At 18, Talia Paul starred in her first feature film, a unique horror film titled Anguish, directed by art house favorite, Bigas Luna. The movie, which also featured Zelda Rubinstein and Michael Lerner, threw a number of curveballs at viewers, making it one of the more creative horror films of the 1980s. It was even released with a warning to those with weak minds, advising them of subliminal messages buried in the "spiral" sequences. Talia is the latest victim of laze's hypnosis, in this ADDinterview...
When did you start acting?
My first professional acting job was at age fifteen: a commercial for a dental office. I had braces.
Was performing in your blood?
Yes—both of my parents are in the performing arts.
Anguish was your first major movie gig, how did you get that role?
Went to a cattle call audition in NYC. Read a couple of scenes and gave my best blood-curdling scream.
Were you the type of kid to always sing at a family gathering?
No. I was usually daydreaming, observing... creating mischief off in the corner. I sang in private with my sister.
What was your initial impression of the script?
I was intrigued by the psychological drama, and surprised by the amount of blood and gore.
Had you heard of Bigas Luna before your work on the movie?
I had heard of him, but wasn't that hip to international films yet. I have since become a big fan!
What was working with him like?
Fantastic. Bigas is creative, intense, and accessible. Soft-spoken, with a heart of gold. He attracted a wonderful cast and crew.
Do you have any particularly fond memories of your co-stars?
Many! Clara Pastor and her family invited me to their home in the Pyrenees Mountains for the Weekend. Fabulous time.
Did you have any interaction with Michael Lerner?
Yes. An excellent actor, sweet guy. My very first scene was with Michael—he made me feel like a pro.
How about Zelda Rubinstein?
She's great. What a fantastic actor. She was always kind, and treated me as a colleague.
Where did you shoot the film?
Barcelona, Spain (!) :)
What was the location like, from a teenager's perspective?
Amazing: to be in such an eclectic, exotic city at age 18, working! I also hiked, danced, visited museums...
How did your peers react to your appearing in a horror film?
I downplayed the horror aspect; just said I got a job! Some romanticized it; most saw it as an adventure.
Was it as romantic/adventurous as everyone thought it was?
A wonderful adventure. I loved working on the movie. The cast/crew were incredibly warm, generous, and bright.
Was working on a horror movie different than you expected?
I had no expectations, since it was my first film. I was surprised by how much fun we all had.
What was your reaction when you first saw the final cut of Anguish?
I was impressed. Good story, well shot. More blood than I expected. (And WOW -- my face is really big!) :)
When was the last time you watched it?
I watched clips of it with some friends in the mid-90s. They made me.
Was there any truth to the "subliminal messages" rumor?
Hmmm. They didn't affect me, but... how do you feel? :) A very creative idea, though I think it ends there.
What kind of work did you do in the years following Anguish?
Feature films, television, Broadway, off-Broadway, regional theater, and several national commercials. I trained horses too, and started my music career.
Of your other movie roles, which one are you most proud of?
Misplaced, Narc, and stunts for Born to Be Wild (I was in a gorilla suit).
Be sure to visit TaliaPaul.com to keep up with Talia's music and her tour schedule. Anguish is available on Anchor Bay DVD, so be sure to check it out for some of that classic eye-gore. Note, though, it's one of those movies it's best not to read reviews of before you watch it...