Interview by Paul Salfen
No one could predict what was going to happen in 2020, but there are several films that seem well-timed in theme and No Escape is certainly one of them. It follows a social media influencer (Keegan Allen) that travels to Moscow with his friends to create new content and like many, he finds ways to push the limits in order to grow his audience but gets into a seedy world that puts him in severe danger.
For Holland Roden, the Dallas native who has found her own success via social media with Hollandays, (her van build video series on YouTube that sees her in a different light than fans know her from her days in “Teen Wolf”) she can let her personality shine while impressing us with her DIY skills. During her time off, Roden says she was quarantining from March until May in Dallas until she went to Wisconsin for a van build. But for now, it’s back on the promotional trail, even if only via phone.
Here’s more from Roden:
AMFM Magazine: Since we’ve been stuck at home, we’ve been enjoying all kinds of wild movies, but this one really goes down a crazy rabbit hole. It certainly looked like it was fun working on it, even though it’s a stressful watch.
Holland Roden: I’m really thankful. It really comes down to the script and who you’re working with and we got super lucky with the cast. Even though we’re from different backgrounds and professions, there was a great work ethic and sense of humor, so it was a blast.
AMFM: You must have a pretty great memory from the set since it seemed pretty wild.
HR: Ironically, it was when I was in the tank. The way Will [Wernick] stayed so calm as a director and had so much on his plate was really impressive and it was just a really easy set. It was 20 minutes from my house. I filmed it for a month and they filmed for two months and it was just a lovely place to go to work every day. There were quick takes and great attitudes.
AMFM: How did you stay calm in that tank of water?
HR: Ironically, the tank was warm. It was a little claustrophobic. I like physical challenges, but this felt like wading in a whirlpool and pretending you’re uncomfortable. [Laughs] It wasn’t bad at all.
AMFM: Well, it was a striking image, so much so that it made the poster, so that’s pretty great.
HR: [Laughs] Yeah!
AMFM: I don’t know if you’d call this a horror movie per se, but there are a lot of horrifying things in here.
HR: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I liked the script a lot because I got a lot of horror scripts after “Teen Wolf,” but this one felt organic and it’s not all that unbelievable. A lot of times, it’s shock and awe and having to raise the bar, but you could see this happening if your friends went to Moscow and it all went awry. There are different versions of this story in real life so I liked how realistic it felt.
AMFM: Speaking of having a lot of eyes and commentary on your every move, you’ve got 5 million followers, so sometimes you must feel like these characters as far as the attention goes.
HR: [Laughs] I guess so. I don’t think Instagram is a very personal platform, so a few years ago I’d say I wasn’t a very good social media person and then I started a YouTube channel for my van build and in the last few months I’ve felt it was a lot more intimate when you’re blogging. A picture to me feels a lot more different than a face-to-face camera blog so to speak. Two years ago I was not too into social media but since my YouTube channel, I very much am and it’s a nice personal relationship you can have with fans.
AMFM: You’ve had a cool career so far and I know some girls in Dallas- and beyond – would love to hear some advice from you.
HR: I didn’t start acting professionally until I was a sophomore in college, but it started well before that. I’m so excited that you’re from Dallas so I can give a local plug but I absolutely love Ken Farmer, the acting coach, who is to this day the only acting coach that I have really connected with on a regular basis so he was the one that encouraged me to do this professionally and I solely believe in starting locally and that’s what I did: I got a local agent, I starred in student films, I did commercials – it took me years to really gain the confidence to say, “OK, I want to do this professionally” and then I went to college in California. But I always say start locally.
AMFM: So what was your Hail Mary Moment, the moment in your life or career where you just had to go for it and it worked out for you?
HR: Oh, I think moving to Los Angeles was my Hail Mary Moment. That and the persistence – just sticking with it is a Hail Mary.
AMFM: It seems this year more than ever, escapism is what we need right now, but this one gets a little realistic, doesn’t it?
HR: Well, I think YouTube is having quite the uptick during quarantine. First and foremost, like you said, it’s not necessarily a horror movie, it’s a rare movie about when you cross the line, what is too much access to a person that has a lot of it? I think with YouTube blowing up during quarantine – and it’s huge already, it’s a well-timed movie given that common thread.
No Escape is available on demand and digital now.
Sidebar: Roden says that JD’s Chippery on Hillcrest in Dallas is “the best cookie shop ever,” recommending the M&M and chocolate chip cookies. She also suggests pairing it with a cherry limeade – and to get there early, as it closes at 5.