While not a horror fan herself, Elizabeth Reaser stars in this weekend's "Ouija: Origin of Evil," stepping into the shoes of a psychic medium/single mother living in 1960s Los Angeles.
It was definitely new territory for the former "Twilight" star, who shares the screen with her character's two young daughters, one of whom become possessed by a sinister spirit after using the famous Parker Brothers talking board.
Though a prequel to the 2014 film "Ouija," the follow-up's period setting and skilled directing from Mike Flanagan ("Oculus," "Hush") make for a much scarier and effective flick, one Reaser was immediately drawn to.
Keep reading the Q&A below to see what the actress says attracted her to the project, as she also opens up about her personal experiences with psychics, working with "E.T." alum Henry Thomas and her own plans for Halloween.
toofab: Were you a fan of horror movies beforehand or was that kind of something you typically stayed away from?
I mean I'm not overly a fan, I get too scared. I tried to watch "Oculus" before my meeting with Mike Flanagan and I just, I had to turn it off I couldn't handle it. But this movie was so ... I've never seen a movie like this, about a single mother who's a widow and her daughters in the late '60s. I just thought, wow, were going to do this horror movie, but it's going to be about a family and I thought that that was so unusual.
toofab: For you, taking on this role as a medium, a psychic, have you ever visited one yourself?
I have, I had to do another role where I was going to see a psychic, so they got me a couple psychics and I found it unnerving because some of them are really good. They know things and it just ... I'm going to see a dog psychic soon!
toofab: Your dog?
For my dog, I want to know his likes and his dislikes. I'm fascinated by it, I think it's totally possible that some of them are real.
toofab: What other research did you do for this film?
Exploring mediums. I mean, it was a whole other world to me, this idea of doing it out of your house. That to me was really interesting, so I read about a lot about the period. I wanted to refresh myself on that. The history of what's going on in that time, in that town, because it's set in Los Angeles. And then a lot of it was really getting to know the girls and sort of connecting with them, because you really need to feel like y'all care about each other and love each other you know. That was the most fun part about it.
toofab: How was it with having these two young girls on a scary movie set, how were they?
They're great. [Lulu Wilson] is like a grown woman when you talk to her. I knew when I met her I couldn't talk to her like a child. She was an actress first and foremost and that was very unnerving but also very exciting because she was bringing so much to the table just from the first day. And [Annalise Basso] I think is so heartbreaking because she's really so innocent and not like a child actor, she's a real person when you watch her on screen.
toofab: I'm guessing they had a lot of fun climbing up the walls and doing wirework.
Oh yeah they were so funny! They even made up a language together, they were doing dances, they were always playing little pranks and things, they were really funny. They made Henry and I laugh. It was really, really fun.
toofab: I feel like you need that, to kind of break up some of the more intense scenes too.
Yeah. It definitely helps with that because it gets heavy, you know when you're crying for sixteen hours a day and then you look over at Lulu and she's eating Red Vines and dancing around, it's like, OK, this is still fun.
toofab: How was it for you to have this sixties makeover?
I thought that was just so cool. It helps the suspension of disbelief for an audience because it takes you in this other world and visually it created a look and a style that sort of takes you somewhere instantly. I had worked on "Mad Men," so I was familiar with a lot of that history of what was happening during the time, but it's a very cool, weird, messed up time in our history.
toofab: Now I know "E.T." must have come out when you were going up. Were you a fan and what was it like working with Henry on this?
Oh my God, huge fan! I mean "E.T." might have been the first movie I ever saw. It's certainly my oldest memory, my first memory of a movie. I really remember seeing "E.T." and I was like, wait you can act? Kids can be in movies? I grew up in Michigan, so it was never going to happen but it blew my mind. I just was a huge fan of him and also Drew Barrymore. That movie is so great.
toofab: And then being able to work with Henry now ...
I was definitely struck and trying to act normal when I met him. It's that thing when somethings burn into your brain from when you were a kid it doesn't matter how cool you think you are now, you just have this childlike response to him, but he's very used to it and very kind about it.
toofab: Halloween's coming up, do you have plans, do you have a costume ready to go yet?
I don't! I'm going to be in New York, where I think is one of the few places adults can get away with really doing Halloween up, big time. But I don't know what's going to happen, I'm really excited for the movie and I hope that people like it.
toofab: Without getting into spoilers, do you think this film sets up another potential sequel?
Certainly. That last sort of thing really sets you up for something insane down the line, I really hope they take it there!
"Ouija: Origin of Evil" is in theaters now.