We have been lucky enough to chat with the stunning Rachel Petladala, one of the stars of British film Unhallowed Ground…
Please tell us about the film…
Unhallowed Ground is a teen supernatural thriller set in a British boarding school called Dhoultham. It revolves around six students who are part of the Army Combined Cadet Force, and are assigned an overnight patrol on the last day of term as part of their training.
The film begins with the audience witnessing the students complete their mundane tasks, and establishes the relationships between them. However, a series of unforeseen disturbing occurrences starts to unravel during the night. Ensuing at the same time is a heist by two burglars. They wish to rob the school of its priceless historical documents and artefacts from the school archive room, and will let nothing stop them; especially the cadets.
Supernatural encounters derived from the school’s haunted history begin to occur with both the burglars and students, and the night takes an increasingly dark turn which encourages the students to attempt to leave the school. The suspense is increasingly heightened with the amalgamation of the cadets, burglars and supernatural occurrences, and the twists and turns in the film constantly have you on the edge of your seat.
Who do you play in the movie and what are they like?
I play the character Meena Shah. Meena is a fiercely independent and competitive high achiever, and as a result is the best female cadet. She suffers from constant repression from her traditional Asian parents, who have pushed her throughout life to focus only on getting into University. Thus, she has applied herself rigorously in academia and every extra-curricular activity possible in order to build the best CV possible.
This made her a complete social misfit, who is never invited to parties, and is not in the ‘desirable’ social group at school. This has been a constant personal struggle for Meena, and she only confides in Aki, her closest friend out of the group.
However, Meena as a character has many facets. There are elements in her which show the desire to break out of the confinements of her life, and you witness key character changes with her throughout the film.
What drew you to the film?
I have always been an avid fan of the horror/supernatural genres, and watched my first scary film at the age of around 8 (Scream) and so have always wanted to actually be in one. Then, I read the script and knew I had to nail the auditions. The script was really well written by Paul, and the dynamic between the six cadets coupled with the twists and turns of the storyline had me hooked from day one. Also, the character itself completely called out to me; I was actually in the Army cadets of CCF myself when at school, and each of the six characters related to actual people I knew which made the character and script even more relatable. Meena’s journey through the film depicts a change of emotions and sees her develop as a character at significant points of the film, which was so appealing to me as it would allow me to be creative in my work and play a character I hadn’t before. That’s when I’m drawn to a script, when it’s a challenge and character I haven’t played before, and something different from the norm.
Were there any supernatural goings on whilst you were on set?
Not that I’m aware of! But the night shoots were a bit creepy. We had a night shoot in the school chapel which is very old and that was definitely a bit eerie!
Do you believe in ghosts? Tell us why?
Absolutely! I haven’t had any personal encounters myself (and hopefully never will!) but am so interested in the supernatural ideology which made me watch shows which show real encounters of spirit activity and contact. I’m usually the person that says “I’ll believe it when I see it”, but when it comes to ghosts and spirits, I fully believe it and don’t want to see it! The recordings are good enough!
Who is the biggest prankster from the cast?
Probably Tom Law. He is always up to something mischievous.
If you could spend an evening with any one from history, who would it be and why?
Audrey Hepburn. I love all her movies- and Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are two of my favourites films ever. I think she was also such an icon because of the charitable work she did off-screen too and when she wasn’t doing films anymore. True classic beauty!
What was the last film you saw?
I’m usually a film fanatic, but I’m currently in the midst of my final exams so haven’t watched anything since Fast and Furious 7- for which I of course took a revision break to watch in the cinema. I’m a self-admitted Fast Franchise fan, as well as action fan in general, and absolutely loved it.
Who is the funniest member of the cast?
That’s definitely a combination of Will Thorp and Ameet Chana. Individually, they had me and the other five in stitches every time they were on set and in the green room, but as a duo they were even funnier. You’ll find Shane and Jazz’s relationship brings in light humour to some parts at the beginning of the film, which are true projections of their hilarious personalities off-screen.
What is your favourite memory of making the film?
My favourite memory would be whenever all six of us were on set together. They were definitely the most fun days of shooting. We had a great relationship both on set and socially outside of work, and were very lucky to have gotten on so well with each other.
Unhallowed Ground will be released on selected screens across the UK on 12th June 2015 followed by the online and DVD release on 29th June and 13th July and the film will be introduced to foreign markets at Cannes 2015