Though he’s best known for comedy, Vince Vaughn has always been good at playing a creep. See thrillers like Clay Pigeons and Domestic Disturbance… and even the horrific shot-for-shot Psycho remake.
But as Variety critic Peter Debruge notes in his thumbs-up review of the new body swapping horror comedy Freaky, “Turns out, Vaughn’s better at playing a teenage girl than he is at harnessing his inner Norman Bates.”
Vaughn is in full creep mode at the start of the film as a vagrant serial killer called the Blissfield Butcher who is picking off one teen after the next in gruesome fashion. But when he pilfers an ancient Mayan ritual dagger from one of his victim’s houses and attempts to use it on high school senior Millie (Kathryn Newton), the blade’s mystical powers are activated and the two end up in each other’s bodies.
“I would watch people who are age appropriate for mannerisms,” Vaughn told Yahoo Entertainment about channeling his inner-teenage girl in a recent interview, where he was paired with Newton (watch above). “The fun of it was going to Kathryn, you’re building two characters and then you have someone else and all their great ideas so you construct it together so you’re on the same page. You really connect to these characters.”
It was clearly one of the biggest acting challenges for Vaughn. It was also undoubtedly a creative risk: A 6-foot-5 middle-aged cisgender man essentially mimicking a Pitch Perfect 2-loving teenage girl. Vaughn felt comfortable, however, in the hands of director and co-writer Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, the Paranormal Activity series).
“Knowing it was Chris Landon, who’s terrific at this with Happy Death Day and obviously the Paranormals, I felt pretty good going into this and putting myself in this position knowing that you had a director that could really put all these elements together and make it feel like one film. And he did.”
Based on the trailer of FREAKY, Vince Vaughn has GOT to get nominated for an Academy Award. This looks fucking AWESOME!
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 10, 2020
On the flip side there’s Newton, the breakout star of recent projects like Big Little Lies and Blockers, who must morph from cutesy-awkward girl to deranged serial killer who literally saws someone in half at one point in a NSFW slasher fest.
“It’s definitely thrilling because you don’t think you can do it, you don’t think anyone’s gonna believe it,” Newton says. “You just have to think about how gross it is and act like you like it.
“And I didn’t like it. I don’t like being a serial killer.”
Freaky is now playing.
Watch the trailer:
—Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo
Read more on Yahoo Entertainment: