Fernanda Andrade talks The Devil Inside
The Devil Inside, the story of a woman taking a deep look at Catholicism and exorcism, makes its way to DVD on May 15, 2012. Fernanda Andrade (Fallen) stars as Isabella Rossi, and she searches for the truth behind her mother’s psychotic break.
In 1989, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi confessing to three brutal murders. Twenty years later, her daughter Isabella (Andrade) seeks to understand what really happened that night, traveling to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away. When Isabella recruits two young men to cure her mother using unconventional methods, they discover the horrifying truth. Now Isabella must face pure evil or forsake her soul.
Andrade was kind enough to sit down and talk about her character, Isabella, the frightening concept of exorcisms and religion, and what it was like going home after filming.
AG: Your character Isabella travels to Rome to visit her mother who killed 3 people during an exorcism. She has obviously been through a lot in her life. Was there any sort of personal connection to the character and/or her story in any way?
FA: Yes, and no. I think that I cant even pretend to have gone through the traumas that Isabella went through. I think her enduring that kind of a big event that marked her life, I don’t think that has anything to do with my life, thankfully, but I think that the way that she dealt with it, the strength of her character, it’s something that I’ve always admired in people. So in a way, I think I gravitate towards her, because even having been so broken by these events that happened in her life, I think she still had so much strength and so much hope and such a resolve to find the truth. I don’t know if it’s something that I want to have or aspire to have, but it’s something I wanted to get a hold of, so I hope so!
AG: Religion is a really touchy subject. What was it like working on a film like this?
FA: Really touchy! It was, I think for me in particular, I grew up in Brazil, I was heavily Catholic, my grandparents are Christian, I went to a Catholic high school, and so all of that, all of those ideas and terminologies were deeply engrained in me. I think, like most people, once you go to school and you grow up a little bit, you kind of develop this cynical outlook and this kind of a rejection of it for a while. I think that once I got to this movie and had to look at all of that and what that meant, from a place of hope, and from a place of “This might be Isabella’s saving grace, this might be the answer,” I realized I had to look at everything really differently. I had to try to wipe away all my preconceived notions and the things I thought I knew about it. That was really valuable, personally and for the work. I think it’s really valuable to start from a blank slate, but it’s also really cool to learn to do that in life, you know? To look at something with fresh eyes.
AG: What was it like working on a scary movie like this? I feel like I would have nightmares when I go home from work!
FA: That’s exactly what it was! (laughs) You go home to horrible nightmares, you can’t sleep. You have dreams also. I had a lot of really strange nightmares and then I also had a lot of really comforting dreams, like everything is going to be okay dreams, and then terrible ones. I think it was everywhere. I certainly didn’t sleep very much! We were working on strange time schedule that your body doesn’t know when to wake up, and when to stay awake, but I think all of that was really fitting. It helped.
AG: Did you do any other research on Catholicism or exorcisms? If you did, what surprised you or interested you the most?
FA: I think what surprised me the most was when talking to and reading, I read a book called “Interview with an Exorcist,” I read a lot of the interviews that Matt and Brent did with the experts and things like that, and I think what surprised me the most was how much of a process and how practical it was, how really there’s a very specific process that they follow for this. They’ve been following for ages. It’s something that’s been in the religion, and not just in Catholic religion. Exorcism is something that has been in pretty much every single religion in the world and is still practiced. That was really eye-opening and really curious to me, that in this day and age, it’s such heavy practice. What that means, the degrees of that, I think this movie explores that a lot. I think that was the interesting part. Yes, there’s all the exorcisms that Isabella experiences and goes through, but there are also other degrees of that she had to face when she talks to the doctors. You know, is there a psychological level to this, is there a personal level, are there triggers? All of these questions were so exciting to me and so juicy, and that was the most fun and the most disturbing at the same time!
AG: This film combines the documentary style of movies like Paranormal Activity and then the really scary subject matter of The Exorcist, and those are two really monumental films. Have you watched either of those movies, and what was it like seeing those two come together in the final product of this movie?
FA: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve watched both those movies, and they’re classic and wonderful. I think it was really cool to watch The Devil Inside, because I felt like when you read something and then you have something in your head then watch it, it’s not very often that it’s so similar, but I really did feel that way with the movie. It read the way it came out, and that’s wild to me. You can never really say that about projects. It was really cool, because I feel like The Devil Inside was kind of that part, for me, the part that you didn’t get in those movies. I think The Devil Inside was different in the way that it just kind of drops you in there and lets you watch it to a totally uncomfortable level, where you go, “Aren’t you going to cut away from this? Come on!” In that way it was really completely new to me. I think we’re used to a certain rhythm of a film. The Devil Inside throws you in the room and lets you watch that and experience that, to a level that hopefully didn’t feel like you were in a movie anymore. It felt like you were in those rooms, and that’s not always the most comfortable place to be, but it was definitely a new intention.
AG: Being a Hispanic, how important do you think it is in today’s society – Hispanics becoming the majority minority – that you landed the lead in a really big box-office hit like this?
FA: It’s crazy right? I think it’s so important. I didn’t even really see that until I saw it, until people just started noticing, and I realized how rare that is. I think it’s wonderful, and I hope it opens doors for everybody in the way that so many people have opened them for me. You know, I think it wasn’t for people before me, I wouldn’t have gotten to take this place. Hopefully that’s a snowball effect, that it will open more doors and make more room not just for Latino/as, but for any kind of person to play any kind of role, because I think we’re a lot more the same than we are different. Hopefully that inches us a little bit closer to that realization.
AG: You want to help open doors for people like people opened them for you. Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to Hispanic actors or actresses?
FA: Oh I have so many. I think anybody, for me particularly, the big ones – Penelope [Cruz], Javier [Bardem], Gael Garcia [Bernal], and Diego Luna – they have all come from their actual countries into the U.S. and have taken that step. I admire that so much, because they came from a really safe place that they were so respected in their country. They took the risk of coming into a new place and starting all over again. I have deep respect for that. In a way I think that’s what my parents did when they moved to the States. I think that risk, when anybody takes it, when anybody has the courage to abandon everything they know and start anew, that opens doors for everybody else. It gives you that courage, the power to say, “Well, he did it so maybe I can do it.” I think that includes work and movies and hopefully this.
AG: Do you have anything else to say to the readers about yourself or about the movie that I didn’t touch on? Anything on the DVD that should be interesting?
FA: Buy the DVD! I think it’s gonna be really fun to see what new stuff is on the DVD, what extra information is on the DVD. I think they should be excited about that, because there was so much went into making this movie, so many questions and interviews and information that we didn’t get to share all of just in the movie. It’s going to be really fun if you’re interested in the topic. If you’re interested in how the movie happened, go and get it and check it out. I can’t wait. I haven’t even seen it, so I can’t wait.