This afternoon I had the pleasure of talking with Charlotte Sullivan about her newest film Radius. Most of you may know her as Gail on Rookie Blue or Anna on Chicago Fire, she is a native of Toronto Ontario Canada and has been working consistently since 1995. Radius is a Sci-Fi psychological thriller based in memory loss and the ability to cause anyone within a 50ft radius to drop dead. Spoilers for the movie lay ahead, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to head over to a theater in select areas or to Netflix and VOD (starting November 9th) to find out what has her so excited.
How did you get involved in this project and what attracted you to this role? I was taking a bit of a break, but my agent read the script and thought it was something unique that I would enjoy, and kept pushing me to read it. She was right. I loved how the characters didn’t have the inevitable love scene. They don’t know who they are, and they have this weird robotic energy that I found very interesting. It all happened very quickly. Once I auditioned, I think I was in Winnipeg two or three days later.
What was the filming process like for you? It was wildly fast with no time to properly prepare, but you use your circumstances. She doesn’t know who she is and I don’t really know who she is, so it kind of works. In hindsight it was all very comical as one day I would tell my husband, “I’m off to get stabbed with a hypodermic needle and the next day, a bunch of people are going to drop dead, and today I am going to try and commit suicide.” There was never a really chill scene. It was all very high octane, which was very hard to maintain over 16 hours a day for 21 days. I had a great partner in Diego Klattenhoff and I was able to confide in him my insecurities about being able to maintain the energy at a consistent level. He was so positive and I’m so glad I took the role, even though I was reluctant in the beginning.
I was going to ask if it was fun on the set, but it sounds like it was pretty stressful for you to get into character. It was, but we also had our writer and director team, Caroline Labrèche and her husband Steeve Léonard, who are totally bonkers and amazing people. They are just quirky, and during stressful moments, they could be dancing or doing silly things that would help during the more serious moments. At times, it can be hard to rally everyone together and make them feel a part of something, but they were great and I couldn’t have asked for anything better in a team. They were just happy and I’m sure they were excited to be able to make their movie that they have been trying to do for so long. I was privileged to be a part of it.
Diego’s character, Liam, is always using animals to demonstrate his abilities. Have you had any push back from animal groups? Oh God! We haven’t yet, but it was a thing we worried about. The goat was not dead. It was a fake, but the other animals were… pre-dead, not that it makes it much better. We are sensitive to it and we tried to handle it the best we could. We are expecting a response, but no one has tried to douse me with bucket of pig’s blood, yet.In the film we don’t get a clear indication as to what caused Liam’s abilities. Was there a theory on set as to what the cause was, whether it be God, aliens or just a freak accident? Both Caroline and Steeve have a really in-depth reason for what led to it, but the Sci-Fi aspect left me a bit like, “He can do what?” Everyone had their own theory, and they were all different. I thought it was a fluke, but they are crazy and have done tons of research. I know my answer won’t be as interesting or entertaining as theirs. As crazy as the situation is, we can’t treat it as absurd. We have to treat it as real for it to be authentic. For two people with no memories, who are like robots in this world, trying to piece themselves back together, even if it may not be possible for us, this is their world and we have to make it real for them.
What would be your elevator pitch for the movie if you had to sell it to someone who has never heard of it? People drop dead. We have characters who feel like robots. They have no romantic feelings towards each other but are strangely and bizarrely drawn to the other. The world is kind of unlike anything you have ever seen and you have to come up with a conclusion about what the hell happened to these people.
My wife left while I was watching this movie, but kept texting me, asking if they had fallen in love yet. I love that, and I love that they don’t. That is what makes this [movie] so unique. As an actress, when I get a new script, I always look for the part where I have to take off my clothes and, “Ugh, there it is. Of course, it’s there,” but not this time. I loved how original this was in its thinking. I think it’s great that your wife was expecting that and that we didn’t go there. We were able to do different things, which is exactly what Caroline and Steeve wanted.
You have been enjoying a very successful television career. Will this be the start of a push into more films? I just finished a project and I am taking a bit of a break. I don’t have things planned out for film versus television. I want to have fun, creative experiences and work with people who make me a better artist. I have had two really good experiences in the last year and two that were just ok. I really just want to have a good time and work with good people on interesting roles, but right now I’m also enjoying doing normal things too.