Interview: Imaginary Star Taegen Burns Talks Blumhouse Horror Movie

Interview: Imaginary Star Taegen Burns Talks Blumhouse Horror Movie
(Photo Credit: Lionsgate)
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ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Imaginary star Taegen Burns about the Blumhouse and Lionsgate horror movie, which is now available via VOD and comes out May 14 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. The chat went over the family dynamics at play, the ending, and more.

“When Jessica (DeWanda Wise) moves back into her childhood home with her family, her youngest stepdaughter Alice (Pyper Braun) develops an eerie attachment to a stuffed bear named Chauncey she finds in the basement,” reads the movie’s synopsis. “Alice starts playing games with Chauncey that begin playful and become increasingly sinister. As Alice’s behavior becomes more and more concerning, Jessica intervenes only to realize Chauncey is much more than the stuffed toy bear she believed him to be.”

Tyler Treese: DeWanda Wise plays your stepmom in Imaginary. Your character, Taylor, hasn’t fully accepted her yet. There’s kind of this archetype of the teenager that’s like rude to the mom, and usually, it can kinda come across as snotty, but I thought you had a really nice balance where there’s a quality that felt very honest and relatable. How was it kind of finding that strain without making it too over the top?

Taegen Burns: For Taylor, when I was kind of finding the balance between the aggressiveness towards Jess. I think she’s a teenage girl who’s going through a lot of changes with the move, and Jess is really becoming a big part of her life now, and they’re all living together. I think with that it was just kind of… Taylor has a lot of issues going on underneath that.

You kind of see it with her biological mom, and you kind of see that, and kind of then when Alice goes missing, there’s kind of this pressure that she’s putting on herself, and this blame and this guilt. So I think, kind of finding those moments to see her as being kind of an innocent and young girl, but also having that aggressiveness.

Your co-star Matthew Sato, who plays Liam, is just so funny. He’s this shithead neighbor that’s hitting on you, and he has these fake drugs. He’s trying to act way cooler than he is in these hilarious scenes in the movie. How was it working with him? Because you played off him really well.

Yeah, that was so much fun, and he is so funny. And those scenes together brought that kind of the comedy to the movie. The scenes in itself were so hilarious. And yeah, there was this nice that we could kind of play off of each other. And yeah, those those were like the more light-hearted scenes. So it was definitely a lot of fun filming them.

Imaginary was your first horror movie. How is that kind of experience of seeing how the movie magic is done and seeing you know how these terrifying films are actually made?

I think it was super cool. I feel like for this. We didn’t have a lot of CGI, so I mean, you see, the bare beast right behind you. I mean that that was all real and getting to see that and have that, and to kind of bounce off of that and use that in scenes was super helpful, and it was just a lot of fun. It wasn’t scary on set, but I mean, it was a lot of fun getting to see how everything works.

The actor who plays Chauncey in the bear outfit, Dane DiLiegro. He’s a nice former basketball player, and he just keeps playing these very wild creatures. How was that kind of disconnect of this very nice guy in this very scary suit and seeing him come in and out of the outfit?

It’s kind of like with everyone on set. I feel like you have that bond, and especially for Dwinda and I. We have that bond off-screen. But then, when you’re kind of doing these scenes where I’m not being very nice to her, or I’m supposed to be terrified of Dane. It’s having to be able to kind of remove that bond that we all have and kind of really step into the character, and especially it helped that he had this huge costume on, and I couldn’t see his face, so that was definitely, really helpful in helping me forget about who was actually under the costume.

They did such a great job with the giant bear at the end of Imaginary. Do you remember your first reaction when you got to see the full extent of what the monster looked like? it’s really an awesome design.

Yeah, it really is. It’s so detailed and for me. When I first I everyone had kind of been talking about it, and I didn’t get to see the full costume done and everything done until I was filming and in the scene. I love that I can talk now without being worried about spoilers. But in the scene where the bear bees kind of rises out from under the presents.

When we did that scene that was the first time I had actually seen the bear beast in all of its costume and the height of the bear beast. I’m happy that they didn’t get my reaction on that. They weren’t focusing on me because I think I would have just been smiling like, “Oh, gosh! This is so cool!” Not the whole freaked out thing of it, the reactions of it. But yeah, it was so detailed, and they did such a good job on that.

Speaking about spoilers. I wanted to ask you about the ending because I thought it was so hilarious at the very end, where they go to stay at a hotel, and they see a kid with another imaginary friend. They’re just like, “Nope, we’re we’re gonna try somewhere else.” What did you like most about that ending?

We actually did that in additional photography. We did multiple, different takes of it. We actually weren’t sure like when we filmed it; we did multiple, different kinds of versions of the ending. And then I got home. I was kind of like, okay, I don’t know which ending it’s gonna be. But yeah, I think it was like a nice kind of cap on the movie. It was like a nice little end. It was kind of like a comedic. They’d just gone through all of this crazy stuff, and then they kind of have a little comedic cap on it.

What’s been most rewarding about going through this whole process of a big theatrical release where you have the premiere. We’re seeing you in ads all over the place. It has to be pretty surreal, but what’s kind of been the highlight of this whole rollercoaster ride you’ve been on the past couple of months?

Throughout this entire thing, I kept a lot of the plot and everything a secret from my family and my brothers and my dad, so for me to be able to see it in theaters with them and get to really experience it. The whole time I was watching the movie I just kept turning around to see what they were doing, and I knew we’re all like the jump scares were and everything. It was really hard, but I did like a pretty good job at keeping the entire plot hidden from them. So, I think being able to finally get to see it with them was such a highlight.

Pyper Braun, who plays your younger sister in Imaginary, is fantastic as well. How was it kind of developing that family dynamic between you too?

I think it was kind of an instant bond with us. We were both so excited for this film, and we we didn’t have too many scenes together, but we kind of dove into that whole sister dynamic off set, and we were always getting ice cream and playing board games and exploring New Orleans. This was our first time, both of us in New Orleans. So yeah, we just had a lot of fun off set.


Thanks to Taegen Burns for taking the time to speak with ComingSoon about Imaginary.

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