Malin Akerman On The Most Challenging Aspects Of Making The Aviary - Exclusive

While preparing to play a cult survivor in "The Aviary," actress Malin Akerman knew it was about to get intense. Yet, she was up for the challenge. "I've never played someone who's been brainwashed before and trying to escape her own mind," she said during an exclusive interview with The List, "so that was my draw to it for sure."

The film is an emotional one. Viewers ride the highs and lows along with two women, who attempt to survive out in the middle of nowhere after escaping a cult. Acting out these scenes required Akerman and her co-star Lorenza Izzo to spend their days and nights in the desert heat with a camera in tow.

While finding food and keeping warm in the wilderness may have been difficult for the characters, having to act out such challenging scenes wasn't easy for Akerman either. "I feel like every scene was pretty tough," the actress, who also executive produced the film, said during a discussion about making the indie film.

Filming out in the elements wasn't easy

The intense weather that the characters have to deal with in the film is exactly as it actually was out in the desert. "Truly," Malin Akerman told us. "It got real hot, and it got real cold, but everyone was doing their best."

During the day, the temperatures would reach the triple digits. However, the puffer jackets that characters Blair and Jillian wear throughout the film served the actresses well when the evening temperatures dropped below freezing. In between takes, the two leading ladies would often hang out in the heating tents before trekking back out into the cold. "We had everything set up and ready to go as much as we could," Akerman said.

Even so, that's not to say that the high and low temperatures didn't take a toll on them. "Physically, it was challenging," the actress told us. "But everyone was wonderful."

Malin Akerman was often just as confused as her character

As all of us watching were trying to differentiate between reality and hallucinations, so were the actors involved. "I feel like the later scenes were, as we were getting more and more confused and realizing how messed up we were in our heads, those were the ones that were hard to hold onto," Malin Akerman explained to The List, "just because the stakes, where the stakes are at, and what this meant for the characters."

In "The Aviary," absolutely everything is at stake for Jillian and Blair, whose only chance at freedom is finding their way out of the desert. As they run out food throughout the course of the film, their chances of survival become slim. It's the hallucinations they start having that makes it all the more challenging.

"The challenge is always getting into a character, and especially the psyche of these girls who, not only are physically escaping a cult, but psychologically escaping it as well, and learning how to trust themselves," Akerman told us. "And I think that there's a parallel in life, too, in life's journey, of trusting your own gut, and building yourself up, and believing in yourself."

"The Aviary" is now playing in select theaters. The film is also available on digital and on demand.