01st Apr2016

Interview: Jen Burry talks ‘Alienated’

by Phil Wheat

The late Taylor Negron (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Last Boy Scout) stars in Alienated, invading cinemas and VOD this March via Gravitas Ventures. From writer-director Brian Ackley comes an intoxicating, edge-of-the-seat science-fiction chiller tells the story of a married couple that is forced to confront their fatal relationship issues while on the brink of a possible alien abduction. Alienated has (so far) won 12 awards, including three for Best Feature, several Best Actor awards (including honours for the late Negron), and Best Director for Ackley. We chatted to co-star Jen Burry about the film…

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Do you remember how you got involved in Alienated?

I had taken a workshop with Princeton Holt several years prior and we kept in touch over the years. Then one day he emailed me and told me he had a script he wanted me to read. That was it!

Is it rewarding to see it now coming out – and with such great reviews?

I’m always a little sad after a project ends. It’s easy to create friendships with people fairly quickly when you’re working with a limited amount of time and with intense material, it kind of naturally happens. After the last day of shooting I had only known George Katt about three weeks, though it felt like three years. Seeing the film now feels like seeing great friends you’ve not see in awhile. It’s been really wonderful. It’s always rewarding to see that people are responding to the story you wanted to share.

Can you talk a little about working with the late Taylor Negron?

Unfortunately, I never met Taylor. We didn’t have any scenes together and he shot his several weeks after George and I shot ours. I wish I had the opportunity to meet him. Everyone spoke so highly of him.

I imagine most of your work was with George Katt though. Did you have to fake that onscreen connection or did you already know each other?

Once Princeton gave me his contact information I immediately texted him since we only had about two weeks before we started shooting. We met almost every day till we started shooting. We’d grab coffee, read through the script and discuss our characters and their relationship. It was extremely beneficial since we had only 5 days of actual shooting. So we were lucky to establish a connection prior to shooting.

How did you go working with writer-director Brian Ackley on the film?

Brian was really wonderful to work with. He allowed us a ton of freedom to explore, improvise, and work through scenes. He also met with us each individually at the end of each day to see how we felt about that day and if there was anything we wanted to discuss regarding the material we were going to shoot the following day. It was a really great trusting relationship where we both relied on each other for creativity and grounding.

What’s the message within the movie?

Alienated is a film about a couple being forced to confront their relationship issues while an alien abduction is lurking in the background. It’s the science fiction element that initiates the need for Nate and Paige to deal with those issues. Most people that have been in a long-term relationship will be able to identify with a lot of the problems Nate and Paige are dealing with, which is why the film is relevant and can even a bit uncomfortable at moments.

Will we see you in anything else this year?

I just finished working on a short film a couple weeks ago and will be doing another feature film later this summer but the past few months have been busy promoting Alienated which has been wonderful. The official release is the 31st of March, which is exciting and something we’ve all been working forward to.
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Check out our review of Alienated right here

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