words by CHRISTI KASSITY
photos by MARC CARTWRIGHT
If you’re a fan of psycho-thriller Eli Roth’s work, then you are no doubt familiar with his leading lady, Lorenza Izzo. You would have seen her along side Roth in the 2012 thriller Aftershock, as well as guest starring on Roth’s hit Netflix series Hemlock Grove. You can see her again in his latest thriller, The Green Inferno. The projects have started to line up for the Chilean actress, and her trajectory is set for the stars. Despite her busying days, Lorenza was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of my questions.
What were your thoughts when you first read the script for The Green Inferno?
“I had to do it! I had never read anything quite like it, it was an adventure I had to be part of. It was definitely a story that needed to be told, it involved something I’m very passionate about; rain forests are overlooked constantly and their benefits surpass anything we as humans could ever possibly construct. It was an epic tail of a young, idealistic and smart woman who wanted to change the world, but at the same time the tale told a harsh truth about a very vapid society sucked into media attention today. t was gonna be intense I thought, and hard for sure.”
The Green Inferno, a title which refers to the Amazon rain forest, was partially shot in an actual jungle, deep in the Andes of South America. How was it filming in such an intense environment? What were some of the biggest challenges you had to face as an actress?
“I will never forget that experience. I know I say that about every movie I make, but I don’t think I can say I’ve been surrounded by human hand-sized ants and tarantulas while shooting very emotionally and physically intense scenes, like jumping into a amazonian river and screaming my lungs out for help. I think some of the hardest challenges were getting our bodies adjusted to the heat, the food, and the insects. The jungle is a very beautiful place but it’s also very dangerous. We went very deep, farther than any film crew had ever gone, and that certainly shows on screen. However, for the cast, that entailed a certain amount of resilience and endurance (that) I personally didn’t think I had. Most of us got sick and spent days at the local hospital, but luckily we all made it out alive. It’s funny, I think the stories behind every scene are crazier than the actual movie, and that’s a statement.”
Being born and raised in Chile, did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
“Not really. I was just always the center of attention, or thought I was, or pretended I was. I was great at putting on shows with my cousin, and had a bunch of imaginary friends until my sister showed up when I was 12. Then she became my slave/assistant. In school I loved to be part of plays. I didn’t necessarily get to be the lead, in fact, I rarely got to be the lead, but I was happy being tree #4; I was just happy being part of that. I moved to Atlanta, GA, when I was 12. That was a culture shock… and back to Chile at 16… another shock. So adjusting for me was tough, acting was a good way to deal with stuff, it came natural. When I finished high school I studied acting at Lee Strasberg In New York.”
You first worked with Eli Roth was as a fellow actor in Aftershock, and then again with him as your director in The Green Inferno. Was the dynamic of your relationship different with him as a director?
“Yes and no. It was a great thing actually, because I felt like I knew him in a very “uncomfortable” way. Acting is very unglamorous and awkward. You should know, in Aftershock, we had spent many cold nights covered in dust and blood trying to make it through a very difficult but fun shoot. Now, we had a newfound uncomfortableness that I think made it easier for us to work together; we could be more open about what we wanted from the scenes, about what he ultimately wanted to achieve, so that was great.”
I read that you were in Chile during the 2010 earthquake. Many people would have difficulty reliving the experience, but you went on to co-star in Aftershock. Can you talk about your experience with the real quake and what it was like to relive the experience through Aftershock? I think it’s a testament to your strength and professionalism.
“Well thank you. For the real earthquake I was at a club that was destroyed completely, it was truly a terrifying experience, a lot of my friends ended up in hospitals and the scariest part was the dead lines. There was no communication or radio and we were cut off from the world and had no idea if a tsunami was coming. Thankfully, as a country, we have recovered from that experience and learned from our mistakes and are now fully prepared for an earthquake of that magnitude. Aftershock is a movie, and I just lived it as that. The effects were extremely realistic so it was scary and fun at at the same time.”
You just had a photoshoot for us, with photographer Marc Cartwright, that was inspired by the art of Patrick Nagel. Do you prefer acting over modeling, vice versa, or do they both go hand-in-hand for you?
“It’s funny, I like both. I guess I prefer acting because it’s more my thing; it’s my “passion” I guess. I LIVE for playing characters, people, learning about different lives. Modeling is fun but I dont think I could do it all the time. The drama however… I LIVE for the drama.”
You are very present on social media. You have many followers on both Twitter and Instagram. Is it important for you to stay connected to your fans?
“Funny you say fans, I’m very flattered. I started those when I had no fans, just to keep up with the world and to feed my ego a little… hehe. Now, I go through phases; I hate it or love it, and life is like that too. Twitter is great to get fast information on different things, but today you have to be smart about your sources. I guess that’s also a good thing, you have to work now; there’s so much information – good and bad – it’s like a giant turbine of different social medias throwing stuff at you. So it’s definitely important to stay connected in this new form of ” connecting” with your fans. It’s because of them you get places today.”
You have just wrapped production on Eli Roth’s latest thriller, Knock Knock. What can you tell us about the film? How was it working with Keanu Reeves?
“It’s gonna mess with everyones heads, thats for sure. Keanu is the most down to earth guy I’ve ever met, he’s so easy to work with and such an excellent actor. I’ve never seen anybody move around and know a set like he does and also a very sweet and patient person. It was both a joy and and honor for me to work with him.”
photographer MARC CARTWRIGHT www.marccartwright.com
stylist JENNI LEE www.jennileestylist.com
makeup NICOLE WALMSLEY www.nicolewalmsley.com
hair KARINA VEGA using KEVIN MURPHY www.karinavega.me