The new movie Cobweb spins a genuinely scary tale, of a young boy who begins to fear his own parents, in all the warm autumn colors and October atmosphere of Halloween, and it also introduces a new horror creature in “The Girl”, played by actor, stunt performer, dancer, and choreographer Aleksandra Dragova, who we talked to recently about the challenges of taking on the creepy and pivotal role, how it has opened up whole new career in film that has her now happily in its web, how she has learned most of what she knows about Halloween itself from movies, and much more.
In a video conversation earlier this month, Dragova tells HDN, “I’m from Bulgaria, and I’m living in Bulgaria, in Sofia, here in the capital, so really Bulgaria is not really big about Halloween, but lately we started creating big parties and all that. I’ll say kids are not going for trick or treat, which is very said, because it’s very fun, but the Bulgarian mentality, it’s like – yeah. (laughs) So definitely we’re not doing like trick or treat, but we know about Halloween. We know about Halloween. We know about all the games and all that.”
Much like her Cobweb director Samuel Bodin, who grew up in France, Aleks tells that much of her exposure to holiday has come in the form of horror movies that are set around Halloween. “At least movies,” she says. “We are watching movies, and horror movies are a big part of our community, so yeah, that’s how we know about it. We have a similar thing in Bulgaria, but it’s later in the year. Again people are dressing up like monsters going around the streets, but it’s another time of the year.
“I’ve never dressed in a Halloween costume in my life, besides the movie industry, which is like Halloween every day.”
Initially hired as an actor, it was fate that led to Aleksandra also take on some of the stunt work as the spider-like Girl she plays in Cobweb. “Actually Cobweb was my first movie, first thing I’ve ever shot in my career. So it was pretty intense, and I definitely started with like the most difficult thing…
“I met Samuel and we started creating the creature itself, and it was a very interesting process, first of all because Samuel is very aware of how actors are doing in front of camera, because he was an actor, as well, before he started directing. So it was very helpful to create this character, and to feel it, feel in his skin. So basically we worked for a couple months before we started shooting. We did a lot of camera tests, a lot of mask tests, because I was wearing this costume.
“It was very difficult, because the hair was four meters long, it was nails, all these prosthetics. It was very interesting. It was my first time wearing these kinds of things. It was very complicated. Waking up very early in the morning, shooting at four or five-ish in the morning. It was like a three-hours long makeup process. They were painting my skin, doing the mask, putting the wing on, putting the blue eyes, because I’m brown eyes, then wearing the dress itself. All of my days started with warmup and stuff like that.”
While Dragova would go on to perform many of The Girl’s stunts, that was not the plan at first. “Samuel was sending me different references of spiders and different characters, so that I could start creating my own movements, my own way of expression, and since I’m a dancer, that helped me a lot, because I know my body. I know how I move, what I can create. So we started doing different variations and different types of movements, faster, slower, more creepy, then we finally found the one, the last version.
“I had a stunt double this time, which was very interesting for myself, as well, but on the biggest day when I was supposed to do all the climbing, she has some work to do at home. So I did it by myself, and that’s how I fell in love with the stunt job, which was amazing. That was one of the best things that happened in my life, that’s for sure. And it opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me.”
We also got some early teases about Aleksandra’s work in some notable upcoming films, including Hellboy: The Crooked Man, Expendables 4, Young Woman and the Sea with Daisy Ridley, and Subservience, in which she doubles for Megan Fox, and more in our discussion.
You can watch our full exclusive interview with Aleksandra Dragova below, premiering at 10:31 a.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 27, and then scroll down to view more exclusive images of from her experiences on the set of Cobweb.
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