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Rebecca Hall kissed a ghost and she liked it!
The actress heads up the new horror film The Night House, out in theaters on Friday, in which her character Beth grieves the unexpected death of her husband while uncovering dark, potentially supernatural forces along the way.
Hall, 39, tells PEOPLE that filming one memorable make-out scene with an invisible figure was an "awkward" feat to pull off on set.
"It's definitely one of the weirder and more awkward things that I've ever had to do in my career," she says with a laugh. "When it came to those days, I remember sort of naively thinking, 'Well, they'll have a choreographer and someone will tell me what to do and it'll all be fine." As I remember, it was pretty much, 'And now we're going to do the bit where you make out with an invisible thing!'
"I'm like, 'Okay. So how is this different from sort of doing this in high school?' " jokes Hall, mimicking an air make-out session by hugging herself.
The Golden Globe nominee admits the sequence "required a certain amount of bravery and a willingness to make a complete fool of myself."
Searchlight Pictures / courtesy Everett
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"I remember just deciding that it was going to be a fun challenge and to just sort of hurl myself into it and imagine it. It turned out to be more like a sort of improvised dance routine than anything else," she says. "I certainly made a lot of crew members laugh, so there was that too!"
Hall explains that that and some of the more physical scenes in the thriller were "tremendous fun and quite liberating" to explore.
But what's harder to act opposite: ghosts or gigantic CGI monsters in Godzilla vs. Kong, in which Hall also starred earlier this year?
"I think probably the CGI monsters, on some level," she says. "Overall, Night House was an incredibly challenging acting role for me. But I suppose there was a sort of comfort in knowing that there wasn't going to be anything beyond my imagination. Whatever I imagined in my head was — no one was going to see anything different. And on Godzilla vs. Kong, it's a little bit of a gamble because you could be imagining something and then it might end up looking completely different, and you know that you've just made the entirely wrong face."
The quieter moments, however, attracted Hall to shack up in The Night House, which explores topics of suicide, mental illness and grief.
"I do think these issues are difficult to talk about, and they're things that everyone is dealing with," she says. "... I think we haven't historically been all that great at talking about it, and telling stories about these things helps people start conversations that help people weather whatever they're going through on some level, be it small or large. That's meaningful to me."
The Night House spooks theaters everywhere starting Friday.