Beulah Koale on working with Riley Stearns in ‘Dual’

(L-R) Maija Paunio as Sarah’s Mother and Beulah Koale as Peter in the sci-fi film, DUAL, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.
Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Beulah Koale stars as Peter in the Riley Stearns sci-fi thriller, Dual.

Upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a sudden and miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death. Now she has one year to train her body and mind for the fight of her life.

Dual stars Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), Beulah Koale (“Hawaii: Five-0”) with Theo James (Divergent franchise) and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) and was written and directed by Riley Stearns (The Art of Self-Defense, Faults).

Check out my interview with Beulah!

How did you come to be a part of it?

Beulah: My agent sent me the script and asked me if I wanted to have a conversation with Riley over the phone to talk about it. I read the script and I loved it off the bat because I didn’t really understand, I don’t really understand genres like sci-fi and comedy, so I wanted to figure it out. So, I jumped on the phone with Riley, then did a whole bunch of research on him and his work. He kind of called me at the worst time, too. He called me while I was, I have twin boys and I was giving them dinner and trying to get them in the bath, and I was like, ‘bro, I got two minutes before my kids like jump off something. Are you a good person?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m a good person.’ ‘Well, I’m a good person, and I just want to work with good people. I see you later buddy.’ And the conversation was kind of like that, and then he hired me. So any advice to future actors wanting to get a job, just say what I said. I guess it works.

What was it like working with him?

Beulah: Fun, fun. He’s a special individual because he’s just himself. He’s the nicest guy, but he’s also a jiu jitsu brown belt, which is like, it kind of means you’re like a certified badass. And so, he has that streak in him that he could just choke me out at any time, but he’s also very awkward in terms of like, you hear it in his writing and the way he asked us to perform things, but it’s not like the weird awkwardness. It’s just how he is and the way his rhythm and how he talks is and it’s cool. It’s just Riley.

What was it like acting with that drier, Riley-esque style?

Beulah: That was definitely a challenge because that’s not our natural rhythm and how we talk, or even how when I put on an American accent, that’s not my rhythm. Everything about Riley’s films is Riley. So you kind of just have to listen to him talk to drop into the rhythm that he’s asking for because he kind of talks in that way. It’s a little bit more stylistic in the film, but that was a challenge because he also asked us to remove any acting stuff that we came with, like in terms of the way we used to work beforehand and yeah, it was a challenge.

Director Riley Stearns behind the scenes of the sci-fi film, DUAL, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.
Was it hard to come back to your natural rhythm after acting that way for a while?

Beulah: No, because he also didn’t do a lot of takes like how other directors would. So, you weren’t in the scene or rhythm for too long because he’d just keep moving on. Like, he knew what he wanted, he knew what he needed and he’d be just like, ‘Okay, moving on, guys.’ And we’d sit there be like, ‘wow, this is a lot easier than I thought it was gonna be.’ And usually on a film set, everyone’s stressed and running around and you usually have like a bad two days where things hit the fan and we never had that day on this set. And I kind of got a little bit of anxiety because I’m waiting for the car crash to happen and it hasn’t happened. Riley was prepared and knew what he was doing and had a handle on it so it was a good shoot.

What was it like working with Karen and having to act opposite her as two different characters?

Beulah: Yeah, it was fun. It was fun. A lot of people say it’s a challenge, but I didn’t consider it a challenge. It was just like an honor to be a part of and see Karen figure out how she was going to play opposite herself. And yeah, just to watch it was cool and then to be a part of it was an honor and I love acting. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

What would you say was your favorite part of filming this movie?

Beulah: My favorite part was definitely going to Finland into this little town called Tampere. This is the first time any American or Hollywood film was shot in that little city. And it was a little over an hour and a half drive away from the airport. I definitely think they’re going to try and shoot a lot more movies there because, you know, this film worked out and being a part of that country was fun for the couple of months I was there. And then just working with top tier actors and a director like Riley is, it’s always it’s fun to be a part of and I always pinch myself. I don’t take it for granted that I’m acting opposite Karen Gillian and Aaron Paul and working with Riley Stearns.

Would you ever consider cloning yourself and taking a double?

Beulah: Probably not. Yeah, I’m crazy enough for this world just to have one of me. And yeah, also I don’t want to get into a dual and kill myself because I know I’d win. I’d just teach my double everything wrong about fighting and beat him. But having to like kill myself, just saying that is weird.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add about Dual?

Beulah: No, I just hope everyone enjoys it. Take whatever you want to take from it. Whatever you think is right is right in your head and be open. Be open to the way Riley works. I think this guy’s special, he is going to be one of the greats in terms of directors in America. Like you definitely know what a Riley Stearns film sounds, looks, and feels like. So yeah, enjoy.

Karen Gillan as Sarah and Karen Gillan as Clone Sarah in the sci-fi film, DUAL, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.
RLJE Films will release the sci-fi film Dual in theaters on April 15, and on digital, on demand and streaming on AMC+ on May 20.