Interview: Shauna Macdonald of The Descent, Part 2

For fans of the 2005 breakout horror thriller The Descent, the chance for a sequel was always a distinct possibility, particularly as the filmmakers also appeared to be interested. Perhaps the only person that didn’t even consider it was the film’s star, Shauna Macdonald.

“It truly came as a surprise — even after the commotion for the first film, the good reviews and awards — when they asked me about a sequel,” Ms. Macdonald told Disc Dish in a recent interview about her latest star turn in said sequel, The Descent: Part 2 (Lionsgate, DVD $14.98, released on April 27, 2010).

When Ms. Macdonald’s agent informed her in 2006 that the producers were interested in a sequel, the 29-year-old actor “thought a lot about it” before committing.

“I gave it much deliberation,” Macdonald laughed. “Do I leave it like it was and not do another one–a safe option—or do I go for another ride?”

A deal was ultimately made and the film quickly moved forward—after pushing the shoot back a year, that is, following the birth of Ms. Macdonald’s first child. It included many of the same members of the production team, including cinematographer Sam McGurdy and special effects supervisor John Rafique. Neil Marshall, the writer and director of the original film, did not return, however. Helming in his place was Jon Harris, a veteran editor who cut the original Descent several years earlier.

“Jon was more of an expert on Descent 2 than I was,” said Macdonald. “He knows the vibe inside out, as well as the vibe of Neil Marshall, the original director.”

Macdonald was happy with results and only has positive things to say about Harris’s turn in the director’s chair.

“The pressure of being director is unbelievable, much more so than being an actor, and Jon was outstanding,” she said.

“And I’m someone who likes to be directed,” she added.

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.