Fear and Intrigue in “Green Inferno”

Lorenza-Izzo_by-Amelia-Orozco | EXTRA
Lorenza Izzo. Photo by Amelia Orozco

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]orenza Izzo spoke to EXTRA about her experiences filming “Green Inferno” in the Amazon jungle. While she and her cast mates were fending off mosquitos and malaria, her character Justine, and the rest of the characters in this horror film by Eli Roth, were trying to stay one step away from cannibals.

The movie tells about a group of students’ impassioned attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, although they had no idea where their good intentions would lead them. The Chilean actress and model shared how this experience personally changed her. “To me, Justine was a very original and genuine person. As a woman, she wanted to know what she could do. She felt she was privileged and that she owed the world something,” said Izzo.

The movie was filmed in New York’s Columbia College, and in Peru and Chile. “What I did was I went to live at the school as a student for a couple of weeks and I immersed myself in human rights and those topics. I wanted to have a real experience when I went to the Amazon for the first time. I had never been there,” she shared.

“We went to a place where the people had not even seen ice before or televisions or phones. The kids would grab the ice and handle it curiously,” she remembered. “When we arrived there, it was already becoming more urbanized; electricity poles were being installed there,” she said. “There were about 300 people, and they make their living from agriculture. I spent three weeks learning about their lives, and what they like, what the children there are like. This was really important for me,” she said.

“There were rules,” said Izzo. “We could not drink the water. The food and water are so different there than here in the United States and in Chile, which is where I’m from. It was a long process to prepare for the jungle, getting shots for malaria…and we all got sick. It was a very, very tough time, but we had a great crew and we bonded over time. We all knew each other well and if we didn’t, we got to know each other. I am still very good friends with everyone from this production. When you go through something that intense, it brings you closer or it kills you,” she said, laughing.

“The movie is so interesting because it touches on different areas, like social, humanitarian, and on morality, which is very important. You ask, ‘who is wrong, who is right, who is the enemy?’ At the end, Justine learns a great lesson,” she said, regarding her character’s transformation in this film.

Although this film is a truly thrilling experience as a horror film, it also touches on the importance of the use of social media when used to speak to a global society, which can at times be in an uninformed way. “Thanks to social media, there is that tendency to say, ‘I have an opinion and I am right,’ without researching or knowing anything,” she said, reflecting on one of the characters in the film. “He wants to let the world know that he is important, but he is motivated by his ego,” she intimated.

Because of the film’s nature and setting, there are now so many vivid images of the different characters that moviegoers will take away with them—scenes of horror and fear, which, by the way, Izzo portrayed beautifully. Her physicality and her eyes, especially, really told the story beyond words.

EXTRA asked the actress what, if anything, she would like for viewers to think about when they see those images. “There are so many messages there. They speak volumes about so many topics, but for me the most important thing I want people to know, both men and women, is that inside each one of us is a soldier, someone who wants to fight for what we want, and that life hands you different circumstances and the only thing you can do is survive,” she shared.

“Green Inferno” opens in theaters on Sept. 25.

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