As Stan drama I Am The Night reaches its finale on March 5, TV WEEK caught up with breakout lead actress India Eisley.
We talk to the 25-year-old actress about playing a real-life person, Hollywood's most infamous murder, being inspired by her actress mum and working with the director of Wonder Woman.
What attracted you to the script?
It was the chance to work with Patty Jenkins. Just the thought of being in the same room as her was enough. [Laughs]
Did working with her live up to your expectations?
Patty is unlike any other director I have ever worked with, or ever seen on a set. I feel fortunate professionally, but also personally because it's very special that the world has someone like her in it, especially in this period of time. She really is an inspiration.
Were you aware of the Black Dahlia murder?
Yes, I was very aware of the Black Dahlia murder and I am bit of a true crime junkie – I do love watching shows about unsolved mysteries – but Fauna's was new to me. So when I got the job, I immediately bought the book [I Am The Night is inspired by the book One Day She'll Darken: The Mysterious Beginnings of Fauna Hodel written by Fauna Hodel] and read it cover to cover and it just floored me. The fact that someone can go through what she went through at such a young age and have it just unravel step-by-step as she got older is mind-boggling.
Can you talk about the challenges of playing a real life person?
I have never played an 'actual person' before. There's a heavier responsibility that you feel. Even when everyone around you is very encouraging, which they were, I was very lucky. Everyone was very warm and positive about what I was doing. But I am kind of a severe perfectionist so that added to it.
The real Fauna sadly passed before you were cast, but her daughters visited the set. Was that a daunting prospect?
It was really beautiful having them around and didn't feel daunting at all. They were really helpful with little things if I asked them. Or little anecdotes… like 'Mum used to think that.' Or 'Mum used to do that.' Tiny things that only people who knew her could know. So that does help your performance. Just as human beings, they are such light to have around, very special souls.
You also had a certain Mr. Chris Pine on set. How was the experience of working with him?
He is a sweetheart. He is very funny and he is a joy to have on set. Especially as I tend to abnormally enjoy darker subject matters and I can get a bit morose and get into the melancholy whereas he can easily drop a joke or lighten the mood.
Your mum is actress Olivia Hussey. Was she your inspiration to take up the profession?
I have to credit her, my mum, greatly. She never pressured me into it or anything but I think just growing up in that set environment it really felt right. My happiest childhood memories are being on the set while my mum was working. You get to test out all different personalities and it becomes a world in itself and there is nothing like it. But also watching her performances she was just brilliant. I am a very proud daughter. It's funny because normally people think that I must've loved Romeo and Juliet as a young girl. And I am like NO, I loved her in the slasher film Black Christmas!
What do you hope that people take from I Am The Night?
Honestly, after spending time with her daughters, it's such a special thing for Fauna's story to get out there, it meant the world to her. She was faced with so many hurdles that she had to overcome. She was a very resilient soul and I think that having stories about people like that which don't come around very often is a very important thing in this day and age.
The finale episode of I Am The Night will drop on Stan on March 5 at 4pm AEST. The entire series is available to watch on Stan here.