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Unraveling Truth: Lily Sullivan's Solitary Odyssey in MONOLITH

A blueish poster showing a woman talking into a microphone with an object above her
Photo courtesy of Well Go USA

By Shannon McGrew

In the sci-fi thriller MONOLITH, while trying to salvage her career, a disgraced journalist (Lily Sullivan) begins investigating a strange conspiracy theory. But as the trail leads uncomfortably close to home, she is left to grapple with the lies at the heart of her own story.

For MONOLITH's theatrical and digital release, Creepy Kingdom's Shannon McGrew spoke with actor Lily Sullivan (Evil Dead Rise). During their interview, they discussed everything from what drew her to the role of The Interviewer to the unique challenge of being the sole actor on screen.

Thank you so much for speaking with me today! What drew you to the role of The Interviewer?

Lily Sullivan: I read Lucy Campbell's script. It was such a feast. The film was created through this new lab, South Australian Film Co. Basically, people can apply, and they have to make a film for $500,000 within all these constraints—15 days to shoot it and then six months to edit, and the movie is complete. So quick.

I spoke with Lucy Campbell, [director] Matt Vesely, and Bettina Hamilton, who was producing the script. The script focused on an alien invasion or the idea of an unknown, unseeable force within these constraints. They would do a single-hander, one actor in one location, and instead of trying to fit the film within the budget, it was about growing the film from the budget. So for me, I'm like, this is a wild challenge. These were also people doing grassroots stuff for their first feature. To come up with a script like this with Lucy's dialogue... I think it terrified all of us [Laughs]. It was a rare opportunity and a very scary challenge.

A woman has a look of concern on her face as she talks into a microphone.
Lily Sullivan as The Interviewer in the Sci-Fi Thriller film, MONOLITH, a Well Go USA release | Photo courtesy of Well Go USA

What was your experience like being the only actor we see on screen?

Lily Sullivan: When you remove other actors or another body or another set of eyes, that's almost a second load of information that's sub-context. Once you strip that back and it becomes audio, you're not locked onto another person; it's just listening. We had actual voices plugged in through noise-canceling headphones, but it was just one person, Ansuya Nathan, playing those characters. Your imagination would be so enhanced and almost hypersensitive in a weird way. It became this really weird form of meditating and listening, really listening, for 12 hours a day and not having another actor or any physical stimulation in that way. It was quite a psychedelic experience. I had to treat it like theater because we only had 15 days to shoot.

Are you a fan of investigative journalism and podcasts trying to uncover unsolved mysteries?

Lily Sullivan: Totally! Matt was saying how he's fascinated with that little feeling of something you can't quite grab or something you can't quite understand. He's a very practical person in real life, and we all are, but there's something about whatever that sound is, the harm of the unknown, and how people react to things they don't understand. You're in a place of discovery that you can discover, that you're the next person to be able to expose something. It's just a really fun place to wrestle with the idea of people. The world is so boring if you don't enjoy all that stuff.

When it came to your performance, what was the most challenging or hardest scene to execute?

Lily Sullivan: It would be the birthing scene, for sure. It was basically a retractable rig that was like a mouth. There would be this tiny space, and it would be pushed all the way in. Then it would slowly retract out, and they would fill in the small little gaps with CGI. Getting that thing up and imaging it move through your body and throat and then shooting through... [Laughs].

Lastly, is there anything you hope the audience takes away from MONOLITH?

Lily Sullivan: We must remember the power of narrative in this world where everyone can be online and have a presence—the power of storytelling, whether MONOLITH entertains you or sees how valuable the truth is.

MONOLITH is now in theaters and on digital.


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