Sharni Vinson garnered profound praise from fans and critics alike for her turn in Adam Wingard's You’re Next, and this year the actress has returned to the horror genre in the new remake of the 1978 Australian thriller Patrick. In the new version, Vinson plays a nurse who shares a profound connection with the titular character, a comatose patient with telekinetic powers. We recently had the pleasure of connecting with Ms. Vinson, who told us why she loves performing her own stunts, describes becoming an icon for female empowerment, and hints at her role in an upcoming all-female Expendables-style film.
FEARNET: You’re becoming known as a very versatile actor who can perform a lot of her own stunts. Which of your stunts did you perform in Patrick?
VINSON: Patrick was probably the movie that I have done the most stunts in. We had these incredible rigs that I would get thrown backwards by, or thrown against the wall with. I got to go flying through the air. It was so much fun, I can’t even tell you! We ended up always getting it right in the first take, and that was really upsetting because I wanted to do it again and again and again. Luckily, throughout the film I was able to do a few things like that. So that was a super lot of fun. I always enjoy working with the stunt department because those boys are crazy, and high on life. I just appreciate their adrenaline, enthusiasm, and fearlessness. I always want to get in there and do all of my own stunts. When it came to Patrick, there was one instance where they brought in a stunt double to roll down the stairs because they didn’t want me getting my neck crunched on the concrete. I did the first part of the stunt where I fall back and roll down a couple of steps, and then I did the crash landing at the end. Other than that, I did all of it myself and it was a pleasure to do. I’m glad they trusted me to do all of that.
How does it feel to be well on your way to becoming a cinematic icon for female empowerment?
Oh, my goodness. If you tell me that's what I'm on the way to doing, then I'm very flattered and I would be incredibly honored if that was the end result of all of this and I was able to continue to project myself as that and to be a role model. I come from Australia. My family has been so supportive of all of my choices and of anything that I have wanted to do. It’s so up and down in this business, and they have been so supportive. My family has been what has given me a lot of my strength to do this. I would love to be able to let people know that whatever they can dream, they can achieve. Thank you for saying that, and I really hope that I could continue to project that message.
Your costar is in a coma for the majority of the film. Did you feel like that put extra pressure on you to carry the picture?
Yeah, it was definitely an element that I was unfamiliar with. I don’t think I’ve worked opposite an actor that had no dialogue. It was more or less comprised of response and answers to yourself, which was really, really interesting. I feel like I’m somebody that works very much off the natural elements within the environment, be it props or other actors. For this, it was really different, because there wasn’t really anything to respond to. It was more internal monologue and dialogue going on. That was one of the big challenges for this movie. And I enjoyed it, because I hadn’t been put in that position before. Then when I did finally get to converse with actors, they just happened to be Charles Dance and Rachel Griffiths, whom I look up to. I was given a bit of the best of both worlds in this one.
Patrick communicates with you telekinetically using a computer. Were you at all distracted by his gross lack of concern for punctuation when he was typing?
[Laughs] I don’t know if in that moment when somebody is in a coma and they are communicating with you through a computer, that you would be thinking “Isn’t that crazy that he didn’t use a full stop or a period at the end of his sentence?” I can’t imagine that being the first thing that would jump to mind. So I wasn’t too concerned with the punctuation flaw in his character, but more so with the fact that he was able to do what he was doing.
I’ve read that you grew up watching horror films. Had you seen the original Patrick before signing on to the remake?
Yes, I had. I figured it was kind of important. If you redo a movie that was received very well in its time, you need to see the original. You don’t do a remake or sequel or whatever if it isn’t aiming to be bigger, better, or different from the first. Technology has advanced so much since the '70s, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a bigger and more extravagant adaptation of the original.
How do you think fans of the original film will respond to this reimagining?
I can only say that I hope they react really well. I enjoyed the original film, and I can see why it did well in its time. Telekinesis isn’t really a subject that we even talk about now, let alone in the '70s, so that would have been ahead of its game back then and opened up a lot of people’s eyes. I know it was one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films, so I would be curious to know what someone like him thinks of this particular remake. And if they haven’t seen it, it will be a great first experience. But I just think that we had the opportunity, with the advancement in technology, to take it further ahead than what the original could do. I think people will like it. It’s a very different film. The score is amazing and creepy. I don’t think there are too many movies out there quite like it.
Speaking of the score... I love Pino Donaggio; he's one of my favorite composers. He did the score for one of my favorite films, Tourist Trap. I was excited to see his name in the credits.
He is incredible! It was such an honor to hang out with him at Sitges in Spain. I was a little naïve to just how incredible he actually is; it was lovely to have my eyes opened. I wasn’t even aware, and now I am so aware of him. It’s a real honor to have had him score the film.
Are you still involved with the all-female Expendables film?
Yes! I am.
Were you cast in that movie based on your ass-kicking performance in You’re Next?
Yes, I suppose. [Laughs] A producer who had seen You’re Next and loved my role in the film approached me, so in that sense it was due to You’re Next. I think people are getting a little confused about the project; there are two different all-female Expendables-type films being made. But to be involved with the one that I am involved with is a great honor. It’s kind of like taking the You’re Next character even further into the ass-kicking world!
Patrick is now playing at select theaters, and is available On Demand.