Niamh Hogan Exclusive Interview

Niamh Hogan Discusses her Bad Ass Role, Women in Horror, Career

Editor’s Note:

Demon Hunter, (originally titled Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter) had a limited run in select cinemas across Ireland. The DVD and VOD will release on the 12th of June 2016. The film presents a blend of Action and Horror told through the artistic direction of Zoe Kavanagh.

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In Demon Hunter Actress Niamh Hogan plays the principal part as Taryn Barker. Hogan, in DecayMag.com Niamh Hogan Taryn Baker Demon Hunterher movie industry career, serves as an actress, and producer. For her role in the film; Demon Hunter Hogan executed her own stunts. It is a while since an indie Horror film exhibits a heroine. It may have the appearance of a cliché or a standard in composition to some.

Yet, Horror has based aim on establishing strong female roles in the limelight. For Demon Hunter this feature intensifies the production.

In our Interview with Hogan, we examine three topics; Production, Career and Film Concept. Hogan gives some interesting point of views on the subject; female leads in horror films. Also presented is insight on how Hogan picked up the title role in Demon Hunter .

Thank you, Niamh Hogan, for taking the time to answer our questions. We hope to see the expansion on the Demon Hunter storyline in the months ahead.

1. Production

Niamh Hogan as Taryn Barker Demon Hunter

DecayMag: Demon Hunter is quite an intense film, and you had an intense role as the lead character, Taryn. How did you prepare for this role?

Niamh Hogan: I actually didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. Just two weeks before filming started there was to be a change of cast and I was called to audition for the role. 
Having auditioned, there were a few torturous days waiting to hear if I had got the part, during which time I re-read the script numerous times and started working on how I would play her (just in case!).

When I read through the script I fell in love with the character Taryn immediately. Who wouldn’t? She’s strong, feisty, courageous, tough and vulnerable.

When the call finally did come, on a Tuesday evening, everything became a whirlwind of rehearsals, costume fittings, hair and makeup tests, learning the fight choreography and on Friday we started shooting. Luckily for me, my perception of Taryn, was in line with Zoe’s vision of her.

DecayMag: In Demon Hunter you portray an assassin. From the footage, it appears the stunts were very complex. Did you perform your own stunts? What was your level of the training process for these scenes?

Niamh Hogan: Yes, I was able to do this as I am a Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Shotokan karate and so could approach the role with years of experience of what it means to fight someone, how to move, how to hold myself and what it really feels like to get hit and, most important, to be almost beaten yet have the resolve to get back up again to win.

I am very pleased that I was able to perform all of Taryn’s stunts myself. I think I would have felt somewhat cheated if I – as Taryn – hadn’t been able to dispatch the various demons, assassins and evil creatures that opposed me.

I worked extensively with the fight director learning the choreography of the fights, how to use a dagger, wield a sword and so finessing my performance

DecayMag: What is the most intense moment while filming Demon Hunter?

Niamh Hogan: There were two: The first is when, as a schoolgirl, I find my kidnapped sister and she dies in my arms. The second is the climax of the film when I confront the demon Falstaff. He sits in his castle surrounded by his acolytes. And I must fight them all to get to him. It was physically and emotionally demanding but extremely satisfying as I avenge my sister.

DecayMag: What insights did you learn most from Zoe Kavanagh’s Directorial process?

Niamh Hogan: Zoe is an incredible director. She knows what she wants and is willing to go to hell and back to get it. I’m pretty sure she didn’t sleep a wink the entire time we were shooting but always had her finger on the pulse of every single aspect of the film. She created a wonderful atmosphere on the set, always smiling and laughing but yet laser-focused on the task at hand.

So the most important thing I learned from Zoe is: don’t let anything knock you down. And if something does? Then get the hell back up again and kick some ass!

Throughout filming whenever there was any problem Zoe didn’t bat an eye-lid and came up with solutions and alternatives immediately. The production never lost momentum; we had a film to make and we were gonna make it, come hell or high water. She is the driving force behind Demon Hunter. 

2. Career

Niamh Hogan as Taryn Barker Demon Hunter

DecayMag: Looking at your film history on IMDb.com it looks like you delve in Horror quite a bit. Demon and demon possession are the theme in most cases. Do you have a personal interest in these themes/genres?

Niamh Hogan: I have always been interested in the genre but must admit that, as an audience member, I do get incredibly scared!!!

DecayMag: What is your opinion on empowering female figures in horror over the past decade? Are they, the theme, as effective now than earlier decades?

Niamh Hogan: Strong female roles in horror movies have been getting better over time.
It began with 1979’s Alien with Ellen Ripley, Laurie Strode in Halloween, Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street and nowadays you have non-horror heroines: Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Katniss in The Hunger Games.

Horror has been where the evolution of the empowering female figures is, but it’s been getting better for female figures in cinema in general.

Wonder Woman now has a film and for the last fifteen years we have had the Resident Evil and Underworld films. Horror has been where the evolution of the empowering female figures is, but it’s been getting better for female figures in cinema in general.

DecayMag: Are you open to portraying Taryn Baker if a sequel is considered?

Niamh Hogan: Definitely! I absolutely loved playing Taryn Barker and we have only just scratched the surface in Demon Hunter.

DecayMag: What other Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller projects do you have planned for the future?

Niamh Hogan:  My priority is that Demon Hunter will find itself an audience and then Zoe and I will get cracking on Demon Hunter: Devil’s Knight.

However, in this industry, I try not to count my chickens before they hatch, so will have to wait and see.

But I’m also in talks with some directors about upcoming projects: a zombie film, gangland TV pilot and a sci-fi web series. 

3. Film Concept

Demon Hunter the comic series cover.
art by Bohdan Jankovic colors by Michael Woods, Zoe Kavanagh FaceBook

DecayMag: In Demon Hunter there is the victim to dominate transformation shown in your character. This is a highlight in Horror cinema, especially with female leads. What is your opinion on this character evolution?

Niamh Hogan: Taryn’s determination for vengeance and her perseverance conflicts with the Demon’s evil force as he tries to overcome her transformation. She is strong willed and stubborn.

Women are just as strong as men but in films, it often takes horrific scenarios to convey that.

Look at characters in horror cinema such as Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street. She becomes resourceful and tactful in overcoming her fears. In The Descent the character Sarah really has to stand up to the cave monsters and fight back because it’s a primal instinct. 

DecayMag: Taryn Barker what does this character symbolize to you as performance actress?

Niamh Hogan: Taryn is a totally rounded person capable of incredible bravery, courage, and mental strength, but we also see her vulnerability and fear as she takes on her nemeses.

Zoe has written a complicated and complex character which I am so lucky to have the opportunity to play.

As somebody, somewhere, once said “ We are all scared. The difference between the brave person and the coward is, the brave person does it anyway” 

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