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When it comes to starring in a Flatliners movie, being able to play dead is pretty important. After all, if you're playing a lead in the plot, your character being killed is a key moment in their arc. It was a challenge put upon Ellen Page, Kiersey Clemons and James Norton as the stars of the new Niels Arden Oplev-directed remake -- and I recently had the chance to talk with them about that particular part of the experience. To start, Norton told me,
You kind of zone out a little bit because you're there for a long time lying on that cold slab, and you have that thing on your head. There was times when if you tuned into things happening around you we'd kind of start laughing a lot. And also you have to try not to cry, because your eyes are open, and you have to keep them open. So a lot of the time would be spent going, 'Sorry, we have to [mimes cleaning up tears].' There were a lot of practical challenges as well as just being as focused as you can.
Ellen Page, Kiersey Clemons and James Norton were all in Los Angeles this past weekend for the Flatliners domestic press day, and I had the chance to sit down with the trio for an on-camera interview. I opened the conversation asking what tricks they had learn to perfect the art of acting dead, and in their responses they noted that there were more than a few challenges in trying to make it all look realistic.
For her part, Ellen Page actually referenced another film that required her to play dead -- though the conditions were far worse than a climate-controlled, indoor medical lab, which surely must have made the Flatliners gig easy by comparison. At the same time, she also noted that having the opportunity to do something like that is ultimately one of the joys of being an actor. She explained,
For me it's just about being real still. One time I was playing dead in a different movie in like a pit in the ground. And it was so cold, and by body would shake and shake and shake... For The East. So it was this experience of, you know... I think our mind and our body is a really cool part of our job, and when you're shooting in environments like that or it's 4am or whatever. I think it's about having that trained sort of control.
Kiersey Clemons borrowed a bit from her Flatliners co-stars in her response, and suggested that at the end of the day, the watchword for the whole experience was simply 'Uncomfortable.' Said the actress,
I just didn't want my contacts to dry out, and I felt like my feet were cold. I was trying not to twitch my face. I wasn't doing much that day.
You can watch the Flatliners stars talk about their individual experiences playing dead -- as well as who was the best at it and what it's like acting with defibrillators -- by clicking play on the video below!
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, Flatliners is a remake of the 1990 thriller starring Ellen Page, Kiersey Clemons, James Norton, Diego Luna and Nina Dobrev as medical students who begin some seriously dangerous experimentation with death. Hoping to learn what happens to the mind after the heart stops beating, they actually go as far as to kill themselves in a controlled medical environment, and find themselves resurrected with special abilities. Unfortunately, these aren't the only side effects, and before long they find themselves haunted by their own personal demons.