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Rachel Nichols on P2

Published November 6, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Summit Entertainment.
Alias put Rachel Nichols in a perilous mission almost every week, but there she could share the action with a CIA team and fellow kick-ass chick Jennifer Garner. P2 is all Nichols. Trapped in a parking garage by a deranged stalker, she must use her wits and skills to escape.

Nichols Trapped on P2


"Definitely the running on concrete was painful," Nichols recalled. "And, let me tell you, I’m scared of dogs. I don’t do well with dogs, and Rottweilers are huge. They have heads, and I used this in an interview today, the size of toilet bowls because they are really gigantic and they’re heavy. Running and knowing that dog is behind you, and I’m a fast runner, I did track in high school, and fearing that he’s going to decide to go for you instead of the woman with the red ball, honestly I had an escape route. I was like, 'If he grabs the dress, if he gets too close, there’s a pipe. I’m going to grab the pipe and I’m going to swing up over it.' I had this whole plan because I really thought that he might actually go for me. So, that was certainly traumatic."

That's quite an escape route, but Nichols could have done it. "Totally was going to. Totally knew I could do it. I was like, 'I’ve got the arm strength to do it, I’m just going to propel myself over it. That dog will never know what hit him.' And then, the handcuffs. I didn’t really think about it when I read the script, but I’m wearing handcuffs for pretty much the whole movie, and a lot of the time they’re behind my back, which is dangerous, as I learned when I fell. And so, that stuff that you don’t think about, because it’s just an element of the script, I’ll never look at a script the same way again. Dogs or handcuffs, I’m out."

At least it's only big dogs that terrify Nichols. She'd be fine with the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Valid question. No, it’s just big dogs. Michael Bay has these gigantic [dogs]. I don’t know if they’re Mastiffs, I don’t know if they’re Newfoundlands, but they’re the size of bears. And, when I went to audition for The Amityville Horror, I went into his offices and literally these three huge dogs were there, and I almost turned around. I was like, 'No, I’m not going to read for this film.' I actually used the dogs in my audition to think of what would scare me the most. The dogs are traumatizing. But no, Chihuahuas and small dogs, I think I’d be okay."


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Aside from dogs and cuffs, P2 had emotionally draining moments for Nichols to play as well. "The scene with my boss when I’m in the car [was hard] because to imagine actually experiencing that in real life and making it real to me so that Angela could experience it, you’ve got to dig up a lot of stuff and you’ve got to think of a lot of horrible things. It’s hard to get rid of some of that stuff, even at the end of day, when you’re having a beer. It’s really hard to let that go. The scene that I think really was most difficult, for a separate reason, which is why I’ll mention both of them, is the scene where I go into the office and I see the tape of me playing, where he’s touching me. Filming that, Wes and I did it alone. It was a closed set. Wes filmed it, and we just needed the privacy because for me to have to go in and actually watch that, it was nauseating. And, I said, 'I can only do this a certain number of times,' because they would have me standing there watching it, and I had to be watching it, and it was really hard for me to do."

Don't worry, Nichols was not totally without supervision. It's just the director let them shoot the video footage privately. "Just when he had the hand-held part, when Thomas is making the video of Angela, he was holding the camera, so we did that together. He was actually doing it, and they let us do that together, and they looked at the footage and said, 'Okay, we have enough.' I didn’t really want a whole film crew in there that didn’t need to be in there, because we weren’t using a big camera, we were just using hand-held. And, he felt awkward about it because he was just like, 'I’ve got to do these depraved things to you, let’s just do this alone.' And, we did it together and, at that time, we were really good friends, so it was the most comfortable that it could be, but still not ideal."

P2 opens to theaters on November 9th.

For the trailer, poster and more movie info, go to the P2 Movie Page.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Summit Entertainment.
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