Liz White: "The Woman in Black is the biggest-selling British horror movie"
Your surname is White – but you play the woman in black, oh the irony! It’s quite cool, isn’t it? I think it’s the reason I got the part. We were hoping the media would run with it, but they never did.
Until now! But how did you really get the part? The audition was quite peculiar because I don’t have any lines in the script. The director saw me in a play, loved me in it, and I got the phone call a month later saying I had got the job.
So there was no screaming at the audition? Didn’t have to scream or jump from behind a pillar... Secretly I was thinking, what if my scream isn’t up to it? So on the first day filming I just went for it and there was, like, a communal shitting themselves among the whole crew. It was a good scream.
Everyone was scared of you? You never really see the woman in black close-up but every day I’d have two hours of make-up, a costume that included two veils, a bonnet and a huge Victorian funeral garb. People couldn’t talk to me because I looked so scary.
Did you stay in character the whole time? It was quite good because I felt equally alienated and ostracised. Perfect for the part.
Had you seen the play beforehand? I’ve not seen it but I really want to. It couldn’t be easier, could it? It’s on in town. I could just buy a ticket. Everybody tells me it’s terrifying and to be honest I’m the worst viewer when it comes to horror films. It’s just not my genre.
It must be exciting to play the title role in a big Hollywood film. But it’s not a Hollywood film. It’s a British film, the biggest-selling British horror movie of all time. Which is, like, amazing.
Why has it been so popular? I think it’s because it’s a bit old-fashioned, not full of gore or special effects. In the first half-hour the scariest thing that happens is a crow flying off, but the timing of it is impeccable. It gets everybody on the edge of their seats and you feel the suspense right to the end. And Daniel Radcliffe. He’s everybody’s cuddly toy, really, isn’t he?
You certainly have a better go at seeing off Harry Potter than Lord Voldemort did over eight films… There you go. I’m accomplished.
The Woman in Black is out now on DVD