Megan Is Missing - The Interview: Amber Perkins & Rachel Quinn

Rarely does a film creep inside of you and stay with you long after the credits roll. And even rarer does a film scare you to your core. Such is the case with the film known as Megan Is Missing. A found footage film about the horrors of the internet. Megan Is Missing is directed by Michael Goi and is anchored by the truly great performances of the two leads in the film. Amber Perkins plays Amy Herman and Rachel Quinn plays Megan Stewart. Film Deviant scored an opportunity to do an interview with the two stars.

First of all...I just want to thank you ladies for sitting down and doing this interview for us. It goes without saying that the film Megan is Missing has left a very deep mark in me as well as many horror fans out there. I'm sure that you're both very busy and I just want to give you a world of gratitude for taking a little time to talk about your experiences with this chilling film.

BOTH: Thank you for having us!

FILM DEVIANT: How did you get started in the film industry?

RACHEL: I did send outs on my own to get an agent my senior year of high school. Megan Is Missing was one of my first auditions.

AMBER: When I was around the age of seven I started calling talent agencies that I had found in the phonebook. My mom thought it was a phase. Finally At 14 or 15 I started taking classes outside of school. Shortly after that I did background research to become Sag/Aftra eligible, got an agent, then started auditioning. My mom, though, has been the biggest supporter since she realized this was a dream I wasn't giving up. She's truly amazing.

FILM DEVIANT: That's pretty awesome! Talk about your experience meeting Michael Goi.

RACHEL: I didn’t see the full script until I met him and I wanted to do it right from the beginning. Michael is so genuine and I was moved by the message he wanted to send out through the movie. Through all the shooting, he was so supportive and was there every step of the way when shots got rough and made sure we were in a safe environment and could stop whenever we needed to.

AMBER: First time was at my second audition. Right away he was very down to earth and i could tell, very passionate about his work, including this film. It was an honor working with him. He's a great guy and really puts everything he has into whatever he's involved in. He loves and cares about what he does and I'm sure everyone who has worked with him would agree.

FILM DEVIANT: Were you a little put off at the subject matter of this film upon hearing what was involved?

RACHEL: I held off any judgment until I had read the full script and when I heard why the movie was made, I was completely behind it. As we have stated before, the movie is not a horror film made for the purpose of shock value; rather, it is a wake-up call to warn people the danger of internet predators and I fully support the necessity of the graphic images because that stuff unfortunately really happens. Trust me I know. I’ve seen the real ones.

AMBER: Actually no I wasn't but at the same time I didn't have the full the script until I had gotten the part. By then I really wanted to be a part of it. Real life isn't all Hollywood endings and it's devastating but this stuff happens. I love how the producers and director had the courage to make something like this.

FILM DEVIANT: There are some deeply harrowing scenes in the film. In particular...Rachel - the photo stills just before the final 22 minutes of the film and...Amber - pretty much the final 22 minutes of the film. How did you prepare yourselves for those disturbing scenes?

RACHEL: Doing it was not only uncomfortable but when strapped in those mechanisms between the boards, it’s simply horrifying. However, like I said, Michael provided the safest environment possible – anyone I wanted in the room during the shoot was there – it was a tiny crew – I believe just Michael, Mark, Melanie and Amber – that were actually in the room during the pictures shot. And I was allowed to stop and breath whenever I needed. That was the only shot for me that day so I was able to take the time to remove myself from it afterwards and recover.

AMBER: All of it was difficult. But it was easier to prepare for than it was to let go of after we had filmed it. I spoke to a couple people, who I happen to know, that were sexually assaulted. Learning what they went through, not just physically but emotionally, really helped for filming that scene. Michael was also amazing with direction and the portrayal he wanted. But for a week or more after It was difficult to let go of. Knowing it occurs often.. It just angers me.

FILM DEVIANT: As you've mentioned during our previous talks, Amber...this is a film that you either hate or love. How have the two of you dealt with the backlash of the film? Has there been any negativity concerning the subject matter of Megan Is Missing?

RACHEL: Oh yes, of course. Many people are disgusted by it, and while I fully understand that initial reaction, this is the type of film where I think it is really important to know the context in which it was made. Some of the images in the movie may be horrific, but the ACTUAL pictures and footage is 10 times more terrifying. This is not a slasher movie, and I think the realism and the documentary/realistic-style that Michael went for in some ways scares and hits people more. For people who have a problem with the movie and the images, I suggest they look at interviews with Michael, the movie-makers and the cast. Also look up the Marc Klaas foundation, made by a man whose daughter was actually kidnapped and killed. He supports the film.

AMBER: I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion on any matter so it hasn't bothered me. I've had people tell me why they don't like it and usually it's similar reasons. It hits you hard and I understand that. Good or bad, what has to be said, is appreciated either way!

FILM DEVIANT: I feel that this is a very important film that should be seen by everyone. It is a cautionary tale for those that don't know what is out there beyond the computer screen. How has the experience making this film changed your perception of the internet in the age of online social networking?

RACHEL: Well for my personal life, I have definitely taken social websites like Facebook more seriously and taken down personal information and made it as private as possible. We have gotten a large response from people thanking us for the movie and telling us that they or their kids have changed their personal habits on the internet and that makes us so happy. That is why we made the film and already that to me means we’ve had success.

AMBER: I am still online and the point of the film was just to have people more cautious and aware not afraid. The internet while an amazing thing can also be incredibly dangerous. I don't ever enter chat rooms, meet up with anyone, or put personal info out. I don't judge if people do but personally I don't want to. I remember while having a screening in NY, Mr. Marc Klaas, his wife, Mark and Michael were there during our lunch, and I remember them talking about predators no longer just lurking behind bushes but behind desks. It's stuck with me since.
FILM DEVIANT: What are some of your other interests beyond acting?

RACHEL: I am a dancer as well – I’ve mostly done hip hop through college, but I also dance contemporary/modern. Additionally, I am an event coordinator for a company that does corporate events and weddings.

AMBER: Besides acting I love to sing. Can't remember when I started but I never stopped. Even before acting I had done a CD with an old school I attended and EMI Music. I also love to write scripts and dance. But Rachel is a much better dancer lol.

FILM DEVIANT: Are you both big fans of the horror genre...and if so...what are some of your favorite films?

RACHEL: Funny story…I actually am really bad with horror films.  I guess The Sixth Sense would be my favorite and even that was borderline too scary for me to watch. Even with Megan Is Missing, in some ways, it was easier to do it than to watch it. I myself can’t watch the last 22 minutes anymore – we’ve had to watch it over and over before it came out, and then during screenings, etc and even having been in it, it still is extremely hard to watch.

AMBER: I love horror films but you can ask anyone who's seen a horror film with me. I'm a huge chicken (laughs). I'll block my eyes when scary parts happen and I'll still jump and get scared (laughs). But I have seen a lot from Carrie to the new Paranormal Activity. I have great friends who will watch them with me and be the stronger person through the film (laughs).

FILM DEVIANT: Amber...there are scenes towards the end of the film where we don't see you...but, we hear you. Those are some of the most excruciatingly heart-breaking scenes that I've ever had to endure and I wished that I could crash through the screen and save you from that sicko! Some really good acting through your voice alone. How did you put yourself in that mindset where you were desperately trapped in that container?

AMBER: Thanks! It wasn't easy and I was actually inside the barrel for it. I can't say it was fun to film those scenes but part of it. I remember asking Rachel to stay til we were finished filming those parts because she had finished for the day. She was awesome to have around and she did in fact stay. Immediately after being in the barrel I wanted to fight my way out. Natural instinct I suppose. I felt completely vulnerable and helpless in there which inevitably worked for the scene. I never realized how much an actor has to put out there emotionally for filming things like that. You can only prepare so much.

FILM DEVIANT: Rachel...there's a scene towards the end of the film where you are covered in some really scary make-up. It seriously gave me nightmares and even now when I think of how you looked in the container, I get chills. How was that experience going under all that make-up?

RACHEL: See, that part was actually fun for me. I didn’t have to do much, since in the scene I am already dead and just sitting still in the barrel. Getting the makeup on was fun – I had prosthetics on my cheeks and I literally had warm water poured on me and then I rolled around in dirt - how often do we get to roll in dirt as adults (laughs)? The contacts were SO big – probably 3 times the size of normal contacts, took over my entire eyeball, and I couldn’t see out of them. So once they were in, I actually got to experience being blind – having my eyes open but not being able to see. So that was a very weird experience in and of itself. I am not claustrophobic and the water in the barrel was warm, so it was actually relatively comfortable. As an audience member, however, I can see how that is beyond horrible.

FILM DEVIANT: Can the two of you talk about any upcoming projects that you're currently working on?

RACHEL: I kind of disappeared when I went to college, but I am back auditioning now. I’ve done a couple industrials/commercials, but am still waiting for the next role in a film. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying planning and running events for businesses and weddings for couples!

AMBER: I wish I could say yes but not long after MIM I stepped away from acting for a bit for family and personal reasons. But the time away made me desperately miss it. I realized then how much acting meant to me. I love it. Currently I have a manager, working on an agent and auditioning again. Hopefully you'll see me in something soon!

Ladies...your work in Megan Is Missing is some of the most powerful stuff I've seen in years. Your acting alone carries the entire film and that is seriously a rare feat in any film. Thank you both for doing this interview for us and all of us here at Film Deviant wish you continued success in your career! Hopefully we'll see you again in the horror genre!

BOTH: Anytime! Thank you!

Megan Is Missing is now available on DVD and on Instant Queue over at Netflix.

Thanks for reading,