never really know if people are going to see it or not.
Every experience is different, and that’s probably what I love the most about acting. There’s not going to be a job that you get into a rut, that you know exactly what’s expected of you.
People’s approaches as directors, as cinematographers, as actors, is so different. But it always gives you a fresh perspective, and it makes you appreciate how differently people work.
SY: Your first movie was the 1997 action crime thriller ‘Face/Off.’ How was working on that movie similar or different than working on ‘The Girl from the Naked Eye?’
DS: Well, I was involved in some of the action sequences in ‘Face/Off,’ but I wasn’t really in this film. In similarity, (‘Face/Off’ director) John Woo also knows what he needs, and trusts his actors a lot. I would say the casting is more important on an action-driven film. There has to be so much attention to where the camera is, and the way it’s going to be edited.
SY: Are there any upcoming films or television shows that you have lined up that you can discuss?
DS: I have a film lined up in Canada that I’m producing, and that starts July 2. That’s a psychological thriller about a guy who’s a psychologist, and he’s seeing a patient. His patient makes him question his reality. When it seems like the world’s going crazy, he thinks he’s going crazy.
It turns out that he’s stuck between heaven and hell. He has to figure out who’s delusion he’s a part of, because he’s in purgatory. It’s a mess with your mind kind-of film.
Then, I’m starting an animation company. I’m going to do all of the voice recordings in England in August for a film that I wrote, called ‘Magic.’
Written by: Karen Benardello