Filming “Eden”: Leore Hayon’s 35mm Snapshots From Malaysia

Even on the streets of Los Angeles, Leore Hayon looks as if she’s just wandered off some lush island. She is effortlessly lovely with exotic piercing eyes. Her hair has me convinced she is part mermaid. This babe also has some real acting chops, which she is flexing in Eden, a new feature length film out this friday, September 18th. The movie explores the horrific human nature of survival, posed against one of the most surreal backdrops on the planet. However, while I am truly excited to actually see the movie, what I am interested here is the experience Leore had while being involved in such a production on the other side of the planet. Often times the grand adventures we take in life end up taking us to very new spaces of our person. I had it in my right mind this might be such a thing. Lucky us, we have personal images from and of Leore during the months she spent filming in Malaysia and traveling with her costars. They depict a dreamy world, lush green horizons, and long hot days that in themselves served as a lifetime. It’s no wonder she tells us, It’s crazy where life takes you.

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LF: The Film Eden is a rather traumatizing story, how was the juxtaposition of working to being so far from home, and in such a magical setting? That is a tall order for anyone. 

LH: It takes a toll on you, living in a head space of death and survival everyday. Especially toward the end of the shoot, I was ready to come home, but at the same time I tried to enjoy and appreciate every minute I was there. I knew I could never get those moments back. Some of the cast and crew became my family while I was there. Nate Parker was like a mentor to me. The island itself forced you to be present. A beautiful place like that brings you back down to earth.

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LF: What did it feel like, physically, in that time and space? Are you different because of this?

LH: The first week was rehearsals so I was just beginning to take it in. It wasn’t until the first scene we shot, the plane crash, that everything became real. It was earlier in the evening when I first got to set, so it was still light out as I watched the preparation into the night. It was a big crew. I was like, Wow how did I get here? And do not mess this up. I was watching horrific things happen to my friends (in the script) and as I was out of the water, fully clothed, watching the scene unfold there was no longer a distinction between what was real and what wasn’t. I was Eva (my character) and I went through everything she did. I lost a lot of weight while I was there and shed a lot of tears on and off screen. I took a piece of her with me. I am stronger because of that experience.

LF: In the middle of all this madness, you also had the opportunity to travel in the area, where did you find yourself?

LH: Tioman Island was my favorite. Probably because of the beautiful reef. I found out recently it is one of the top rated snorkeling spots in the world. You can go really far out because the water is so shallow. Also, I got some really cool tropical outfits while I was there, so that’s always a plus when I can do some shopping. I took a lot of scenic photos there as well. I love shooting with my little point and shoot.

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LF: What was the wildest time you had over there?

LH: I had a day off with some of the cast and we took a jetty to another island. We tried to explore as many islands as we could while we were there. This island had a huge water slide that went into the sea. We went on it a million times and danced into the night. It is crazy where life takes you. I remember standing out on the dock of the island at night and just being like, I’m so lucky to be here.

LF: I mean the whole thing already sounds like such a dream space on every end of the spectrums. What about the most surreal moment?

LH: The last day we shot I went on a helicopter for the first time. It was morning and we’d been shooting all night. Flying over the islands and taking in the whole experience from up above was very surreal.

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LF: When you look back on filming Eden what sticks with you, what still rings in your heart?

LH: The beauty of the island and the lifelong friends I made.


LF: What are your thoughts on the idea of home?

LH: I created a little home for myself while I was there. I loved my cabin. It was the one place where I could retreat at the end of the day and have time to myself, away from the craziness of set. It was my first time living away from LA so I learned I can adapt to just about anywhere. But at the same time nothing replaces home where my family is.

LF: If there were a song, a soundtrack, for these few months, what would it be for you?

LH: Sigur Ros really got me while I was there. I’d constantly listen to the Agaetis Byrjun album on set. But if I had to say one song, it would be Wandering Star by POLICA.

LF: How FAST do you live?

LH: I follow my heart and my dreams. We only got this one life so I try to make it a good one.

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A Midweek Meditation On Zadie Smith’s Literary Brilliance, Michelle Obama’s Grace and Common’s Never-ending Creativity

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