Actress Ashley Hinshaw is starring in her second “found footage” flick, The Pyramid, after being part of the super-power thriller Chronicle back in 2012. Hinshaw, who’s engaged to Topher Grace, has successfully transitioned from model to actress over the past seven years. In 2012 she starred in the racy About Cherry, which follows a young woman’s journey into porn, as well as the tween comedy LOL with Miley Cyrus. You may have also seen her in the last season of HBO’s True Blood, playing Brigette, or in guest roles in Marvel’s Agent Carter, Workaholics and The League. With The Pyramidnow out on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, the actress explains why she’s no longer excited about found footage movies and how beat up she got doing her own stunts while filming in Morocco in this exclusive interview.
Having worked on Chronicle and The Pyramid what are your thoughts on the found footage genre? When we did Chronicle we certainly weren’t the first people that did found footage, but it was a lot more new than it is nowadays. And it was really interesting and a totally different approach to filmmaking and I really enjoyed it. When The Pyramid came around a lot of people were doing it, especially in the horror genre. It’s a little more risky to do it this way because people really have opinions about it, and I do think we accomplished an interesting approach in The Pyramid by shooting it in a found footage way. But I would be incredibly cautious to do another found footage movie because overall they’re not getting better. People are using found footage now as a cheat in a way, in a grand sense, and it’s becoming something that I’m a little hesitant to continue.
How good have you gotten with a camera having to film and act in this type of film?
Chronicle was such a learning experience, and in The Pyramid I was so lucky to have had that experience, so it was a little bit easier the second time around. It’s interesting, you know, and in a way you can be a little bit more real because you actually are holding the camera, but it’s so different than the, the kind of normal way of shooting a film that it takes a little while for me to get used to it each time.
What impact has The Pyramid had on you personally?
I’m so happy that people responded positively to it. The horror fans are very critical, but I think what’s most telling is that people go and see it and people certainly did. So I was super happy about that and it was interesting. I used to have little girls coming up to me freaking out because they’d seen the movie LOL that I did with Miley Cyrus and that used to be the majority of the people that would come up to me and recognize me. And now, it’s grown men mostly coming up to me mostly and saying that they liked The Pyramid. So it’s certainly changed.
It’s probably a much different male audience that would come up and say I loved you in About Cherry; right?
You know, that is definitely the worst. It’s just there’s no way to say that without sounding creepy. There’s absolutely no way for a guy to come up to me and be like, “I loved your work in About Cherry,” and me not think, “Oh, great, you’ve seen me masturbate.” It’s really not very comfortable when I’m seen out in a grocery store. It’s like, “Uh, thank you. Is this a compliment? Or, you seem very creepy right now.”
What horror movie kept you awake as a kid?
Oh man, I’m a big fan of the horror genre. I mean The Shining just killed me, and The Exorcist. But the movie that I literally slept at the bottom of my parent’s bed until I was way too old to be doing that…I think I was 11 or 12 because I saw Pet Cemetery. And to this day like I can’t watch that film and I’m 26 years old and should be able to recognize that it’s a film, and I work in movies and it’s not real, but it socks me out. It really, it does something to me.
What was it like filming The Pyramid in Morocco?
We actually explored quite a bit. It’s such an amazing place. We went to Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Fes. It’s a totally different experience when you’re a group of five people and you’re spending all of your time together. But it was so hot. It was the middle of the summer. It was like 110 degrees. And unfortunately I got two concussions while filming this movie. I was really beat up filming this project and it was really my fault because I wanted to do some of my own stunts, so I have no one to blame but myself. But a lot of my days off later on into the film I was lying in bed recovering from the banging around that I was doing.
What was a scene that you actually got injured in for people who watch the Blu-ray or DVD?
There was one scene where I climb up this shaft and I’m going up a ladder and you think I’ve gotten to safety because I come out the other end, and then the monster comes up behind me, grabs me and pulls me back down. When we were filming that, the drop was really only like six feet, but the stunt guy came up and grabbed me and when we both fell down our heads hit each other. There was padding everywhere and we were wearing all sorts of protective stuff, but our heads knocked each other. I never had a concussion before so I didn’t really know what it would feel like, so I ended up working for the rest of the day, going home, going to sleep, and then waking up the next day really ill and dizzy and I couldn’t remember anything. And unfortunately there’s not much you can do for a concussion, so I just had to get through it, but by the end of that film I needed a serious vacation.
Photos by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic