Audiences will get to see local actress Olivia Hardt be a woman of action as she drives speed boats and fights off monstrous, killer spiders in a special screening of the SyFy Channel original movie “Arachnoquake” at Liberty Hall next week.
In the tradition of other SyFy camp classics such as “Mega Python vs. Gat-oroid” and “Sharktopus,” “Arachnoquake” features a horde of giant, killer albino spiders unleashed by an earthquake onto the unsuspecting Louisiana landscape.
Although Ms. Hardt auditioned for it on a lark (she was essentially “in the neighborhood” in New Orleans auditioning for a Will Ferrell comedy the same day), it ended up being a pretty great experience, she said.
“It's a SyFy movie and I'm not even into those things to begin with. I'm a girl. I didn't think I would enjoy watching it, but I did and it was great,” she said. “The director and the team and the editors, they're so phenomenal that they made it good. I think it'll do good for the SyFy network.”
“It's a pretty action-packed movie. We're running through swamps. I'm driving a twin-engine boat, then I'm driving this enormous tourism boat with all these people on it and we're being chased by this giant spider and there are helicopters storming above us,” she said. “I did all my own stunts, which the director was pretty impressed. He told me, 'I don't typically get a dainty female on my set who wants to do all of my own stunts,' and I did all my own stunts but one.”
Originally from McKinney, Ms. Hardt came to Tyler after a stint in Los Angeles in order to take care of her father as he was suffering from some medical issues. Given Tyler's proximity to Dallas and Louisiana, where more and more casting and filming productions are taking place, and thanks to generous tax breaks, Ms. Hardt decided that Tyler would be an ideal place to stay, while still managing to keep her burgeoning acting career alive.
But even though she has her sights set on bigger productions than fare such as “Arachnoquake,” working on the TV movie is solid work. She realizes she can't look at a project as beneath her.
But even with a (relatively) low budget, “Arachnoquake” still presented an acting challenge given how special effects-heavy the story is.
“You have to be scared and you have to react to these spiders that are chasing you, but they're not there. You're imagining,” she said. “You've got the director in front of you with his hands out going, 'Spider! Spider!' Or they'll put a little piece of tape and say, 'OK, that's it right there.' And I'll just be like, 'At least tell me when it pops into the frame so I know what's going on.' Your reference points are nothing and you have to make something out of nothing.”
In all, Ms. Hardt described the production as a memorable, fun experience as she drew close to her fellow cast members and crew. It helped that everyone seemed to understand just what sort of movie they were making.
“Everyone there understands. Everyone there is laughing. We're making fun of certain lines and scenes in the script. Everyone is having a good time,” she said. “Even the movie, I watched it for the first time a couple days ago, it's got this really great, funny undertone. There are parts that are intended to be funny where you laugh out loud. It was a fun movie.”
“Arachnoquake” wills screen at Liberty Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. Tickets are $7. For more information, call 903-595-1521 or visit www.libertytyler.com.