Trouble in paradise
Psychothriller Human Traces is a hair-raising drama on an isolated island
In this tense New Zealand film by Nic Gorman, a husband and wife are trying to restore a remote island to its pre-human glory. After the arrival of a young man, outside communication is cut off and their isolation intensifies. Sophie Henderson, who plays DOC scientist Sarah, talks about the film.
Did the remoteness of your filming locations, particularly The Catlins, make you feel more a part of your character’s isolation?
Definitely, it was so freezing. So neither the weather or the cold faces is acting, it’s real. It was really helpful not having to imagine your fingers going numb – they just were numb. Everyone else on this film had a lovely time – they got to work on the beautiful Catlins with the most extraordinary, rugged scenery and be up close to wildlife. Meanwhile, I’d just found out I was pregnant and was throwing up in between takes and having anxiety attacks and trying my best to do good acting in the middle of nowhere.
Wow. So how did you get into your character?
We did some great rehearsals where we did a bunch of bush walks and I did some research on DOC. But I always find a character comes from inside of me, I guess – she’s always trying to prove herself, and that she’s earnt her place on the island, and is not just somebody’s wife. People underestimate her so she has to be even better at her job than her husband so she’s listened to. I think people underestimate me.
How would you describe her relationship with her husband?
He’s kind of this much older, wiser, gruffer guy who used to be her lecturer, and I think from her perspective the island becomes this prison that he won’t let her out of. He won’t fix the radio and she’s going to be trapped there for the winter, and she finds a connection with the new DOC worker but becoming close to him makes things way, way worse for her. Human Traces is in cinemas from Thu 16 Nov