What Makes 'Cat Sick Blues' Tick? Pt.3 - Interview with actress Shian Denovan (Claire Ellis)

You can't have bad without good right? So they say anyway, and while the characters in 'Cat Sick Blues' fall more onto a grey scale than any clearly delineating "good" and "bad", Shian Denovan's grieving character, "Claire Ellis" definitely plays counter to Ted's unhinged mania, giving us the closest person to a protagonist in the film. Shian Denovan discusses the sullying flaws of her character that she believes lands her closer to "Ted Henson" than we would have otherwise thought, and how working with co-star Matthew Vaughan isn't quite the tramatizing experience we hoped it would be :-)

From an interview with Horror Channel (promoting the film, 'Sawney: Flesh of Man') you mention having an epiphany at 9 years old while on holiday, regarding your desire to become an actor. Care to elaborate? Any one moment that really made it click for you?

Yes, it was when I was around 9 that I had a moment of realizing with out a doubt it was what I wanted to do. When it first came out I was completely in love with Disney's Aladdin and wanted to be Princesses Jasmine more than anything. Not long after, the School I went to announced the were doing Aladdin as the annual Christmas show and were going to hold auditions for the role. Despite being one of the younger kids and the big roles normally getting given to the older pupils, I managed to get the part of the princess, which I was thrilled about! I think that gave me the realization that through acting I could get to become these characters I adored. 

Any one actor you can point to as an inspiration?

No one actor no. There are so many great talents out there and it's a pleasure to be able to watch the different way people work.

How'd you come about landing the role you did in 'Cat Sick Blues'? Was the subject matter cause for any amount of hesitation?

I'd recently moved to Melbourne and was taking a bit of a break from London, my normal base, whilst still pursuing my career in the Australian scene. I saw that they were casting for Cast Sick Blues in Melbourne and got in touch. With the graphic subject matter it was very important to make sure I trusted the people making the film, that it was going to be professionally shot and something I'd be happy to be involved in. Luckily after meeting the film makers I felt very confident in their passion for the project and was excited to work with them.

Looking at reviews and impressions of the film, it seems to be speak differently to everyone. What would you say is the core theme of the film?

At it's simplest it's a gory physiologically disturbing horror, but it also deals with a lot of other interesting current issues with regards to our modern society's internet culture and the way humans can derive entertainment at the expense of others.

Your character, "Claire Ellis" came across to us as a very caring, trusting (though naive) cat-loving girl-next-door. Would you say playing to those character traits was a stretch for you or do you share a lot in common with her personality?

I think whenever you take on a role you need to be able to relate to it on some kind of personal level and reveal a part of yourself through it. It's interesting you saw the character as caring and naive, one of the great things about the way the movie is written is that all the characters are quite complex and multi dimensional, I'd say none of them come across as fully likable or fully detestable, and though Claire certainly displays the characteristics you've picked out I feel she also comes across as quite manipulative and selfish at

Were you given a lot of leeway in how you played her, or was she rigidly outlined in the script?

I think she was well written in the script, meaning I was able to portray her as the writers and director envisioned, but the director Dave was certainly open minded and happy for me to bring my own take on things.

Matthew Vaughan very effectively played a deranged serial killer; certainly scared us at times! Did you ever find yourself legitimately getting spooked by his performance on set?

Ha ha, Matt did a great job and certainly comes across as creepy in the film but in real life he's a lovely guy and not at all scary!

The scene at the diner, Claire eating out with Ted, was charming to watch. Assuming your company wasn't a homicidal maniac, would a shake and a burger be your idea of a great time out?

I'm actually vegetarian but if it was a veggie burger then I'd be happy!

'Cat Sick Blues' looked like an intense movie to shoot. What was the work atmosphere like in general?

There were some scenes that were quite intense and tough to shoot but over all it was a fun atmosphere where everyone got on and had a good time working together.

You've done a great job in both this film and 'Lord of Darkness' ('Sawney: Flesh of Man') Do you plan to continue doing work specifically in the horror genre, or taking a break?

I've always loved horror since I was a kid and certainly if more horror work comes my way I'll be very happy, but it's not something I particularly seek out. I love to do all different things, one of the best things about being an actor is the variety.

Speaking of the genre, do you have a favorite film in it? What about favorite horror movie villain?

No one favorite, it was films like Nightmare On Elm Street and Candyman that first got me in to the genre and I guess a character like Freddy Krueger will probably always be the first to my mind when I think of classic horror villains.

Can we hope to see you at a horror convention in the states someday? *cough*Spooky Empire*ahem*

To be honest it's not something I've considered so far... but now you mention it, yes I'd love to do something like that at some point in the future. I shall need to have a look in to this Spooky Empire convention you mention...

When Shian Denovan isn't focusing on her career, what has her attention?

I love to travel, I'm always looking to explore new countries and have new adventures, it's still in the very early stages at the moment but I may be getting my own travel show later this year actually... I also read a lot of fiction novels, with a particular passion for Sci fi. And generally I'm always up for trying new things and having different experiences, in the last year among other things I've gone bungee jumping, skydiving, started learning to play guitar, completed an online open university course, traveled through Asia and eaten a whole lot of tasty cheese washed down with some good red wine...

Thanks to everyone that gave us some of their time to answer our silly questions. We look forward to speaking with you (and maybe more of the crew) in the future when 'Cat Sick Blues' goes on to blow the doors off the horror genre when officially released! All the best!

If you'd like to check out more behind-the-scenes material, feel free to stalk the 'Cat Sick Blues' Facebook page here