Monica Potter ('The Last House on the Left')
Monica Potter has been a steady actress for over a decade, while also balancing life as a mom. The acclaimed actress is at most challenging as a wife and mother helping to defend her home from a trio of killers in the new Wes Craven remake, 'The Last House on the Left,' which involves shooting a gun and getting her hands dirty.
Sitting down one-on-one with Monica, I first wondered what had been the attraction of playing a woman who ultimately becomes a very strong character? "I actually liked it because it was it spoke to me as a parent and the filmmakers, too. You know, Wes Craven is the best in the genre, as far as Iím concerned. And then seeing Dennisí film Hard Core. I mean he didnít do anything gratuitous in it. It was very real, and very character-driven. And thatís what attracted me to this. I thought, ďI really like this woman. I like the character, I like the family. I love the relationship she has with her daughter. Iím very overprotective of my kids."
What is most grueling about doing a movie like this? I mean, when you have to react to fear. What are the challenges for an actor to do that? "It depends on how youíre feeling on the day. Like, the scenes that we shot when we get Sarahís character to get Mary off the porch, those were tough, because we were very tired. Tony and I were all very tired by the time we came to shoot this. Which helped, but it also Ė it hurt. Because when youíre that tired, the emotions are harder to find."
"You know, we had done it over and over and over. So you have to know when to hold back, and know when to let it go. You know, those scenes, we didnít rehearse too much, which was helpful. And Sarah was also helpful, because sheís so good that in just looking at her little face, you felt so sad and so compelled to help in some way, as a parent. So to me, that was the driving force behind those scenes, for sure, was her performance."
So did you enjoy participating, and being much more a driving force behind the action, rather than just purely a beautiful addendum? "Well, I did, because Ė I didnít enjoy shooting the gun. Iím never comfortable with those scenes. Iím not comfortable handling guns, or doing a lot of violent things. But I thought for the role, it was necessary, because her daughter was almost killed. And now theyíre staying in their house."
"And to protect her family and her Ė this is her home, you know? I like the fact that they didnít just sort of Ė the writers and director and Wes didnít want to put the parents in the background, as sort of passive characters. We were the driving force, to protect our home and our daughter. Which I think any parent would do."
Now I think the morality of this is interesting, because at the end of the film, without giving anything away, the husband does something which questions the morality of the piece. What did you think of that? "I wasnít sure about that scene in particular, if they were going to keep it or not. I know theyíve talked about it being there, and then not being there. I think it was justified, because it was sort of like that last final cherry on top of the sundae, if you will."
"Like, this is Ė I also thought it was fun. I mean, I wouldnít do that in real life. But itís a movie, you know? And itís like Ė I think, yeah, the movie could have been fine without it. But I think the audiences may want to root for that, too."
How would you define your career, and your aspirations at this particular juncture? "I think theyíve changed throughout the years. You know, I moved back to Cleveland in 2000 to raise the boys, because I had just gotten divorced. And I was there for about four years, and Iíd pretty much given up. You know, I just sort of went, ďYou know, Iím gonna start over, and just settle in in Cleveland, and stay here. And if Iím supposed to go back to work, I will.Ē And I tried to work from there, and had to turn around and come back out to LA, and pack up the boys and find more work."
"So itís never been Ė Iíve never been comfortable, if thatís the right word. Iíve never been to a point where Ė you know, you can go and buy a $2 million home or whatever, and rest on your laurels for a while. Iíve always been a working actress. Working hard, trying to get to the next step without sacrificing the morals and the kidsí lives. Their lives. How I like to raise them, so thatís tough."
Back To Archives