Martin Henderson

The Ring

Interviewed by Neil Davey

Horror movie "The Ring" is the US remake of Hideo Nakata's "Ringu", a Japanese horror about a nightmarish videotape.

The film stars Naomi Watts as a journalist investigating the tape along with her friend Noah, played by New Zealand actor Martin Henderson.

Were you a fan of the original film?

I hadn't seen it. After getting the part, I read about the origins but I waited a while to see it because I didn't want the original performance to instruct my own. I wanted to make sure it was my own interpretation of our script.

When you did finally see it, did they show it to you on video?!

Yes, they did, the b*******!

Are you a horror fan?

Not generally. Most horror films fail to scare me. I think "The Ring" plays more as a psychological thriller. It's smarter, there's more character development and some of the themes explored go a little deeper. I realised that, if done well, this could be a pretty great film.

Was the atmosphere on set creepy?

Not really. A lot of the "scare factor" comes with the editing, the effects, and the music. There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, "This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!

You're from New Zealand but working in LA - and sounding more American these days...

[Laughs] The accent got lost somewhere along the way. I'm a little embarrassed about it. When I arrived in LA I assumed I'd be able to put on the American accent. It proved difficult so I had six months working with a dialect coach and it's become a habit. I do a really bad New Zealand accent now! But I'm sure I can get it back.

And bizarrely, as you come to LA to work, the film world goes to New Zealand...

It is strange. As soon as I got off the plane in LA, I heard they'd cast the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and that it was all being shot in New Zealand! That was pretty ironic.

It seems to be a good time for Aussie and New Zealand actors in Hollywood...

Well, they don't just open the door because you've got a New Zealand passport - Sam Neill, then Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce - I think maybe they've forged the way. I think it's a very New Zealand/Aussie attitude: if they can, I can do it. And possibly the competitive spirit. It's a great challenge to come from little New Zealand and beat the odds in Hollywood.