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As “Blood and Honey” heads back to theaters for an encore run, we chat with actress Amber Doig-Thorne about her role and the film’s success.

On January 1, 2022, A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories became public domain. Jagged Edge Productions sensed an opportunity to drag the Pooh franchise into darker territories, so Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey was born. The movie ranked number 2 on IMDb’s most anticipated movies of 2023 list. It earned over $2 million dollars at the U.S. box office alone in its limited theatrical release (over $4 million worldwide, against an approximate budget of just $100,000). Based on its success, the film is returning to U.S. theaters for one week only, beginning on Friday, March 17.

The film was released in U.K. & Irish theatres on March 10th, and it recently enjoyed a run at Frightfest in Glasgow.

I had the enormous pleasure of chatting with one of the film’s stars, Amber Doig-Thorne, who plays Alice in the movie. Amber is an actor, comedian, writer, and interview host who has interviewed everyone from Keanu Reeves, Emily Blunt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and M. Night Shyamalan to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.            

Amber discusses what it was like seeing her childhood heroes being given a Horror makeover in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.

Hello, Amber! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. Can you start by telling me about your role as Alice in the film and how you came to be involved in the project? 

Yeah, of course. The best place to start is probably that the film centers around two stories. So it starts with Christopher Robin’s story. You know, he’s returning to the Hundred Acre Woods to show his fiance his childhood friend.

Alongside that, there’s another story, which is the majority of the film, which follows a group of several university friends. One of them… she’s gone through a bit of trauma recently with the stalkers. So a therapist advised that she has a weekend away in the woods. Somewhere nice to disconnect from social media. So that’s where we meet my character, Alice, and our group of friends. We are in a cabin in Hundred Acre.

As for the auditioning process, I’ve worked with a production company before on another horror film called Return of Krampus. I saw the casting call for Blood and Honey online, read the synopsis, loved it, and thought this was a really cool, unique idea.

I love horror films, and I grew up with Winnie the Pooh. I loved the character, the films, the books, and the toys growing up. So I thought this is a perfect opportunity to redefine Winnie the Pooh in a horror setting for an adult audience.

I obviously loved the character as a child, but I never thought that I’d be able to appreciate it again as an adult. I think a lot of people didn’t expect that, really, which is why I think it’s been such an amazing reaction.

I was offered the role of Alice, and two things really attracted me to this production. One is the fact that it’s such a unique idea. And two, the character of Alice. I felt like she was really complex. She goes on a real journey throughout the film at the beginning.

She’s very vulnerable. She’s in an LGBT relationship, so I love the fact that there’s representation there. And I felt like it was very authentic the way her sexuality was written into the script. It just became a part of who she was rather than something that needed to be shouted about or referenced a lot.

So that’s really important to me. She goes on a journey throughout the film. We see that her girlfriend, Zoe, is killed by Piglet with a sledgehammer in the swimming pool. And from that point onwards, Alice wants to avenge the death of her girlfriend, and she goes on a bit of a revenge rampage against Piglet.

She’s one of the only human characters to successfully stand up to poor Piglet, which is really, really cool. And I feel very lucky that I had a chance to play a character who actually manages to stand up to them and get revenge. That was really, really cool.

I was going to ask you how important it was for you to have accurate LGBTQ+ representation, but you’ve actually answered that. You said you’re a fan of the original books. How much of a subversion was that for you, having your childhood comfort animals and characters terrorize you on screen? 

Oh my. It was very bizarre. It was the most peculiar thing.

I wanted to be an actor since I was a child, but never in a million years thought Winnie would terrorize me. It was quite surreal. And when I read the script, I remember telling my parents, oh, how will I keep a straight face while we’re filming? This is such a funny scenario with Pooh and Piglet chasing us.

And they said, “Trust me. You know, once you see the actors in costume, I’m sure you’ll feel the fear.” And that was so true. When I saw the actors playing Pooh and Piglet in their masks and full costumes, and they were covered in blood, it was genuinely scary.

I’m sure, for most of the world, when you think of Pooh and Piglet, you think of them as really small, cute, fluffy, cuddly toys. Or, you know, the animals we’ve seen in Disney films. And all of a sudden, now they’ve changed it.

So Pooh is now a six-foot beast with a huge belly, and he’s got a very imposing presence.

As soon as you change the mindset from being a teeny, tiny cuddly bear to this huge physical presence, it automatically becomes scary.

And the funny thing is, since the film came out, I have returned to my childhood home. My mom said, “Oh, can you just sort out the bedroom you grew up in — all your toys and stuff — so there’s some space?” And I was like, yeah, of course. I found some of my old Woody the Pooh toys. I picked them up, and I was looking at them like, hmm… I feel a bit differently about these now.

It’s weird. I definitely do look at Pooh a bit differently now. And I know the next time I go to Disneyland and I see one of the actors dressed up, I’m probably going to end up running in the opposite direction.

The movie does subvert expectations. What do you think is what people find most surprising about the film?

As I said, there’s a lot of representation in there, and I feel like they’re breaking many of the stereotypical tropes that we see in horror films, particularly the low-budget ones.

So, for example — hopefully, this isn’t a spoiler — in our film, we have a final boy instead of a final girl. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that, or if I have, it’s been very rarely. Also, the fact that there’s an authentic LGBTQ+ relationship is great, and I don’t think we see that enough in films like this.

I think people are also going to be surprised that it’s actually really funny. There will be so many moments where you want to laugh out loud.

It takes a lot of inspiration from those classic eighties slasher films. And yeah, I think as long as people don’t take it too seriously, and they just go into the cinema expecting something fun, they’re gonna have a great time.

I think people won’t expect the gore. The deaths are incredibly brutal. And even though I was there when we were filming different people’s deaths, watching it back on screen makes me clench up a little bit cause it looks so realistic.

There are a lot of practical effects and blood. What would you say were the benefits of working with so much practical gore and blood?

When I watch a film, I would rather see practical effects because I think you can tell the difference. I think the more films you watch, particularly for actors and filmmakers, you can spot CGI blood immediately. As an actor, when you’re playing a role and surrounded by prosthetics that are tangible, you can see them and feel them. That really contributes to the scene as an actor, and it makes it more realistic for you — and makes it easier to get into character.

There were obviously some parts that had to be CGI. For example, one of the characters is strangled, and their eye pops out. There’s no way we could have done that practically. Someone else gets run over by a car, and it was half practical and half CGI. I think it’s really nice they got this kind of combination of the two.

So it is the majority, maybe 80%, practical effects, with a sprinkling of CGI, like a very small amount of blood splattering. I think that is really impressive, especially because it was such a low-budget project. I hope people really enjoy that when they watch it.

I heard you shot this film in only about 12 days. Is that true? And what was the shoot like? Did you all stay together on location?

Our principal photography book was ten days. We had two days of prep. So, technically, it was eight days in total. And then we had four or five more days that were for reshoots. But the vast majority of the film was shot in eight days. I think that is amazing. It was very intense.

Half of the shoot for us was in this Airbnb, which we filmed as the cabin where the girls stayed in the woods. The second half was at Pooh and Piglet’s location. There were about four or five small caravans, which could fit one person in each. The crew mostly stayed there. Usually, on a film set, the crew has to be there before the actors and stay after the actors leave to set up and break down equipment. So it made sense for them to stay on location.

When we shot at Pooh and Piglet’s place, we stayed in some static caravans nearby. It was near the coast, and it was so beautiful. We were only about a ten-minute walk from the beach, which was lovely.

But for the first half of the shoot, we all stayed together at the Airbnb or in a little hotel area. That’s nice because you bond with people on and off set. It’s always nice, especially with horror films, which can be really intense. You finish shooting and go back to wherever you’re staying. Then you can talk about the day, your highlights, what you enjoyed most, and what you’re looking forward to the next day. And you can even run some lines.

I really like that part of filmmaking, so that was good fun.

And how did you find working with the gentleman who played Pooh? 

He was lovely. Craig (Craig David Dowsett) is great.

I’ve said this in a couple of interviews now, and it still makes me giggle. But I remember the first time I saw him put on his Pooh mask. He looked absolutely terrifying. We weren’t filming yet; we were just in the living room, chilling before we started filming for the day. And he looked terrifying. He walked over, and I was thinking, oh, this is actually really scary. Then all of a sudden, he just started flossing. Do you know that Fortnite dance? He was like doing that, that thing. And we were all in fits of giggles.

And then, he and Chris, the actor who played Piglet (Chris Cordell), were cracking jokes left, right, and center.

It was so nice because it was terrifying to look at. But they both have such great senses of humor, and they were just so lovely to be around. But as soon as the director yelled action, they became bloodthirsty killers. It was a bizarre contrast.

I understand you actually acquired your firearms training and combat training skills at the British Action Academy. Did that aid your performance at all? 

I’ve been shooting since I was about 12 years old. And I’ve been doing combat training for a few years. We don’t see me use any firearms in the film, but we do get to see a little bit of the combat training. I don’t want to give too much away and spoil it for those who haven’t seen the film.

But my favorite scene is where I have a bit of a standoff with Piglet. Only one survives, so I’ll let people watch to see who makes it.

Butt here’s a really great part where I’m wielding Piglet’s sledgehammer at one point that was so heavy. And, uh, you know, whenever there’s a stunt involved with a weapon being thrown around, there’s always a lot of choreography to make sure it’s safe for both of the performers involved. But that was really fun.

I was really excited to have the opportunity to do some stunt and combat work in this film alongside acting.

So, do you have a favorite villain in the film? Who terrified you the most? 

I feel like I had more interaction with Piglet, so I’m probably going to have to say Piglet.

I think people underestimate him. Because Pooh is kind of the face of the film, and we know more about him. But Piglet is mysterious. And he appears when you least expect it. Pooh does most of the killings, probably about 60%, and Piglet does the other 40%. But when Piglet kills, it’s more authentic. Like, I felt more affected by a Piglet-caused death. It just seemed more realistic.

So for me, I’m probably going to say Piglet.

This film already has a sequel planned, and the director is in talks about expanding the universe. Any chance we get to see you again in any of the planned sequels or spinoffs? 

I think the concept of taking a childhood character or a fairytale and putting that in a horror scenario is amazing. So I’d definitely love to be involved in more spinoffs in the future.

With regard to this production company, I’m personally taking a step back, so I probably won’t be working with them again. But I think what they’re doing is amazing. I love their ideas. I know they’ve got a Bambi film coming up, and a film about Peter Pan, which I’m really excited to watch.

I’m hoping that more people will start making these horror spinoffs. And there are so many characters that I’d love to see in a horror scenario. like Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Red Riding Hood. All of these characters have really dark origins in the Brothers Grim fairytales. I think they would make amazing horror spinoffs.

I’m really excited to see hopefully loads of other production companies starting to do these films as well because I think there’s a huge gap in the market where people could really enjoy seeing these.

It would be interesting to see what gets adapted based on new properties entering the public domain. If you could adapt one childhood fairytale character for a horror movie, who would you want to adapt and why?

I would have to say Snow White just because I already know that the Brothers Grim characters are all in the public domain. She’s one of the ones who would be up for grabs. And recently, the mix of the Snow White stories I’ve seen has been getting increasingly darker. These stories really aren’t that far away from horror or thriller. Because that original story, in particular, has such dark origins, and there are really gritty parts, I think it would make a fantastic horror film.

When I was younger, I was always obsessed with Snow White. I think it’s my pale skin, blue eyes, and brown hair. I have the Snow White look. I’d always dress up as the character for my school book day or film day. And it’s always been my dream role.

So even if I’m not involved, I would love to see a horror spin-off of Snow White. I think that would be fantastic.

I know that you’re a comedian. I watched some of your shorts online, and you’ve amassed a big online following. You’ve also interviewed actors and even former presidents. If you could interview anyone from horror movies or the horror community, alive or dead, who would it be?

Oh, my goodness. Okay. For living actors, I would love to interview Jamie Lee Curtis. The fact that she just won an Oscar and started out in horror films makes me so happy. And I feel like it gives hope to everyone out there who got the start in their career doing horror films. I thought she was fantastic as Laurie Strode in the Halloween films. So, definitely, Jamie Lee Curtis.

There are so many amazing directors that I would love to interview. Anyone who’s ever directed a horror film, alive or dead, I would very much like to interview.

And, personally, I think at the moment, my favorite thrillers and horrors are from Blumhouse. So I’m a big fan of Jason Blum. And also M. Night.

I actually met M. Night a few years ago and talked to him after a screening of Split. Such a fascinating gentleman. I was asking him about where he gets his inspiration from, and I just felt like I learned so much from him. I think having the opportunity to sit down and have a proper chat and probe his mind would be incredible. The man is a walking encyclopedia of film, art, and music. Just knowledge in general. Yes. He’s a genius. Fascinating guy.

Excellent. Back to Blood and Honey. What part of filming did you find the most challenging?

To be honest, the filming process itself was not bad. I’m very used to it now. I’ve worked on about a hundred film productions and done roughly 25 low-budget British indie films. So, I’m very used to working 16 to 18-hour days, in intense scenarios, like working at nighttime or in the cold outside. I think my mind and my body are used to it now. And that’s something I look forward to.

I also love meeting strangers and then being put in this intense situation with them because it can help form friendships really quickly. By the end of the shoot, you do feel like a big family.

I’d say, personally, the most challenging part of the shoot for me was actually one of the scenes we filmed.

In the trailer, we see my character Alice. Her girlfriend Zoe has been killed by Piglet. There’s a scene where Pooh basically takes Alice away, ties her up, and holds her hostage. Then the girls come to rescue her, and she comes around and regains consciousness. She obviously has the realization that Zoe is not here. Zoe is dead.

Whenever you have a really emotional scene like that, it requires such vulnerability. And they wanted me to cry. I know a lot of the actors on set were using tear sticks. At the time, I just liked to use emotional recourse. I just put myself in a state where I think of something really sad. As silly as it sounds, I think of the scene in The Lion King where Simba’s dad dies. That gets the tears flowing.

So it’s emotional. And I’ve been physically tied up for about eight hours by this point in the cold outside, wearing a crop top and jeans. And it was freezing. I was physically and mentally drained. But I think that actually helped the performance a little bit.

But I’ve seen the films four times now. Even now, I love that scene because I think you can see its genuine emotion coming through.

I’m just really proud of what we achieved with the whole film, to be honest.

But that scene, in particular for me, made me really, really happy.

What would you say has been the best audience reaction so far?

Let me see. I think at Fright Fest in Glasgow, the audience reaction was amazing. And Amsterdam was amazing. But Glasgow was the biggest cinema screening and the biggest collection of people I’ve seen the film with. People were laughing; they were clapping; they were screaming. It was amazing. In the scene where I have that standoff with Piglet, people were cheering the whole time. I had goosebumps. It was such a nice experience. I loved that everyone had such strong emotions toward the film.

I had a great time filming it, so it’s nice that people are enjoying watching it just as much as I had a great time filming it.

That’s great. And speaking of audience reactions, it’s actually doing really well in America. I read today that Hot Topic has officially branded its own line of Blood and Honey t-shirts. How cool is that?!

They have! It’s very, very cool. And it’s kind of overwhelming to think that we could go into a store in America and buy t-shirts with the poster on them and caps and t-shirts. It’s very surreal, and I’m really excited for the next time that I go to the U.S. I’m going to have to buy one of everything… maybe two of everything so I can give one to my parents. Just a nice memento of the film. It’s something, as an actor, that you always hope for to have a film that will be in cinemas worldwide and to have merchandise.

I’ve been acting for about, say, maybe five or six years now. So I was hoping this would happen at some point, but I didn’t expect it so soon. The whole thing has been a blessing, and I’m just really excited.

So what’s next for you, Amber? Are you returning to horror anytime soon?

Yeah, I’ve mainly done horror in the past. Because it’s my favorite genre to watch, it’s also my favorite genre to act in. I’ve got a horror comedy coming up, which we’re shooting in the summer, called Zombikini with Silent Studios. I’ve worked with them before. They do a lot of horror comedies, and they’re genuinely hilarious. I’m really excited to shoot that.

I’m doing a psychological thriller called Baby in the Basket, which I think is probably going to be one of the most challenging roles that I’ve done. The character goes through many twists and turns and journeys and may or may not get possessed at one point. So then, it’s playing a character possessed by another character, and it’s just a lot to work with.

And finally, I’m working on a film called Dying Breed, which I’m really excited about. I’m working on it with my boyfriend, who plays Christopher Robin in Blood and Honey. So we’re both going to be in it together.

It’s so nice working with your partner; it’s one of the best things. Whenever you can work with friends, you can just bounce off each other. And it, it’s such good energy and such a good environment. It feels really uplifting.

Dying Breed is a Viking film about the end of Slavic Paganism. A group of Reese Vikings wants to go to Sweden as a safe haven, and they end up shipwrecked in England and come across a group of Christians, which includes my character.

The story in itself is kind of a battle for love, a battle for freedom, a battle for belief. There’s action, comedy, drama, and romance. There are so many elements. And it’s just so different from Blood and Honey. I’ve done a lot of horror films, and I’ve got quite a lot of experience in comedy as well. But I’ve always had a passion for medieval films and historical films. And the fact that this script is rooted in actual