Might want to check your closet door and under the bed. “The Boogeyman” is here.
The new supernatural thriller, based on the short story by Stephen King, stars Sophie Thatcher as a young woman whose mother was recently killed in a car accident. After the accident a strange man comes to see her father (Chris Messina) with a story about the Boogeyman, an evil entity that murdered his children. Soon enough this same entity is after the recently bereaved family. But who – or what? – can stop it?
TheWrap spoke with Thatcher (the week before that episode of “Yellowjackets” aired) about her role as young Regan in the “Exorcist” TV show, watching “The Shining” for the first time and her process for acting really, really scared.
You’ve been in the orbit of horror movies for a while. You played young Regan in the “Exorcist” TV show right? Was that your first role?
It was a blur, it was a couple of years ago. I think it was either that or “Chicago Med.” I was coming from a theater background and I was so focused on keeping it small, because I had taken some acting classes for film. And they were very big on just throwing the lines away. And now I don’t stand by that because every line is important,and you just have to think about what you’re saying. I think I’ve just come a long way, confidence-wise. I feel like I’m willing to explore more now, because that was my first job and being on TV is really scary.
What was the appeal of this project specifically?
Stephen King. The director is fantastic. I’ve also loved horror my entire life, I grew up making zombie movies with my twin after watching “28 Days Later.” It’s a really good script, it’s really well written, and it’s still grounded in reality. And you really feel empathy for the characters. Sadie is going through so much and you really feel like her at the end. When she defeats the antagonist, it feels justified.
What is your history with Stephen King?
I hadn’t read much, but I grew up with the movie version of “Carrie.” And I love Sissy Spacek in that. It just blew my mind when I was really young. I didn’t know somebody could do that and make me feel these things. I had never seen “The Shining” but finally watched it before filming this. And that was just a movie on my list, I was like, felt like it made me quirky, because I hadn’t seen it, because it was just a movie that everybody has seen.
But then I felt stupid, because I finally watched it, and I was like, this is truly one of the best movies – the soundtrack, the world building, the atmosphere, the tension, the acting, the directing, everything. It’s insane. And it’s not even you watch it and it’s overhyped. It’s incredible. I knew that he’s the King for a reason, he’s also just such a talented storyteller. And I feel like he took this genre to another extent, where people are taking it more seriously now. It’s kind of because of him.
You get a “Carrie”-ish moment in this movie with the yogurt.
Oh, my God. Yeah. The yogurt. That was so gross. I do. And I think because she’s dealing with so many people that are against her, it’s easy for her to turn inwards. But it’s so satisfying to see her fight against that and fight against her anxieties and step forward and stand up for her family.
What was there when you were facing off against The Boogeyman?
There was somebody named Michael, who was like a contortionist. And that was freaky. And I was also like, “You’re so talented, these are crazy moves.” But, I think for me, I’ve just had to learn to use my imagination. And I think coming up from like a self-tape era and doing self-tape auditions and acting to a wall, has really tested my limits as an actor. And really just like forced me to use my imagination, create an environment, and make yourself present, and put yourself in that head space quickly. It’s a very subtle shift, but I’ve learned how to do it within that.
What did you think of the eventual creature?
I was very happy with what they did. Because I didn’t really have anything specific that I pictured. But it could easily go very campy. And they pulled it off so well. It’s terrifying. And they made it classy, that’s what I keep saying, classy, like he’s a classy guy.
What is your sort of process in terms of appearing so scared?
I mean, for me, it was just about like being in tune with my breath, like being in control of that, being in tune with that. Because from there, you can build up, you can build down, you can like go anywhere. As soon as you’re in tune with that, that really helped me. That was the biggest. And even just like jumping up and down, doing jumping jacks before a take, would help get you there.
“The Boogeyman” is in theaters now.