From TV Series to Big Screen: Hannah Rosenbloom’s Cinematic Journey in ‘The Signal’

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From TV Series to Big Screen: Hannah Rosenbloom's Cinematic Journey in 'The Signal'
A still of Hannah Rosenbloom from 'The Signal'

After more than a year since its debut on international screens, the Lao drama horror film “The Signal” hit theaters in Laos on 23 November.

The Laotian Times spoke with the main actress, Hannah Rosenbloom, and the film director, Lee Phonesavanh, who provided key insights into the captivating drama horror film.

The storyline follows Nammon, a small-town girl with big dreams, as she embarks on a journey to the bustling city in search of her long-lost father. To make ends meet, she takes on the role of a housewife for a local family. Little does she know, this decision will plunge her into a web of mysteries surrounding the family, reshaping her life in ways she never anticipated. 

In the role of Nammon, Lao–American pop singer, model, and actress Hannah Rosenbloom, 22, delved into a character that demanded a unique connection. Opening up about her performance, the actress expressed the challenge of navigating the substantial differences in personality between herself and her character, emphasizing the stark contrast in lifestyle. She described their respective ways of life as “utterly distinct,” showcasing her dedication to bringing authenticity and depth to the role.

“Nammon is the polar opposite of who I really am,” Hannah said. “I had to do a lot of homework, as well as learn how a young woman from the countryside would behave in various situations, especially considering her circumstances of not having a father by her side and being on a quest to find him.”

As someone new to films, the shift from an early career in a Lao TV series to cinema posed a new challenge for Hannah.

Hannah Rosenbloom and Lee Phonesavanh on the set of ‘The Signal’

“As someone who values clarity, working with film director Lee Phonesavanh was incredibly beneficial,” Hannah said. “His clear instructions significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of the work. Whenever Lee asked me to do something, such as how he wanted me to portray certain scenes, I always aimed to execute it exactly as he described.”

Reminiscing about the moment she was offered the main lead role in 2019, Hannah said that she accepted the role with zero hesitation, fueled by a mix of excitement and worry after a brief read of the script.

She was only 18 years old and in her last year of high school back then. 

Hannah further remarked that what drew her into the role was the uniqueness of the film. She noted that “The Signal” stands apart from typical Lao films, which usually revolve around the love-comedy genre. 

The positive reception reflects the impact of the film and the resonance it has found among its audience. 

Although The Signal may not showcase the traditional elements commonly associated with Lao films, the director revealed that the movie includes many subtle details that authentically portray the lives of the Lao people.

“[In the movie], we don’t have something super traditional like fon (Lao traditional dance) but you’ll see how the lives of Lao people are,” Lee said. “I’m sure people will be like ‘yeah, that’s exactly how Lao people behave’.”

The filmmaking process faced several challenges, including budget constraints and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lee revealed that the pandemic caused multiple delays, leading to compromises and the need for additional budgets.

Despite the obstacles, both the director and actress expressed pride in the final product. Lee specifically praised Hannah Rosenbloom for her natural and professional performance, highlighting her ability to bring the script to life.

Since its debut at the Shanghai Film Festival in June, “The Signal” has captivated audiences in theaters, garnering widespread praise from viewers who have experienced the gripping Lao horror film.