“It was intense, very intense!” The ever-stunning Kirby Bliss Blanton (“Project X”) was speaking about her experience filming Eli Roth’s new horrorfest — or, judging from the trailers, horror feast — “The Green Inferno,” which opens in theaters today (September 25). For the movie, the cast and crew were transported down to the Amazon rainforest in South America where they had to endure monstrous bugs, crippling heat, savage weather conditions, unfamiliar cuisine (that left many ill), language barriers, repeated trips to the hospital, and more.
“The bugs and the heat were the worst parts,” Kirby told Examiner in a recent interview. “I went to the hospital twice for bug bites and I had to get a shot each time because I was having an allergic reaction. Not only were the bites all over my body, but they got really big and it was painful…” she trailed off momentarily, possibly reliving the experience. “It was really, really bad, but by that point, we just had to make it part of the movie because there was nothing else we could do.”
When asked if she had any phobias, Kirby responded brightly, “No, not really… nothing that jumps out at me. But I wouldn’t want to hang out with a bunch of tarantulas and snakes because that doesn’t sound like a party to me!” she laughed.
Kirby has a dazzling radiance and a compelling on-screen presence that is fortified by her remarkable range. This unique combination of gifts and skills has landed the accomplished actress a wide variety of roles ranging from “Unfabulous,” “Zoey 101,” and Hannah Montana” to “Entourage,” “Scar,” and “Project X.”
But how does an actor break free and make such a dramatic and successful transition from the sugary delight of Disney to the cover-your-eyes-and-scream brutal gore of “The Green Inferno?”
“It was a long transition,” she acknowledged. “When I first came out here to L.A., my opportunities were limited by my age. Disney and Nickelodeon were super popular at the time, but I wanted to challenge myself and progress as an actor. Just after doing “Entourage,” I got my first horror movie, which was a film called ‘Scar,’ and I remember thinking that this was the kind of film I needed to do in order to grow as an actor.”
It doesn’t matter if you watched an “approved for all appropriate audiences” trailer or the Red Band Trailer for “The Green Inferno,” you no doubt discovered that this film promises excruciating carnage and gives the phrase “eye candy” a whole new meaning! Basically, when a plane full of eager young activists travel to a hostile environment to change the world, they discover it’s not quite as easy as twitter shaming. The ensemble of do-gooders get a taste of the horrors of the real world… and vice versa.
“I think I am completely immune at this point,” Kirby declared. “We saw the screening and everyone was freaking out, but I can stare right at the blood and gore because I’ve seen this movie so many times, now. I worked on it and I know all about it. But something like ‘Hostel’ and that Achilles’ heel scene… forget it, that was hard for me to watch!”
Kirby did confess, however, that the making of “The Green Inferno” did have a profound effect on her. “It wasn’t the gore or seeing the fake deaths or anything that changed me, really, it was pushing myself to go beyond what I thought I could handle,” she informed. “I was so far from home, there was a language barrier — I didn’t always know what was going on — and there were the elements and those bugs that I told you about. And on top of that, there was the heat and we had to endure the weather. Depending on how the river was that day, determined how we got home. It was intense, very intense! The whole experience was kind of overwhelming. But I learned that I could handle more than I thought I could and I am super proud that I was a champ about it because there were some really tough times during the making of that movie.”
One fun fact about “The Green Inferno” was that the cannibals were portrayed by real natives. “Yes, they were basically our extras,” Kirby noted. “We had to teach them how to be rough with us, and then once “action” and “cut” were called, they would ask if we were okay. They were all really very, very sweet.”
In order to prepare the natives for their roles, they were shown the classic 1980’s horror film, “Cannibal Holocaust.” “That is a hard movie to watch,” Kirby pointed out, “but they thought it was funny! After watching it, they got the gist of the fact that they were going to pretend to be our cannibals. They were really great to work with and they were excited to be a part of the whole process.”
When asked what was next, Kirby replied, “I’d love to continue expanding my range and do some comedy and action… and maybe some psychological thrillers, as well.”
Kirby Bliss Blanton has a few more films that will be coming out in the near future. To be sure you don’t miss a single frame of this scintillating star, it’s best to follow her via her social media networks: Facebook • Instagram • Twitter
“The Green Inferno” opens today (September 25): website • Facebook • Instagram • Twitter