SHAUNA MACDONALD (THE DESCENT, THE DESCENT PART 2, MUTANT CHRONICLES)

SHAUNA MACDONALD

When shes not covered in blood and being chased by cavedwellers…  she’s quite beautiful!

About the controversy between the endings:

Steve: When you talk about The Descent 2, the elephant in the room with The Descent 2 unless you’re talking about eh American version, is the changed ending, everybody else had the ending where it was a not so nice result for Sarah, but the Americans had a more upbeat positive outcome. So in essence the sequel might not make a lot of sense to people, how did it play out for you when you got the script for the sequel, how did it come across to you?

Shauna: That question does come up a lot. Actually in the script of the Descent part 2, and what we shot of the sequel in the beginning, it was very well explained how to get out of the situation, because from the Descent we pan out leaving Sarah with her daughter on the rockface in the cave and we take that shot and in the Descent part 2 we pan right back in on that shot and we see that the actress playing Molly is a new actress, obviously because shes far too old to play her now, and the daughter stands up and beckons her, they hold hands and they jump into the abyss, and the abyss turns out to be a deep river, hundreds of feet down, they get washed out, so what happens in the script and what happens with the stunt girl, sarah gets washed out into this lake, she comes out into this lake, and it suggests shes slipped back into a year ago where her daughters just died, where she gets to the riverbank and just pulls herself up and she thinks her daughters drowned.

Differences in shooting the films:

Steve: It’s not the first movie to expand upon the ending, to push the sequel along. How would you stack up the shooting of part 2 in comparison to Neil Marshalls original?

Shauna: Ummm, well, even the, its funny returning to set, because when you return, you carry with you a certain amount of responsibility and a certain amount of power, or is it with great power comes responsibility? I had a huuuuuge dressing room! It was like, what’s going on! They also put my family up in this flat, which was like five minutes from the studios, which was great, also having the responsibility of making the film good again, being on it and doing all the emotional stuff, doing the fighting, the physical stuff which they seem to have hiked up, not hiked, sorry I’ve been talking a lot! *laughs* But, they seem to have ramped it up, it was really hard work, but it was summer time so it made a huge difference, this time I was going to work in the light and the sun, and you know half six in the morning when I’m walking to work, I think it was like a 2 hour commute to work in traffic on The Descent, getting to Pinewood Studios, I mean the whole time in a cave in winter time, then you go home in the dark… two months of your life in the dark and it’s so, it brings you down, you know, I had terrible nightmares. The Descent part 2, I was in a cave at work you know, but the rest of the time I got to bring my daughter to set, my mum was looking after my daughter, and it was just, damn I had this mindset, it was fun, because I wasn’t beating myself up over it, because I wasn’t in a downer over it this time.

Steve: One of the things I liked about this movie, was they avoided the pitfall a lot of the sequels do, where they’ll give the monster like, firebreath or wings or something. But in the Descent part 2, they only really had the Alpha Male, which made sense. Because with all animals that live in packs, you HAVE Alpha Males.

Shauna: Yeah, because they made it more of a pack, in one of the versions of the script they had ‘Twin Crawlers’, two young crawlers, the Crawlers young I guess, that’s just the name, a producers copy, god I can’t remember what they called the big one, they didn’t call it the Alpha, they called it… god, I called it the Mario Brothers crawler *laughs*

Steve: *laughs*

Shauna: So they had the twin crawlers… and… the whole pack thing comes out in the movie, and they had the female, and Paul, one of the effects guys got to do a lot more grotesque crawler faces, he changes the faces so they were more like shark teeth than vampire teeth, than originally. That’s the result of them making them more monster like.

Steve: Yeah cause on the original I think they only had like two suits or something didn’t they?

Shauna: Oh they had more than two, but they only had two creatures heads!

Steve: *laughs* Ahhhh ok!

Shauna: Yeah so the final fight sequence in the Descent, our lead crawler, played by Craig Connelly, he badly went over on his ankle that morning of the fight sequence so we kind of had to, we were panicking, because we had shot it all chronologically and we were running out of time! So we kind of filmed it in bits of pieces and did it in pickups and the crawler running had to be you know, be done done in a wierd motion, they were also using the wrong face! Craig Connelly went to A+E in a crawler outfit too! He had broken his ankle! *laughs*

SHAUNA MACDONALD (THE DESCENT, THE DESCENT PART 2, MUTANT CHRONICLES) 9

How to make a budget work for you:

Shauna: The budget was pretty tight, but do you know what, it was tight in part 2, thats what they did to try and make it again. One day we were rehearsing and one of the guys in charge of, he was making the caves, he called me over and he said ‘This polystyrene, we’ve pumped it up more, if there’s more air in it, it’s like an aerobar, if you’ve got more air in it, it’s cheaper!’ the caves more squishier, more bouncy, so it’s more cheaper. They were more wise with the sets, the sets were actually smaller than the first movie, but it’s how they shot it better, its what made it look larger. Every night the art department would come in, cut it up, repaint it, rejig it, to a degree, this one set, it looked like we were going around in circles, through the cave!

The Descent 2 is currently out on DVD and Bluray (not in America), get your copy now!

SHAUNA MACDONALD (THE DESCENT, THE DESCENT PART 2, MUTANT CHRONICLES) 11

Written by
Your interviewer from Down under, I’ve never ‘thrown a shrimp on a barbie’ or ‘tied a kangaroo down sport’ much to my countrymen’s disappointment. I’ve developed a love for cinema over the years that’s only matched by my love for talking to people. I’m raising my ten year old son myself while studying my Bachelor of Education to teach Math and English in high school. I was once told I could never do interviews, that it was too ‘select’ and that ‘you have to know people’… one Skype and IMDB pro account later here I am.

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