Lorenza Izzo Talks AFTERSHOCK, Her Unique Casting Story, Working with Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez, THE GREEN INFERNO, and More
Opening this weekend is Aftershock, a fictionalized disaster film loosely based on the 2010 Chilean earthquake, staring Eli Roth as Gringo, an American divorcée touring through Chile with his friends Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez). After meeting a trio of beautiful women (Andrea Osvart, Lorenza Izzo, and Natasha Yarovenko) the group heads out for a night of drunken debauchery, but when a devastating earthquake hits they must do whatever it takes to survive a night of recurring aftershocks, escaped convicts, and panicking civilians. Directed by Nicolas Lopez, Aftershock takes a decidedly “genre” approach to the subject matter setting up death after bloody death and delivering on gruesome effects. Aftershock is available in select theaters and on VOD May 10th.
At a recent press day for the film I sat down for a one on one interview with Lorenza Izzo. We talked about her unique casting story, working with Eli and Lopez, working with practical effects, shooting The Green Inferno, and more. Hit the jump to see what she had to say.
You were in Fuck My Wedding, which Nicolas directed.
Lorenza Izzo: Yes, I love it!
Is that how you came to be a part of this movie?
IZZO: Yes, I love telling this story; it’s such a funny story. Fuck my Wedding was my first big production in Chile and before that I was going through this whole big crisis where I wanted to be a journalist, a model, an actress; I wanted to do everything and I was like, “I’m 16, I can do all of it.” Fuck my Wedding, Nicholas contacted me through Facebook and he was like, “You have to be my next muse.” And I was like, “You’re not the real Nicholas Lopez.” I didn’t believe him and then his producer sent me an email saying, “We really want to meet you. We really want you to come for an audition to play a part in Fuck my Wedding.” I was like, “Okay this must be real. I’ll go. What do I have to lose anyway? I went in there and I got the part and I was still studying journalism and that’s when I decided I think destiny’s telling me something here. So I did that part and I became very close with Nicolas. We really work very well, he’s an amazing director and he was very close with Eli. They were planning to do this movie Aftershock together for a while, but I had no idea.
After Fuck my Wedding Nico offered me a part in Aftershock but it was the part of the bartender. I was so psyched, I had just finished my first movie in Chile, Fuck my Wedding, and I was like “I’m going to play a bartender in a movie that’s going to be an American production in Chile. Eli Roth is going to be there, Natasha Yarovenko, Andrea Osvart.” Oh my god, I was so psyched. The story turns out to be very funny because I was really happy with my part and then Eli arrives and Nico calls me and goes, “We’re going to do some pre-shots in a party for the movie and I need pretty girls to be dancing around that I know. So will you please come so I can just get some shots? I won’t see your face because I still need you as a bartender.” And I’m like “Okay sure, I mean, I’m babysitting.” ”Please come.” So I get someone to babysit, thank god I did it, because I go there and the whole crew was there, the producers and everyone. I start talking to Eli like I’m talking to you, “Hi, how are you?” And I see Nico’s face, his jaw is open and everyone’s face, they’re all in awe and I’m like “What’s going on?” Nico didn’t know I could speak English and he had been looking for someone for the part of Kylie the whole time. I didn’t know this. I go on with the night, I do the dancing. Apparently the whole night Eli was grabbing Nico like, “This is the perfect girl for Kylie, why didn’t you tell me?” And Nico was like, “I didn’t know she could speak English, we speak Spanish here.”
IZZO: The next day Nico called me up and he was like “I need you to come in and audition for another part.” And I was sad, I was like, “I want my part, don’t take me out of the movie!” He’s like “No come in.” and then on Sunday he called me and he’s like “You’re Kylie.” I said, “No, I’m not.” “No, you are.” “Oh my god!” And then I was jumping up and down for weeks. So it’s all been very recent for me.
That’s pretty amazing. So what is it like for you now doing all this press after just – “Boom! you’re in a movie”?
IZZO: Boom, I move to LA after doing Aftershock and I’ve been actually working here. So it’s all been “boom”, it’s all been “boom” everything. It’s so exciting. It’s been amazing. I’m a very lucky girl.
How is LA treating you?
IZZO: Amazing. I really love it here.
Good. So just from the TIFF Q&A at Midnight Madness, clearly Nicolas and Eli like to have fun and joke around, what was the vibe like on set?
IZZO: Can you imagine? Those two are so funny. People keep asking me, “What is it like to work with Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez?” And of course I really want to answer that they’re geniuses and the technique of acting with them, and it’s true, I mean I could tell you so many things, but the real thing that I don’t think a lot of people have is that it’s like working with my brothers. It’s insane. They mess around with me so much. They joke around with me all day. Its literally joke after joke. I think I have abs just because I’m with them all day. Its non-stop and I’m so comfortable around them. I’m like a boy, I get really rude, I start cursing a lot, there’s no filter with them. They’re really goofy but they’re really smart too, and I think they’re smart in the way they do it. They have a really smart formula in how they do their movies. They have a crew they know and it’s like a machine. It’s like you have all these ants that know each other and they all work so fast and so well that they grind out projects like this, like Aftershock or Green Inferno that’s going to come out. They know each other so well, they know who they’re working with therefore it’s a much faster process and they have time to do much more creative things.
Talk a little bit about working with the practical effects.
IZZO: Practical effects are funny, in fact, one day I walk to set and I see a giant piece of cement, imagine like this room, I see a giant piece of cement hanging from here and there’s this table. It’s in the club where the earthquake’s going to hit. I’m like Nico, “Who’s going to be double that stands under there?” “No, it’s you.” “Huh?” “Yeah you’re going to be under there. Look, the table’s Okay.” He starts doing this [knocking on the table]. “It’s pretty firm if this falls.” Are you kidding me? He literally got us down there and the pieces would fall. It looks so real though. It was scary. I mean apparently there were some safety measures, I don’t know which ones. I’m not so sure. But the cool thing about doing practical effects is that nowadays all the movies have so much CGI, it’s so much more aliens and everything’s green, everything is so computerized that the feel of aftershock, I don’t know if you felt it, but it’s so real. The sound is so strong, you see things breaking, you see the texture of cement and it’s real. For us it made our job so much easier because you actually got scared. I wasn’t pretending I was scared under the table, I really was.
No, I agree, I was impressed with the effects.
IZZO: I was in shock every time I walked on set and I saw it. I was like,”Wow, these guys pulled this off. I’m impressed.”
You were actually in the earthquake and I understand one of plot lines came from one of your stories, was it difficult for you to go to that place emotionally having actually been through it?
IZZO: Yeah, I had to do a mental exercise because one of my friends did get his hands chopped off, he got both of them and we found them and it was a whole story, but you have to remind yourself that you’re an actress and it’s a movie and it’s not real so I had to go through a whole week just saying, “OK, that happened, it’s in the past.” Also I had to take it from a different point of view because I was a Chilean living through a Chilean earthquake, but in the movie I’m from new York, I don’t speak the language, I don’t know what’s going on I’m at a party, I’m a tourist, I’m a model. So it was a very interesting exercise for me to do and character to explore, because since I have lived through it already to live it through a different mind was really, really cool.
You guys wrapped Green Inferno back in December, how long was that shoot?
IZZO: It was two months. We shot in New York, Chile, and Peru. It was sick. [Laughs] I played the lead in it and I had the best time of my life.
You worked with most of the same crew, how did your shooting experience on that compare to your experiences on Aftershock?
IZZO: It’s pretty intense. In terms of insanity and intensity it’s kind of the same except we were in the jungle. We were in the amazon. We were in the middle of nowhere so I would say that beat Aftershock. It was a life changing experience. We were working with this village, people who have never seen ice that don’t have electricity. It was strong. We were isolated from everything, no cell phone, no internet, no nothing. So I feel like we all came back with a different mentality and I think that’s what acting is about. You have these learning experiences that change you a little and Green Inferno really did that for us. Plus all the bugs, plus the boat rides. It was so beautiful. I feel so lucky that we got to live there for a month. It was just green, the trees the rivers. It was insane.
What do you have coming up next?
IZZO: I just finished shooting a pilot for NBC with John Stamos. I’m very excited. I don’t know if it’s going yet, but it was a very fun shoot. We shot in Vancouver and we did a couple of scenes here in LA and that, for me, was a dream come true. I’m a Chilean. Now I’m living in LA and I get to shoot in LA. It was so much fun and I’m just really excited.