In Season 3 of the high-stakes Crackle series Chosen, Jacob (Chad Michael Murray) is dealing with the devastating consequences of his choice and desperately seeking redemption by trying to free Ellie (Caitlin Carmichael) from the game. But his actions put him on a direct collision course with Josie (Rose McGowan), an experienced hunter who holds the distinction of being one of the most deadly to exist.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, actress Rose McGowan talked about how she got involved with this project, why she wants to have more of a creative say, how her bad-ass character fits into this dangerous world, how challenging the physicality is, why she doesn’t want to be a part of a network television schedule again, her feelings about the Charmed reboot, when and why she decided to get into directing, how the short film Dawn became her directorial debut, and how she’s looking to direct a full-length feature next. Check out our Rose McGowan interview after the jump.
ROSE McGOWAN: It took me awhile to read it and it took me awhile to even watch the trailer that they sent over, just because I’d been saying no to most things. I had really shied away from television, in general. I’d dip my toe, here and there, and then skitter back away. I really prize my freedom more than work. I prize just being human and doing other things. And the shooting schedule on this is amazing. It shoots like a film. It shoots for two or two and a half months, and then you’re done. It’s perfect. It doesn’t suit my personality to kn what I’ll be doing six months from now, at 6:01 in the morning. When I did a TV show that went on for a long time, I had to get hypno-therapy because I was having panic attacks. I just felt so constrained. It was psychologically quite difficult. It was very, very difficult. That was the hardest part of it. But also, I love film, and this feels much more film like than it feels like I’m doing a TV show. And this team is very respectful. I’ve worked with some pretty sexist people, behind the scenes, as we all have, unfortunately. But these guys were modern and, more than anything, they’re human. They allowed me to go as far as I wanted and be as bad-ass as I wanted, or as vulnerable as I wanted to be. It was my call, and I liked that.
Was getting to have more of a creative say part of the attraction in doing something like this?
McGOWAN: Absolutely! It’s more like the wild, wild, west. You’re not hemmed in by all the rules that a lot of the networks place on you. One of the attractions for me is that I like freedom, in general. I just work better that way, in life and at work. I don’t fit into boxes well. I don’t like them and never have, personally or work wise. That’s why I’ve been directing lately, and I’ve stepped back from acting. But, this was so much fun. I have this weird macho thing. My friend calls me “macho sensitive.” I love shooting guns. I would never shoot an animal or hunt, but I probably would be a very good hit woman. It’s hand-in-glove for me. It’s weird, essentially being anti-gun, and then doing something with guns, but it’s in reality. It’s not a fantasy show. It’s a situation where anybody would pick up a gun because they would have to, to save their lives.
For people who haven’t watched Chosen, what can you say about the character you’re playing and how she fits into this world?
McGOWAN: Josie Acosta is a mother of two, which was weird for me ‘cause I’ve never played a mom, really. She had twins when she was 16 years old. And there’s this game that they get involved in. The previous seasons were what happens to you when you get into this game and you basically have to kill people to survive. She’s been in it for awhile and been doing it for awhile. This is what happens to somebody after they’ve been doing it for three or four years, and it’s just the way they live. You get a box, you open it up, and it has a picture and a gun. And Josie will go get her nails done afterwards. It’s pretty cool to play somebody who’s not grappling, psychologically. A lot of times when you do things where you’re killing people, the character is always having an existential crisis about it. It’s fun to be no-holds-barred and have no big crisis of conscious. For me, I would love to be a vampire, and I don’t think I’d have any of that angst. I’d be like, “Hell, yeah, you get to live forever, be rich and wear whatever you want. That’s amazing!” I would not be sad, at all. I’d be totally okay with that. There are some serious positives, but they always have all of this angst. And what I love about this is that she doesn’t have angst. She’s an uncomfortable human being because she doesn’t know how to relate to her kids or life, but she’s really comfortable with a gun. In some ways, I relate to that.
How challenging is the physicality of something like this?
McGOWAN: I’ve already gotten a concussion. They’re pretty lucky because I’ve already done so many things with fight sequences that I actually know how to fight. Otherwise, I’d be in trouble. But you get hurt, whether there’s a big budget and a lot of time, or a smaller budget and no time. It’s random. That’s one of the things I like about it. I come from the indie world background where you pull up your boots and march on. You change behind a shower curtain, get down and dirty and keep going. As long as we can get stuff on film, that’s awesome. That’s the approach to this, and that suits my personality. It’s guerilla filmmaking, in a way. And it’s the same with the physicality in it. You beat up who you can, when you can, as hard as you can.
McGOWAN: I would, but it would have to be really special. One would hope that anything you do would be special. [When I did Charmed,] I was doing 23 episodes. I was doing 17-hour days for 80 to 100 hours a week. I had no life. I never saw my friends or my family. There are a lot of positives, but it’s the golden handcuffs. And as you get older, you realize what you will and won’t trade, and I won’t trade it anymore. There were days that I was so exhausted that I just wanted to phone it in, but to the best of my ability, I never let myself do that. I wanted to because I didn’t have a single bit of energy in me, but I won’t sell myself out that way, or the fans, or the character that I’ve created. But, it is work. It’s just a quality of life thing. But there are so many amazing female roles now. I directed my first film, that opened at Sundance, and I have a feature that I’m going to direct. What’s been cool about being on Chosen is that they’ve been really great about working with me, directorially. I’ve been talking to them about doing something for Crackle next season. It’s hand-in-hand for me. Everything for me now has to have that as a pay-off.
What did you think when you heard that they were going to do a reboot of Charmed?
McGOWAN: I was like, “What the hell?!” I did say something that I regretted, but mostly because it wasn’t unique or pithy. I said, “Oh, they’re running out of ideas in Hollywood,” which is true, I guess, but that’s not a particularly unique statement. I should have worded it in a more interesting fashion. I honestly don’t really care. Have fun. Have a party. It just seems a little asinine. It’s not complicated to make a show about witches. Come up with something original. It had its own quality. I haven’t watched The Carrie Diaries, but it doesn’t appeal to the same audience as Sex and the City and it looks super manufactured. That was one of my things, when I cast the film I directed for Sundance. My criteria for casting was that nobody looks like they’d be on The CW, just because it’s a real homogenized look. They’re beautiful, but it doesn’t speak to reality. One of the things that people liked about Charmed was that while the girls were all pretty, there was an off-beatness to it and a uniqueness that didn’t seem like it was from a Disney factory. My guess is, for the reboot, because it’s stupid executives, they’ll probably just do some weird homogenized white-washing of it. To that point, I’m like, “Just make something new and be creative. Why not try to elevate yourselves instead of going lower?” It just makes no sense to me. I wasn’t mad that they were remaking Charmed. It was more that, as a person who’s thinking on a planet, it’s just lazy. It’s really not complicated.
McGOWAN: The funny thing is that I’ve been directing behind the scenes for a long time. I’ve directed other actors through directors that didn’t know how to direct them. I’ve basically been trying to control things, my own way, from behind the scenes. The thing is, I was never trying to be an actress. I didn’t come here for that. It was totally accidental, and I never really found a huge passion for it. I love it. There are moments when you act that you actually disappear from your body, and that’s amazing. That’s better than any drug, I would imagine. People take drugs to disappear from themself, and that’s what it feels like when you hit that moment. But all the crap and all the slings and arrows that go with it, frankly, just doesn’t interest me. I’m better than that. I’m a better human, and I don’t deserve a lot of the shit that goes along with it, so I choose not to do it. I stayed in it for so long because I was like, “It’s everybody’s dream.” But it’s not my dream, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I don’t actually really enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot more, now that I’ve had that epiphany and I’ve realized that I don’t have to do this. It’s been incredibly freeing. And with directing, I felt like I was wearing pants that fit me, for the first time. Sundance is the only thing that you can’t campaign for. You can campaign to be in the Golden Globes. You can campaign to get into the Oscars. You can’t campaign for Sundance. And your name doesn’t help you. It works against you.
What was it like then, when you found out that your film got into Sundance?
McGOWAN: It’s the high point of my career because it’s the career that I chose. When acting happened to me, I was grateful. It was one of those things that is this mass societal dream, so I assumed that I must want it to. And it appeared, so I thought it must be what was meant to happen. So, you just get stuck in this thing. But, I’m a free human being and I can do whatever the fuck I want. Right now, I want to shoot guns on a show called Chosen, and direct movies. Kick ass! How fun! What a great life!
Was it hard to find that first project to direct?
McGOWAN: I was originally meant to do a Flannery O’Connor short ‘cause I’m very interested in Southern writers. And then, at the very last minute, I lost the rights to it, which was devastating. And then, the writers, who are doing Paul Feig’s next movie, wrote the script for me and saved me. I was never nervous directing. Not once. I’m more nervous acting. I’m far more nervous on set, before I say my lines, than I ever have been, as a director.
What is the film you directed about?
McGOWAN: It’s called Dawn, and it’s set in 1961. I did the production design on it, which was also a high point because I restore houses for fun. It’s about this girl and I wanted to explore the subtext for what happens when there are maternal pressures, which at that time were to be perfect and flawless and please men at all costs. Her idea of masculinity are false idols. It’s about how societal pressures and maternal pressures lead you to lose your own internal voice, and the dangers that can befall you, if you, as a woman, don’t hear your voice anymore. I think we’ve all, as women, fallen prey to that.
What made you do a short first, instead of a full-length feature?
McGOWAN: I had never seen a short, ironically, until after I did it. It’s three acts. It’s a full feature, but it happens to be 17 minutes long.
Season 3 of Chosen is now available at Crackle.