Exclusive Interview With Dominique Swain On The Girl From The Naked Eye
The Girl From the Naked Eye tells the story of a man named Jake, who is looking to pay off the debt he owes by working as a driver for a strip club called The Naked Eye, which is also operating an underground prostitution ring. Jake eventually meets a young girl named Sandy and when she’s murdered, Jake puts everything on the line to find her killer.
Recently, we had the chance to speak with Dominique Swain, one of the stars of the film. She discussed with us how the film was inspired by the graphic novel genre, her experience from working on the film, and how she’s never had an onscreen death. We also talked to her about her earlier films, Face/Off and Lolita.
Check out the interview below.
We Got This Covered: Who is the character that you play?
Dominique Swain: I play Alissa. She’s a prostitute who’s fallen on hard times because of the economy, and I want to get a car to get out of there. But, basically, I help this angered driver who is trying to solve the mystery of his true love. I help him with Nanc Drew book knowledge.
WGTC: Is your role a big one or is it minor?
Dominique Swain: Oh, it’s a totally minor part.
WGTC: From what I saw in the trailer, it definitely looked like a noir kind of film. The way the colors were set up, it looked like it was inspired by Frank Miller’s Sin City. Is that what the director based the look of the film on?
Dominique Swain: Yes, that’s absolutely the look they were going for. It is based on a – I think it’s a made up graphic novel. But that’s how they bookend it – the front and the back. They open on the graphic novel.
WGTC: I saw the part where they opened up to the first page of the graphic novel, so I didn’t know if this was based on one or not.
Dominique Swain: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It looks very surreal. They did a great job with the action choreography and with the look of the film. I mean, the way that it’s edited, I wouldn’t want to get into a fight with the guy. [laughs] But that wasn’t what my character played. I was only wholesome and helpful. For a prostitute, that’s huge. [laughs]
WGTC: Did the people do their own stunts for the film, or were there stunt doubles for the action scenes?
Dominique Swain: Oh, no, they did all of their own stunts. I mean, it’s so heavily action based that there’s one scene in particular – when you get a chance to see the film – where the lead character is fighting with three cops and it goes on for a minute. I mean it’s done so seamlessly it’s balletic.
WGTC: Did you get a chance to try out any martial arts training or was that mainly for the people in the action sequences?
Dominique Swain: No, I wasn’t in the action sequences. I wish – maybe next time. In all honesty, the last time I was in a fight scene, I made one of the stunt guys bleed. [laughs].
WGTC: Oh, what film was that for?
Dominique Swain: That was for New York 2155. He didn’t even say anything. They took me out and put in a stunt girl. I was like “What’s going on?” He was like “Oh, yeah.” And they were like “Is your face OK?” I was like “Crap. What happened?” He goes “Oh, my nose was bleeding before, but it’s fine.” I was like “Oh, no!!” So it’s not like I meant to. I just kind of hit him too hard.
WGTC: Before you accepted this role, did you have an interest in books or films of the noir genre from the ‘40s and ‘50s or even from today?
Dominique Swain: Well, I really like that type of storytelling because the dialogue is so terrific. They allow it to be really dramatic, and it’s very much like storyboarding. I mean, it’s kind of what films should be, I think. And the way it’s translated in this one, I mean, I love it. I love the vibrant colors, and I love the feeling that you get to go into a world. And they really created a world in this. I do like that genre. I think it could be used to tell other stories, also, that weren’t so graphic.
WGTC: I’d like to talk about your debut films, Face/Off and Lolita. I was wondering if there’d be a chance of you re-teaming with Nicolas Cage or John Travolata or Jeremy Irons for another movie.
Dominique Swain: Oh, I would love to do that. I mean, it depends on the movie. Everyone kind of goes their own separate ways after a film. If I run into them on the streets, then it’s fine. But I don’t hound them for tea every day.
WGTC: When you did the auditions for Lolita, did you expect it to be as controversial as it was when it was released?
Dominique Swain: Oh, yeah. The whole story, the Nabokov book, is controversial. I knew it would be controversial. We were, as far as distribution goes, up against a lot of things. The Internet was responsible for making illegal the looking like you were having sex with a minor. So Adrian (Lyne) didn’t get to use his cut and it didn’t come out for years. Lolita didn’t come out for three years. The normal turnaround is one year or less. I didn’t expect for everybody to be up in arms about it, but the story itself is very volatile.
WGTC: Since you were a minor at the time of the filming, were your parents OK with you doing the role or were they a bit hesitant about you taking it on at first?
Dominique Swain: Oh, my parents have always had total confidence that I knew what I was doing. They raised me to be a good person. If I felt comfortable with it, they were completely supportive. My mom was on set the entire time for any things that would have been questionable. There was nothing that I actually did that my mom objected to.
WGTC: What’s the next project you’re doing?
Dominique Swain: I’m going to be producing a film in Canada. It’s called Holding God, and I’m also starring in it. That’s going to start June 2. It’s a psychological thriller about a guy who is a psychologist who thinks he’s going crazy. When he realizes that the world as he knows it has been compromised, he thinks the world is going crazy and it turns out he is stuck in a limbo between heaven and hell. It makes you question your reality. It’s really kind of a mindscrew of a film.
WGTC: Have you produced a film before or is this your first time?
Dominique Swain: This is my first time. When you see actors’ names producing films, it usually doesn’t mean anything. But with this one, I’m hiring people; I’m opening LLCs; I’m doing a lot of things. It’s very, very exciting.
WGTC: Back to The Girl from the Naked Eye, what was the best moment you had of filming your part or just being on the set?
Dominique Swain: Well, in all honesty, when you do one of these films that have a lot of action in it, you have to make sure that your entire role is pivotal to the plot. I thought this was going to be my first onscreen death, and that actually wasn’t significant to the story. So it’s not in the movie, but that would have totally been the most fun thing. I got to watch the action direction a fair bit, and that was absolutely my favorite part – trying to piece together from what they were filming like how it was going to be edited into a cohesive whole.
WGTC: So you’ve never had an onscreen death before?
Dominique Swain: No! It’s been insinuated. I mean, my first film, Lolita, I get a card that says, “Lolita died in childbirth.” But that doesn’t make any difference. Anyway, she’d be dead by now. Good lord! But, no, I’ve never had my body or taken my last dying breath and that was supposed to happen and that didn’t. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but I’m OK with it.
WGTC: It almost sounds like dying on the screen is something you’re really eager to do.
Dominique Swain: God! You know, I’m not sure whether I would just take a part because they gave me an opportunity to die grandly or if I should just save myself and have it be a special moment – play appropriate music and good lighting, because it’s been a really long time coming [laughs]. I don’t know. I was complaining about it a while ago, and my son was like “You’re too expensive to kill.” I was like “What?” He said, “You’re the lead character.” I was like “Well, I guess I’ll take that as a compliment.” But when I got this opportunity to die, I missed it. [laughs] So I have yet to have someone kill me dramatically.
WGTC: That wraps it up for me unless you want to add something about The Girl from the Naked Eye or anything else.
Dominique Swain: First off, The Girl from the Naked Eye is a great movie. It is just fully entertaining from beginning to end – it’s fantastic. I didn’t know how I would feel about it, especially since the script was so, so very different from the final product. I give it two thumbs up – maybe three.
This concludes our interview, but we would like to thank Dominique for taking the time to speak with us. The Girl from the Naked Eye will open in select theaters on Friday, June 15.