Ximena del Solar Interview (2-7-2020)

Back in February of 2020, during WiHM, I had an interview with Actress Ximena del Solar on my podcast (which you can hear the audio version here) and this is the written version of our conversation for the podcast.

Ximena del Solar is an Actress, Producer, Model and Writer.

Ximena was born in the city of Concepción, southern Chile, on July 13th, 1980. Since childhood she was fascinated by the Interpretation, but first studied Linguistics at the University of Santiago de Chile, obtaining her degree in 2004. Simultaneously studied also English and Japanese. She also develops activities as a photography alternative model. She has lived in Chile and Spain and is particularly interested in the area of genre films, mainly horror, being her most outstanding incursion that of her character Julia in Trauma (2017). We also find her in other genre productions (Perfidia, 2014 – Sendero, 2015) or the drama short film Memwa (2017. dir: Pablo Gutierrez) that won the Santiago 48 hour Film Project contest. She is a frequent collaborator of director Lucio A. Rojas. In 2019 they are both co-screenwriters the segment Contagium for “Ill. Final Contagium” international horror anthology (Italy/Germany/Chile)

If you can recall, what got you interested in the horror genre?
Well, to be honest, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by genre films since I was a very little
girl. I clearly remember a scene I saw on tv when I was maybe 5 years old. It is from one
of the Hammer Dracula movies in which a beautiful woman hangs down from a giant
bell in a rural church. That moment is as sexy as tragic. I never forget it.
I clearly remember – not always – but most of the time I felt much more attracted by
villains characters instead of the positive heroes.
Today, however, something different happens to me. I think there is so much evil in this
world that I deeply admire finding positive and noble traits in people.
One of my biggest dreams, since I was a girl, was to work in horror and fantasy films to
represent all those extreme personality characters. Maybe that is a safe way to explore
the darkest inside us without harming anybody.

What is your favorite horror film of all time, if you can’t name just one
can you name a few of your favorites?

That is always such a difficult question. There are so many brilliant movies in the
world! If I have to make a decision I could mention “Psycho” and “The Rope” from
master Alfred Hitchcock (with the valuable help of Alma Reville. Always good to point
out that they were quite an amazing talented couple.) There are more, of course. “The
”, for example. I love that one.

Photo Credit: @julio_faundes / JULIO FAUNDES

What can you tell us about the film you’re working on called Lamiae?
And does it follow the Greek mythology of Lamia?

That one is a very ambitious project still in development. But, yes!. The idea is to bring
the mythological Greek Lamia to Latin America and create from that a new mythology
mixing the original legends with part of our own South American folklore.
The reason why I define it as an “ambitious” one is because a fantasy film needs big
amounts of VFX post production, which is expensive and technically complex. That is
why, in the meantime, we are working in some other ideas.

In the United States I’d like to think that the Horror genre is pretty
popular, I mean there’s conventions all across the country all based on the Horror
genre. I’m not too familiar with how the horror genre is taken in Chile, is Horror
popular in Chile?

Yes, it is! We do not have horror conventions like yours, but there is a huge amount of
people that enjoy a lot horror movies. During the last years the number of directors
interested in making genre film has been increasing, which is very good for all the people
involved in this business. As I’m telling you we do not have conventions, but we have
horror festivals in different cities. All of them are becoming bigger each year.
For me, they are a big support for all of us because in those places, for the time they
last, people can share a common passion and learn more about the filming process while
having fun.

How much has the Chilean Horror Cinema culture change from over
the years? 

25 years ago nobody was seriously interested in making horror movies in Chile, but
nowadays there are many people working in this particular area of the industry.
Sometimes, when I talk to people I don`t know, like an Uber driver, for example, or
people that I’m just meeting for the first time and I tell them that I making things to
develop horror in Chile they find it fascinating, but absolutely strange.
As Chilean film industry still depends a lot on state funds – and normally, State do not
consider Horror as culturally relevant – we do not have a big horror industry, but year
after year there is more interest put on this sector.

What can you tell us about Ill: Final Contagium ?
ILL is the first international project in which I have an important role to play, I mean
not only as an actress, but also as a creator and screenwriter of my segment
(“Contagium”) along with Lucio A. Rojas, which is the first one of the anthology. It
was a brand new experience for me and I enjoyed it a lot, Marcus.
In total, there are 4 short films, they are independent, but in some small aspects they are
thematically connected to each other. It is about the consequences of an aggressive virus
spreading. The disease starts in Chile, then we have episodes in Rome, Kosovo and
Berlin. Rest of directors are: Lorenzo Dante Zanoni, Domiziano Cristopharo and Kai E.
The world premiere of this movie will be in March in France in Sadique Master Film
. (Trailer can be found here)

What are some newer horror movies that you’ve seen and thought
were good? Bad?

Don`t be cruel, Marcus!. Hahaha…I prefer to speak about the good ones.
This year I loved Midsommar. I thought it was a super smart movie about depicting a
relationship that is broken on several fronts. Love the portrait of the community, the
aesthetic so bright and floral.

Trauma is not the easiest movie to sit through even in horror
standards haha, how was your experience working on Trauma?

I always say that Trauma was like doing a couple of full semesters at a university. What
I mean, is I learned too much. Of course I know how complex can be the watching of
the movie for some spectators. It was complex for me too to work in some segments of
the shooting, but I was truly convinced of the quality of the movie.
It was a challenging shoot and I was nervous, but at the same time, eager to be able to
submit to the high expectations that was necessary to develop in some moments, like the
rape sequence inside the women´s house, for example, which is particularly violent.
I´m proud of my work as well as the whole team, because there are many talented
people that did their best. Was a great experience!.
It is also amazing that the movie made many people to find out about Chilean recent
history. Let me say that all the torture segments in the flash backs are based on
testimonies of real victims and they are even more terrible than those you can watch on
the film. (Trailer for Trauma can be found here)

The practical effects and make up were so realistic and convincing,
what was the process like and working with the special effects group?

Oh, it is always fascinating to work with FX makeup artists. Until now, the most
complex makeup that has been done on me is that of the Trauma. First af all, was
necessary to make the prosthetic of my head, with the mouth open, so I had to remain in
that position for an hour or so to create that piece. The feeling is like being buried alive,
you know?. But it was pretty cool after all!
As a team, we mix the practical FX with some improvement or enhancing in VFX during
the post production process. That is the better way to work in order to reach a more
realistic aspect. During the shooting of a film the better practical FX or makeup you can
have allows you, as an actress, to have a more realistic sensation about your character
feelings (of course, you have to imagine a lot, you have to do your job), but good
makeup helps a lot too.
In Trauma there was just one person in charge of those incredible practical makeup you
can see in the movie. Her name is Isabella Marchesse. I love her work!!! We worked
together again, just a month ago, in EDÉN, a short film that is in post production right
now. Isabella did it again!

What’s it like working with Director Lucio A. Rojas?
Lucio and I have been friends for the last 20 years. Our friendship was born due to the
mutual interest we both felt for horror movies. 20 years ago we were a couple of
dreamer university students and today, incredibly, we have made several of those
dreams come true. Lucio is very hardworking and creative. We are very different. This
allows us to complement different points of view and analyze each project with greater
breadth. We discuss respectfully. I respect his position as a director and he mine as an

Can you tell us about any future projects that you’re working on?
This year, Marcus, I’m releasing two anthologies. One is “ILL, Final Contagium” and
there is another one. This second anthology is a Chilean project that includes 4
segments, all directed by Chilean filmmakers. I’m in EDÉN, which is one the stories.
EDÉN mixes certain amounts of gore, horror and even fantasy. All stories are
completely independent, the only element that connects them is the use of some
application, a social network for example, as a starting point. It is not a critic against the
use of this technologies, but against the bad use we can make of them.
On the other hand, right now I`m involved in the pre-production of a feature
film shooting during the present year with Lucio Rojas titled MALEBOLGIA. It’s an interesting story about a group of people forced to
remain locked together inside a house while there seems to be something inexplicably dangerous happening outside. This one is going to be a coproduction between Chile and

When did you realize that you wanted to pursue your career as an
actress (and now screen writer)?

I think I always wanted, I mean, since I was a very little girl….But then, as I grew up,
even though I was sociable, I was very lonely and didn’t like to talk about my feelings
or emotions. For this reason I was not able to start studies in an acting school or
something. Instead of that I entered to the university and studied Linguistics, plus
English and Japanese. During that period of my life I participated in a couple of acting
workshops and also went to a casting to be a model for a photograph. I was chosen and I
loved that experience, but most important, I discovered that I felt good and comfortable
as a character in front of the camera. I released myself so then I started to look for more
opportunities like that one. It could be said that I started a small career as a photo model
which prepared me for more challenging experiences. Then, being a big big girl, I spent
a couple of years to polish all those habilities and experiences I already had by taking
formal acting studies. About horror in particular?. Well, I love al l kind of cinema, but I
have a particular interest in genre (fantasy, horror) so, as far as possible I will always try
to channel my wortk opportunities to that sector of the industry. I remain faithful to that
stimulus that made me dream so much since I was little.

If you could work with any director or actor/actress, who would you

There are so many talented people around there!!!!.
As in dreams everything is possible….. I’d choose Joaquin Phoenix. Iwoud love to be in
the same scene with such an amazing actor like him.
But let me say that I`d love too to be in a movie with……Godzilla!!!.
Along with Count Dracula, is one of my most beloved characters when I was a child.

Thank you to Ximena for the incredible interview! If you’d like to follow her on social media, her instagram is @ximedelsolar

If you’d like to rent/buy Trauma now, it’s available on Amazon Prime (Link here)

Ill: Final Contagium is also available on Amazon Prime! (Link here)

Photo Credit: @nataliabelmar_ / NATALIA BELMAR

This interview was conducted by Marcus Rude with the Rude Horror Podcast on February 7th, 2020.

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