As she develops powers that she uses specifically on bad men, it helps her delve into past trauma that she has deeply repressed. What were your feelings about the way the film presented its feminist #MeToo messages, particularly the suggestion that violence can be a path to healing when it comes to Veronica’s relationship with Malcolm MacDowell’s predatory director Eric Hathbourne?
I love the way it approached him because it’s completely quirky. It’s not full on, in your face #MeToo. It’s pretty weird in the way it comes about. Certainly not for a moment, I thought, because Veronica wanted revenge. He says to her, “What do you want?” And she says, “The truth.” That trajectory she was on has brought her to a place where she can fully face what happened.
Right at the start of the film, she’s post-operative, on her knees, and something flashes on TV, a program where she learns that he, Eric Hathbourne, is about to be knighted. He’s honored, he’s getting praise, and he’s about to do a remake of the film [that made Veronica famous when she was a child]and there’s this picture of a bunch of 14 year old little girls snaking around the corner, all heart in mouth waiting to audition and maybe get that part in this cult movie.
what really happened [to Veronica when she was a teenager] was never approached or spoken to and was so painful she could not look at it. At 14 you always think it’s your fault, certainly back then and she’s punished herself one way or another. Eventually, with a mangled body, she is able to drop her nightgown and look at herself in the mirror, and she manages to emerge from a moment of extraordinary truth with herself. She asks him to do the same and he can’t, which is why the film [develops] for him as it is.
Malcolm makes a stunning performance. With very, very little screen time, he manages to paint this human who has refused to look at himself. There’s a moment in the early hours of the morning when he’s sitting head in hand at an empty bar in an empty hotel, and I really felt at that moment Eric Hathbourne was thinking, ‘Yes, that’s me. That’s what I’m doing and it’s wrong.”
Moments later, she shows up and he says, “What do you want?” And she says, “The truth.” She’s articulated it for herself, but he can’t, which is very interesting. I don’t think she’s looking for a violent outlet. He brings it upon himself. If he had said, “I’m terribly sorry,” I don’t think the film would have done it [gone] for him as it is.