To celebrate the release of Joss Whedon’s latest masterpiece, The Cabin in the Woods, we chatted with our latest Femme on Fire, the gorgeous New Zealander Anna Hutchison, about her role as the stereotypical blonde sex bomb in teen horror flicks and what it’s like doing her own horseback riding on the set of the final season of Spartacus. **What was your favorite horror film growing up?**

Hutchison: I didn’t ever really like horror films, I was way too scared, but I would always try to keep up with the older kids so I’d kind of be sitting there “watching it” with my eyes closed and would scream when everyone else would scream even though I had no idea what I was screaming at.

When we were filming Cabin in the Woods Joss and Drew told us to watch all of these films, so we were watching all kinds of horror films in the hotel we were staying at. One night we watched The Shining, which was not a good idea. I was waiting for two twins or a little dude on a bike on my way to my room; it was freaky as. I was going to ask: when you’re shooting a horror movie, do you scare easily even if you’re on camera? I’d imagine you have to get worked up enough for it to look believable.

Hutchison: I scare easily anyway, if I’m on a bus and someone sneezes I’ll get startled, so I’m not a very good gauge of what’s frightening or not. But when we were on set it was freaky as! The lunch table, some of the monsters would be there, so you’d turn around to get another helping of potatoes and you would see this huge zombie or something out of the corner of your eye and you’d just tense up. You were always on your toes on our set. **After watching Cabin in the Woods, it’s hard not to think about what your Survival Plan would be to get out alive. What is yours?**

Hutchison: I think that you would hope a cross between Bear Grylls and Bane would be there, so you would have some functionality to build a fire and stuff if you were to run away, but then Bane could just take anything on. Or you’d try and make friends with the zombies, so take something to bribe them with. Did you see how tall one of them was? He was massive! If he was on your side you could take on the whole lot of them and survive. Or just take Joss and Drew’s brain, because I’m sure their brains could get you out of any mess. **What was it like working with Joss Whedon?**

Hutchison: Oh my god, how lucky am I?! That dude is so giving and generous with his time. He’s just really funny and smart…basically all of the compliments in the world in one man. And Drew had all of them too, so we were so lucky to be able to work with them so closely. Drew’s energy was massive. It was his third time directing, and he was just wonderfully out of control. It was a really delightful atmosphere to work in. Tell us about your latest role on the final season of Spartacus.

Hutchison: One of the wonderful things about television is the fact that you’re able to do it for quite a wee while. With film you see where your character’s arc is going to go and you’re able to play it out over the course of a couple of months, but with TV your life is up to the genius, in this case, of Steven DeKnight and his wonderful team of people. It’s funny because Joss’s brother Jed Whedon was writing for Spartacus and Steven DeKnight and Drew wrote with each other on Buffy and Angel, so I’m getting to work with this wonderful group of dudes with incredible brains. I am so lucky.

I like both, but I love TV, especially this Spartacus job. We’ve been horse riding and stunt fighting; the drama and romance has been incredible, it’s got everything that you’d want. You know when you’re little and you play dress up? It’s as if someone said, “Okay, think of all of the cool things you could ever do and now we’ll give you a massive budget and you can play it out in real life. Real horses, no brooms!”

* *Did you have to go through any specific training for your role in Spartacus?

Hutchison: They had this camp, but instead of going to that I went to Hawaii, which I think was actually a really good choice because the girls just got completely killed. [laughs] But they do give you one-on-one training if you have any fights coming up with the stunt team, and the stunt team is incredible; the head of the team is actually now working on Wolverine! With the horses we had about four weeks of horse riding training with this man named Wayne who was doing the horse work for Lord of the Rings, and he had done heaps and heaps of stuff; it was so cool. Because of all of these precautions you don’t need a stunt team and you can do all of the horse riding stuff yourself.

The Cabin in The Woods is available on DVD and Blu-Ray September 18 and digital download now, and you can catch the upcoming season of Spartacus on Starz.