The Seed is a riotous blend of satire, sleaze, and body horror, and talking to the three leads earlier this week was just as fun: Lucy Martin (who played Cruella-style Deirdre), Chelsea Edge (who played downtrodden Charlotte), and Sophie Vavasseur (who played rich-girl Heather). And I warn you, it couldn’t be helped: there are a few spoilers scattered throughout this interview.
After introducing myself, I apologized for any issues with my voice as I’d had a tickly cough since the night before; but at least as the interview was being conducted via Zoom, none of them would catch anything. “That’s another kind of horror film, I think,” Chelsea commented. So we found the topic for my first question straight away: having performed in a wide range of genres to date, I asked the three if they plan to stick with horror.
“It’s good to change it up,” answered Chelsea. “I think every actor wants to do things that are different; it’s just kind of who we are: we like to play around with different characters, different stories. That’s just part of being in the industry. I’d like to do lots of other things. I’d like to do horror again, but I really want to do some fantasy: I want to do something with magic, maybe be a witch!”
“I’m down with that,” Lucy agreed. “Did you know you can do a thing with an iPhone, where you say ’Siri, Lumos,’ and it works? So yeah, you could be a witch.”
“I love horror,” said Sophie. “I’ve been lucky enough to touch on it from an early age, and I get a good thrill out of horror. As the girls said, though, I love to do a variety of genres and I have a big love for period as well; but yes, I’ll definitely do more.”
In The Seed, there was a real focus on creature effects, but there was a huge amount of goo and gore too at times, so I had to ask: was the laundry bill as big as the special effects budget? “Very good question, actually,” said Chelsea. “I don’t know who did the laundry, but yeah it was quite a lot. I think there was one point where we were shooting with Sophie and there was stuff everywhere, flies all over. It was sticky, gross, and they would probably have to burn that outfit afterward, rather than washing it.”
“It was because when the make-up team made that goo, blood, whatever,” explained Sophie, “they put sweetener in it. So we were in the desert and I was running with my bare feet and I was basically a fly trap—they were everywhere. I’m still finding weird things in my hair.”
“Shaving foam gets it all off,” advised Chelsea. “I have this amazing image of Lucy in the trailer on the very last day covered from head to toe in shaving foam, trying to get this stuff off, it was brilliant.”
So I turned to Lucy and asked what it had been like to play the queen bitch in The Seed. “It was definitely challenging, but it was a lot of fun,” she said. “Not my usual style, but very fun. Exhausting actually, playing at that level of energy for so much of the time, she is a force to be reckoned with. Part of her maybe lives in me somewhere but buried very deep down. The sassiness of Deirdre came out for a while and it was a lot of fun.” (Something tells me Lucy might want to play that way again sometime.)
Sean, who had reviewed The Seed, had raised a question for this interview: what were the strange ecstasy scenes like to film? I had assumed they were a blend of acting with camera effects, but it turns out there were other actors involved too. “There was someone playing like ‘us’ but with a mask on,” explained Lucy, “There was another dancer playing our doppelgangers in those scenes, very creative.”
“We had a great special effects department and make-up department,” added Sophie. “We had prosthetics made of our face and bodies. The dancer wore my face first, then Lucy’s. It was definitely interesting and fun to do something so out of our comfort zones; I’ve never done anything like that before, so.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if the growing bellies were also outside of one’s comfort zone too! “I’ve been pregnant before,” said Lucy, “when I was in Vikings, but a very different kind of pregnancy in this. Not so grotesque!”
It was apparent from all the voices (confirming what I had read) that I was speaking to one Irish and two British people…yet in The Seed, they were playing Americans. I asked whether they felt the film mocked Americans, fashionable young women in general, or if they felt the satire’s target lay somewhere else. “I think the idea was sort of mocking how people are so obsessed with social media, being popular and being sort of internationally known for whatever,” suggested Chelsea. “I think that’s the thing in general, rather than specifically American—more playing on the way some people will do anything for popularity.”
“It’s about millennials in general, I suppose,” added Sophie. “A generation that’s completely consumed by social media and how toxic that can become.”
So have the three of them compared social media follower numbers? Sophie laughed and the other two seemed quite nonplussed, it was absolutely clear at that moment how different they all are from their characters in The Seed. “We can’t really be bothered,” said Chelsea.
“I go on Instagram because I’m told to,” said Lucy. “And I think all three of us know enough to understand that it’s not real. Know what I mean? You might support your friends, or go on it for work, or to keep in touch, but it’s not for more than that really.”
“I only follow people who I admire or respect,” said Chelsea. “I don’t follow people for any other reason, I’m not interested in like content that is (dare I say) vapid, I want to read something that’s going to fulfill me and give me information, or big someone up because they’re doing good in the world, not just to boost popularity for popularity’s sake. Nothing wrong with that if it floats your boat though.”
“I just struggle with technology in general,” said Sophie. “I had a Twitter account a couple of years ago (I think it’s closed now), and I deleted it but then my friends said ‘you know you’ve been tweeting yourself the whole time?’ and I was like you couldn’t tell me that while I had the account?”
“I’d have told you,” smiled Lucy.
It’s clear the three get along, so I asked whether they’d known each other long. “Myself and Lucy knew each other from Vikings,” said Sophie. “And it was really lovely to have a familiar face on the set. Me and Chels just met on The Seed and she’s become one of my best friends; we’re all very close. We didn’t really have a choice, though, we lived in each other’s pockets and fell in love with each other.”
“I met Sophie very briefly at the audition,” added Chelsea. “We auditioned together, and that was really interesting because, in the audition process, everyone was like trying out different characters. I tried out for Dee at one point, and Lucy tried Charlotte, but it wasn’t until we actually got the jobs that I knew who people were. We’re blessed that we all obviously adore each other, and I don’t think I could have got through that job with anyone else.”
And now I had just enough time for one crucial silly question before my time ran out: what would my guests do if they found an alien in the pool?
“Kill it,” answers Sophie, instantly.
“Leave it the f*ck alone!” Lucy almost shouts into her microphone.
“Kill it!” said Chelsea; and then expands: “I think if anyone, Lucy would be the one to go ‘we’ve got to save it,’ but I’d be all ‘no, get rid of it’.”
“I’d be terrified,” said Sophie. “I’m afraid of my own shadow, so I’d probably run in the other direction.”
The Seed is now available on Shudder.