Exclusive: The Seed Star Lucy Martin Talks Bonkers New Sci-Fi Horror Movie on Shudder

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Lucy Martin hasn’t acted in a movie like The Seed before; then again, not many people have. The debut movie from filmmaker Sam Walker (a veteran of short films) is a bizarre hybrid of sci-fi, horror, comedy, and social commentary that almost seems like a dream project for an actor, seeing how the film closely follows only three actors, and each juicy part is filled with improvisational possibilities.

Martin (from Vikings) embraced the role of Deirdre, a social media influencer who is probably more superficial and hollow than she seems, which is saying something. Before long, she’s screaming half-naked, copulating with tentacled aliens, and oozing inky black fluids, nightmares in her eyes, in a terrific and unhinged performance.


Three Women and The Seed

The Seed, a Shudder exclusive, takes its time developing the characters before immersing itself in full-body horror. The first half presents the relationship between three young women at a weekend vacation to watch a meteor shower from an incredible, hyper-modern house situated in the emptiness of a vast desert landscape. Dierdre is accompanied by her childhood friends Heather (a rich girl whose father owns the property) and Charlotte (who works at a pet store, the audience conscious of her class difference). One of the ‘meteors’ lands in the pool, and before long it hatches to reveal a sinister, mind-controlling alien, leading to the second half of The Seed, when all hell breaks loose.

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Like many movies in the era of COVID cinema, The Seed focuses on a small group of people in mostly a single; several other bottle movies in one location have been released recently, such as the Netflix thriller Windfall and the small COVID rom-com 7 Days. In a sense, these films shot throughout the pandemic have led to acting exercises for many of their casts, forcing them to tackle theater stage-like scenarios and work without many other actors to play off of. Martin experienced something similar, placed as she was in a cast of three in one location.



The Seed star Chelsea Edge as Charlotte covered in inky fluids
Shudder

One of the acting exercises in The Seed saw the three women exchanging their roles and experimenting with the different parts. “We switched around the roles I played. I actually tried out all of them,” Martin says. “We were in a rehearsal space together, switching around the roles or doing it in different ways, trying out different accents […] playing with the script and messing around with the characters really.” Walker wrote the script and created the characters and scenarios, but he gave his actors a surprising amount of room to play around. Improvisation and acting exercises informed The Seed that way.


We were given the freedom to just sort of let go. There’s a scene where I’m getting into the pool, and I sort of just let go [screaming maniacally], and I remember before I did that, I said to Sam, “what do you want from me here?” And he just said, let’s just see what comes out.” […] It was a ‘go for it first to see what happens’ sort of thing, so he sort of gave me free rein, which it’s really fun when someone does that. You just get to explore lots of different sides of yourself, and your acting ability.

Lucy Martin Transforms



LucyMartinTheSeed
Shudder

Dierdre and Heather are complicated characters because they both enter the film as privileged, social media-obsessed women who find the alien creature to be a disgusting and scary extraterrestrial monster. However, as the alien controls their minds (and brings them into some psychedelic, practically seizure-inducing sexual encounters), they shed their superficiality and become almost blissed-out in a Zen-like way. When the alien is threatened by Charlotte, they react with increasing resentment and anger before transforming into something even more horrific than an Instagram celebrity. Ironically, the hardest part of the character for Martin wasn’t the hallucinatory and nightmarish horror, but rather capturing the initial meanness and triviality of Deirdre, and if she “enjoyed it” and “it was a fantastic experience.”


What was interesting is, when things start to get weird in the film and Dierdre does go through this transformation of having a weird alien sex act […] weirdly, that’s actually what I found less challenging. I think her, when she’s with the girls coming in and that first part of the film, I actually found […] those little sections a little bit more challenging than the rest of the film weirdly. All the weird stuff, it actually just comes naturally to me.



The Seed star Lucy Martin covered in tentacles and weird red stuff
Shudder

The titular “weird alien” of The Seed, looking like the Eraserhead baby in all its hideous glory, is an ambiguous but fascinating allegory for the contemporary age of cell phones and social media. As soon as it crash lands, the ladies’ cell phones go dark, and they’re unable to post any content or contact anyone, which indicates how the alien is taking on the role those cell phones play. Eventually, the alien satisfies their sex drives in a way far better than Tinder, internet pornography, or online dating can and induces the same kind of antisocial numbness one may experience from browsing the internet or social media feeds for hours. The former internet-obsessed women no longer have any interest in contacting the outside world or posting pictures of themselves the creature, spreading throughout the world like 5G and contaminating everything it comes into contact with, fills that need.


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The metaphorical meaning of the film was something that the three actors discussed intently with writer/director Walker; “We discussed everything in great detail, actually. He knew exactly what she wanted, and we discussed the meaning behind all of that.”

You know, this is what we live in now, with our phones being on us 24/7, and I’ve even got lights right next to me. It’s a powerful thing, we go to bed with it, we wake up with it, we have our emails, we have our phone calls, we have our social media, it’s our whole connection to the people in our lives. The outer world is just through this item that we carry with us for hours a day […] I feel that you can very easily make that into a sinister plot.



The Seed star Lucy Martin covered in blood and black fluid against a truck
Shudder

Martin had a fittingly weird revelation while making The Seed, playing Dierdre in the film, who clutches to the mobile device like it’s a flotation device from the remaining debris of our world’s sinking ship. While shooting the film, she realized, “I also had [my phone] on me as well, in my other bag, and it was weird. It wasn’t on, it was ‘just in case.'” That feeling of always needing to have the phone nearby has been studied by psychologists; when people have their phones nearby, even if the device is turned off, it negatively affects their cognitive function, and they perform in ways similar to someone who has had serious sleep deficiency, and consistent overuse or dependency on mobile phones has been found significantly impact one’s mental health in significant ways.

It’s as if an alien crash-landed in our society, this weird internet from nowhere, turning everyone into androids, people who can only function if they have a technological piece of machinery attached to their hip at all times. “It’s stayed in my mind,” Martin says, reflecting on the allegories of The Seed. “I go out without my phone a lot these days.”

Yes, as Martin says, her character Dierdre “is so different from myself, and from anything else I play,” but inhabiting that role and being a part of such a different film has certainly impacted her in a way. “I think that’s what drew me in, really,” and it’s the utter difference of the movie which draws audiences in, too. The Seed is now streaming exclusively on Shudder.



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