The anxiety of socially competing with peers during high school, especially when it comes to finding the right person for the all-to-important first love and romantic relationship, can be challenging for many teens. That’s particularly true when numerous external forces, including jealous friends, or in worst case scenarios, a murder investigation, put a tremendous strain on the relationship. That’s certainly the case in the new thriller ‘Love Me,’ which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD and was helmed by experienced horror-thriller director Rick Bota.
‘Love Me’ chronicles the tribulations of discovering new teenage love, set against the backdrop of a town struggling to find the truth about a missing classmate. Actors Lindsey Shaw and Jamie Johnston, two of the main stars of the movie, quickly formed a close bond on set that authentically helped develop not only their characters’ growing romance, but also the speculation of how they fit into their classmate’s disappearance.
‘Love Me’ follows 16-year-old Melissa Kennedy, who has been missing for almost three months, leaving the town of Ridgedale unhinged. Meanwhile, Sylvia Potter, played by Shaw, is desperate to be in love, when the quiet, rich Lucas Green, portrayed by Johnston, transfers to Hampton Prep. Sparks fly between the two, despite the warnings of almost all of her friends. However, their love takes a major twist when the police begin an investigation into Lucas’ involvement in Melissa’s case.
Shaw generously took the time recently to talk about filming ‘Love Me’ over the phone. Among other things, the actress discussed how the horror thriller ‘Fear,’ and the horror genre in general, influenced her decision to take on the role of Sylvia; how forming close working relationships with both Johnston and Bota while filming helped develop her character; and how she has already been receiving positive feedback from fans who have seen the movie.
ShockYa (SY): You play Sylvia Potter, a Hampton Prep student who’s desperate to fall in love, and ultimately falls for the new student, Lucas Green, in ‘Love Me.’ What was it about the character and the script overall that convinced you to take on the role?
Lindsey Shaw (LS): Well, when I read it, it reminded me of this movie with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon (‘Fear’), and I really loved that movie from when I was younger. It’s this really twisted love story, and that’s what I got from this script and character. I thought, what’s more fun than being in the middle of a twisted love triangle? It seemed like a lot of fun.
SY: What was the casting process like for Sylvia? How did you become involved in the film?
LS: It was offered to me, I think. It was a little while ago now. I don’t think I auditioned. They called me and offered it. I think I auditioned for one of their projects previously, and they remembered me. So they called me up and the next thing I knew, I was on set.
SY: Rick Bota, who directed ‘Love Me,’ has experience in the horror and thriller genre, having helmed three ‘Hellraiser’ movie and several episodes for numerous horror television series, including ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Were you familiar with his work at all before you began filming?
LS: No, I was not totally familiar with his work. But Rick directed an amazing movie, and he was so wonderful to work with. He obviously had the experience to really bring this film to life. I didn’t know about his credits, but I certainly benefited from his experience and talent.
SY: What was your overall preparation process like for the role of Sylvia? Did you develop the character of Sylvia with Rick?
LS: Yeah. Jamie Johnston, who plays Lucas Green, and Jean-Luc (Bilodeau) and everybody went over it with Rick. He really sat down with Jamie and me specifically, and we plotted out specific scenes between our two characters, and the big moments in their relationship. It was really nice to be able to sit down with him.
It’s funny, Rick’s this big guy, and it kind of looks like he’s this football jock. So to see him break down this love story, and be so tender and gentle about it, was pretty cool. It was odd to see him and all of this sweet stuff coming out. It was great. I thought he really helped us with the love story.
SY: Speaking of Jamie, he has said that you had a good working relationship together. What was it like working with him on the set, since he portrayed Sylvia’s love interest?
LS: I love Jamie. He and I are basically the exact opposite of each other. So it was really interesting getting on his page, and he was wonderful. We learned a lot from each other.
I thought we had a great working relationship. I was so comfortable with him. We took each other to the extremes. We’re making out, we’re making love, we’re pushing each other, we’re fighting. So through all of these violent ups and downs, I feel like we supported each other. It was great.
SY: You also have prior experience in the horror genre, having appeared in the 2011 film ‘The Howling: Reborn.’ What is it about acting in the genre that you enjoy so much?
LS: It’s the teenage and dramatic love elements, played out to the fullest extent. Whatever the external circumstances are, whether werewolves or a murder investigation, it’s this project of feelings of love, especially at that age. In high school, it feels like life and death. It feels like the end of the world. To see those elements actually play out, it’s fun and super dramatic. They’re really twisted and intense love stories.
At the core, it’s all about love and wanting love. It’s so simple at the end of the day. I think that’s what I’m looking for in my own life, and my own definition of that, and getting to play out my own feelings.
SY: Were there any particular thrillers or horror films that you watched before or during filming ‘Love Me’ that inspired your role as Sylvia or your career in general?
LS: Well, ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ (laughs), a Rob Zombie film, and ‘Psycho’-the original Alfred Hitchcock version. Those are my favorite horror films, as well as all the ‘Freddy vs. Jason’ films.
I guess I have a twisted little seed in me. Those are emotions that you don’t really have to experience in real life everyday. You’re not screaming and fighting and crying, but it’s fun to be able to go and do that. So I guess I gravitate towards those emotions right now.
SY: ‘Love Me’ is an independent film that had a small budget and short shooting schedule. Did the fact that the film had a lower budget and a short shoot influence the way the movie was shot? Do you prefer working on lower-budget films in general?
LS: Well, I wouldn’t know, because I haven’t worked on a high budget film. So I’ve worked like this from the beginning of my career. Every single thing I’ve done has been accelerated and low budget. Even when I was on the TV shows, it was sort of the black sheep on the network’s line-up.
I’ve always worked fast, and this is how you do it, and this is how much we have. (laughs) Then the lights went out, oh no. Right now, I’m becoming good at honing my instincts, and going with my first instinct, because that’s all you really have on these types of projects. So it’s definitely been an awesome experience. Like I said, I don’t know any other style of working, but I’m open to anything.
SY: Speaking of the television series you’ve appeared on, including ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ do you have a preference of one medium over the other, or do you enjoy acting overall?
LS: I think TV suits my ADD personality a little better. It’s a little better for me at this point. I would love to do films, and I do. Whatever comes next, that’s what I want. But with TV, you get to do something new every single week, every single day. You have to get through the pages, it’s fast. So I have a special affinity for TV in my heart.
I would really love to see what my next TV experience is, and do another great comedy at some point. So either or, really, but I like TV a lot.
SY: While ‘Love Me’ was just released on Blu-ray and DVD, have you received any feedback from fans yet about the film?
LS: A couple of people have said that they’ve seen it, which has been cool, and they really liked the film. I think this is a film that’s going to take a second to get into the water. So I think slowly, a little cult fan base will definitely form.
SY: Do you have any upcoming projects lined up, whether on television or in films, lined up that you can discuss?
LS: I actually have another horror film, can you believe it? It’s called ‘No One Lives,’ and Anchor Bay has picked it up. I’m really not sure when the release date is, nor do I know if it will hit a big screen. I think it will probably come out on DVD. I don’t know when it will come out, but it should be out in the next month or so.
Written by: Karen Benardello