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Adelaide Kane Relates The Devil’s Hand to the Fight for Gender Equality

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Adelaide Kane Relates The Devil’s Hand to the Fight for Gender Equality

Adelaide Kane is ruling the CW in their historical drama “Reign,” based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. But before playing a queen, Kane played Ruth, a tragic girl who grows up in a religious cult and is listed as part of an evil prophesy in the horror film “The Devil’s Hand.” The film also stars Alycia Debnam Carey as Mary, another girl involved in the prophesy and suffers from strange visions. ShockYa was happy to speak with Kane about her role in the film and her thoughts on the theme of female suppression present in the film. “The Devil’s Hand” is now in theaters and available on VOD.

How would you describe Ruth?

Adelaide Kane: She’s sort of a little rebellious firecracker. She’s got a good heart and she’s well-meaning. She’s quite smart. She’s questioning the world that she lives in quite more so than the other girls. She’s feisty.

How’d you get into the mindset of your character?

Adelaide Kane: Honestly, it wasn’t that difficult. I think they offered me that role becuase she was the character most like me. I’m a little feisty and sassy and quick-tempered. Getting into the wardrobe…and being on that set really helped me get into that mindspace. Even if she is kind of the rebellious one, they’re still, for all intent and purposes, part of this old way of life. Physicality-wise, I tried to loosen up a little bit. You know, she’s more physical than the other girls. She’s more comfortable in her skin; she’s less rigid, unlike Leah Pipes’ character, who is very stiff and formal all the time[.]

You said that you feel the role was offered to you because of your shared personality traits. What else did you like about the script? What attracted you to the film?

Adelaide Kane: Part of it was being employed [laughs]. Employment is always great. But it looked like fun; I’d never been to North Carolina. Rufus Sewell was attached. Jennifer Carpenter, who I love from “Dexter,” was attached. Colm Meaney was attached, and I have a great amount of respect for him. He’s a phenomenal actor and a very interesting man; it was a pleasure to get to work with him. It looked like fun and I’d done a bunch of horror-action-thriller type stuff. It’s always pretty physically demanding, but I love that side of it. I love fake-blood and getting gross things put on you…washing glue out of your hair at the end of the night. I think it’s all great fun and I thought it looked like a good time and I’ll take any job that comes along that looks like fun.

Since the film focuses on a cult, the film has an undercurrent of female suppression. What did you think about this theme?

Adelaide Kane: I thought it was very interesting, definitely, in that cultish, fanatical, religious setting. It’s very common to have women to be subjugated and seen as lesser. I mean, it’s in the Bible; I have a lot of friends who are Christian who are amazing people and I bought a Bible to try to understand it. I don’t get it; I really don’t. I have a far more broad spiritual interpretation of the world. I got three pages in I [felt] like I was relegated to the status of a talking dog. I think it’s really important to have that highlighted in this film because it’s pretty accurate–that’s how women were treated back in the day and in a lot of those communities.

It’s very oppressive, not only for young women, but for young men. You don’t talk back to your elders. You do as you’re told or you get punished for it. You’re not taken very seriously and I think the fact that they couldn’t have an open and honest conversation with the adults and the lack of communication between the younger generation and the older generation kind of helped amp up that frantic, scared atmosphere where [the characters] really had no one else to turn to. They couldn’t even turn to their own parents for help with what they were going through. That religious hysteria just kept building. [With the prophesy]–“And one will rise who is the Devil’s Hand”–it’s almost always women, you’ll notice. It’s almost always women who are the evil demons from the fiery bowels of Hell, which I don’t really like, but it’s a fairly common, prevalent theme among religious-based [stories].

Yeah. I’d done a lot of historical research of the Bible myself, since I’d always been frustrated by how women are portrayed.

Adelaide Kane: Yeah, it’s [the] virgin/whore dichotomy that’s been going on forever. And it’s not just Christianity. It’s most cultures, if we’re going to be real honest. And I believe that kind of patriarchal culture was adapted as a protective measure because women are physically–generally speaking–not as strong as men and we do need to be protected when we’re pregnant and when we have children and men are really so much physically stronger than women…It makes sense, like I understand how that started–“We protect you and we do grunt work, therefore we should be the bosses.” It makes a lot of sense–if I’m doing most of the work, I should have a lot of say. But I think it developed into something that’s quite detrimental and we balance we other out in different ways…We’re two sides of the same coin; where one is lacking, the other picks up the slack. It’s just how it works.

But I’m glad [about] this “He for She” movement…and Beyonce’s feminist stance…It’s interesting how much [gender equality] is tied up in religion, but I think it’s tied up in everything. I think gender equality is tied up in culture, religion, race, socio-economic status. It’s all a jumbled mess. You can’t have oppression in one area without having oppression in another. At the same time, I think it’s unfair to say, “In Christian cultures, [this happens],” or “In Muslim cultures, [this happens],” because it’s pretty universal. You can’t really pin women-bashing to any one culture. It’s pretty prevalent culturally and it does seem to pop up a lot in horror films.

I read something really interesting about the ’70s wave of B-grade horror films in which young women are being stabbed and raped and dying during this wave of horror films, right around the time of the feminist movement. I found it very interesting that during this wave of female empowerment, there was this subversive wave anti-feminist cinema in which young women, who were the face of the movement, were being horrifically victimized. I don’t know if there’s a correlation there, but I think that’s very interesting[.]

Speaking of horror films, what’s your favorite horror film?

Adelaide Kane: Horror films scare the crap out of me!…If I had to pick a horror hack/slash film, some friends of mine, Eddie and Maddie made a film called Blood Punch, which has gone to a bunch of different festivals. I love that film. It’s like a really dark comedy-noir and it has a lot of hacking-up and slashing and shooting people in the face[.] That was really fun to shoot with them and I read several versions of that script as they were making it. It was cool to be involved in the process from the ground stage for a film. As an actor, you kind of come in at the tail end–you’re not involved in anything else. I loved their little film. It’s great fun. And I got to shoot a shotgun out in the middle of the desert. It was awesome.

Adelaide Kane-The Devil's Hand

(Photo credit: Roadside Attractions)

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Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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