Alice Krige plays Veronica in "She Will." Photo courtesy of IFC Midnight
LOS ANGELES, July 15 (UPI) -- Alice Krige says her new movie She Will, in theaters and video-on-demand Friday, allowed her to experience different realities.
Krige, 68, plays Veronica, an actor who takes a vacation to Scotland after undergoing double mastectomy surgery. In one scene, Krige wears a body prosthetic to show her chest scars.
"It was quite a lot to process," Krige told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "Prosthetics can be extraordinarily helpful as a portal and entry into a different reality."
In her career, Krige has worn prosthetic makeup for roles such as Star Trek's Borg Queen and a soul sucking monster in Stephen King's Sleepwalkers. She said the process of fitting her for a cast was familiar, with one adjustment to capture the reality of mastectomy scars.
"Instead of having the cast done with me standing, it was done with me lying because we needed my breasts to be as flat as possible in the cast," Krige said.
Krige said she has not experienced cancer, but spoke to a childhood friend who did survive a lump.
"She very generously described it for me in graphic detail," Krige said. "The last thing she said was, 'You've got to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.'"
In She Will, ashes literally help Veronica heal from physical and psychological scars. In Scotland, the local water is infused with peat.
"If you go to Scotland, the water is the color of Brandy," Krige said. "That's the presence of the peat in the water in some places."
Veronica visits an area of Scotland in which witches once were burned at the stake. So, the ashes have permeated the soil for centuries, and when Veronica drinks the water, it begins to change her.
"In the universe o the film, the peat contains the memory of the women who were burned because their ash has gone down into the earth and fossilized in the peat," Krige said.
Veronica begins to telekinetically lash out against obnoxious guests staying at the Scottish inn. Ultimately, she is able to confront a director (Malcolm McDowell) with whom she worked with when she was 14.
Viewers will find out the extent of the director's abuse of Veronica in She Will. Playing Veronica at present, Krige approached her as someone who stopped trusting people after working with that director.
"By the time you meet her, she is utterly alone and has created such a facade of haughtiness, superiority and inaccessibility," Krige said. "She's trapped herself completely."
The peat awakens Veronica both metaphorically and literally. Krige spends several scenes wandering in the Scottish forest, putting her feet in the real mud.
"In those moments, she has shifted into another dimension," Krige said. "I really felt out of my body when we were shooting those sequences with her barefooted walking through the forest."
In one scene, Veronica wakes up in the wilderness. In her dreams, she has visited some of her oppressors, which turn out to affect them in waking life, too.
Coming out of those dreams, Krige felt at one with nature.
"I lie down on the ground and they spread out my hair and they covered me with bits of moss," Krige said. "It was as if I had completely united with nature and the elemental power of nature."
Krige was equally taken with images that did not revolve around her. Krige praised writer-director Charlotte Colbert's imagery.
"[Veronica] gets into a bath and a drop of water falls from the tap into the bath," Krige said. "You see a universe opens up of the peet water infusing the bath and her body."
Having acted in film and television since the mid '70s, Krige said She Will stood out for its mythology and attention to the character of Veronica.
"It's very rare to be sent something so complex and with such a great arc of an inner journey for a character," Krige said.