Michelle Argyris knew auditioning for the role of an innocent college-bound young woman who is suddenly possessed by a ruthless, evil hell spawn meant stepping outside of her comfort zone. ‘Devil Seed’ is her first film, and we are glad she took the plunge. Chris Montanini caught up with Michelle and chats with her about the film, her character and her career.
“To be fully honest, horror is a genre that scares the crap out of me,” she said with a laugh. But like most obstacles faced by the 24-year-old Canadian actress, Argyris was determined to get the best of her inhibitions.
In her first full length feature film appearance, Argyris plays lead character Alex Frobisher in the Matchbox Pictures production of ‘Devil Seed’, which available on DVD and VOD in North America on August 7, 2012. The film is a coming out party for both Matchbox and Argyris and Frobisher provides an ambitious lead character with a ton of screen time and complexity as she struggles to grasp the gravity of her situation before succumbing to the demon possessing her.
Michelle describes her character as ” a sweet, girl next door. The devil is attracted to her naivety and innocence. You feel for her as the darker presence of her character develops”. She states: It was neat to play Alex since she portrays 3 different characters: an innocent teenager, a disturbed schizophrenic and finally a full blown demon. It’s interesting to play such a versatile character, as Alex eventually gets lost when the devil inside her takes over.”
Born in Mississauga, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, Argyris grew up with an older brother and said she was always the “creative cat” to his “bookworm.” She first got the acting bug in high school — Marty from Grease is one of her earliest performances — while studying drama. But it was the action behind the scenes that originally appealed to Argyris.
“As far as acting goes, though there was a definite interest there, I never thought it would be something that I’d actually get into,” she said. “I always thought I’d be behind the camera. My high school offered an Information Technology program in which I obsessively stayed hours after class putting together small commercials and videos. I loved it”
A graduate of York University in Toronto with a degree in French studies and Communication, the cameras couldn’t stay away from the bilingual Argyris for long. After a successful year auditioning for commercials and small television roles in 2010, acting became more and more appealing.
“I started to really enjoy going to auditions. Acting quickly became a passion of mine,” Argyris said. ” It’s been an awesome ride.”
It was around that time Argyris was introduced to Matchbox Pictures through some commercial work. Aspiring to break into feature films, ‘Devil Seed’ director Greg Sager asked Argyris to audition for his movie and wasn’t disappointed with the results.
“I couldn’t have asked for more, I got lucky,” Sager said. “She worked her butt off on ‘Devil Seed’. She was in practically every scene and there’s another 25 minutes on the cutting room floor. She pulled some long days, she’s a trooper. I don’t know of too many people who could have pulled the days we did.”
So far the effort has paid off – ‘Devil Seed’ is being distributed by Los Angeles based Imagination Worldwide in over 40 countries and Matchbox is already working on a bigger budget horror project to follow up their debut. Argyris, who was in talks for a role in that production before starring in ‘Devil Seed’, has continued to work too, taking a couple television roles including the season three premier of college comedy Blue Mountain State.
Without a lengthy demo reel before ‘Devil Seed’, Argyris is proud of how the film turned out — a milestone for her and Matchbox — and believes taking on the more risky role will serve her well as she continues her career.
“It’s definitely something out of the ordinary,” Argyris said. “It’s not your typical role. It’s dark intense and was at times scary to play. It’s a very aggressive way to put yourself out there, especially in your first movie. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to play Alex and I’m looking forward to diving into some other juicy roles.”
In ‘Devil Seed’, Michelle Argyris plays the title role of Alex Frobisher, the adorable, kind hearted but somewhat naive student who is goaded into getting the psychic reading by her best friend Jess with a catastrophic outcome. The film is available in the UK under the title ‘The Devil in Me’ since July 9. It will hit the shelves everywhere in the USA and Canada on August 7, shortly after its release in Japan on August 3. Further national releases are currently in the works.
by Chris Montanini
Chris Montanini is a writer and newspaper journalist in London, Ontario. He can be reached at email@example.com