"There's nothing scarier than a person who is unpredictable. Especially someone with vengeance in their heart..." Juliette Lewis open up about new horror Ma
Octavia Spencer leads the way in a chilling new horror this week, Ma.
Set in small-town Ohio, the movie follows Spencer's Sue Ann, a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. It's an arrangement the kids love initially, but soon start to question their host's motives for being so accommodating...
Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis, Missi Pyle and Allison Janney star alongside Spencer, working for director Tate Taylor, who had previously been behind the camera on The Girl On The Train.
The film is the latest to go from Blumhouse Productions, the studio that has also delivered Get Out and the Insidious and Paranormal Activity franchises.
With the movie now out and on DVD shelves, we spoke to star Juliette Lewis about making the movie.
Lewis plays Erica, who grew up in the town with Spencer’s Sue Ann, but moved away to San Diego to start anew. Now divorced, she returns with her daughter Maggie to try and rebuild her life and foster new friendships.
In our interview, Lewis opened up about making the film, how she and Diana Silvers, who plays Maggie, built up their own mother/daughter relationship and her plans to return to music...
You’ve done a fair bit of horror earlier in your career, but not for a little while. What was it about this project that attracted you?
“The script felt very fresh. There were so many aspects I hadn’t seen before in a film like this as well as lots of aspects that reminded me of all the best thrillers and horror movies. Movies like Carrie and Misery that I loved growing up. There's nothing scarier than a person who is unpredictable. Especially someone with vengeance in their heart. Add in social media and past trauma and you've got a lot to chew on."
Octavia Spencer's Ma and your character only have a few scenes together, did you get to spend much time with her?
"We were out there for weeks. We shot in Natchez, Mississippi. That's where Tate Taylor works. He owns a few houses and we all lived down there. Making this movie was a lot like making movies when I was first starting. You're in a small crew in a small town and you live together every day. Octavia was amazing. She's so committed, but a lot of fun to work with. Watching her work blew me away. I was so happy to support her in this. All the characters in this movie were so fleshed out, this is a very powerful movie."
Living together and working together like that must make it intense...
"It is intense. There were places to go and retreat. But it's how Tate works. It's cosy, but it's like a family. He knows how to cast a movie and everybody got on really well. Octavia was a great leader and she was amazing with all the kids. I loved working with Diana, we got on instantly and I loved the chemistry we had."
What's it like building an on-screen mother/daughter relationship?
"Tate got the character perfectly. He wanted her to be a mother who wants to be friends with her daughter. But she's a single mother and she has to be a disciplinarian at times. It's a well-drawn character, she's not a 50s mom with an iron grip. Me and Diana had a great time. We went shopping together, we did yoga together, we really bonded."
We don't want to give too much away, but the ending of this film is quite something. What was it like making that?
"It was very intense. It's something so unusual. I reminded me of shooting Cape Fear, I was fighting for my life. There are a lot of emotions in play. Tate filmed it towards the end, which was great because we bonded and we trusted each other. We had a lot of time to get ready for the pain."
This isn't a film with much blood and gore, was that important to you?
"I am averse to it being gratuitous, especially violence. I've done some intense movies, but you have to earn it. The psychology is much scarier to me. Watching Ma work and manipulate her emotions is terrifying. When she does show her crazy, oh boy..."
There are some flashback scenes which feature a young you, did you get any say in who played you?
"No, but Tate did just a good job. It was so fun though. Me and Luke and Octavia watching it all happen, that was great to see."
What will we see you in next?
"I'm in the middle of shooting I Know This Much Is True for HBO with Mark Ruffalo. We've been working with Derek Cianfrance, who has been amazing. I've also got this mini-series called The Act, which I did last year. I want to get back to music though, that's what I want."
Your last full album was in 2009, you must be itching to do another...
"When I'm onstage is where I'm at home, I get to unleash everything. I'm going to write with my boyfriend Brad (Wilk, Rage Against The Machine drummer) and we'll see what we come up with..."