Exclusive Preview: On the Set of ‘The Scribbler’

Fred Topel visits Katie Cassidy and Eliza Dushku on the set of the Image graphic novel adaptation.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Before Comic Con starts, we wanted to bring your attention to a comic book movie that might not be making a big production in Hall H. Earlier this summer, we got to visit the set of The Scribbler, based on the Image Comics graphic novel by Daniel Schaffer.

Katie Cassidy plays the title character. Suki (Cassidy) is a woman with multiple personalities, “Dissociative Identity Disorder,” Cassidy herself corrected me between takes. One of Suki’s personalities is The Scribbler, writing messages on the walls which Cassidy has learned to do herself.

“I’ve scribbled a lot,” She said. “I actually practiced writing backwards with my left hand a lot before we started the movie. When you see me in the insane asylum and in that padded cell, I did a lot of the scribbles on the walls in there which was cool.”

In The Scribbler, a machine called “The Siamese Burn” promises to eradicate Suki’s unwanted personalities. Of course that only creates more problems. The night we were on set, Suki was being interrogated by a detective (Michael Imperioli) and criminal psychologist (Eliza Dushku) about some crimes that most certainly were not in her head.

“We are questioning her about the deaths of people who were living in the building where she’s living,” Imperioli said. “I’m convinced that it’s pretty cut and dry and she’s just a psycho killer who’s doing all this. Eliza’s character more coming from the psychoanalytical point of view.”

Linda Vista Community Hospital provided the location for most of the film’s sets. Closed down hospitals are often used for film sets, not only medical dramas. Any unused room can be converted into a work of production design art. I was shown the Siamese Burn room, with a mass of electronic panels and exposed wires like a cyberpunk nightmare.

Cassidy is caught between the sci-fi story and the real world mystery. “I think they both are very much a part of the story,” she said. “Obviously there’s the machine and that sci-fi aspect, but the thing that’s nice about this is it’s very real. I feel like a lot of the characters are heightened. Suki I feel like is pretty grounded and this interrogation scene I think serves that as well.”

The Scribbler will be Dushku’s first film after wrapping her last TV series “Dollhouse,” which coincidentally also dealt with alternate personalities in a sci-fi realm. She has done other television appearances and voice work, but Echo was her last starring role. Now Cassidy has the Echo part.

“She kind of did, yes,” Dushku laughed. “That was one of the first things as you can imagine I saw in this story, in this script. There was a lot of ‘Dollhouse’ action in the brain/personalities in there. She’s killing it. The scenes with [my character] Jennifer Silk and Suki, Jennifer really comes to understand Suki. Everybody else is calling her crazy and trying to extract these different personalities and sides of her, there’s a real connection between the two women.”


The Scribbler shows Katie Cassidy like you’ve never seen her before. Look at the art in the graphic novel. Cassidy rocks the skeleton suit, and even has the lip piercing, though she takes the clip-on ring out between takes. She pointed to the mark it left on her chin.

“If you’ll notice, I started to get a little scab,” Cassidy said. “It’s actually become a habit. I’m in character, then when I’m me, I’ll look for it and it’s not there.”

A drastic transformation was always appealing to Cassidy, so The Scribbler gave her the opportunity. “I’d been looking to play a character like this for a while,” she continued. “Just something you would not expect me to do, that I haven’t done, something different from who I am, what I look like, something I could actually really just take on and get to learn as much as possible. I’m very happy and proud of the stuff that I’ve done and gotten the opportunity to do so far in my career. But I feel like again, as an artist, you get to a point where you need to feel passionate. You need to feel creative and you need to feel drive. This project brought up all of that for me so I was really obviously, when I went in there, certainly campaigning for it.”

Ashlynn Yennie was not filming the night we were on set, but she was kind enough to come to Linda Vista Hospital just to talk to us. If only we could have seen her film her scenes, but it was a closed set for obvious reasons.

“My character Emily has a condition called Vestiphobia,” Yennie said. “I did a bunch of research about Vestiphobia to learn exactly what it was. It’s the fear of being trapped in clothing. That’s my mental condition I deal with in the movie, so I run around naked a lot in this movie.”

Obviously, for the star of The Human Centipede, nudity is not an issue. “It’s not. I think I had to get over that really quickly after the Human Centipede films came out, especially the second one where I was just like, ‘You know what? I’m really naked in this movie.’ It is a real condition and people do suffer from it. She doesn’t understand why we cover ourselves up. She thinks of herself as how animals don’t cover themselves up and how we’re the only species that makes clothing and clothing defines people.”

We’ll bring you the complete interviews with the cast of The Scribbler when the movie gets released.