Interview with ‘The Hitcher’ star Sophia Bush

Katherine Roth

John Ryder: Strangers think I’m trustworthy

Jim Halsey: Aren’t you?

John Ryder: No

-“The Hitcher”

In a sea of remakes and wannabe A-list actresses, “The Hitcher” actually taught me a valuable lesson: never pick up a hitchhiker. Shot in Texas and New Mexico, “The Hitcher” tells the story of Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush, “One Tree Hill” and “John Tucker Must Die”) and Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton) who encounter John Ryder, aka the Hitcher (Sean Bean, “Silent Hill” and “Flightplan”).

En route to spring break, Grace and Jim encounter Ryder at a gas station where he asks for a ride to a local motel. The trouble begins when Jim agrees to drive him. They bravely fight back against Ryder when he suddenly turns menacing.

The collegiate couple are truly blindsided when he incriminates them in a horrific series of murders and continues to shadow them as they search for help. The open road to safety suddenly becomes a battleground of blood, gore and action as they try to get away from Ryder and the battalion of police that consider them criminals.

A warning for the weak-stomached – there is plenty of bloodshed and havoc in the film.

“The great thing was for me, I’m a total stunt-junkie, and you know that tomboy part of me comes out,” Bush says. “I was able to do about 90 percent of my own stunts in the movie. And that was the stuff that was scary, like when you are racing down a highway doing 65 mph, swerving into other vehicles, hanging out the window of the car. I had a moment where the cars came so close that I was banging on their window with my fist and I was like, ‘This is so awesome, but I could totally die right now.'”

Although director Dave Meyers is new at working on full-length films, Bush gushed about being able to work with him.

“You know, Dave’s exceptional … and obviously he’s exploded with radical media into such a major music video director but also conceptually as a commercial director,” she says. “I think people are very shocked when they find all the campaigns that they see every day actually belong to Dave’s brain.”

Bush commends the type of director who works from the actor’s perspective.

“Dave really wants things to be real,” she says. “It is really refreshing. Some people want you to go too big with things in that world, but between Dave, Drew [Form] and Brad [Fuller] we kept this movie very real, and that’s why it’s scary.”

Bush commented on the real dangers involved in filming the movie.

“Because it has a lot of action and a lot of stunts in it, we all got hurt, but not on a level that wasn’t cool,” Bush says. “You definitely have moments where you walk out onto the set and you’re like, ‘Check out this burn!’ I think it’s definitely cool to be on a set almost entirely of men and to be the only girl, and they are like, ‘This girl’s getting the crap kicked out of her and she loves it!’

“We really went for it, we didn’t hold anything back in this, and I think it really will show in the film.”

The “One Tree Hill” actress was also in awe of her co-star Bean.

“In one scene where Sean Bean grabs me by the scalp and pulls me through the front seat of the car and sticks a knife near my eye, he’s really doing it,” she says with a laugh.

“I lost a lot of hair doing that scene. And what’s really amazing is how he turns it on to be evil and maniacal and terrifying.

His energy can take over a room with how menacing he can be. But then he is also a father who has daughters, so in the midst of this scene if he yanked on my head and I made a sound to him that made him nervous, he’d look down and ask if I was okay. I’d say yes, and we’d go right back in it.”

Although I have not seen the original, it’s safe to say that I enjoyed the remake. It’s a must-see for fans of action and thrills.

“The Hitcher” was released nationwide on Jan. 19.